Saturday 22 November 2014

West Cheshire Alps re-visited

Back in 2012 I led an extra ride in preparation for the Spring 50 the following week.  This year I had planned in four extra rides to meet up with other ladies groups; but for one reason and another we never managed any of them.  With the early Nov ride ending up very short, and with today's date already n the diary, I invited people to join me on a re-ride of the West Cheshire Alps route.  10 agreed to come!

We set off in lovely sunshine and blue skies - it was the sort of day that every few miles you have to say 'isn't it a lovely day?!' 

We paused at Huxley to let everyone catch up - there is a sneaky rise on the road that is barely perceptible, but just enough to make you feel tired.

As we waited Wrexham CTC (or Reivers, never sure which group as they are the same people!) came past, to waves and 'hellooo's'.

We carried on to Tarporley, where we had another little pause... 

 ...before continuing around Portal to Eaton, and through to Cotebrook.  

 I carried on past the turning just so we could have a photo by Oulton Mill Pond, or 'Mill Pond' as I think it is actually just called.  

No photos of the hills - lovely views as you climb up from the crossroads at Cotebrook, and into Utkinton and along the sandstone ridge - but hard to capture on a photo - you will just have to come along next time!

We made it to Raina's Greedy Pig in Kelsall after regrouping again at the top of Kelsall and then dropping all the way down into the village.

After Kelsall we follow a fabulous contour so you have lovely views across Chester and Merseyside, and into North Wales, before we split and a couple went home from Delamere.

This time we did not go off road through the forest, it had been quite wet previously so would've been very muddy.

After Delamere I added in a little lane near Norley I had not done, always worth putting a new one in!

We then drop off the Sandstone ridge, and around Dutton/ Acton we also drop off my map (GPS) so it becomes harder to navigate.  Must ask Santa for full mapping of UK.

The route climbs back up again to Kingsley and the lanes above Helsby - a hidden area of undulations and secret valleys, culminating in a fab descent to Manley Common.  Here again a few split, as the light was actually fading, leaving a select few to finish off the ride past Manley and back in Mickle Trafford.

Still a lovely 40 mile route.

Saturday 8 November 2014

What Rain...?

aaah - did the forecast say rain...oh yes, and wind....heavy rain was that...aah right.

So, clearly undeterred, 22 ladies amassed at Kingsway, with five stalwart leaders ready for anything.  I took the group photo inside for a change - and just in case.... and the 'talky' bit (or safety talk as some may call it).

Gill and Gill set off with eight riders for the further faster, aiming to get back for 11 - but we were late leaving (again), although there was a general 'ah well it's November and the weather does look glum' sort of feeling, and Gill 1 was not sure if they would make it in time.

Today's destination by the way was not just a cafe; Vicky one of our ladies was holding a coffee morning in Waverton, and with a promise of cake and a chance to support her fundraising for an Operation Raleigh venture next year,  we agreed to support her.  But, unlike a cafe, the hall was only booked until 12, so if you are not there you would miss out.

Linda left second with the slow and steady group, while I tried to phone Vicky and tell her there were 25 cyclists heading her way.

I led the final 10, with Mary helping from behind.  We set off in the damp gloom along the cyclepath beside the A41 towards Sainsburys, where we re-grouped by the lights.  "We are taking the first left" I instructed as we waited for the lights to change, and then set off single file. 

By now the rain was starting and we took the first left, and followed the street down to the end, with another left.  But we were missing two - Mary from the back and another.  We waited.  It rained.  Someone turned back to retrace to the main road, but no sign of the missing two.  I came back - it is quite wet now and not really conducive to standing around.  

Finally I phoned Mary, and they had missed the first turning, but were not far away - we arranged to meet by the High School.  

A damp ride through Caldy Valley Nature Park

By now time was really ticking along, it was wet and although it was not far we decided to head straight out to Saighton, hang a left and tootle directly to Waverton.  7 miles!

Anyway, the welcome was warm, the cakes splendid, books to browse (I had to remind Sharon she was on her bike and therefore do not buy too many books!). Extra chairs and tables were set out for us and we had a room to ourselves.  

However, the two Gill's also realised that they would not get back to Waverton in time, so they instead stayed in Tattenhall and visited Alison's Tearooms.  This is the first time we have been to differing establishments, and with so many cafe's to choose from it is good people know where they are, and can alter route or plans and drop in to a nearby cafe.

Gills' group at Alison's

Outside at Alison's

When we came out of the institute hall, the sun was out, and we gathered for a photo before heading back.  Linda's slow and steady group did more miles than us!

Group in Waverton hall - Sharon (far right)
....don't buy too many books!

What rain.......?

Back at Kingsway - in full sunshine!