I had pre-planned a route to St Asaph and since the weather promised to be good, a ride over the Halkyns was in prospect. There were eleven of us (Liz and Dave, George, Alan, Norman, Martin, Ray, Janet, Ivan, Jim an myself) as we said goodbye to Dave Hill at the Gallery café. The usual route was taken to Northop but at Halkyn, the left turn at the Britannia was taken up the hill to get us onto the top for the run to Rhys-y-Cae. Here the tandem sailed on, as we turned left towards Lixwm. A text message said “See you at the Plough”. I thought “See you later on the Babell road” since we were going the long way round via the Lixwm lanes. As thus it was that as we emerged on the Babell road near Racecourse Lane we were all together once again. Continuing straight on this road until we hit the A55 we then took the farmers bypass to get us to the top of Rhuallt Hill on the old road. A fast descent right through the village took us to the cycleway running parallel to the A55 and over the purpose-built cyclist’s bridge onto the old A525 and upwards into St Asaph. Having been to the Plough 10 days earlier, this seemed to be the only decent and decently priced pub in town. It took awhile to get lunch served but all appeared happy with the fare.
|At the summit above Gwespyr|
Dave Hill had mentioned that the Dyserth to Prestatyn cycleway had now been tarmaced, so, I re-routed out of St Asaph and we were soon wending our way slowly uphill to its entrance. We dropped a few here but caught them in time as they sailed by the cycleway entrance. This was to be a feature for the rest of the day! The cycleway is nearly 3 miles of gently downhill rolling heaven. In Prestatyn it started to rain, so we donned waterproofs as we accessed cycleway 5, sailed though the golf course and past thousands of mobile home to emerge at Talacre. My original plan was to be sympathetic to the group after a steady morning’s hill climbing by returning to Hawarden via the coast road. Yes, it is not pretty but it is flat and I thought this would have group appeal especially with a drink stop at the nice café behind Sainsbury’s in Flint. A long discussion ensued as the choice was given between a flat ride or going up the single chevron lane to Gwespyr and Llanasa followed by the eventual climb to Halkyn Windmill (all of 850ft of ascent).
Photographs by Alan Jeffs
Surprisingly, the challenging ride was chosen and some literally agonising minutes later we were all resting after the first 400 ft of ascent through Gwespyr’s chevroned lane. The rest of the afternoon saw the same pattern repeated as we went up and down hill through Llanasa, Whitford, Gorsedd and onwards to Calcoed. It was here we lost the tandem again. I had stayed at the back at Gorsedd issuing instructions to the passing stragglers to take the next left on the cycleway 5 to Calcoed. The tandem sailed right on and at Brynford a phone call confirmed that they would find their own way back.
By this time it started to rain again, and a few of the stronger riders were itching to head for home, so as they sped off ever upwards, Alan and I held back to shepherd Jim and Norman back to base. The ride was 57 hilly miles but nonetheless enjoyable in that new roads were accessed and the Dyserth cycleway ridden without the bone shaking ride that Ivan and I had had last time we rode it. For those heading back to Chester, it was a 70+ mile round trip.