There were a lot of us at Manley today, so two groups where always in prospect. The Briskers consisted of Tom, Steve T, Dave P, John M, and myself along with guest rider Andy B. Andy had ridden over from Mold and was keen to join the 60 miler today. We set off out around Mouldsworth and Delamere Forest bound for the Egerton Arms at Chelford. The weather was threatening rain and did so as we end Onston Lane near Acton Bridge.
Do we put our wet weather gear on or not? We did and needed it, but as so often happens, as soon as you have it on, you need to take it off again and vice versa. As on the Long Ride, a few riders got ahead of themselves around Little Leigh, but I went with it today as we marched on towards Great Budworth. Conscious of the recent anti-cycling publicity hereabouts, I take the northern bypass which actually meant we were spared the drag up through the village itself. Maybe the Cheshire Cycleway 70 can be re-routed this way now?
We now are motoring along towards Tabley Brook when Andy christens his first ride with us with a puncture. I remember that John W did the same on his first ride to Barthomley. In and out of busy Knutsford, we get a mini-drenching and, just short of the pub, shelter under a very large tree. As ever, the Egerton Arms is busy yet always welcoming, and soon we are ordered and watered watching the rain pouring down outside.
|Andy B peeping out from behind the tree.|
|Big houses need big Sky dishes!|
Soon its time to leave, and I plan a re-route via Bate Mill. Jodrell Bank looms over the landscape as we make our way, in improving weather but strengthening wind, towards Goostrey and Middlewich. A mini-diversion here takes us along a short section of the canal path before entering the metropolis of Winsford. It's not a pretty town, so we head on out via Cassia Green to Sandiway.
I'm feeling thirsty, so plan a major diversion to the “Lounge” cafe at Oakmere Lodge Country Park. We sit outside in the sun reflecting on the reason for pink bales of silage amongst other things. Our roving farming reporter John M finds the reason later. See http://www.fwi.co.uk/news/share-your-pink-bale-pictures-with-farmers-weekly.htm. I've had enough of hills today so junk the planned return via Norley and Delamere for a run down Kelsall Hill and the back way out of Ashton towards Manley. So 60 miles around with Pocket Rockets on and off – a grand day out and Andy has still to cycle back to Mold.
Photographs by John Mills