The Ice Cream Farm was busy with preparation for a heavy day of families freed by the Easter holidays. Seven of us turned up: Paul R, Dave H, George, Keith and Steve, as well as Dave M who announced he was babysitting and couldn’t join us. No one had arrived with a route, so after some debate we took Dave M’s suggestion of the Joules Brewery Tap at Market Drayton as our objective. As Dave M wasn’t coming, this meant the rest of us had to work out a route, so between Paul and Steve navigating, we found our way there and back again.
The weather was good, the route fairly flat and fast, as we headed out through Bunbury and Brindley to pick up Route 552 at Ravensmoor. This led us through Audlem and then further south to arrive at our destination at 13:00 in good time for lunch. As we sat enjoying our food and drink, conversation turned to Health & Safety as we watched a digger at work only inches away on the other side of the wall we sat beside. Next a couple of pallets of malt arrived, placed precariously close to our bikes.
Photograph by Steve Haywood
The worst didn’t happen, and we left to weave our way through the Market Drayton streets and pick up the lane to Longslow, which led us naturally to Calverhall, Ash Magna and into Whitchurch. Following our traditional practice of heading the wrong way up the one-way street by the church, we picked up the natural route through Marbury, Bickley and Cholmondley, the main discussion being which café we would head for. Paul chose Burwardsley and after climbing past Harthill, we arrived at the Teddy Bear Tea Rooms. None of us had been there before and we enjoyed hot drinks and cake, while we admired the incredible views northwards over Cheshire towards Ellemere Port and Liverpool.
From Burwardsley it was a short fast downhill to Tattenhall, which we sped through and then went our separate ways around Huxley and Hargrave. An enjoyable and thankfully uneventful ride with a popular destination that gave us 55 miles cycling, though by the final end of our journeys, most of us had clocked around 70 miles, with Tom coming close to the magical 100.