The weather was magical – very cold (about 1C when I left home) and very bright with excellent visibilty and a full day of bright sunshine in prospect. The only problem was it had rained during the early hours, and with sub-zero temperatures, I wondered how much ice there would be on the lanes. So I rode somewhat gingerly out to Rose Farm meeting Bryan part way along the long ever-upward lanes to the cafe. Some good news seems to be that the road down the hill outside of the cafe might be repaired in early Feb if the road sign is truthful.
I had cobbled together a flat ride to Sandbach and Nick, John W and Ivan were happy to be in sheep mode today. So we left by turning right out the gates and up Quarry Bank to High Billinge – only a straight mile of 11% climbing to warm up the legs! I promised that this was the only significant hill today. So out via Cotebrook, we skirt Little Budworth onwards to Whitegate. Bowling along Chester Road, Hartford, we turn to cross the main road to access the blue bridge and thence through Davenham.
Lach Dennis comes and goes as we take the main road towards Goostrey, with the Jodrell Bank dish resplendent in the bright sunshine. Going via Twemlow Green, we are soon in the outskirts of Holmes Chapel. We skirt around to the east then briefly down the quiet A54 before diving right down the “Closed” Mill lane passing over the Croco River then onto the old main road aka the A50.
We now have to travel northwards to be able to access the lane to Bradwall Green then a couple of miles into Sandbach. Here, just after a bend, double disaster strikes as both Nick and John succumb to black ice. Thankfully both are OK but rather shaken up by the unexpected fall. We had all been very careful all the way today in reading the road to find dry spots and identifying possible black ice. So we ride on into Sandbach and into the busy “George”.
After ordering our meals, John and Nick were applying first aid to their bleeding elbows and inspecting the damage to their riding gear. The bikes were OK however. The George staff offered sticking plasters, but a hot meal and drinks were very welcome after 28 miles in the balmy 4C heat.
The route back was straightforward being via Ettiley Heath and Coppenhall to take the well-ridden lanes via Wettenhall to Eaton and thence Tarporley. Nick rode back to his car at Rose Farm with 48 miles ridden, as we three headed for Brassey Green and home having completed mid 70 mileage today. I got home at 1600 where the temperature was now 2C.
As ever we all enjoyed the ride, but the black ice took the shine off it. Hopefully any injuries to John and Nick will quickly heal.
Update on Nick : "A bit sore, thanks. Hip swollen and bruised and strained neck muscles on one side, but I’ll recover. Hope John’s OK"
Update on John W: OK but sore as well.
Photo: ℅ Wetherspoon's website and Rob Davies