The sun was out at Manley Mere and a cyclist's dozen were out to day - 12 bikes but 13 riders. No one had a route; so the one I had prepared last November would do. I'd been out with Harry last November but didn't fancy his extended route from Grappenhall, so found my way home via Runcorn's canals. To mix it up a bit, the obvious way to Kingsley was ignored as we exited Helsby and ground up the chevroned road to Alvanley; then up onto the top via Commonside and Newton. Somewhere here the message came that Jim and Mike M were going to do their own thing, so we pressed on via Kingsley to Acton Bridge. Aren't English lane names fascinating; there was Cliff Lane without a cliff, and Roddy Lane with a rod, and thankfully no offal in sight in Offal Pit Lane! Somewhere near Frandley, Martin and Liz decided to make their own ride, so the rest of us (Ray, Ivan, George, Trevor, Roy, Paul, Tandem Duo and myself) found ourselves zigzagging down the lanes towards Appleton Thorn via the old airfield. Here Trevor involuntarily left some of his DNA on the road as he skidded trying to avoid water-filled pots. He was OK, as was his bike, but attention was cleverly diverted to George's mudguards. Once all fixed, we skirt the Young Offenders Institution and savour the downhill run into Grappenhall. Out towards Stockton Heath, George's mudguards feature again as we ride up to Appleton Reservoir. Soon we run down into Moore and at 28 miles, are ready for lunch. The Red Lion needs a bit of TLC but the food is good. In fact, Trevor liked so much that he is due to return to collect his saddlebag sometime soon! The novelty part now starts as we "admire" the outer Runcorn estate housing architecture, and access the Runcorn branch of the Bridgewater Canal at Norton. We ride the canal towpath all the way to near the station thus bypassing most of Runcorn's architecture. Here Roy is on home territory and helps us out and up to Weston to admire the Mersey view and the Castner Kellner plant. In Frodsham, we enjoy lattes in the air conditioned Costa Coffee before tackling the long hill out and up towards Riley's Bank and the downhill back to Manley Mere. The route was a leisurely 44 miles, but around 65 for those of us Chester bound.