With mild and dry weather forecast, it was perhaps surprising that only a handful of Easyriders appeared at the Ice Cream Farm. Dave M was returning home for grandchild minding and the remaining 6 divided equally between Moderates and Brisk. The latter were Andy B, Ray and me. Fortunately, given the absence of our usual leaders, both Ray and I had downloaded routes to our garmins and coincidentally had both elected for Audlem as the destination. Andy did not demur and off we went.
After a while, Ray mentioned he didn’t do blogs and as Andy sprinted off into the distance, it fell to yours truly to take on the task for the first time. Oh well I suppose it had to happen sometime. One difficulty was that we were using a route that Ray had downloaded from this site but we hadn’t studied the detail so had no overview of where we were heading. Now I can hear readers shouting well why not stop and have a proper look. This brings me to my second problem. Much to my surprise, and indeed to that of Ray, Andy was on a mission to break some land speed records. So much so that I began to suspect he has a large battery / motor in the sizeable rucksack he carries on all rides.
Anyway, stopping did not seem to be an option as we sped up to Harthill and to No Mans Heath. Somewhere around here, with signs indicating the A41 ahead, we all began to wonder if we had the right route and whether by some happenstance we were shortly to arrive back at the ICF. So a short pit stop was permitted during which we confirmed we were indeed on our way to Audlem, albeit not from the direction we were expecting. On we zoomed through more familiar territory of Wrenbury and Aston. At one point we had a close call being forced to brake heavily and take evasive action on a bend to avoid a mother (on the Phone) strolling in the middle of the road accompanied by small children and a couple of dogs.
Much sooner than expected we observed a sign indicating “Audlem - 5 miles”. Great not far till we can stop and catch our breath. This was not to be as Garmin then instructed us to ignore the direct route taking us on a southerly loop crossing the A525 before eventually swinging east to take us close to Swanbach, and then north to take Audlem by a surprise attack from the South.
We arrived at the Old Priest House Cafe just after noon to be welcomed by the warmth of the wood burner and soon engaged in friendly conversation with two cyclists from the Newcastle’s Tyne and Lyme respectively. Andy refuelled with an enormous serving of beans on toast - four slices and what looked like two cans of beans! Ray and I, more restrained with a choice of sausage and fried egg sandwiches, speculated hopefully that Andy might need time to digest his “snack” during our return ride.
Garmin was commanding a more direct return to the ICF of only 20 miles via the 552 cycle way, Haughton, Bunbury and Beeston. Contrary, to expectations Andy was still emulating Bradley Wiggins, claiming a TUE for his overdose of beans on toast. But, with us all now taking turns to lead, we were still cracking along arriving at the ICF at 14:10 having averaged over 17 mph for the day. We decided not to stop for afternoon cake and rode on together to Saighton before saying goodbye to Andy as he headed on for Mold. Ray and I were back home in the suburbs of Chester by 15:00 having done close to 70 miles to and from home. Andy (Wiggo) rode a mere 101 miles from his outpost in North Wales. All in all a good day out that literally whizzed by but regrettably did not allow time for photos.