After a sunny and warm, even hot Easter weekend, it was a shock to see heavy rain showers, cool temperatures and gusty winds in today’s forecast. Undeterred eight Easy Riders met at Cleos in Holt. The mods were Neil, George, Dave H and myself. We had decided that the conditions limited our distance to a ride out to the Hanmer Arms at Hanmer. On the way out we would face an easterly wind veering to southerly, which would speed our return.
The brisk group left before us, and we followed in the same direction over the Dee Bridge and through Farndon to head towards Worthenbury. So we were a little surprised to find the brisk group overtake us, slipstreaming behind a tractor. Bypassing Worthenbury we looped round Tallarn Green and made for Holly Bush, then through Penley and towards Ellesmere. We had been lucky with the showers, but were then hit by heavy rain and paused by The Mere to consider whether to seek shelter in an Ellesmere pub or head to our original destination. We chose the latter, which turned out to be the best choice as conditions improved and we were drying off as we cycled into the courtyard behind the Hanmer Arms with 25 miles completed.
The pub is one of our favourites and we were welcomed and served decent food and drink. Conversation turned to recollections of previous visits and previous cold wet rides. One we especially remembered had been led by Jim from Chirk into the hills with Dave, George and myself plus big Roy. The highlights(?) of this being near hypothermia and mechanical catastrophe.
We left the pub to the sound of thunder. For our return I chose to follow the main roads rather than lanes to the east of Hanmer. A couple of years ago we had become stuck in 6 inch deep mud on these lanes and the memory was sufficient to keep us away from them ever since. We passed through Lower Wych and Malpas, and then via Stretton and Wetreins Lane we entered Farndon and made for Lewis’s. A little later the brisk riders joined. We had successfully avoided any serious rain on the return despite dark threatening clouds in every direction and had been pushed along by a tailwind. 39 miles had been completed – a good ride in the conditions.