It was a cold and frosty morning as I met up with Jim and Dave H for the ride out to the Ice Cream Farm for this week's ride. We carefully made our way out of the village along icy roads before deciding against our usual route down via Martins Lane, opting for the safer Long Lane route instead.
There were 15 riders at the Ice Cream Farm and it was soon decided that there would be 2 groups. The moderate riders were happy to follow me on a 40 mile ride that would take us to lunch at the Buck Hotel at Bangor-on-Dee. Bryan announced that he was only on a short ride out and cited a new excuse that no one had heard before. He had 'been on holiday too long'!
We all set out together turning right along Newton Lane. When we reached the T-junction Bryan turned left on his solo ride home and the brisk group, who had managed to keep up with us until then (well done lads!), also turned left. That left 10 of us - Steve T, Steve H, Mike G, Mike McC, Dave H, David M, Jim, George, Chris and myself. I tried to lead our group to the right but as I turned out I hit a patch of ice and went down. Fortunately there was no damage to either the bike or me so we were soon on our way. I quickly had to rethink the early part of my route to avoid roads that would still be icy and in doing so inadvertently ended up leading us up Harthill. A climb usually avoided from the Tattenhall side.
We all made it to the top and from there we headed over the A534 and into (another) Long Lane. Passing Bickerton we eventually turned left into Old Coach Road and back on to my intended route. At No Man's Heath we crossed the A41 and turned up towards Malpas where we joined cycle route 70 and headed down Mastiff Lane. We soon turned left heading towards Lower Wych. Just before Tallarn Green we turned sharp left and headed towards Holly Bush before turning back towards Bangor-on-Dee.
The Buck Hotel has recently changed hands and has undergone a refurbishment. The black telephone box still stands in the rear foyer but the teapots that used to hang from the ceiling have gone. The whole place looks brighter though but the only criticism was that the new air-blade hand dryer in the men's toilets seems to have been installed by a 7ft giant. Ordinary sized mortals such as us could have done with a stool to stand on. The service however was excellent, as was the food, and the conversation flowed. The highlight of our lunch break was undoubtedly a rendition of Cilla Black's 'You're My World' by Dave H. The voice was so good you could almost believe Cilla was in the room. What a shame that 'Stars In Their Eyes' is not still on TV.
Our return route was less hilly than the morning's ride out. We retraced our route for about a mile before swinging left to Worthenbury and then on to Tilston and Stretton. We crossed back over the A534 at Barton and passed through Coddington and Chowley Oak before crossing back over the A41. A short run through Tattenhall brought us back to the Ice Cream Farm. The icy roads had disappeared after lunch. So too, unfortunately, had the sun but it had stayed dry for a very pleasant 40 mile round trip.
See route map and/or gpx file download.
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Chester Easy Riders is an independent cycling club affiliated to Cycling UK. We cycle every Thursday throughout the year with moderate and brisk day rides of 40 to 80 miles.
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