John, Steve Tan, Dave Heath, Dave Matthews, Liz and Martin, and Mike turned up at The Gallery tea room. We had time to catch up with Liz and Martin's latest cycle adventures, and chatted about le Tour. The amazing stage 14 win of the Wirral rider Steve Cummings was prominent in our discussion. Mike, Steve and myself agreed to head toward Llanasa or Gwaenysgor. The rest of the group 'did a Dave Matthews', including Dave Matthews! Mike's knowledge of the Welsh lanes made him the natural choice to lead, so I offered to write up the ride. We were soon happily spinning moderately through Northop, and bracing ourselves for the brief but dangerous A55 link in order to climb up to Halkyn village. Mike had a deviation somewhere around Berthengam and Axton, which he had done following Ivan. It must be nice to have faith in Ivan's route finding. To be fair, it was narrow, quiet and sheltered: just what we like! We also ran into a lovely young lady and a lad who had taken a rescue dog out for a walk and got lost! The chocolate young Labrador puppy with them was delightful, nearly knocking Steve off his bike in its enthusiasm.
The Red Lion was under new management again, and the owner didn't seem keen on sweaty lycra being seated in the dining room, but we ignored this. The food and service were fine. Mike was 'playing dad' on our return via Trelawnyd and Babell, thinking that we might get lost. He eventually peeled off into the wind in order to return to his posh residence in Rhos-on- Sea. Evidently, his good lady finds Rhos very different from Newcastle, as their neighbours often wear clothes and stay in on a Saturday night. We diligently followed Mike's proposed route to Hawarden, although 'Rocket Robin Hood' Steve Tan did miss a turn, no doubt at a great rate of knots, whilst I was watering a hedge! We continued past Soughton Hall to Alltami. We missed the main roads and busy Ewloe roundabout by skirting the northeast edge of Buckley and heading for the B5125 to Hawarden via Burntwood Pentre. Forty something miles in good weather, with great views and convivial company.