Travellers' Tales: Church going

Allan with his calendar of pen-and-ink drawings
Allan Plumpton takes off his cycle-clips in awkward reverence

The Beds & Herts Historic Churches Trust annual ‘Ride & Stride’ began at 10am. Fortunately, the nearest church to me was just three minutes away in St Michael’s village. I was its first visitor.

The ride was a loop through southern Bedfordshire and northern Hertfordshire, an area largely new to me. So I rode with a route-sheet and map in view on my handlebar.

My tour proper started north of St Albans in Flitwick, a train ride away. Taking the right road out of Flitwick station, I soon arrived at the next church, St Peter and St Paul. I parked my bike by the porch, then queued with a dozen others to sign in, grab a mug of coffee and  biscuit, and gulp them down. It was quite a scrum as we emerged from the churchyard.

And so it went on throughout that day until I ran out of time at 6pm. The last church on my list – in Harlington – had already shut up shop. The visitor sheet had been pinned to the main door, however, so I was still able to record my visit. After a cuppa at a friend’s house in  the village, I caught the train home to St Albans.

I raised just over £300 in sponsorship, and it was an interesting day out. Historic churches can be captivating. I’ve made pen-and-ink drawings of many, some of which appear in a calendar of Sussex sights that I’ve just put together (see p56 of the October/November edition of Cycle magazine).