Saturday 12 December 2009

Yes, even a ride in December!

The final ladies ride for 2009 was sunny, and bright.  Seven of us left the cafe - bit of a wrench as I had sucumbed to having a quick coffee (got up too late for one at home!) but off we went up the new cycleway (again).  A quick photo  at the end before heading through Guilden Sutton to cross the A51.  A short wend to Waverton then left and past the Crocky Trail to Walk Mill.

I think we are all agreed that it was as warm and welcoming as ever, with a photo out front before we went in and a brief tour upstairs afterwards.

We returned to Chester along the canal before parting, a cosy 15 miles (I think -  my computer is not working.  Dear Santa.....)

Next ride is the 9th January, 10am, Kingsway Cafe.

Saturday 14 November 2009

November Big Cakes

A suprising seven ladies joined me on the 14th November, braving the threat of rain.  They weren't suprised, but I was!
The weather - a usual conversion point - was kind to us initially.  Black clouds did not deter us as we wound our way through to Boughton and then dropped to the river.  We followed the river bank as far as we could to Saltney Ferry Bridge, where we crossed over.  By now slight precipitation was apparent, but undeterred we continued on the back road around the Airbus factory.  I think the usual jolly converation spurred us on - although we had to stop while Angela put on her waterproof legs. 
Some slight gaps appeared as we climbed the only hill of the day, which led us directly opposite the cafe (Hawarden Fam Shop).  I thought I had fairies with me, but I realised it was my phone (I am not stopping on a hill to answer THAT!!!).  It was Welna who had come out to meet us.
The cafe was very busy on account of a foody festival - but we found space to sit together and enjoy our well earned refreshments.  If you were not there you can only dream of the cakes we had the choice of! 
Proper rain as we left the cafe.  Not mist, not drizzle, not even spitting - but proper fat heavy rain, as we descended the only hill of the day.  One sometimes wonders if flippers would be more appropriate!
However, despite getting well, yes, OK we were very wet - the rain did stop as we reached the bridge and crossed back over the river and headed towards Sealand Road.  The Christmas shopping traffic had backed up already, but we crossed over and cut through to Blacon and up the other only hill of the day.  With some navigational assistance from one of our newest members (Thanks Susan!) we picked up the cycleway and returned to the cafe.
A decidedly soggy 19 miles today!
I'm sorry there are no photos - my husband had my camera in Poland!  I'm not sure anyone would have appreciated me taking photos on this ride - they never do at the best of times.  As for evidence of the big cakes - you will just have to come next time we go there!

Saturday 24 October 2009

Extra ride up the new cycleway!

Chester opened a new extension to the existing cyclepath through Chester on the 25th October - I had permission to explore with a sneak preview on the 24th.

So, on Saturday 24th, due to cancellations because of holidays, illness and the weather, two ladies joined me in Kingsway Cafe for a snack while the rain poured.

Then, as the rain stopped and the sky cleared, we set off on 'the new bit'! I took a quick photo (no change there) and discovered the use of a cycle helmet - as a stand for my camera on self time mode!

We had a lovely ride, meeting a few workmen in tiny diggers and road sweepers as they put the finishing touches to the path. as we approached the Guilden Sutton turning, Nosheen thought she could see a horse on the path. Emma agreed - but as we got closer I said it was a horse - but not a real one! Our resident Hoole artisit was adding finishing touches to the willow horse (like ears).

On arrival in Mickle Trafford, we turned right and headed to the A51, where we crossed towards Chrisleton, and encountered our first headwind. It was a bit of a battle, 'till we turned towards the Gowy bridges and up towards Tarvin.

I could tell how I asked Emma if she would manage a bit of 'off road' on her narrow tyres, and I could tell you that she replied if I told her she could she would be fine - she might have mentioned she was quite gullible, but I do not want to embarrass her.

When we arrived at the start of the Roman Bridges, Nosheen slipped a little but by the time we had righted her, Emma ws no where to be seen! She shot off like a rocket! We managed to re-group and trundled through to Tarvin - where I found a rather super dress shop (probably too posh for me and certainly not suitable for the bike).

A meander around the back lanes of Barrow brought us to the A56, where we headed for Mickle Trafford and picked up the cycleway back.

a neat 18 miles - all in sunshine with blue skies, I may add for the skeptical who though it would rain all day!

Saturday 10 October 2009

You never know who you will meet.....

October ladies ride had a good turn out, new faces and familiar. We set off up Mannings Lane and round the lanes to drop through the Zoo - for some exotic animal spotting. Across the canal and up the hill towards Backford then cross the A41 to head for Mollington.

Being a little less familiar with these lanes, and minus map, a few lucky guesses brought us out near Saughall. I stopped the group for one of my usual 'this is what we are going to do' prep talks, you know the sort - it's a busy road, we are turning left here then next right, take your time, we will re-group.....only to find there were no cars in sight, we turned onto the road and into Saughall with no problem!!! It can happen!

