The weather forecast was dreadful, and the thought of being drenched in the hills above Chirk did not appeal. So given that there was a fine weather window locally, a modified Roodee ride was cobbled together this morning at 07:30. The idea was to meet at the Roodee but cycle out to the end of the Greenway to sample the new café at Meadow Lea Farm before then riding in a loop not too far from home, just in case the deluge came earlier than expected. The café is in a brand new building and the fare was good - perhaps an alternative start point for Roodee or Manley rides? So Dave H, Dave R, Steve, Ivan, Andy and I set off bound for Delamere station café for lunch. Liz and Martin were back from their high altitude training in Bolivia and Peru, but were only out for coffee today.
It was not an obvious route out in that we went north to Cheshire Oaks Cycles then down the aptly named Oil Sites Road to Ince and Elton. "Are we going over the marshes" - "No, we're going to Manley!" So over the motorway we go, then up onto the Avanley Road past Manley School and onto to the Delamere forest road. At the junction at Hatchmere, I turn left to cries of "the cafe is the other way". All in good time! We now ride down two idyllic lanes (except for White Van Man!) towards Crowton, then back round the loop through Norley to Hatchmere again and, this time, turn left to the Delamere Station cafe arriving around 13:00 with 25 miles completed.
Anxious not to push our weather luck, we leave before 14:00 bound for Kelsall via Eddisbury Hill. In Kelsall, Steve drops off to go home, while I notice that Dave H is missing. Apparently, he wanted to make his own way back to Mickle Trafford where his car was parked. We now head for Mickle Trafford via Oscroft (where Dave R heads for Waverton) and then Barrow. There was a little rain in the air now, but as Andy, Ivan and I enter Mickle Trafford on the A56, the heavens open and the promised heavy rain has now arrived. Andy presses on to take the Greenway whilst Ivan offers to run me home from his house where we are now bound. He was locked out (don't ask), apologies profusely, but there was nothing for it for me now to press on in the rain while Ivan headed for the Royal Oak to keep warm and out of the rain. The route was 39 miles and as I arrived home early at 15:00, I decided to wash the bike there and then - the first time in what seems months.
PS: Please ensure you have registered for the Shrewsbury Special Ride next week.