Saturday, 14 November 2020

Mid lockdown, post covid, solo rides

Another month, another lockdown.  Only this time you cannot ride with a group, only one other person.  and all the cafes have shut, with some doing take out. So, I suggested that we have a 'virtual ride' - anyone riding leaves on the Saturday morning and share photos of the ride on the facebook group.  I was also post Covid; I had started with symptoms end of October, tested positive, and we were 'self isolating' until earlier this week.  However, I had still felt unwell, but today marked the first day i did feel much better.

Typically, after watching autumn sunshine all week from my windows, today was forecast with rain.  Undeterred I set off anyway, just nice to get out.  Damp misty rain as I left Chester via Huntington, slightly heavier but eased as I arrived at Saighton.

Posting on facebook as I went:

Decision time #1, its damp out some misty rain but mild. Bit breezy.
Not out of breath more than usual after having the covids since 28th, coughin' well so maybe this will clear the tubes!

Down to Bruera i think

...but looking at bit black, so will turn left at Bruera, methinks

Mark offering cheese and wine (Spar award winning red!) - a welcome respite in Tattenhall

Sausage buttie from Spar, recommended, and still warm after climb up to Burwardsley (even at my speed)

Sunshine on the dahlias.  Beeston behind the tree

There it be. Who doesn't love Beeston?



Managed a solo Fab Ladies ride around the lanes - not very far but did enjoy it despite the damp 🚴 Even wore my CFL top for the occasion



A lovely damp ride round the lanes for my virtual fab ladies ride this morning. I could see England through the mist! When the sun finally appeared the oak trees were looking gorgeous. Coffee at Cleopatra's on the way home.



Got out for a virtual Fab Ladies ride this morning. Bit damp to start off with, but the rain held off after that, & the scone at Lockgates coffee shop was definitely worth riding there & back for. 🙂

Saturday, 10 October 2020

Changing times and The 'New Normal'

October was approaching, we have not had group ladies rides since March when we were heading rapidly to a lockdown, and no-one knew (or would've believed) how long it was going to last (and is still ongoing).  Now, cafes have started to open back up, with increasing safety measures which, although more consistent in the last few weeks, still remain sporadic to different establishments.

We had a zoom leaders meeting in August, and delayed restarting group rides as it was still very uncertain.  By September we agreed that maybe some leaders could have up to six in a group, and with about six leaders happy with this, we set up plans to restart in October.

A week before the rides, however, our Flintshire ladies were faced with new restrictions (alongside Wrexham) and were not allowed now to cross the border - Chester lost half the leaders overnight.  Alex suggested a Flintshire Fab ladies, and we ploughed on with Chester, now with three leaders.

Wednesday, the weather forecast was promising, and of course by now we have wonderful autumn colours.  It has been very wet (I usually start each post with a weather synopsis, so here it comes!).  However, by Friday teatime the weather had gone from 10% rain to 80%.  Some riders dropped out from one group, and by Saturday morning Jane and Hayley had cancelled their ride.  I had three cancellations, but that still left three of us - this is our story.

The Debate

Take out only at the cafe
I met Sue and Karen at Kingsway cafe.  We sat outside and had waitress service, after ordering at the table across the door.  Liz, the new cafe manager, was also sat outside so I was able to have a catch up with her and introduce myself before we left.

Sitting under the covered alcove in front of the cafe window, we talked about the Fab ladies, as both riders today are interested in supporting as leaders; so it was useful to have that dedicated time to share how we used to organise ourselves, the ethos of the ladies (social and leisure, to encourage women to join group riding), and update over recent weeks.  

The Outward Ride

By 10:15, the rain was much less, and we agreed we were here anyway, so let's go for it.  Suitably waterproofed up, we wended our way through Christleton and Waverton, by which time I realised I had not updated the cafe.  We paused in Hargrave, a strategic stop near a bus stop shelter, and phoned the
cafe.  Just as I started to speak to Lisa, the heavens decided to open - so we quickly shuffled into the shelter (this is a beauty of small groups).  After a short shower we were off again.

Worth sheltering from this!

Chowley Oaks, another downpour

We sheltered again in the porch of an office building, at Chowley Oaks business park - I wanted to double check my may anyway, and as it started to rain again this was another strategic pause.  Karen recognised the route after this - but she said she usually does it the other way.  I love this about cycling, the same route reversed seems totally different.

The Cafe

We arrived at 12 to the Lakeside Cafe, very pretty small cafe with decking overlooking a small lake.  It is also a campsite, tucked off the main road in a pretty quiet corner.  

(Note to self, the Cock O' Barton pub is 10 minute walk away, so tempted to book in with the camper either soon or next spring).

The Return Journey

There comes a time when all bacon butties are consumed, coffee drunk and facilities utilised and we have to get back out there.  It was not too cold, and the rain was less frequent. We climbed (small incline) to Churton, and took to the back lane.  Similarly to Aldford, after about a mile on the 'B' road we went around the back, admiring and discussing estate houses (belonging to 'the Duke' - of Westminster).  Rejoining the 'B' road, we had seen ominous clouds coming from North Wales and heading our way, so plumped to stay on the 'B' road.

Lovely colours - and sunshine and blue skies!

The Flintshire Fabs

Flintshire Fabulous Ladies Ride - 2 groups of 5 brave ladies in each group.


Cheryl - My group finished off in the new bike shop cafe in Mold ( bike/cafe is Alpha Cycle Worx on the Bromfield industrial estate). Great coffee and lots of socially distanced seating

As it was rather soggy we didn’t stop much and my phone was in a waterproof bag, so not many photos. My group did a 4 mile shorter, less hilly and more moderately paced route than Alex’s group. All the ladies were exceptionally good at socially distancing while riding as well as when we stopped at the top of a couple of inclines.

Alex had planned for us to stop at Hope Post Office where they sell take-out coffee, but my group didn’t want to drink coffee in the rain, so we opted to finish the 24 mile route and have a coffee in the new bike shop Alpha Cycle Worx in Mold. In the end, most of the group went straight home, with only Becky and myself trying out the new cafe. Alex’s group had made an impromptu stop at Honey’s in Hope. Despite the weather, we had lots of laughs and even saw some blue sky, albeit only for about 2 minutes, then it disappeared.


Liz - "Great ride ! Didn’t even notice the rain Thanks for leading and to Alex  for organising"

Sue - "Great ride ....despite the weather. Can you send me details of your waterproof cycling trousers please??"

Becky - "Thanks so much everyone it was a great ride!"



Very wet but not cold ride today for the Flintshire Fabs. One group went to Honeys Cafe in Hope and sat under a patio heater in the dry. The second had coffee at the new bike shop in Mold after the ride. Well done all who ventured out!

Alison - "Great morning / lovely to catch up with you fabulous ladies"

Sharon - "Thanks Alex, really enjoyed the route and the ride"

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 .