Ivan and myself were initially the only brisk riders, but our route out to Ellesmere passed by Nick's house who said he may join us if the ice had cleared off the roads, so we headed off to collect Nick. Whilst crossing the Dee, Ivan had a few cross words with drivers of vehicles who had jumped the red light signal and tried to cross the bridge while we were still on it.
15 mins later we collected Nick in Tilston and headed off around Threapwood before heading south into Hamner. The lanes were all in their winter plumage comprising of deep mud and hedge cuttings, all encrusted with patchy ice. Although we had to be a little wary of the road conditions, the ice was not as big a problem as the previous week's ride.
From Hamner, we went to Bettisfield and Lyneal and then weaved our way through the lanes around the Meres, south of Ellesmere, to our lunch venue in Ellesmere at The Red Lion. We all selected the pensioner’s special menu, £7.50 for 2 courses, and consumed this whilst chatting about the latest cycle clothing purchases and the recent cycle accidents we had all suffered.
After lunch we opted for a return route through Penley and onto Hollybush via Bangor on Dee, where we had a photo stop.
The final leg back to Holt was a fairly brisk affair, with all of us taking turns on the front to maintain a high pace. Coffee at Cleopatra's was a very welcome recovery stop.
Overall, the conditions were damp and drizzly but this improved in the afternoon. The ride was 73km (45mls), 550 meters (1800ft) of ascent, so quite a comparatively tame ride and thankfully no incidents - a very enjoyable and fortunately uneventful ride .
See route map and/or gpx file download
Photo Ken P