We hung another right in Saughall and followed this lane to the new bridge over the A5117. Despite being only a couple of miles from the Eureka cafe (cyclists cafe at Two Mills) we did not head that way, but instead picked up a cycle track that runs alongside the main road at Sealand - to pick up the Chester - Deeside cycle route.

It was at this point that a cry came from the back - 'can we go faster?!' So, we obliged! It is a nice flat (ish) smooth and straightforward route (ie it is very hard to lose anyone), and we proper zoomed along.

However, despite the promise of coffee and toast at the cafe, a few people planned to drop off along the route. As we re-grouped for a final time, we met a couple on what looked like extended roller blades, but also sporting long walking poles. I had to ask.

Cross country skiers, (without the snow) in training. I tell you, you meet all sorts of people when you are out on your bike! My big regret is that I did not take a photo of them, and more that I did not ask them to take a picture of us - before we spilt up. Those of you who know me - can you believe it!!!

By the time the five of us that were left returned to the cafe we had completed a tidy 16 miles. And all before lunch!

Saturday 12 September 2009

Lunch in Dodleston

Todays ride was unusual as it was planned to be a full day rather than the usual morning. We were blessed with the most fabulous sunshine, and four ladies met myself and my girls at Kingsway cafe. After a little deliberation with a bike pump, and an emergency dash home to collect my track pump, we were able to leave through the streets of Hoole.

We followed the canal for a short while, then dropped to the river and up through Handbridge to pick up the 'Dukes Drive'.

We were heading for the Red Lion in Dodleston, to meet up with some other local CTC cycling groups in the area. we sat outside in the sun and with a few inquisitive wasps.

The return journey back through Westminster Park picked up part of our outward route, so we headed down to the meadows and caught the ferry at Sandy Lane. unfortunately, much to the dismay of my girls, we did not linger at the water park, but headed up through Great Boughton to return to the cafe.

A Leisurely 20 miles today.

Sunday 16 August 2009

August Ladies Ride

Despite the prediction of rainy weather and the ‘intrusion’ of the holiday season, four dedicated ladies braved the poor weather prediction to do the Fabulous Ladies ride on 15 August to the ice cream farm near Tattenhall.

A few raindrops were around as we set off but soon disappeared within a few minutes of the ride. We took quiet country lanes and soon found ourselves in the lovely East Cheshire country side. The ride was uneventful (no punctures!) and arrived at the Ice Cream farm where we parked up and enjoyed some refreshments (lovely scones and tea!).

We took an altered route back to Chester and enjoyed some different scenery. We passed the Crocky Trail enroute which was quire busy. Soon we were on the outskirts of Chester where we all split to go individual ways. As usual, a lovely ride with excellent company at a pace that fits all. Why not dedicate a morning to yourself and come and join us for some good company and a morning out and away from the usual buzz.
By Welna.

Saturday 11 July 2009

Jolly July!

It was a damp morning, but the sun peeked out at 9:31, so I was hopeful.

five ladies joined my daughter and I - but as Kate's friend could not make it she went home (draw of the telly!-teenagers!).

So, not to be detered, six of us set off in slightly damp conditions. we dropped down to Mickle Trafford, through to Guilden Sutton, and crossed the A51 to tootle round the back of Chrisleton. The weather stopped being damp, and we passed through Waverton and the Crocky Trail. In a smaller backlane we were threatened with a farmers watering system, so I slowed to try to time it right (which we did). Maxine, however, was quite keen to be soaked, and I think was secretly disappointed when she also passed through untouched. Adds to the excitement ! (?)

We had a very sociable coffee break in Okells, where we discussed many things. On arrival, Zoya asked where we were exactly. No amount of describing the lanes and villages helped, until we mentioned the pub in Duddon. Say no more! So I got my map out to let out all my secrets of where we were.

On our return journey I managed to get in a style, some photos and the Hockenhull Platts (Roman Bridges/ packhorse bridges/ Gowy bridges), finally picking up the canal in Chrisleton as the sun was coming out and the day was warming significantly! We clocked 17 miles this month.

More photos can be found on the Cycling in Chester group on FaceBook. Check it out!

Saturday 6 June 2009

A short ride in June

Despite decidedly damp weather, five ladies (plus me!) braved the elements for a ride that was not as wet as one might expect. Following the same route I used on the first ladies ride, we did a modest 8 miles to return to the cafe. It was a very quiet ride, there were few people out and less animals. We did, however, spot a heron on the bank of the canal.
Mind you, it looks wet, doesn't it!

Saturday 9 May 2009

Plemstall, Ponies and Plegmunds Well!

Yet another sunny day and 11 ladies left Kingsway Cafe, promising to return! It was a little blustery, but not as windy as previous days. After not getting lost through Upton, we wended our way through the quiet country lanes, stopping only to let the Birkenhead North End Racing club pass by - I'm sure they would have struggled to pass us otherwise!!! :-D

A small pony came to say hello to us - hence part of the title of this blog. Then we went to Plemstall - is it making more sense now?

