It was a lot colder than advertised today. On the top of the Clwydian Range it was only just above freezing, and coupled with a stiff breeze, the 28 miles to lunch in Holywell was going to be hard going. So Nick and Ken, who had both ridden over from Rossett, and a dragooned in Steve T, relied on me to navigate them safely to The Market Cross 'Spoons pub in Holywell.
Eschewing the usual route to go through Buckley via Ewloe, we take the main road towards Wrexham then turning off to Drury; and this provides a useful leg-warming exercise for what was to come. After Llong, we head east down small lanes towards Gwernymynydd and ever upwards. The short 20% rise here along Swan Lane precedes the next rise and fall towards Loggerheads. The lane to Cilcain is agricultural in places - which was becoming the theme for the rest of the pre-lunch ride.
Its now a long ever-upwards run to Lixwm. More of the same takes us up to Babell and a brief flattish respite heading along familiar lanes. A right towards Lloc and then a left down a lane that Nick points out is a No Through Road. Luckily I know it isn’t, but its a very rough farm track over the A55, with two hedge cutting tractors to boot. Today, it was a slight improvement over the October 2011 ride though, where we had a few hundred yards of deep cow doo-doo to ride through! We get through safely and thence it is 6 miles of dry main roads with a long downhill stretch into the centre of Holywell.
The Market Cross is pretty busy but we don't care - we just want some hot food and warmth. We even eschew beer for hot coffee! We are all feeling it today but I offer a promise of only 13 miles to get back and mainly downhill to boot - except for the near two miles of uphill immediately after lunch. The food comes very quickly and it is soon time to get back on the bikes.
We travel back amongst the tiny lanes above Flint and then a suburban traverse, complete with footpath transfer, to exit onto Chester Road towards Oakenholt. Just passed the papermill is Papermill Lane. Normally I would say Cheerio and make my way back via Connah’s Quay and the Greenway. Today I felt guilty as all three riders had to get back to Hawarden, so I decide to join them for the 2 miles uphill ride to Northop Hall. From here it is a familiar ride back over a very rough road surface to Hawarden arriving back at around 1500. Ken and Nick head onwards to Rossett and Steve awaits his chauffeur’s return ( aka DH)
So only 41 cold miles today but over 3300 ft of climb according to Nick's Garmin; although PlotaRoute shows 2979 ft - but enough any way.
Ken obviously enjoyed the route sending me a WhatsApp as follows "Thanks for today Clive, lovely flat ride😫on mud free roads...In perfect weather..” and Nick’s was "That about sums it up! Thanks Clive” The cold must have addled their brains, or, they must have been on another ride! Nonetheless, thank you for keeping the grumbling about muddy road surfaces to minimum.
See route map and/or gpx file download
Retired, work part-time or shifts, enjoy being out in the countryside? Then cycle the lanes and byways of Cheshire and surrounding areas with Chester Easy Riders: you won't get left behind.
Chester Easy Riders is an independent cycling club affiliated to Cycling UK. We cycle every Thursday throughout the year with moderate and brisk day rides of 40 to 80 miles.
For more information see the About Us tab.