Sunday, 17 July 2016

#Women's 100's

No ladies ride in July as I had no leaders due to holidays.

But, to repeat last years Rapha #Women's 100k, we had scheduled an event for the end of the month - which turned into two rides!

Alex planned a route for the 17th July, which was the date picked by Rapha (at late notice for our rides list which is published in Jan); but we could not swap the date as there was already a Sunday ride planned, and the audax rides from Corwen.

Sharon says "Thanks Alex Peacock for a fabulous rapha 100k ride today and for everyone's company. I am now officially broken, more hill training needed. I did also provide comedy moment of day by falling head first into Llangollen canal!! Managed to save the bike though"

Jane says "an amazing route from Alex over World's End, Panorama, Fron aqueduct, Ellesmere and beyond. Champagne moment has to go to Sharon who felt the need to cool down in the canal at Chirk Great day, fabulous company xx"

Saturday, 11 June 2016

June Jaunt to Jemoleys

We had planned to go to the Woodworks Cafe, near Mold, but when I plotted a route it was 17-18 miles, so too far.  This is a shame, because if we do not go to this new cafe our overall cafe count since 2008 will only be 49 by the end of this year, not the projected 50.

Still, a new venue had to be decided upon, at quite short notice, and Jemoleys caught my eye on the map.  This month, Jane T was cafe monitor, which means she phoned ahead, 'booked' and then phoned again to let them know numbers.  This is really helpful role!

23 riders amassed at the start - we have had lots of hot weather today, but showers/ heavy rain was forecast.  It was not bright sunshine, but when riding it was very humid.

This weekend marks the Queen's 90th (official) birthday celebrations, and our eighth year as the fab ladies.  I had the idea on Tuesday that we could dress in red, white and blue(RW&B) (as around us suddenly street parties and events were being arranged).  However, I only have pink and purple cycling tops!  Sonia had a great idea of plaiting RW&B ribbons through her helmet, and I had sudden inspiration in the morning for items I could wear.  Classy!

We assembled for the photo, and then set off our varied ways.

I took my regular group down Hoole Lane, over the river and out to Eccleston, then further to Rossett and Burton.  We missed the plastic cow Cheryl had told me about - there for another day!  We had a few frequent stops to allow me to take clothes off, check my map on my phone, and generally have a wee chat.  Not having my usual cycle top meant my camera was not to hand, so less photos (but still enough)

I chose the lane that goes through Golly, a delightful lane that has a sequence of dips and climbs, a little challenging in the humid weather.  This leads us to a carving in an old tree stump, which no matter how often I stop, people have still never seen - we think it may be Bob Marley, as the guitar playing sculpture is left handed.

We were soon at the top of Kinnerton, and took Lower Mountain Roa dand then Platts Lane into Pen-Y-Ffordd, and the cafe.  I noted a 'Funathon' was taking place from 12 noon today, not sure what that is but Lisa explained they took a bus to Buckley Baths for a swim, then came back for a cycle then a run.  Rather them than me in this heat!

Jemoleys coped marvelously well with all of us, serving an array of sandwiches, cakes and drinks as we took up residence in the garden.  We harked back to 2013 when we first came, on a very hot July day.

All too soon it was time to leave and go our separate ways, with 12 coming back with me to Chester.  At the first junction a lady in a yellow tabbard was urging us to turn right - no, sorry, we are not on the racing event!  The same conversation happened a few times - for a couple we were turning that way, so we just smiled and waved - then the last chap tried to steer us into Bramley Lane - I know it is a lovely lane, but not the direction we were going!

Six of us finally made it to the cafe, and three joined me for a little refreshment outside, a nice chance for a chat with different faces.  Then, as we left I noticed the biggest black cloud - and made it home bike put away with 5 minutes to spare before the deluge!

23 riders, 27 regular miles, a few more faster (one person managed a 75 mile day!!)