We also visted St Plegmunds Well - apparently Plegmund was a hermit who lived here over 1000 years ago. He was called by King Alfred to carry out reforms and eventually became Archbishop of Canterbury. You can read more about him at

So, after a few photos, we re-traced our steps (wheels) are also didn't get lost in Mickle Trafford on our way back to the cafe. We nearly lost Lesley and Maxine who, deep in conversation about the Ice Cream Farm, inadvertantly turned their handlebars in that direction - returning when they realised no-one was following!

So we all returned in one piece to the cafe for tea, coffee and chinwag!

A pleasant and sociable 11 miles.

Saturday 18 April 2009

Sunny April ride to Yvonne's in Connah's Quay

A very sunny day saw eight ladies meeting at the usual venue. Following introductions and the mandatory photograph we set off - using the cycleway for the first time since we started riding as a group. We picked up Milly en route in Blacon, near a whole bunch of people digging? planting? something on the bank.

As we approached the Sealand bridge, I shot ahead to try to take some photos - which caused some vying for the back of the group to avoid being in a picture. We will have to work on this shyness, girls!

Yvonne's cafe in Connah's Quay was our destination, and we all sat around a table to chat and drink tea and coffee.

Our return was along the river, losing the occasional cyclist as we drew near their homes. By the time we got to Chester we were down to six as Nosheen went home to her assignment - although I think she was going out on her bike again! Maxine lost count of how many we were, and we had to recount who left us where to reassure her we were not leaving anyone behind!

I had an urge to continue on the riverside route so we followed the river all the way around the racecourse, along the groves and then up Dee Lane. Maxine decided to peruse the local cycle shops and four of us returned to Kingsway - where Kascha asked 'is that it?'!!! A grand total of 21 miles, mostly very flat, and back to the cafe for nearly 2pm.

More Photos on the Facebook group - Chester cycling - check it out!

Saturday 14 March 2009

The Fabulous Ladies go to the Boat Museum and mend some punctures!

March saw the fabulous ladies in glorious sunshine, if not a bit breezy! We headed slightly into the wind, through the zoo and down to the canal. Heading left I could not get far enough in front to take any photos - these ladies can't half move sometimes!

We joined the canal - after much reassurance that the wind would not blow us into the canal but actually keep us from falling in - and headed towards Ellesmere Port. I will admit it was quite a tough battle, and more reassurance that 'on the way back it will be behind us' was given!

We met a few ladies at the Boat Museum Cafe - Louise, who I had dragged out of bed, had made her own way all along the canal; Janet joined us from Heswall and I even had a phone call from another lady (Pauline) who came out to meet us too!

The return journey, despite the glorious tailwind, became quite eventful. Within a minute of waving goodbye to Louise and leaving the canal, Nosheen developed a very flat tyre. Not to be
detered, Maxine and I leapt into action and with the aid of the multitude of spanners, tyre leavers and a big bag of patches, we set about fixing the flatty.

Moira and a few carried on - she had to get to work - only to phone me a minute later to say "you will probably catch up with us - Lydia now has a flat tyre too!"

I could go on, suffice to say I think we finally totalled 6 punctures; including my daughter who - by this time I was bored of fixing punctures - I phoned my husband to come a pick her up!

Moral of the story - always have a spare tube to fit your tyres, or patches at least; a pump to fit your bike, and means of getting your wheel off!!!!

Saturday 14 February 2009

Valentines Day on the bike

Just the three ladies came to the Cafe this morning, despite being February it was not too bad on the weather front - Lesley sporting her new gloves!

We set off through the Zoo and lanes and went to the Eureka world famous cyclists cafe, at Two Mills. Little to report about the day - although the ladies did express that they felt like 'real' cyclists now they had experienced the cyclists cafe.

We returned along the cycleway, and I am sorry to say I have no photos from this day! I will be repeating this as it was a gentle 18 miles, with nice combination of lanes, track and cycleway.

Saturday 10 January 2009

Frozen January

A hardy two ladies turned up on a very frosty cold January day. We set off up the cycleway. I was marvelling at the icicles under the bridge on plas Newton Lane - only to realise nearly too late that underneath them was a corresponding large patch of ice! Stopping just in time, we all tip-toed across the rink safely before continuing.

We left the cycleway in Blacon, and headed down to Saltney Ferry. I had in mind to meander back to Chester to find a cafe near the river, but as we approached Saltney Ferry bridge, I realised a light but bitter wind would have frozen our cockles off if we headed back towards town, so in an effort to warm up we crossed the bridge and turned right.

Circling the Hawarden airfield and Airbus factory we had a small climb which warmed us a little, before dropping towards Broughton. I had in mind a cafe I knew of, and we cut across to the Warren through what would've been a very muddy track - but as it was frozen it was just a very lumpy track!

Someone had moved my cafe and turned it into a chiropodists, which was no use to us - but there was a cafe in the corner of Broughton Park - where we sat for a not insignificant time, warming up and drinking coffee and eating sticky delectibles!

We returned to Chester and went our own ways by the Old Dee Bridge, having covered about 23 miles.

Motto - ski-mits are the best hand protection in cold weather, wrap up warm with lots of layers and definitely head for a warm cafe!