Todays weather forecast was 50% sunny and rain showers – decided to try for the best wardrobe and hope I get it right!!
John W was riding out with me to Holt, so setting off from Chester it was a sunny but chilly morning. On arrival at Cleopatras were three moderates and my fellow riders – Ken, Nick and Clive. With John and I, we had a good group for today's ride. After regulation tea and coffee, the route both Ken and I had suggested was accepted and it was to the Burlton Inn.
Leaving the café, we were blessed with a sunny start to get us on our way out via Wetreins Lane to Tilston and Horton Green and here we re-join the B5069. We are passed by a MF tractor and the driver slowed to allow us to gain advantage over the head wind and stream behind. This didn’t last to long as we got held up by cyclists and the driver was very considerate and waited for a safe passing point. When we did pass named cyclist’s, it was our moderate group holding us up!
After passing the mod’s, the tractor decided to see how fast he could get away so we let him go! The roads were very littered with mud, debris and puddles so Clive had a plan B to divert from Burgess Lane at Holly Bush, and follow Cloy Lane and then pick up our route; but I would like to ride over Hollybush to actually see whether there were any less potholes!!
We join the main A528, which runs into Ellesmere and as we approach the town the heavens decide to pour down upon us. Quick stop and we now have a team of Garmin Shake-dry riders (haha). Into the town and following the one-way roads, we head off along Birch road passing Blackwater Meadow Marina with a board out for boat hire. Not sure whether for the lanes or the Mere!
I cannot recall riding this lane before, but the rain had ceased to sodden us and it is a picture post card lane to ride. Passing through Bagley and Petton, we are half a mile from our lunch stop. Enjoying a down hill, the route is forked and we should keep right, however a quick glance shows a mud track so I continue on and go off course and hope we are not too diverted. Re-joining the A528, our inn for lunch is soon in view.
The Burlton Inn was a welcome sight and as we entered the pub and had ordered once again it was torrential rain outside. A good lunch in a Robinson's hostelry, a variety of lunch time chatter and it was time to get back on the bikes. The sun was out again as venture out and join the B4397 to English Frankton. Ken had been busy during lunch and had downloaded the route we had both ridden previously. This return route mirrored our return today passing through Lyneal and Penley.
|"Men in Black" (almost) near Penley|
The sun was still shinning and we had a glorious view across a valley that a photo call was required for the blog so Nick volunteered his service. Continuing along flooded and muddy lanes as we approach Sarn, I realise I am on my own. Turning around and retracing, I find the group as John has a puncture. It is a wonder we hadn’t had more as the roads were very mucky. John soon fixed his bike and using an air bomb, his tyre inflated we are rolling again as it is up Sarn Bank.
At Chorlton, Nick bides us farewell. From Shocklach, Clive takes pole position and we have a very brisk ride of plus 20mph to Farndon. We decide on coffee at Lewis’s café at Farndon and re-join the moderates, who were also back safely from their ride. After tea and cake, Clive, John and I set off for Chester. Ken made his way back to Rossett via the blocked road works from Holt. Our ride from Farndon had John in pole position and continued a brisk pace all the way back to Chester.
Considering the forecast, we evaded most of the showers and had enjoyed a really nice riding day. A reasonable mileage of 53 for the actual route and 70+ miles to Chester at an impressive 16.5 mph