This brisk ride today could be given the nickname of “Tu Be or not Tu Be, that is the question” Now read on!
Although Ivan had prepared a route to Barthomley, he was happy to defer to my route of similar length of 48 miles to Audlem. Both groups set off together with the Mods turning left out of the car park, and the Briskets surprisingly turning right!
We had not gone but a few hundred yards when “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers” stopped because Elwyn’s rear tyre was a little soft. While the rest of us stood around i.e. Ivan, Ray, John W, Nick and myself, Elwyn tried to reflate the tyre to no real effect. This was apparently a new tubeless tyre put on by the bike shop at the top of Marford Hill whilst Elwyn’s bike was being serviced there. Both Ray and I were dubious of the valve stem as it doesn’t look like a tubeless tyre version. A shot of Carbon Dioxide did the trick, and we were on our way now to Bickerton Hill via Brown Knowle. Here, John wasn’t feeling 100% today so decided to head for home, which he reached without incident.
We arrive at Hampton Post crossroads and Elwyn’s tyre needs another gas transfusion. Down the hill and via a short stretch of the A41, finds us on our way to Wrenbury. By the Dusty Miller pub, the tyre needs reflating yet again and we are now running low on gas cylinders. Just over the Wrenbury railway crossing is a small industrial estate where I thought I remembered that there was a cycle business; however I was wrong. Now Elwyn’s tyre is flat yet again. Faced with getting on the train to go back home, he decides to put tube in it, and Ray and I are not looking forward to doing this due to the 50 mls of latex sealant in the tubeless carcass - a right messy business.
The tyre is off and, to our astonishment, the tyre is not tubeless but tubed, and the inner tube is not only too small for the tyre size, but has a massive tear in it! We stand around in the lee of the workshop building whilst we struggle to get the tyre back on the rim. Now all sorted, I decide that I need to cut the planned route down as we are all cold and have lost 45 mins due to the comedy of errors brought about by the “competent” cycle workshop.
We now head directly for the Shroppie Fly where, apart from one other punter, we are the only customers for lunch. We bemoan the current political climate as we edge closer to getting back on our bikes into the growing gloom of a late November afternoon. We head back towards Nantwich with the wind behind us now, and onwards to Swanley Lane canal bridge and Brindley. Cutting left down lonely Cappers Lane, we pass Bath House Farm which used to serve the Spurstow saline spa pool in the adjacent woodland - definitely not today though!
We cut across to Peckforton where Ivan and Elwyn power ahead as Ray and I take it more sedately at only 20 mph. There is no sign of Ivan at the Ice Cream Farm turn, so Ray and I head homewards assuming that Ivan has gone back to Alisons for a warming coffee and cake session. Ivan hadn’t gone back to Tattenhall, but if he had, he would have completed the 45 mile route at 16mph average.
By the time I am home, the darkness has set in as I find my front light is just about flickering and in need of battery transplant - just as I do.
So “Tube or Tubeless, that is the question” today - a salutary lesson for us all!
See route map and/or gpx file download