A cold frosty start in weak sunshine made the ride out to Manley quite pleasant but heavy rain was forecast for later that afternoon.
On arrival at Manley, the moderate group chose to take a route that headed out towards the east. I decided that because I was still being troubled by a cough and with a view to getting home before the rain, I would head south looping back towards home. Ray and John W decided to accompany me, so we agreed a provisional route through the lanes of Tarporley and Tattenhall.
Turning left on to Marley Lane we climbed up on Sugar Lane skirting around the back of Mouldsworth to enter Kelsall via Hollands Lane. At this point the sun was still shining and the views over Cheshire were stunning in the clear cold air. Then we left Kelsall, via Church Street, but a brief encounter with a road repair crew required a dismount and a short walk in order to negotiate a way through the lorries, wheelbarrows, and barriers. Once back on the bikes we turned left uphill out of Willington towards Tarporley passing Rose Farm shop. We then turned left along Utkinton Lane, heading out via Cotebrook, past Oulton Park race circuit on Dogmore Lane, before turning into Hickhurst Lane and back towards Eaton. By this time the threatened rain materialised and made the ride along Royal Lane into Tarporley quite unpleasant. After a short stop to put on waterproofs we left Tarporley via Birch Heath Road carefully negotiating the bends around the Shady Oak pub and passing the entrance to Beeston Castle. Despite the rain we made good time along Moss Lane into Bunbury and into the welcome warmth of ‘Tilly’s. Here we lingered over the food and drink in the hope the weather conditions would improve but no such luck.
The return route was straight forward going out on Peckforton Hall Lane, via Wrexham Road, into Bickerton and onto Brown Knoll. We turned right here across Wrexham Road, which led us eventually into Tattenhall. At this point my rear derailleur decided it had put in enough hard work and denied me access to the lower gears making me struggle on our journey through Harthill and Burwardsley. However, with the inclement weather and the knowledge that the route home was reasonably flat, I decided to put up with the lack of gears and hope for the best!!
We left Tattenhall on Rocky Lane, where John had a brief verbal encounter with a motorist, before we crossed the A41, which was followed by a quick dash through Chowley Oak and onto Aldersley Green to reach Churton, at the junction of Pump Lane. My gear choice by this time was virtually non-existent! It was at this juncture Ray and John headed home towards Chester and I turned left for Farndon and Rossett.
Despite the unkind weather and having to pedal the worlds first semi-automatic twin speed cycle, the route and company were enjoyable. The derailleur is now fixed!