Saturday 10 October 2020

Changing times and The 'New Normal'

October was approaching, we have not had group ladies ride since March when we were heading rapidly to a lockdown, and no-one knew (or would've believed) how long it was going to last (and is still ongoing).  Now, cafes have started to open back up, with increasing safety measures which, although more consistent in the last few weeks, still remain sporadic to different establishments.

We had a zoom leaders meeting in August, and delayed restarting group rides as it was still very uncertain.  By September we agreed that maybe some leaders could have up to six in a group, and with about six leaders happy with this, we set up plans to restart in October.

A week before the rides, however, our Flintshire ladies were faced with new restrictions (alongside Wrexham) and were not allowed now to cross the border - Chester lost half the leaders overnight.  Alex suggested a Flintshire Fab ladies, and we ploughed on with Chester, now with three leaders.

Wednesday, the weather forecast was promising, and of course by now we have wonderful autumn colours.  It has been very wet (I usually start each post with a weather synopsis, so here it comes!).  However, by Friday teatime the weather had gone from 10% rain to 80%.  Some riders dropped out from one group, and by Saturday morning Jane and Hayley had cancelled their ride.  I had three cancellations, but that still left three of us - this is our story.

The Debate

Take out only at the cafe
I met Sue and Karen at Kingsway cafe.  We sat outside and had waitress service, after ordering at the table across the door.  Liz, the new cafe manager, was also sat outside so I was able to have a catch up with her and introduce myself before we left.

Sitting under the covered alcove in front of the cafe window, we talked about the Fab ladies, as both riders today are interested in supporting as leaders; so it was useful to have that dedicated time to share how we used to organise ourselves, the ethos of the ladies (social and leisure, to encourage women to join group riding), and update over recent weeks.  

The Outward Ride

By 10:15, the rain was much less, and we agreed we were here anyway, so let's go for it.  Suitably waterproofed up, we wended our way through Christleton and Waverton, by which time I realised I had not updated the cafe.  We paused in Hargrave, a strategic stop near a bus stop shelter, and phoned the cafe.  Just as I started to speak to Lisa, the heavens decided to open - so we quickly shuffled into the shelter (this is a beauty of small groups).  After a short shower we were off again.

Worth sheltering from this!

Chowley Oaks, another downpour

We sheltered again in the porch of an office building, at Chowley Oaks business park - I wanted to double check my may anyway, and as it started to rain again this was another strategic pause.  Karen recognised the route after this - but she said she usually does it the other way.  I love this about cycling, the same route reversed seems totally different.

The Cafe

We arrived at 12 to the Lakeside Cafe, very pretty small cafe with decking overlooking a small lake.  It is also a campsite, tucked off the main road in a pretty quiet corner.  

(Note to self, the Cock O' Barton pub is 10 minute walk away, so tempted to book in with the camper either soon or next spring).

The Return Journey

There comes a time when all bacon butties are consumed, coffee drunk and facilities utilised and we have to get back out there.  It was not too cold, and the rain was less frequent. We climbed (small incline) to Churton, and took to the back lane.  Similarly to Aldford, after about a mile on the 'B' road we went around the back, admiring and discussing estate houses (belonging to 'the Duke' - of Westminster).  Rejoining the 'B' road, we had seen ominous clouds coming from North Wales and heading our way, so plumped to stay on the 'B' road.

Lovely colours - and sunshine and blue skies!

The Flintshire Fabs

Flintshire Fabulous Ladies Ride - 2 groups of 5 brave ladies in each group.


Cheryl - My group finished off in the new bike shop cafe in Mold ( bike/cafe is Alpha Cycle Worx on the Bromfield industrial estate). Great coffee and lots of socially distanced seating

As it was rather soggy we didn’t stop much and my phone was in a waterproof bag, so not many photos. My group did a 4 mile shorter, less hilly and more moderately paced route than Alex’s group. All the ladies were exceptionally good at socially distancing while riding as well as when we stopped at the top of a couple of inclines.

Alex had planned for us to stop at Hope Post Office where they sell take-out coffee, but my group didn’t want to drink coffee in the rain, so we opted to finish the 24 mile route and have a coffee in the new bike shop Alpha Cycle Worx in Mold. In the end, most of the group went straight home, with only Becky and myself trying out the new cafe. Alex’s group had made an impromptu stop at Honey’s in Hope. Despite the weather, we had lots of laughs and even saw some blue sky, albeit only for about 2 minutes, then it disappeared.


Liz - "Great ride ! Didn’t even notice the rain Thanks for leading and to Alex  for organising"

Sue - "Great ride ....despite the weather. Can you send me details of your waterproof cycling trousers please??"

Becky - "Thanks so much everyone it was a great ride!"



Very wet but not cold ride today for the Flintshire Fabs. One group went to Honeys Cafe in Hope and sat under a patio heater in the dry. The second had coffee at the new bike shop in Mold after the ride. Well done all who ventured out!

Alison - "Great morning / lovely to catch up with you fabulous ladies"

Sharon - "Thanks Alex, really enjoyed the route and the ride"