Saturday, 18 July 2020

Birthday Belle

Everything stopped in March, there was a worldwide pandemic (Coronavirus), we have isolated, social distanced, washed and gelled our hands, wiped down handles and equipment, worked from home and all sorts.  

Cycling in groups also stopped, and although there was a huge increase in cycling (you were allowed to go out to exercise for half an hour or so at first) it was solo riding or with members of your household.

Lockdown restrictions are now however beginning to ease.  Shops opened, with mitigation's (distance, masks and handgel), pubs and restaurants finally reopened at the start of July, and some cafes are also back open.

Against this backdrop, Janet from our sister group the Bicycle Belles, invited me with a couple of others to join her for a little ride today for her birthday.  The weather was not inviting, but despite damp drizzle I donned my waterproof and made my way to the Boat Museum.  

No photos I'm afraid of the tiddley baby moorhens, or fluffy large teenage moorhens, or the heron, who stood steadfastly by the side of the canal, even as I carefully passed him.  What a magical experience!

Socially distanced photo.  Yes I am very grey ('Lockdown hair'!)

Janet arrived with Sonia and Ruth, and after a chat and a photo (sporting their new Belles tops - even more purple than the originals!), we set off back along the canal.  Mr Heron had left now, and we also left the canal to follow route 56, where we basically made for the Burleydam Garden Centre cafe.

The return journey was shared for a few miles, through Childer Thornton, but we split shortly after that, as Sonia and Janet headed up the Wirral, and I returned via Oaks Farm, Ledsham and Capenhurst.

Janet had mentioned there was a scarecrow festival in Capenhurst, so, despite the rain I stopped and took a few pics of the installations.

Of course

Note the little doors in stump!

fishy theme

Litter picker? Is this saying he is a fruitcake?!

Corpse Bride, and what looks like
the baby from Fairy wash up liquid!

Back to the Future I think

I also noted a carved tree stump - with lots of forest animals and the mandatory owl.

Foxy, looking up (and hedgehog poking out)


The artist

I also took a couple of photos to send to Janet of the Pinfold, as she claimed she had not seen it before!

I was wet (damp) but not as bad as I thought.  Nice to get home and have a shower though - and think how I will enjoy my next sunny ride!

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Before the Pandemic

The Covid-19 Coronavirus which started in China late last year, is turning into a global pandemic - information changes on a daily basis but at the time of this ride we had moved from advise if you have recently traveled to a long list of countries - including Italy - to staying at home if you were experiencing symptoms.  But, today's ride was not cancelled although we are becoming much more aware of the risks and recommendations.

Undaunted, 15 of us met at Kingsway cafe, for the usual chat and refreshments.

We had a visitor to the group this morning, Shannah from the Chester Neuro Centre.  Eileen had invited her, as we are planning on a charity ride next month in support of this local charity.  We had a brief talk about it, and Eileen shared her personal testimonial, before we set off (with plans for next month).

Two groups left the cafe; Rick took one and I had a slower group.  Only a couple of hills!

My group navigated all the off road routes, along the Greenway - canal - riverbank, and then the cyclepath to Bretton along the main Saltney straight.
Joining the Canal
Change Bridge, near Telfords
Two canals!

Finishing with a small climb
up The Old Warren

It was busy at Susan's coffee shop, in Lesters garden centre, as if no pandemic was on the doorstep.  At least I had booked ahead, although we were in the greenhouse bit!  Lovely breakfast for me, before we packed up and headed back down the hill (there certainly seemed to be much more down than we had done up!)

I tried a few side roads in Shotton until I found the right one, and we arrived back at The Blue Bridge, where we turned left to pick up the Greenway back in, a nice and simple route.

It's a nice track - but the wrong one!

Homeward bound now!

Check out all our photos on the Fab Ladies Flickr gallery .

Saturday, 11 January 2020

Welcome to 2020

Welcome to a New Year - and also a New Decade!  Wow, looking back on the blog (useful for this time-hopping business) New years day was a bit snowy, and ladies ride in Jan was cancelled due to snow.  2010 was our first ladies weekend to Bridges, and we return in 2020 to Shropshire in June for our 10th weekend away.

No snow today, damp and dismal, and, if heading the wrong way, very windy!  We had four small groups, as only 25 riders (New years resolutions already worn off?!) and after a photo (I'm taking it, no Mr Rosie today) we all set off.  Three new ladies did join us, and a few returning.

My group of eight on the steady ride set off along the Greenway, and around to the A51 to follow footpath to Stamford Bridge.  A quiet day out in the lanes, and with the wind predominately behind us until we paused at the top of Dunham when we realised how windy it was.

My camera is not charging / holding charge very well, so no photos until we got to the cafe, as I had to rely on my phone.  We also did not pop outside to see the goats and menagerie, as you have to pay (I had visited last summer, and the door was open, you just went out).  The lady was not for negotiating, so I settled for a pic of a couple of the goatees through the window.

Saturday, 14 December 2019

Christmas ramblings

When walking the dog first thing (my best weather checker before a ride), it was cold, dry, and not icy (bonus).  Literally minutes later I was about to set off to the cafe, and had to bob back for waterproofs, and had a very cold, wet, windy and dark 1/2 mile ride to the cafe.

