Sunday 23 October 2011

Six ride to Bala...

...but only from Corwen!

It seemed like a good idea at first, and a few weeks ago it was turning into a Grand Day Out as six of us tried to communicate with email and facebook to co-ordinate cars and lifts to Corwen.  But with a 9am start, this meant getting up around 6am and congregating at my house for a 7:40 set off!  At least it was light by then!

Six fabulous ladies at the start

 The first quest was to find the cafe and parking, and the second was to navigate to the loos!  The cafe and craft shops are housed in the old workhouse in Corwen - which I never knew existed.  We had a quick cuppa before venturing out of Corwen and up the first hill of the day.  It was a nippy start, with promise of no rain, and even some sunshine. 

The route was simple - follow the river up to it's source at Bala Lake (Llyn Tegid); go around the lake, then back along the valley.  Simples.  What can go wrong?

Vicky and Krissy deep in conversation
- and not a route sheet between them!

The first thing that happened (after Vicky and Krissy sailed off into the distance) was another lady we befriended had a small exploding incident with her rear mech (the two wheel coggy thing by the back wheel that changes gear).  Once she had retrieved the parts form the road, we realised it was totally unridable (Sarah - "what do we do when a bike cannot be ridden?", "Hmmm, good question!").  We contacted the organiser, and negotiated a pick up.  Then carried on!

Photos on-the-go!

Random pointing with Bala below

Quick photo stop
After a photo stop or two later and small mistake with the route (50 yds) we arrived at the control at Llanuwchllyn, and after debating prescription cycling glasses we charged to Bala along the main road (mercifully quiet).
Sarah passing Lake Bala (and me!)

Cafe and Control in Bala, then continue to the B road after Bala, and side lanes to follow the valley.  Now on much quieter lanes, narrow and full of pheasants who leaped out at me (usually in front) with much clacking and flapping, sometimes just running along the road in a bit of a quandary before appearing to remember that they have wings!  Not to mention the added sudden appearance of a landrover - not a lot of space to pass, especially as I had just been taking photos, and we were gliding downhill!

Then Raina had a puncture - courtesy of local farmers/ landowners not clearing up very well after mashing the hedges.  We helped by taking photos of each other, pumping up tubes, admiring the least she unglued the tyre from the rim (thanks to a certain cycle shop!). 
We were soon on our way to rendezvous with Vicky and Krissy (sat in Corwen for past few hours...).  Super route, fabulous scenery, great company, good day out all round.

First sighting of Bala Lake

Bridge over River Dee near Llandderfel


[it has to be said, after all that, we managed to lose Nosheen between the cafe and car park when heading home.  This is the car park across the road.  I still do not know how she does it!]

37 miles, 42 Pheasants, 1 puncture, -1rear mech.

Saturday 8 October 2011

Misty rain and falling acorns...

...surely signifies the return of autumn; after a week or so of high summer temperatures and wonderful sunshine, the October ladies ride saw the return of Autumn with full avengence!  It was wet at the start of the day, but as ever undeterred by that (rain before seven etc) 10 ladies braved the chilly air to rendezvous at the cafe in Kingsway.  Among them were two new faces, one of which is our new local CTC/forestry Commission project-managing cycle-promoting representative (Louise).  Welcome!

After commissioning Jane to be 'tail end charlie' with her distinctive pink top; and then a quick phone call to the cafe ("Hi 10 ladies for coffee in about an hour, and we would like to sit on the table with the fire"..."oh I don't know if the gas pipe is connected?"..."well you have one hour to do that - lol"!!), we set off up the greenway.

I notice that the fox is missing now (near the horse) what a shame.  We turned off at Guilden Sutton, and round Belle Vue Lane to the junction of Pipers Lane, where Jo noted that Louise's tyre looked soft.  I got my new pump out, and after several false starts finally got the valve the right way around and managed to pump a bit of life into her back tyre.

(Note - it is ALWAYS your back tyre that gets the puncture, or is in need of attention!!!)

Riding through Christleton

We crossed the A51, with a few kind drivers, and through Christleton, where I got carried away and continued to Waverton.  However, with a sneaky ride-round-the-block we were able to retrace to the Plough crossroads, and no-one noticed!  (well, only a couple!)

Back on track now, and the misty rain was really becoming a nuisance, and Raina had to stop and take off her optimistic sunglasses.  The hills of Barrow looked absolutely gray with misty rain, and very little views to enjoy in general.

Sandstone cuttings near Barrow
 Crossing back over the A51, we were near to the Stamford Bridge lights where we turned left to climb into Barrow.  Then is was a straightforward bob round the back lanes to Manley.  I do love the deep sandstone cuttings that you come across in this area!

When we got to the cafe the fire was lit! yay - they had a bit of a battle but managed it for us - thanks Crazy Chameleon!!!!!  Cakes, toast and in some cases soup or welsh rarebit all round!  I do need to speak to the cafe about doing a free coffee/ tea top up for cyclists (like the ice cream farm offer)!

Cakes @ the Crazy Chameleon Cafe

all 10 of us!
It was quite a wrench to tear ourselves away from the warm fire and ambience in the cafe, but places to go, people to see!  A straightforward 6 mile tootle back to the A56 and through Mickle Trafford to join the Greenway again, and back to the cafe.

Passing the horse on the Greenway - heading home!

19 miles.