For a forecasted showery day, there were a lot of us at Hildegard’s cafe. A brisk group had coalesced and set off for Queens Head, and the rest of us (Dave & Liz P, Dave H, Jim, Trevor, the two Steves and myself) slowly assembled for a ride to Derwen College at Gobowen. Taking the back lane to the head of Wrexham Industrial Estate, we trail through smart and run down areas, mainly because I missed the cycleway turn into Red Wither Lane. Anyway, at Cross Lanes we were back on track, taking the repaired lanes around the back of Erdigg and Sontly bound for Ruabon.
The Dennis brickworks looked more decrepit than ever, but still sells heather brown quarry tiles, for a price. Then we all enjoy the long hill out of Cefn Mawr towards Chirk. Taking the back lane, we pass the Marina and Golf Club, and the entrance to Chirk Castle before descending into Chirk proper. The canal path east brings us out at Chirk Bank on the main drag up to the A5 roundabout. A few hundred yards up the St Martins road, the right into Henlle lane guides us parallel to the A5 and into Gobowen town.
The college is off the Whittington Road, and turning into it, we take a grand tour eventually finding the Orangery restaurant. As ever it’s busy, and the students are “off” today. The manager opens up a small dining room just for us eight. Within 10 minutes, we have chosen the main course and having it delivered to our table in double quick time. The hot puddings are even more quickly delivered. At under a fiver for two course and coffee, and of excellent quality, the college doesn’t ever disappoint.
The sun is out briefly and we take a delightful lane off the 455 route circling back towards the big hill into St Martins. Onwards to Overton, there is a bit of rain as we meet up by the cafe crossroads. Steve H and I decide to take the run back to Farndon via Cloy, Hollybank and Worthenbury; whereas the others take the main road to Bangor. At the Shocklach turn, a "Road Closed" sign informs us that a bridge is being repaired at some place we can’t find on the OS map. The others then appear, and we set off assuming we will be able to get through. The bridge is just around the corner and we were able to walk the bikes over half of a new bridge. It’s due to be finished in three weeks: so they had better get a move on! I decide I need to get back to Chester, so I motor on leaving the seven Easy Riders to find their own way back to Hildegard’s cafe.
A round trip of 46m at the start of Autumn with rain in the air, wet leaves on the ground and flailed hedges. It’s 65m from Chester, and it’s clear that the weather has turned and warmer clothes and lights, are now required.