Saturday 13 January 2018

The long way round

Back to the ladies rides for a new year of cafes and fun, our 10th birthday year.  The first planned destination was about the closest cafe we visit, unless we loop back to Kingsway!  Meadow Lea is a large cafe at the Mickle Trafford end of the Greenway, they were our Chester & N. Wales cafe of the year in 2015.  They are accommodating and even allow dogs, so I phoned ahead earlier in the week and booked for about 20.

34 riders turned up!  In fact, there were more, as Jane went straight to the cafe as she thought she had missed us (but in fact arrived at Meadow Lea before my group had even set off!), and Helen had been waiting for a delivery from B&Q, which came earlier so allowed her and two other newbies to come straight to Meadow Lea and meet us.

One new rider had only got fingerless cycling gloves, and I thought it was quite a chilly day.  On my way back from getting cash at the Co-Op, I popped into the chemist - they were selling kids woolly gloves for £1.  Bargain.  A few ladies popped in - not the warmest gloves but better than none!

As it was quite a cold morning, I brought out one group at a time to set them off, and see who was left so we could balance groups out.  First off, as usual, was the faster further group, headed by Alex.  It was so busy I did not remember to take their photo; they had a longer route planned so of they went.  Apparently they nearly stopped at The Bluebell Cafe, but we do try to all come together so they continued past.

Group 2, led by Sonia - I had to steal two leaders from this group to set up a fourth! So I sent these ladies on their way next.

Group 3, formed with Linda and Cheryl as leaders, posed nicely for their photo too. They then set off (after a hurried route discussion.)

Group 4, my group.  Mr Rosie, our usual photographer, his fingers must have got too numb waiting in the cold, as no picture is on my camera.  In fairness, he did say to check but I know his pictures are usually good.  Will be checking from here on!

So, I had the shortest distance, which was a good job as by the time I had everyone sorted it was 10:30 before we left.  I had some new and a little nervous riders, so we waited and kept together.  Past the Zoo, no animals out today! Down Butter Hill and long the road above the canal.  

The one photo I took on the way!

It was a very simple route, and the weather remained grey and gloomy - in fact I am sure it was getting darker!  

'Before' photo of cakes -
although there is not an 'after'
as they replenished them all!

My group were first to arrive at the cafe, who had laid out a long table through the middle of the cafe!  As the groups started to arrive, the queue grew and snaked around the somewhat horrified and bemused local customers - it is a surprisingly popular destination so it was a good job I had booked ahead.

We sat and supped, I mingled and chatted to as many as I could, makes a nice change being first in and served early!  People drifted away, as we were at the end of  the greenway it is such a short hop home we did not nee dto reform into groups, although I did bring the last stragglers home.  I returned with as many as I left with, although different faces except 1!

Monday 1 January 2018

New Year Reflections

2017 was another busy and successful year.  Three new cafes visited, and one refurbished.  Eleven rides this year, with the Womens Festival of Cycling, led by Cycling UK for which Janet A organised a Wirral celebratory ride.  We were nominated within the 100 women in cycling - myself, Welna Lowri (Chester & N. Wales Sec) and Janet (Belles) and there was an event in Birmingham which we attended; you can see a short video here.

Janet, Welna, Julie (from Cycling UK and yours truly

We have had 39 new riders join us at some point through the year, with Saturday morning attracting on average 26 ladies - from 9 to 39, our largest turn out yet!

I am very honoured and proud to be awarded the Cycling UK Certificate of Merit, which was given to me at the New Years Day meet at Churton; I had been unable to get to the AGM in November when I should've had it.  It reflects my journey since I started cycling in 1985, when I was 15, through to today with the ladies, Chester CTC, Bob Clift rides and lots of stuff in between (too doo - that is me blowing my trumpet!)

The picture on the right, thanks to Roy Spilsbury, who writes "circa 19th April 2008. My pic, my hunting horn.  Still in my possession.  Might come in useful sometime.
I recall you were the only one able to blow it properly, Sue."  

Onward and upward to 2018, and all that it brings!