Saturday 9 December 2023

December circuit

 The weather forecast (which I never look at) was not apparently great, and our sister group on the Wirral, the Bicycle Belles, had cancelled their ride for today (it is unusual for our rides to fall on the same day, I guess Christmas is fast approaching!)

I barely had chance to even look out of the window; after a disturbed night on Thursday I was obviously still tired - and awoke suddenly at 9:30.  My Husband murmured 'what time are you supposed to be there?', and I said NOW!!!  To be fair to me though, I was walking in the door of the community centre twenty minutes later, having got up, dressed, and got my bike out!

Service was quite slow this morning, but I did not have a coffee as I did not want to delay us any more (although some were only just getting their drinks).  The general consensus was also to try to get back before 12, when the weather was due to change, therefore not going to our planned coffee stop.  (I had tried to call Trafford Hall, YHA a few days earlier but had not got through or had a reply to my message).

Me sporting my new Cycling Christmas jersey!

So we disembarked from the cafe and mustered for a quick photo, before setting off along the very sunny streets.  It was an odd feeling, heading out the opposite way on roads we usually head out on, and passing Kingsway Cafe on the way too.

Not many photos as it was really quite an ordinary ride - we bobbed along the zoo path, Rick noted a trunk reaching up (which we presume is attached to an elephant), and we carried on to Rake Hall where we headed back via Stoak and Picton. 

It started to pick on to rain, and I stopped as I was not sure if anyone wanted to 'cape up' (put waterproofs on), but everyone was prepared.  The rain shortly stopped - but our second rainbow of the year was noted over our left shoulder - and it was spectacular!  The photo does not do it justice.

I was trying to capture the full arc, but my camera does not go widescreen enough, and I was running down the road - all the time worried that the rainbow would fade!

Note the reflection of the rainbow in the puddle!

Aah, so eventually they dragged me away with my camera and we climbed back up Mannings Lane (the Greenway is currently very flooded), and we were back before the weather turned nasty!

Thursday 30 November 2023

Glue guns and Glitter balls

What is she up to now, I hear you ask (from the post title)?!  Well, let me tell you.

Last week, I saw a post from a friend on Facebook that there were some spare trees, at the local Methodist church.  It is that time of year when Christmas is approaching, although we are still only in November (just).  I asked on the Ladies facebook group if anyone fancied doing this, and I was met with several very inspired ideas, and an element of keen engagement and willingness.

I thought we had a few weeks, but it turned out it had to be decorated by Thursday tea time, which left us a couple of days to collect and create some decorations.

On Monday I called to Bren Cycles to raid their scrap bin; unfortunately the scrap had recently been emptied, and all I got was a chain and a couple of small cogs.  I contacted The Bike Factory, and was assured they had some chains and cogs, and they offered to put them through the industrial cleaner.  I called in the next day and was given a large bag full of goodies, and spent the evening and next morning de-greasing and cleaning chains and cogs, although some were exceptionally clean!

Wednesday afternoon came, and I had cleared my dining room table of the usual accumulation of items, only to replace with all sorts of crafting goodies.  I had scoured the shops in town for glitter and glue, and of course my bike components (with hubby setting about removing links from chains and creating smaller loops for us in the kitchen).

The team:

Sophie - reindeer expert

Gill - was only passing but ended up laminating baubles

Mary - with her glue gun and
penchant for all things glittery

Collette - what's next?

Helen - crocheted wheels specialist

Through the afternoon various helpers arrived, some for the whole afternoon, some dropping in to lend support to cutting, laminating, gluing and glittering as needed.  Sophie was well away with creating reindeer, and having supplied paints and googly eyes she made a marvellous job.  I attacked some short strands of chain (already painted silver by Mary) with a glue gun, and liberally dusted them with glitter, creating icicles.

I then turned my hand to the cogs, which we had sprayed at the start of the afternoon green or gold, and threaded red ribbon around, to make rather dashing wreaths.  Finally I used some other slightly longer lengths to make candy canes, painting them red, and wrapping a stripey ribbon around their length.

Helen was the latest to arrive, after work, and crocheted two wheels, with a black tyre.

With a few 'baubles' which were created from photos of individual ladies on their bikes, printed in circles, cut out, laminated, and finally finished off with sequins, this concluded our six hours of creativity.

Thursday morning my husband and I fiddled with a few more bits, making larger stars, before packing everything up and heading to the church.

We wound red and white lights around the tree to start with (to emulate bike lights, front and back), and one strand of 'tinsel' - an inner tube sprayed gold by Sophie.

Then the icicles, stars, wreaths, baubles, wheels, and other decorations which define our riding - two cup cakes, a bottle of champagne and a beer tankard!  (in a Methodist Church!)

Delighted with our creation, we then took a few photos for posterity.  Well, what did you expect?!!!

The final tree, dressed to impress

Close up's...

And then some poses in my cycling top - just because!

Wednesday 8 November 2023

Change of meet up point

!! Just to let you know we are meeting at Hoole Community Centre, Westminster Road, for the November and December rides, as Kingsway will not be open. 

Saturday 14 October 2023

The changing seasons

 This autumn has been alternately unseasonable warm, or cold and wet.  The annual debate about whether to put the heating on yet or not will be discussed; but if you are a jumpers on sort of person, put another log on the fire person, or sod it put the heating on now, there is no getting away from the need for waterproofs when the forecast is for heavy showers.