I parked up, and joined the few ladies assembling.  As people arrived, they asked if we were riding - my reply is - lets see what it is doing at 10.  9:50, and the clouds had blown over, leaving blue skies and even sunshine.

When we were finally ready, we had our photo by the tree, and this is the only photo as my camera battery was dead.

Sue joined us in the cafe, but as she is awaiting ankle surgery she is unable to ride.  As is Rosie, but Ken and Rosie met us at Walk Mill instead (complete with Christmas jumpers).

We sent off the 'further' group, then I led the rest on a little tour of Upton, dropping through Wervin and back along to Mickle Trafford.  Crossing the A51, we just followed a basic route to Walk Mill, managing to avoid suspicious clouds which nearly dropped rain on us.  

The further group arrived back in two waves, first the further group, and then the further further group!  People generally made their own way back to Kingsway; Gill and I stopped at the Ring of Bells in Christleton for some mulled wine and to tackle the Tarvin quiz for this year.

A very Happy Christmas to you all, see you soon!

Sunday, 10 November 2019

All together

This month we had more leaders than riders - and a group of eleven gathered for quick photo in the bitter cold.  There was snow across North Wales, although we did not see any, and although we had some rain it was not sleet.  The early morning frost had cleared, but we were not lucky enough to see any sun.

Despite a few routes being planned, we set off together up the Greenway, and by the blue bridge we debated whether to split or stay together, agreeing on the latter.

The autumnal not-so-greenway!

We continued alongside the main road, on a cycle path past the old Sealand Army Camp, until I had a brain freeze about the route.  Lisa stepped in and we crossed the roundabout, and the course became obvious again, passing some flooding in an adjacent field.

Hosta cafe is within a garden centre, and as with most garden centres this means you have to trail all the way through the displays to get to the cafe.  There was not much out, but there was a fabulous display of large cyclamen.

If you are good at anagrams,
they have some letters for sale.
I managed 'Lost'!

We warmed up in the cafe with drinks and a selection of breakfast type victuals, before wrapping up and heading back out into the cold.  Despite extensive rain recently, I was surprised that the lanes were not flooded.  A final ascent through the zoo which was very leafy, and returning to Kingsway cafe with 20 miles covered

Saturday, 8 June 2019

All change

I was away for the June ride, so passed the ropes to the leaders.

As the weekend approached, facebook comments echoed with concerns for the weather forecast, with some leaders dropping out the night before and on the morning.

However - Linda reports "Despite the wind and the rain a hardy group of cyclists assembled at Kingsway cafe this morning. We split into 2 groups, the further faster led by Alex and a regular group led by myself. Given the weather our group did a 20 miler, stopping at Old Ma’s cafe near Tattenhall. Once we were cycling and warmed up a bit the wind dropped and the rain was very light. It was actually quite refreshing. 

At the cafe we were informed by Mary that it was World Knit in Public day (who knew there was such a thing?) and then proceeded to get her knitting out. 

A bit more of a head wind on the way back but good to get out. Thanks to Mary and then Rick and Clare for backmarking."

Alex led the faster group to the new cafe at Coddington, called Manor Wood (I have not been there yet).

Apparently, it was also 'World Gin Day'!

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Avoiding the wind

It is still windy!  I led the short route today, as people were a little nervous riding in the wind.  We are lucky in Chester; our lanes twist and turn, and we have plenty of hedges giving shelter - just watch out for those gateways!

A very colourful gathering

With a short ride around very familiar lanes, there is little to report.  No baby cows yet, but daffodils adorn the verge and that's about it!  I added a small hill via Dunham on an otherwise straightforward route, short up and lovely down.

One funny moment, not captured on film as I was coming down said hill; a horsebox had set off up the lane, and three or four horses ran along to the gate (we presume it had just left) as if to say "hey! where are you going/ what about us?!"  Cute.

Despite the wind, the sun came out in time for our arrival at Manley Mere, which was the most beautiful blue I have ever seen.  When I asked inside, I was told it has been treated to block out light and prevent weed growth in the mere.  They have a lot of open water swimming here, as well as watersports, so they have started to do this now.  That explains the colour.  But it does look lovely!

Arriving first, we treated ourselves to cake and comfy seats around the open fire.  Which was very warm!

...I always like the throne chair, as I call it!

We waited for what seemed like a long time before the other two groups arrived.  The cafe had set aside plenty of seats for us, it is not too busy this time of year.

I may need to photoshop out that cone on the right!
After a quick catch up with the other groups, I led my group back around the back of Barrow, to pick up the Greenway via Stamford Bridge.
Great Barrow Church - St Bartholomew's
Both groups this morning had to re-route, as the Guilden
Sutton road was closed for re-surfacing; however, by the time we came through it was re-opened, although rough and surprisingly busy!

Finally up the Greenway, Mary stopped to hide a geocache for her friend to find, she was very excited about it!

Whilst the others were waiting, Helen had noted her wheel appeared to be rubbing.  Bike upside down, we spun the wheel and looked for what was causing this, but the mudguards, brake blocks and frame did not appear to be to blame, so we carried on.  I was not sure if it was a spoke, as she said she had heard a noise, but not been on anything too lumpy.  She called to the bike shop, and later reported that it was indeed a broken spoke, near the hub.

24 riders, 16 miles for the slow and steady group.