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Memory Lane

There are many unusual names to the lanes we spend our time riding around, and you do wonder what the meanings may be.  Chapel Lane, Mill lane and Station Lane are probably quite clear; Platts Lane means a wet meadow which was one we used....but I am ahead of myself!  There should be a few more 'memory lane's' around, as sometimes our rides take you to places you have not been for a long time.  Today was Cath's first ride with us, and as we approached the Candle Factory, she relayed how, as a youngster growing up in Tattenhall she remembered the lady who set up the Candle Workshops, and how they used to help her make candles in her kitchen.  That was in the 1970's, and I remember the workshop from the 80's.

First off, coffee and chat in the cafe.....

After quite a few wet days this year, last weekend was particularly hot and humid, but today was sunny and bright, but quite chilly especially out of the sun.  after signing in and the mandatory group photo, Alex led her faster group off and Welna led her regular riders, leaving me with a small group happy to bimble along.

My group followed a fairly straightforward route out to pass the Ice Cream Farm, we had a short pause here to take off garments as it was such a lovely day.

Between Christleton and Waverton

Platts Lane, as mentioned!
We had the final climb up through Burwardsley, to the candle factory, with fabulous views back over to Liverpool and North Wales.  Photos speak for themselves...

We were later than most to arrive, and had to take our bikes through the workshops and cafe as the gate was padlocked.  But we were able to sit outside in the glorious sun (as long as you were in the sun, as I say it was still a bit chilly!)

Waving goodbye to all as we head off left and down Barracks Lane

We set off down, down and down again, passing Burwardsley church and retracing where I went left instead of right!  More down, really letting rip, and some competitive jostling on the final slopes!

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Daffodils, bluebells and small cows

Gosh here we are in April all ready.  I was a little less organised this month, been trying to sort out details for ladies weekend and I am organising the Bob Clift Cheshire Cycleway Rides so unable to email out to all and phone cafe.  But 25 ladies turned up (some later than others!) and a quick call to the cafe as we left was reassuring.

Me :-)

Top Tip #3 (I don't know, I made the number up!) - always leave your bike lock locked.  That way you will not lock your bike safely at the cafe and then realise you do not have the right key with which to unlock it.  This means (if you notice in time) that you will have to phone a friend, be picked up, negotiate all the traffic lights across Chester, go home, get the RIGHT keys, and get back in time to not be left behind.  This was not me, by the way.

There was a little chap sat in the cafe last month, who soon became swamped by the ladies.  This month he had moved in a table, but was still in the midst.  A few of us sat with him, and had a little chat as we finished our coffees.  John was full of questions (how far was the furthest we / I had ridden, what was our favourite ride - that is a hard question!).  He told us about being in Africa in the war, and despite being 100 in two years time, he has never been to the Lake District.  I am sure we will see him next month!

So, most of us (except the latecomers and forgetful key owners) lined up for a picture by our now keen and regular photographer Ken.  Then I sent Alex and Jane off with the faster group, and Linda and Catherine set off with the regular pace.  I picked up the slower group, the latecomers and key owners.

We had a lovely gentle pootle around Picton Gorse before heading back to the A56 to cross the Gowy and return to the lanes around Barrow.  It was a gently sunny morning, almost warm.  

The thing I like about the slower group is meeting other people.  We stopped by a dozen very small cows, in the front of their farm, and the farmer came out.  I was chatting with her and she was telling me about her cows, they had all passed their TB test this week, a big concern for farmers (if they do not pass, they are taken away there and then).

The final approach to the Bluebell cafe (in Barrowmore Estate) is through some of my favourite deep sandstone cuttings.  A very Cheshire ride, with sandstone and cows!

We were first to arrive at the cafe, with a pleasant 8 miles under our belt.  It is run by volunteers, some of which I think live at Barrowmore.  There is iMap which is autism specific, and sheltered housing I think.  So service can be a little slow, confused and 25 women (24 plus Rick!) doesn't help the situation!  But amazing cake and very nice food was received by all.

Some more pics at the cafe...

