Maybe because we missed a ride, or maybe the promise of more miles, or just nice weather; but we had our second largest turn out for this year of 31 riders, 8 out for the very first time!
|too many to fit in the photo!
Jane gallantly took a large group (we were still a little short of riders, but I knew the further faster riders were more experienced, so would be OK to manage and split the group into bitesize chunks as necessary) and set off after the photo. We saw them as we neared the cafe, as they had left before we got there!
Sonia and I split the rest into two groups, with my group setting off up Mannings Lane first, followed by Sonia's. They soon caught us, as we had a puncture after a couple of miles, just in Mickle Trafford.
|At least we had sun for our unscheduled stop!
Finally inflated and back on the road, the route was an easy one as we were just following the Cheshire Cycleway. This is a route I always used to head out on in my youth when I was first riding the lanes (in the mid eighties - big hair and all!). It is not without it's hills, but we re-grouped from time to time; but by the time we got through Delamere Forest it was nearer 12 - and we were only halfway!
|I love our deep sandstone cuttings
A few ladies chose to stop off in Delamere, but the rest of us were happy to continue with the route, which was now mostly downhill (off the sandstone ridge and towards the River Weaver). Of course, whizzing happily downhill can mean I may (and did) miss the little blue cycleway sign, and we landed on the A49, but not where I was expecting! (on closer inspection on the return, the sign is badly placed to be fair!)
|An unscheduled diversion!
Not to be undeterred (and not retracing back up the hill!) I employed my trusty smartphone with it's map, and planned an alternative through Weaverham, staying off the main road, but re-joining close to where we should've come out.
With no further impromptu diversions, we continued over the Weaver at Acton Bridge and up into the salt lands. We had views across Combermere and could see the salt works in the distance. A closed road was no obstacle, as we followed the pedestrian route around the barriers, arriving not too late after Sonia's group.
Great Budworth is a very pretty Cheshire village; and as we climbed up into the centre, we noted scarecrows lining the roads - lying on hedges, peeping over other hedges - I did not get them all, but here are a few!
The ice cream farm has been the first stop off for the 100 mile riders on the Bob Clift Cheshire Cycleway rides, in June each year. I took over organising it this year, so it was nice to meet Rachel and the gang, and say thanks for looking after our riders again this year.
|Always a warm welcome at the Ice Cream Farm in Great Budworth - and much quieter than some
other local ice cream farms!
It was a long climb back up to Norley, before we had lovely descents in Delamere.
45 miles, back by tea time!