21 ladies congregated at the cafe for the October ladies ride. I was welcoming all as usual, answering the multitude of questions and catching up with people, as I realised I was surrounded by riders but no leaders yet! I do not get chance to hear or answer my phone, so was not aware that Linda had punctured on her way in - met by Joanne and helped by a few passing chaps (they do love to help out a damsel or two in distress, and there is no harm in accepting help if it means a speedy tube change!). We compared routes, selected a group and dragged the women out of the cafe.
I sent Linda off with the further faster group first; shortly followed by Joanne who led out on the greenway. We then headed up Mannings Lane to cross by the lights - and then down to Mickle Trafford. We followed the Cheshire Cycleway to Manley, before sidling off to the left and up a sneaky hill. There then followed a small discussion and advice about using gears on hills - when you are very used to gears and your bike it is easy to forget how confusing it can be - and how hard it makes it if you select the wrong one going up a hill.
Continuing to Manley common and down Dark Ark Lane - what a great name! - and under the railway before climbing - all a bit up and down really. I was getting blamed as I said the hill from Manley was the last one - well, maybe one little fib is needed now and then to keep us going!
We ended a little strung out on the last hill, so I was trying to direct the ones at the front to the next turn off (trying to remember where it was) and then trying to be at the back also to make sure everyone was OK and still standing! We re-grouped at the junction,before heading into Delamere Forest along Forest Farm road which takes you directly to the cafe at Linmere.
On arrival we took over all the cycle stands, then took over half the cafe!
There was much trying on of cycle tops, as the ladies decided which size they would be better choosing in the next top order. I knew there was a reason to have our names on the tops, as several were passed between each other!
Time to leave - back on forest farm road so we left as one group, intending to follow the same route but with the second group leaving a respectable gap to allow cars to pass if necessary.
The road to Kelsall contours through little spurs of forest, and with glorious views across Ashton and fields with sheep to rather black and grisly looking Welsh hills. At Kelsall we all caught up, before heading down the hill. This is the last I saw of Joanne's group, as we turned left near the bottom, but it is a hard turn to see and Joanne and her ladies sailed past enjoying the hill too much! Following a vote when they reached the A54, they retraced the short distance to the missing turn and followed on. By now, however there was quite a large gap and despite waiting at Tarvin, we did not see them.
Apparently, they found a fab roadside cake stall,so had to stop and check that out!
I led my group right towards Tarvin, then we turned left alongside the new houses to follow Broomheath lane and across the A51.
As we were heading to Waverton, Mary dropped back as she had a fly in her eye. It was only when she rejoined us at Walk Mill that she explained she was missing a lens from her glasses - which was where the fly headed!
I had a lunch date so sent the final three on to Kingsway, others had split earlier.