A large turnout of 18 riders met at the Ice Cream Farm for the first ride of the New Year. David M was out for coffee leaving three brisk riders and a moderate group of Steve H, George, Liz D, Martin, Chris, Mike McC, Charlie, Jane, Dave H, John M (on his first ride with us) Steve T, Bryan, Trevor and Jim to choose a ride to an old favourite, the Bhurtpore Arms at Aston, just south of Nantwich.
We set off hoping to avoid the last of the remaining showers, but our hopes were in vain and we splashed along for most of the morning. The route took us through Beeston, Bunbury, and south to cross the A534 at Brindley. The showers were for the most part short-lived but the heavy rain overnight had produced some little tests for us in the shape of very large, and presumably deep, puddles. We carefully skirted round most of these, which was more than we could say for a number of motorists who gleefully plunged in at full speed producing a bow wave that James Bond would have been proud of.
From Brindley we went north alongside the Llangollen canal to Ravensmoor and then turned back southwards for Sound and our lunch stop at Aston.
Photograph by Bryan Wade
As usual the staff were very welcoming and not at all surprised to have a party of 14 turn up un-announced for lunch. Food was served promptly and the ale drinkers had plenty of choice.
By early afternoon the showers had dried up, as per the forecast, but we were faced with quite a stiff westerly breeze. This hampered our progress on the first leg of the return through Wrenbury and past Cholmondeley Castle.
The climb up to Harthill didn’t seem too bad and we were soon free-wheeling back down towards afternoon tea and cakes. As we had only had one real hill to climb Steve H suggested a slight diversion through Burwardsley. (In fairness the usual lane to Newton was full of deep muddy water and we did have a dry ride). At this point Liz punctured, and part of the group stayed behind to ensure a satisfactory resolution to the problem. The other half went on ahead so that there wouldn’t be a large queue waiting for the ‘puncturees’. How thoughtful!
Overall a relatively short ride of 32 miles or about 55 for those from Chester, but a very encouraging turnout and fairly reasonable weather for the first week in January.