|Ready for the off and obeying local instructions|
At Borras, Dave P decides that he should drop off; so onwards, circling Wrexham and Erddig, our Cyclist Dozen are now bound for Ruabon. The long run down and slog up the Dee Valley, finds us in Chirk at 0930 after 25 miles. The “Tea Rooms Bistro” were warned the day before that we were coming but, basically they were disappointingly unprepared and it took well over an hour to get breakfasted in and out. Admittedly they had contractors in, but a little disappointing.
It has warmed up a little now as we rise through Weston Rhyn and down my favourite little lane to Oswestry’s Iron Age hill fort. Rounding Oswestry and via Middleton, we are soon out into Maesbury marsh territory. There are long traffic-free lanes here as we sidle through Maesbrook and new lanes to Melverley close to the Welsh border. This is Offa’s Dyke country beside the River Severn. Crossing the A5 at Montford Bridge, the leading riders get a little cocky with their Garmin routing and turn left, as the leader’s pack just cross the road and up the hill towards Forton Heath. I take a left, which is incorrect judging by the chorus behind, but carry on re-routing on the fly via Yeaton and Merrington. This adds no extra mileage except adding a long, easy hill.
The tiny lane out of Merrington elicits a phone call from Ivan who has missed our turn but is re-routing back onto the published route. Within minutes, we see his group pumping up the hill right in front of us, but now we have lost John W who has zoomed back to find Ivan! We are now just ten minutes from the "Bridgewater Arms" at Harmer Hill, where we all are grateful for a lunch stop after 60 miles. The tables are reserved, the beer is good, the staff attentive, the food comes quickly and we are in and out in just over the hour. Just as we are ready to go, Keith has a bike lock malfunction which is soon rectified using a pair of pliers, and a subsequent later visit to the bike shop for a replacement!
|The lock is removed!|
We have had a glorious day’s riding with everyone broadly keeping together at over 15 mph average and 105+ miles and 4400 ft of climb. Yes, a few incidents, but importantly no accidents! This has been my fifth year leading the summer long ride, so maybe next year someone else might come forward…….?
See route map and/or gpx file download
PS: Many thanks to John W for being back marker and whipper in. I wonder how many we would still be looking for if he had diligently "carried out orders"!
Photographs by Clive Albany and Ivan Davenport