A great turn out today, partly thanks to Jim texting the not so slim and spritely set, that there would be a leisurely ride available to enjoy, whatever their post Christmas condition. Good to see the legendary Mike Morley, The Great Imbiber, return for a short ride. Mike Evans finally made it on his luvvely personalised machine, having been assured that today some of us would not be undertaking any ride that could remotely be called ambitious in terms of distance, pace or ascent. Nice to meet Tony Hill, a very welcome addition to the fold. Cute and petite Glennys arrived in her new, cute, but far from petite Mini. It was great to see her in good health, and hopefully she will be riding with us once again in the summer. Bryan Wade was missed, and we all hope he returns to at least old person’s levels of good health very shortly.
Riders made their choice between The Contenders’ ride to Alsager with Alpine trained Dave Matthews, or The Also-Rans’ ride to Grappenhall with also-ran Dave Heath. It was explained that the latter ride might not even achieve its intended destination (and it didn’t!).
Dave & Liz, George, Tony, Mike M, Mike E, Jim, Trevor and myself wound steadily up Sugar Lane, and meandered north-west via Simmonds Hill, Bushell’s Lane and Crow Mere to the memorial viewpoint high above Frodsham and The Mersey. We steeply descended, and were soon bowling along towards Aston, Dutton and past Lewis Carroll Wood. We crossed the A49 and passed the picturesque duck pond and farmhouse at Higher Whitley where Trevor’s cousin lived. Trevor hadn’t been on his bike for two months and his legs were tiring a little. My original planned route via Lymm was already looking a little too far, so after a brief consultation we headed for The George and Dragon at Great Budworth, via Antrobus. Lunch was excellent, and the company was convivial.
We mounted for our return journey in this beautiful village with the church clock striking 2:00pm. Thankfully, the strong wind which had assisted us so far had died down, so wasn’t the anticipated problem on our way back. Indeed, the weather had been really bright from early on, and it was a bonus to have a warming sun all day on a mid-January ride. The return route was through Comberbach and Little Leigh, up to Acton Bridge. We turned up the quiet little lane through the hamlet of Onston, slogged up Norley Bank and then onto the Delamere Forest rollercoaster road. Right, past the Goshawk, the last climb of the day, and for those a little rusty and tired, I was glad we hadn’t gone any further. 35 sociable miles, no pressure, newcomers certain to return, and everybody happy.