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.

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Blustery Gusts

It is often a bit windy, and sometimes it can get very windy.  With high winds forecast over the end of the week including Saturday, there was some reticence from the ladies about coming out for a ride.  And it did indeed sound a bit wild when I first got up, with rain lashing against the window.  However, it can all change by 10:00, and as I live very close to the cafe I can always get there -whatever the weather.

This month, instead of an 'event' on facebook I put a poll:

Who is out on Saturday?
No, sorry I'm busy
Voters for this option
Yes, me, can't wait to join in with the ride!
Voters for this option
No sorry. I’m away this weekend
Added by Karen
Voters for this option
I may come, but a bit worried about the weather!
Voters for this option

On the morning several people dropped out, but when I got to the cafe, Jane was there, and by our time to leave there were 10 of us, a perfectly honourable number.

Look at that sky!!!
After our photo gathering, we set off to the river and round Handbridge, keeping to side roads where it seems a bit less windy.  We headed to Eccleston and the Old Wrexham Road (a close pass from an Iceland van, reported to police later), Darland and a sneak around Hoseley, again avoiding the wind.  We had one moment of difficulty, as we re-joined the B-road (after fixing Jane's puncture and entertaining the two small doggies), which was particularly
tight tyres and big thorns
windy - but then a fantastic tailwind to push us into Holt, up Esp Hill which can sometimes be a bit of a drag!

Helen looked after us admirably at Cleopatra's coffee shop, with very nice coffee. 

Our table booking for 11am
(not "I am fabulous"!!!)

We split a little after coffee as Mary was heading back the way we came, and the tandem set off in front; I dropped down the little back road - which is now one way (darn it - the wrong way!) and over the river which looked quite high.

We enjoyed sunshine for most of the day and it was not really cold.  Another tailwind up Saighton Hill, what joy!

Snowdrops - first flowers of the year!

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Autumn in a Day

A good turn out of 25 for the November Ladies Ride. 

We set off along the greenway, colours on the trees were amazing, it is nearly the middle of November and so many leaves still on the trees, it's not winter yet.

After passing through Waverton, Ruth sustained a soggy wobbly feeling in her rear - a puncture.  We pulled over, and the ladies were glad to have a demonstration of how to change a tube, which Ruth managed admirably.  A little help to pump up the tube, and we were rolling again.

Up and over the canal then railway bridges, before turning towards the marina.

Only a short trip today, but we managed 11 miles out.

 Despite passing a large gate bewteen canal and rail, this is shut as it is for the workshop, so the entrance to the cafe is along Newton Lane and turning in at the Ice Cream Farm car park, you follow down to a gate then up and over the railway (again).

Sat in the corner were Dave and friends from Wrexham CTC - we have not bumped in them for a little while  so I was able to have a little chat, before they went on their way.

Tattenhall Marina cafe is a spacious venue, with lovely views and a peaceful and tranquil atmosphere.  They kindly furnished us with sandwiches and chips, before we set off again back through the lanes.

To finish off, as if we had not seen enough colour in the lanes, I brought my group back through Caldy Valley, a veritable explosion of yellow and orange and other bright autumn colours - autumn condensed into 1/2 mile!

25 riders, 22 (regular) miles, three groups.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

East meets West

Chester Fabulous Ladies is part of Chester CTC, along with our Wednesday evening Rides.  Chester is part of Chester and North Wales (C&NW) member group of our National Organisation, Cycling UK.

As a member of Cycling UK you can ride with any other cycling UK group in the country; I have friends in York, and I have joined Swansea before now, when I am gallivanting around on holiday.  Bu in C&NW, we have several other riding groups, from Wirral, Mold, Wrexham, Colwyn Bay and over to Angelsey and Caernarfon.  It is the latter I got in touch with whilst I was away.

Doreen (81) lives in Criccieth.  Up a steep hill, which commands the MOST AMAZING kitchen window view i think I have ever seen.  (not jealous much, and certainly not when she says she watches the dolphins and seals from her house.  No, not at all!).

I first met Doreen several years ago, when she was selling her tandem, and we needed something to keep youngest daughter engaged on cycling trips and holidays.  We met on that occasion in a garden centre, and rode along route 8 to Inigo Jones cafe.
It is a three stage fairly steep hill to Doreen's
house - so start the day with a big descent!
Today, after a coffee and a catch up, Doreen led me over the back of Criccieth, heading towards cloudy views of Snowdonia.  How marvellous, to just climb the hill behind your house to see that!

Views to South Snowdonia - in the cloud
In good CTC tradition, we left the road and followed a disused railway track, following the very edge of Snowdonia National Park.

Following a disused railway track from slate mines

Stop for lunch at Eric's.  Of course, Doreen knows
Eric and the family.  She knows everyone!
After lunch we were in the relatively flat lands of the Afon Glaslyn, traversed by the Welsh Highland Railway; after which Doreen found another hill.  She told me that she had been to the doctors as she was concerned that she sometimes gets out of breath cycling up hill.  We laughed about that (when I had got my breath back, from climbing the hill!).

We then rode through a village which does not have a cycle path (even though it is a busy road and quite narrow) to make a point - Doreen is one of our Cycling UK campaigners and there is no cycle path because apparently one resident has planted a lot of daffodils in the grass verge and so does not want the path.  

We then picked up the Ffestiniog Railway, as it reaches its destination in Porthmadoc, riding alongside it on the causeway with glimpses 

We did not stop in Porthmadoc (it was not long after lunch, after all!) so carried on around the back of Porthmadoc, along another causeway and eventually dropping down to Criccieth for an excellent ice cream.

A most lovely day out, charming company and scenery, must come back!