With another year coming to an end it’s the day of our Christmas Lunch ride to The Pant-yr-Ochain and although the weather leaves much to be desired only a couple have signalled their intention to drive rather than cycle. I arrive at Manley Mere early to find a good number already assembled. In addition to those already booked it’s good to see David M and Clive who will be joining us for the ride and lunch, together with Mike McC joining for the ride out only as he has to get back early. Then Steve T introduces Sue who has come along to check us out before joining our rides in the New Year.
While I concentrate on collecting the monies due and advise the Pant of the additional diners the others enjoy a pre-ride coffee: not many toasted teacake orders today! By 10:30 with the shortest possible route agreed it’s time to leave and I ask Dave and Liz on the tandem if they would lead the ride. This proves to be something of a poisoned chalice, as I hadn’t allowed sufficient time for the journey: apologies to all, particularly Dave and Liz P. With hindsight we were never going to make the Pant by noon.
We set off and, deep in conversation, we half miss our second turning necessitating a sharp U turn and from then on it's all downhill. With new leaders up front the group is soon spread out as we go through Great Barrow. I drop back to wait for the tail enders and end up with a small sub group but no sign of the tandem. A call to their mobile gets no response so we decide to press on to Stamford Bridge to cross the main road and take the first left to Waverton. At The Plough we meet up with the lead group who it turns out had taken the second on the left after Stamford Bridge: no sign of Clive and Andy though, although the tandem duo do report in that they will see us at the Pant.
The remaining eight of us continue on the original route through Saighton, Aldford, Farndon, Holt and Gresford before being joined by Clive and Andy who had been delayed by a rear wheel puncture after turning off the main road to Waverton. All’s well that ends well and we arrive at the Pant just before 12:30 in time to join those that had made their own way there.
Photographs by Mike Gilbert
Photographs by Mike Gilbert
Meals at The Pant are always a pleasure and, judging by the feedback, today was no exception. A great meal, a superb range of ales and great company: and yes Dave and Liz P did make it just as the starters were being served. Once the starters were out of the way it was time to raffle off a bottle of Silver Select Jack Daniels whiskey kindly donated by a group of cyclists from the USA as thanks for the help we were able to give them over the summer with the winner being Steve T.
For the record those present comprised: Bryan W, Brian Macca, Mike G, Dave H, Steve T, Trevor, Dave & Liz P, Andy, Steve H, Petar, David M, Liz & Martin D, Clive and Mike McC.
At 15:00 it was time to make a move if we were to get back in daylight. The main contingent sped back along the B road through Rossett and Pulford with others heading for home in other directions.