Saturday, 15 January 2022

New Year Natterings

 It no longer feels like the new Year, although we are only two weeks in.

Bookings went well, with one further faster request and two slow, the rest being regular.  In order to balance it out I had planned three groups; but this morning dawned very frosty indeed.

It is a hard choice for me to cancel, as I am very much of the opinion 'oh it will be fine', but maybe it is my age, or recent years' experiences, but I played it safe and sent a late email this morning to cancel, but with the offer to meet at the Cafe.



A few tough cookies did ride/ bring their bikes along, and a few just walked / drove to Kingsway, where we certainly enjoyed tea and coffee and good catch up.

In the end seven set off to go to Farndon, and from the pictures I can see they made it in six pieces (five solo bikes and a tandem!).







Thanks to Jill for sharing her smiling selfies!





And Mary found them too!!  Brilliant!



Saturday, 11 December 2021

Merry Christmas

 In the never ending range of ever changing restrictions, we managed a meet up before Christmas and the end of 2021.  It has been another incomplete year, and the last few weeks have limited cycling further due to extremely strong winds and just 'orrible weather!  Today started dry at least, but after a few miles turned damp, and remained damp and cold.

But we have a fun almost sparkly start up photo!


That is next years Christmas card sorted!!

We avoided the Greenway as it was reported to be flooded, so dropped down Mannings Lane, skirted Mickle Trafford, Guilden Sutton, Cotton Edmunds, Christleton and Waverton, to drop down to Walk Mill.


The Tarvin Community Quiz was available again, a small tradition started in 2015.  We completed the first two pages (with some gaps) - I thought they seemed a bit easy until I realised the title of the first round was a Children's literary round!





It did not stop raining, so it was straight back to Chester to try and warm up back at our respective homes, no staying out to party this year!




Saturday, 13 November 2021

Tandem Tales

 Aah November, month of autumn colours and today even a little bit of sunshine.  Using the BookWhen booking system, we had 12 riders booked on with 7 leaders ready to take them out.  Unfortunately two cancelled last minute but things do happen, what can you do?!


Rosie and Ken were back, so I had my photographer again and we grouped up for a quick(ish) talky bit before groups set off - felt very much back to normal.

I was so busy checking off who had come (so we did not leave without anyone) that I did not end up signing anyone in - so I joined with Sue and Mary, and we set off with eight.

As we set off up the Greenway, I started chatting to Emma.  New this year to the ladies, I asked how her month has been.  She started by telling me she had been (down south) to see her family; the conversation went on to early cycling days (in the eighties) as we realised we are the same age, but also both went to the CTC Birthday Rides in our teens; we then also shared lots of tandem stories.  She rode as a child from the age of 8 on the back of her dad's tandem, I had had a tandem for my daughter at a similar age, we both knew someone from Portsmouth CTC who now lives local to us here...well, we spent the best part of five miles sharing our memories of tandem riding!  (hence the blog title).  Just to add, our own 'team tandem' were unable to join us today.  Unfortunately Emma prefers to be a Stoker (riding on the back) but we are on the look out for a Pilot (to ride the front) for one of our ladies who relies on someone to bring her out.




We enjoyed a mild day, with lots of lovely autumn colours and even some sunshine, before we re-grouped and queued out of the door at Old Ma's.  






Lots of pumpkins still around

Linda and Jane's group,
perfectly positioned under the
new wall art at Manor Farm

This is my group - but I was at the end
of the queue so last to get my coffee!

Hayley and Sharon's social group


the rest of our group
- also at the tail end of the queue!


As usual the groups mingled and changed a little for the return journey, and I brought out the last four and we headed away, to return another day.

One of my favourite views, at the top of Saighton Hill

17 riders, 20 miles

All fab ladies photos can be seen on my Flickr Group

Saturday, 9 October 2021

Autumn leaves

 Just as the leaves are starting to turn, but before it gets too cold, October offers the change in the season.  After two very warm days today was not as warm, but dry and remained so with little or no wind,

A small number of riders met at Kingsway, I am guessing people are trying to catch up on holidays and family visits since March 2020.  The roads are also a little quieter than usual, possibly due to fuel 'shortages' caused by social media/ the media and unnecessary panic buying of fuel a couple of weeks ago.

