With the majority of the brisk group basking in sunny Spain, the remaining group of 9 decided on a single ride to the Shroppie Fly by the canal at Audlem.
We were met at the Ice Cream Farm by signs of extensive building work to produce “a new 180 seat parlour, a sand and water park, quad bike track, shopping street, and adventure golf course,” according to the local papers. No cyclists petting area though! Perhaps that’s in the next phase.
Dave M led the way followed by Dave H, Clive, Paul, Steve T, Keith, George, Trevor, and Jim.
The route took us out past Beeston Castle, Bunbury, Stoneley Green, Ravensmoor and Sound before dropping onto the A525 for the last mile into Audlem. The journey was interrupted a couple of times by calls on Dave H’s phone but it wasn’t the Top Gear producers despite Dave being eminently suitable to replace someone who rants on about cars. Instead it was Dave’s mechanic ringing to tell him that his wife’s head needed taking off! (Perhaps he’s been watching too many episodes of Wolf Hall!)
The early rain had petered out to be replaced by a stiff breeze making the run south quite speedy, arriving at the pub a little after 12:00. Service was good and the group were fed and watered within the hour and we were soon back in the saddle again. We had hoped that the wind strength would have dropped after lunch, but no such luck. It was bordering on gale force and head on. We tried to plot a route involving the most sheltered lanes but we still had 20 miles to cover into the teeth of the wind. Progress was quite noticeably slower as we proceeded through Aston and past Cholmondeley castle. The lane down the east side of the ridge gave us some shelter but it was a relief to return to the Ice Cream farm for afternoon tea.
Suitably rested, we set off again into the wind for the last few miles home. A total of 42 stiff miles, or about 65 for the Chester riders.