While Mike and Brian Mac discussed their respective ride options I quizzed the ‘brisk’ group on their intentions, eventually offering my 58 miler to Market Drayton plus an offer to lead, but at a moderate pace. This was quickly accepted by all present so with everyone onboard we agreed to keep together and ride as a single group.
We set off at an easy pace, then warmed up over Harthill before taking the easy route past Cholmondeley to Wrenbury. The sound of continuous conversation from behind told it’s own storey and the group kept together as we cruised through Aston, Royal’s Green and Wilkesley. I really don’t know why we don’t do this more often as the countryside round here is ideal cycling country, particularly on a glorious day like this. Then on past Shavington Park it wasn’t long before we were on the outskirts of Market Drayton.
Coming in from the west we headed for the town centre butter market and, after Brian Mac had consulted a knowledgeable local, we made our way to the nearby Red Lion pub attached to the recently opened local Joules brewery. Joule’s Pale Ale and Slumbering Monk: what more can you ask for? This is a find and a half to be sure. I would gladly do this ride again just for the lunch stop and those who did last year’s Shrewsbury 110 will no doubt also recall the delights of the Buttercross Tea Room!
All good things come to an end and after a relaxed lunch it was time to follow NCN 75 out of town to Norton in Hales and Audlem. Dave M left us here to take the main road back while the rest of us took the lanes north to Nantwich with Graham & Jane T peeling off for the more direct route. Once we had negotiated the edge of Nantwich the plan was to continue on to Venetion Marina for afternoon tea where we arrived just before they closed for the day. After the canal side break, soaking up the sun, we set off again before turning east at Cholmondeston for the final stretch, leaving Mike to head for home via Wettenhall. We were soon passing through Bunbury and Beeston to arrive back at the Ice Cream Farm just before 17:00 hours having completed 58 glorious miles in perfect cycling weather. For those of us cycling out from Chester the computer was nudging 80 miles on the return, marking Trevor’s longest ride to date!
See route map and/or gpx file download.