I was sat on my own until half past, wondering if the forecast had finally put people off, with cafe staff asking me if anyone was coming.  Oh they of little faith! (in my ladies, that is; as it is a run by volunteers from the churches I do not doubt their ultimate faith!)  Eleven expectant ladies joined me, and we managed a quick chat in the sun and set off before the black cloud could deposit any of the damp stuff.

I had no 'official photographer' this morning!

As I had not set groups off individually, we ended all heading out along the Greenway, and we sorted ourselves into two groups at the end.  We were all heading generally the same way.  By co-ordinating my group of six to ride side by side, fairly close, along the A56, and with me at the rear giving 'Paddington' stares to vehicles that came up behind, we had safe passage until we were able to join the lanes after the railway bridge.  (I do not give a mean stare, even just a glance over the shoulder is enough usually to slow cars and for them to pass a little wider.  Don't ask me how that works, but it really does).

We enjoyed glorious sunshine all the way to the cafe, although the trees have not yet come into their full autumn glory.  One lady had recently returned from a trip to Scotland, and noted the trees there were already all shared of gold and red.  Next month I am sure we will see the difference.

On arrival at the cafe, there was another dubious large black cloud, so we quickly locked up and headed inside, where I secured three tables as others queued.  The second group arrived shortly after.  

Although only the 14th October, 
the cafe was fully decorated
with Halloween paraphernalia!

Delamere has a new large cafe, so booking was not needed.  It was not too busy today, but there were plenty of staff and I think more loos than I have ever seen even in motorway services!  Makes a change from lots of cafe's we visit who only have the one toilet.  New barriers to the car park too, it is a while since I have cycled that was so I was a little unsure.

Leaving all as one group we headed along the rough track that brings us to the bottom of the Yeld, by Kelsall Cycles.  We did not head up the Yeld (with an average gradient of 4.7%), but along the bottom and then followed the gradient around to Kelsall.  By the time we got to the t-junction in Kelsall it was raining, and Mary stopped to put her rain legs on (waterproof over trousers).  We dropped down the hill but Mary unfortunately missed the last turn off to the left, but had said she would make her own way back if she missed us.

We regrouped at the end of Common Lane, but by now an insanely black cloud was rudely throwing large amounts of rain at us (including a rumble of thunder!) - so after a quick photo (of course) we huddled under a slightly dryer large tree (as the trees still do have leaves, they still offer some shelter).  This was a wise move, and enabled Rowena to also put her rain legs on.  Just as the rain started to ease, the sun slipped out and caused a rainbow I was certain we would see (I had kept looking at signs of brightening of the sky, but to no avail until now).  

We were now able to pedal on down to Oscroft and Tarvin in the sunshine, where we picked up a terribly overgrown cycle path which takes us alongside the A51.  (Report any faults of potholes you find to the Council here).

Sunday 17 September 2023

International Fancy Women's Bike Ride

Over the years I have engaged with other events that are happening, such as the Billie Rides, Sports Relief, local rhino hunt....well, it is all documented through our history.

Ten years ago, the first Fancy Women Bike Ride was held in Izmir, Turkey to draw attention to World Car Free Day.  This event was created by Sema Gur as a Facebook event, and reached many women by word of mouth; 300 women participated to that first bicycle tour. Women, dressed in their most beautiful clothes, decorating their bikes with flowers and ribbons, gathered in the city centre and after a 3 km bike ride at a slow pace, they made a press statement and requested “the smell of perfume in cities instead of the smell of exhaust”.  (Our Story - Süslü Kadınlar Bisiklet Turu (

Chester Cycling Campaign planned an event a few years ago, but were unable to hold it on the official date, so they called it a glamorous women ride.  This year the Campaign approached me, to ask if I would be the lead for a Fancy Women's ride (FWBR) for Chester.  By the time I had come back from holiday and met with Simon, it was the closing date for the event, so we got registered and started to make plans!

I met with volunteers from the Campaign in August, to ride the proposed route and think about sections and how we would do it.  It was a very useful afternoon, and helped us to tweak the route.

However, a few weeks later we heard that half of the city centre was closed for a battle of Britain Parade, so we had to rethink either route or timings.  

As the Fancy World is linked via an international Whatsapp group, it was really interesting to see posts from around the world, non more so than on Sunday morning, when reports came through from New Zealand, Malaysia and India.


Edmonton, Canada

Freiburg, Germany

Kochi, India

Playa Del Carmen, Mexico


We assembled in front of our new market square, and checked off names of those who had booked in.  We had 26 riders in the end, with a couple of fancy men who agreed to ride at the back.  Our youngest rider was age 7, with her Barbie and horse taped to her handlebars (She was riding behind me as we came through Hoole, and was excited to tell me we were near her school, or the school her friend goes to).

Setting off up Northgate Street

Crossing the inner ring road

Heading along the Greenway

Reassembling after leaving the Greenway

We had frequent stops for photos and to re-group, including our Roman Amphitheatre.  Despite having no sun, the day was warm and dry, and we certainly brightened up the streets as we covered our five mile route.

Heading along Faulkner Street,
bells a-ringing!

Along the back on Crawfords Walk

Stop to regroup and photos
on the Canal Path

We ended down at the Groves, just before half past three, perfect timing for a last photo and ice creams, courtesy of the Bike Bike Revival.

We spilt into smaller groups
to come through town; and
singled out for Grosvenor
Bridge, now we actually have a
cycle lane here (thanks
to the Campaign!)

A pause at the house called 'Nowhere',
for some local history.  The tales
were told a bit further along the ride in Edgar Park

Edgar Park

Finally we arrived at the Groves by the river Dee

An orderly queue for ice creams, with big thanks to Snugbury's 
for looking after us!