Selfie start up photo


So, three riders and four leaders met at Kingsway cafe, like the old days when we first started.  A small group is nice though, and we were all able to ride together and sit together at the cafe.



We headed to the river, and along the golden tree lined groves.  The rowing clubs were enjoying their early morning session as we passed by, and the riverside cafe was already filling up





We met one lady at Grosvenor Bridge - she had set off but had a mechanical issue so had headed home to swap bikes.  




At the time of its construction (1832), the bridge was the longest single-span stone arch bridge in the world, a title that it retained for 30 years; it is a grade one listed building.  

I heard the story that the Duke of Westminster and another Earl from somewhere nearby met on the Old Dee Bridge, and as neither would back away our Duke decided to build his own bridge.  But this information is not in Wikipedia, so must just be a fanciful legend!





We followed the river to Saltney Ferry, crossing here and picking up the cycle path alongside the A5104, joining the road briefly before Bretton.  Skirting through Broughton, we climbed The Warren, and crossed again, meandering around the small forested roads of the Hawarden Estate (I think)



Jemoleys is a small cafe in Pen Y Ffordd, opened in 2013, and we have frequented it on ladies rides and Chester rides.  Service was unusually slow, they had been caught out by the rush and had run out of plates.  Ironic really, as they are a pottery painting studio when not being an open cafe!

Seasonal Post Box 






We eventually left the cafe (good job there were not 20 of us) and took some back lanes to cross Lower Mountain Road and my favourite descent around he back of Kinnerton (about two miles of gentle downhill).  Then nearer Chester we skirted around Boundary Lane to come in at Saltney, and a very sedate route through Curzon Park.

We returned the way we left, along the river, just after a bore must've come in as the river was very high, no weir, and still flowing fast in.

Route from river to canal

Saturday, 11 September 2021

Back to School

 I always think September is one of the points in the year that marks 'new beginnings', such as back to school.  A legacy from our own long school holidays and, in time, for our children too.  New bag, uniform that is a bit too big, shoes that are not scuffed yet and certainly a new pencil case stuffed with new pens and pencils.

Without the pencil case, this September felt even more like a new beginning, as we seem to be moving further away from the lock-downs and restrictions of the past eighteen months.  Covid has not gone away, but group numbers are not restricted and face masks are not mandatory (although I am still wearing mine inside to move around)

Kingsway Cafe has also had a revamp, a bright sunshiney
yellow and new clock on the wall. 
 

So, no online booking this month to see how we get on; leaders had their own sign in sheet and pen so we each signed people in as they arrived.  No specific groups as it is one easy route - out along the Greenway as we have since 2013 (gosh, that long!).

Four new faces joined us this month, and were subjected to the usual start up photo and my talky bit.  

Kingsway Cafe also has a new flag!

Lovely warm weather, for the time of year, and a nice spin out along the Greenway:




















I wanted to drop by to see 'Charlie's Orchard'.  Charlie was a member of the Wirral cycling group, but he had helped me for a couple of years with the Bob Clift Cycleway Rides- literally my right hand man, checking people out and in, and then writing all the certificates.  He sadly and suddenly died in 2019, and as a club we have planed an orchard out near the greenway, as it splits to go Neston/ Connah's Quay.

Found it (eventually!)

We contined around the industrial park, and over the marsh boardwalk, to the gates at the other end.






However, this year for a change we headed right, up a slight hill, to Burton Manor college and cafe ('Burtons at The Manor').  We sat outside, although a fine misty rain threatened so 2/3 of us relocated inside (I believe it stopped, as four hardy stalwarts stayed outside - you can tell who from the photos!)












Then, we headed straight back (with a pause under the trees nearer to Chester to allow a heavy shower to pass), losing a few to their own routes home along the way.