'Race you to the cakes...'  [photo by Mary]

The return journey took a little negotiation and organising - as some people were heading straight home, or a few were heading back to North Wales.  I waited until I knew everyone could get back or knew what they were doing.  Linda was going to continue round, covering out little 8 miles out for her return journey; but Alex was heading to North Wales with the rest and Jane needed to carry on and get more miles in!

So I shepherded the last few and the rest of my group; a direct route down the hill to the A51 at Stamford Bridge and back along the Greenway.

Distances varied between my 12 miles; or 20 for the regular group, and 22-25 for the faster group - up to 57 for those who rode out from North Wales!

Saturday, 12 March 2016

"Looking forward to Saturday's ride .... Where is Drury?"

...was the email reply by one lady last week!

Drury, a tiny outpost of Buckley; where on a Sunday ride last August we passed a cafe and farm shop - and I noted this new cafe thinking it was not too far out!

I managed to get everyone signed and and outside - but sent off the FF group without a photo (whoops!) so after the safety talk Mr Rosie took our picture, and we were able to head out.  I had enough leaders today, but was in jeopardy of losing two at the cafe, as they both lived near to the cafe (well, nearer than coming all the way back to Chester!)

My head had stopped working, so Linda reminded me of her route, and we set off in two groups, but following each other.  The allowed us to catch up and wait from time to time.

One of the great things about cycling in Chester is that you come across different events through the year. Today was no exception as we negotiated the North of England 'Head of the River' race.  ("Established in 1935,as a 5km race for eights on the river Dee from Eccleston Ferry to the Groves, the first winners were Thames RC in a time of 18min 35sec.").  It was not a problem, we went slowly and tinged our bells, the rowers were all very lovely and polite (unlike the grumpy man who appeared
to be having a go at some girls for 'parking' their boat on the path outside his house - on the riverside.  It meant he as not able to swing in /out of his driveway in a manner he so desired and so had to have a go at them.  Well, don't buy a house on the river, next to an established rowing club, who may have races - oh, and get a smaller car you can manage!)

We continued to the racecourse, past the lovely display of daffodils outside whet is now Chester Uni (Used to be County Hall), and then stopped for a little re-group, to check Linda's group had safely navigated the boats.

We continued to follow the river, until Saltney Ferry bridge, where we met a bicycle polo player and his wife (he was just pottering along ion his bike with his polo stick and ball, she was jogging).  She thought it was fabulous to see a ladies cycling club, and wanted to stay in touch (I directed her to the Facebook pages and blog) - a little bit of networking can't go amiss!

We climbed up towards Hawarden, and dropped to Broughton, picking up the small lane that cuts out the roundabout - I do think it gives a cracking view of the runway, especially when it is lit up on a gloomy morning like today. (you may have to click on the photo to enlarge it and see lights!)

We climbed up the Old Warren, a bit of a surprise hill for some, and paused as we went through the gate at the top.  By now the weather had turned to fine misty rain - "the sort of rain you wouldn't notice if you were indoors"....

Not far now, through the Hawarden bluebell woods, short climb into Buckley, turning just after the railway line, and we arrived.  The faster group were already firmly established, as were our Wrexham chums (again - mind you we have not crossed paths for a little while!)

Wrexham Cafe Hoppers heading home

A lovely and quite large cafe was waiting, the cakes looked amazing and apparently the toilets were nice and new (I was too busy chatting!!).  The faster group made tracks and left us, and we headed off by about twenty to one after half an hour at the cafe.

By now it was decidedly damp, and the downhill to Ewloe left us dripping!

I managed to negotiate the big roundabout, and we navigated around and dropped down to Queensferry, where roadworks meant it was safer and easier to edge into the flow of traffic waiting at the lights, and turn right together and head for the blue bridge

Then we have a cycle path that brings us nicely back to the Greenway, by the other blue bridge, which we do not often see from underneath.

Many thanks to Alex for leading the faster ones out and Jane for bringing them back; to Linda for the route and also leading a second regular group out; and finally to Mary who shepherded the last riders back in (I had to head home as fast as my little legs will take me - which is not very! - for a family party in Manchester)

25 riders all together, 25 regular miles;