It was raining heavily as I rode towards Holt and it was forecast to continue for the rest of the morning. It wasn’t a bad turnout therefore when five of us gathered in Cleopatra’s: Ken, George, Keith, Steve T and myself. Ken was recently back from a cruise to Greenland and points west, and was only out for a brief ride.
I had seen a report on Google that the Hanmer Arms had re-opened, and keen to investigate whether what had been one of our favourite pubs was still as good, I suggested this as a venue. Given the weather we agreed to take a fairly short route there and hope things would improve after lunch.
The way out was through Farndon, then Tilston and into Malpas from the west, where Ken left us. Next through Lower Wych to the A525, where we saw we were likely to be too early for the pub. We took the road to Arrowy intending a short loop through Bronington to take up the time. Now we are used to muddy lanes, but these were really, really muddy: hard work and limited traction. The only solution was to abandon the loop and make for the main road as the cleanest way to Hanmer.
The pub was welcoming in spite of our sodden condition and we were quickly served with good reasonably priced food and I had an excellent pint of Dick Turpin. The only problem was the lack of a fire, not that it was cold, but we could have done with it to dry out our gear. We agreed to place the pub back onto our list of favourites. We were happy with a fairly short route back, even though the rain had stopped.
A few days before I had watched a natural history programme called ‘Swarm’ on the powerful collective intelligence of animal groups. Unfortunately the collective intelligence of Chester Easy Riders was sadly lacking when climbing the hill above Sarn Bridge, Keith’s rear mech snapped off. Our initial plan was good: remove the mech and shorten the chain. Our implementation was lacking. We faffed about trying to detach Keith’s quick link, then puzzled over how to use a chain splitter, then were perplexed over how to reconnect the shortened chain. Eventually we were able to fashion a working though rather loose chain, good enough to get us back.
Grateful to only have a short direct route back to Holt, we passed through Shocklach, and on to Farndon without the usual race over the last few miles. We had only completed a little over 30 miles, but were grateful to celebrate our ride in Cleos with a round of hot chocolates, courtesy of George. It had been a day worth getting out for despite the weather.