A decision was made to ride to Hanmer via Penley and Ellsmere. We set out at comfortable pace through Farndon and heading south to Shocklach. The temperature was rising well into double figures and a stop had to be made for removal of clothing layers. At Tallarn Green the road appeared impassable where a bridge was being rebuilt but we were able to dismount and walk along a temporary pathway. Towards Penley short climbs began to appear and Ray’s Van Nicholas showed an impressive turn of speed on one of them. We passed though Penley and then skirted round the north of the mere at Ellesmere until we finally arrived at the Hanmer Arms for lunch at 12:45.
The 2-course menu at £7.95 proved popular and was generally rated as excellent. The service was fairly rapid, so often a problem with larger groups. The meal and increasingly warm and sunny weather meant that a degree of lethargy had to be overcome but we started rolling again along narrow country lanes where we passed more horses and tractors than cars. Near Lower Wych Ivan called a puncture but mysteriously there appeared to be no discernible problem with either the tyre or the inner tube. Some privately thought that it was a ruse on Ivan’s part to gain a respite form the fierce pace! Several riders were having problems with a build up of drying mud between tyre and mudguard and improvised tools picked up from hedgerows were used to remove the accretions.
Eventually the Malpas church appeared on the hill top and we continued though the village and on to Tilston where the Chester boys peeled off and the remainder rode back to Bellis’ where we had a cup of tea in the hot and sunny cafe.
A pleasant meander of 40 miles through quite country lanes on what felt like the first day of spring
See route map and/or gpx file download.