After all the weeks of lockdown, it was great to see the throng of East Riders who had gathered at Meadow Lea for the re-start of our regular club meetings. Admittedly, there were some restrictions arising from the Covid-19 protocols, but these did not interfere too much with the greetings and banter exchanged, although handshakes and kisses were definitely out!
After coffees, toast and teacakes Dave H tried to get the rides (plural) arranged. We had agreed to limit the number of people in any ride to no more than four, so Clive had planned a ride to Lach Dennis, Steve H one to Pant-yr-Ochain and yours truly one to Whitegate. Chaos ensued as, apart from the fast lads, people couldn’t decide which ride to join. Eventually, Steve H suggested that the three ride leaders should take to their bikes and see who would follow them.
So it was that Trevor and John (long time no see) Beavis followed me out of the café car park, heading for Whitegate on a route that I’d cobbled together at the last minute. The route took us out on the busy A56 as far as Morley Bridge, where we turned to pick up the road past Manley Mere where, for many years, we used to start our rides. Since we no longer start there, I’d forgotten how steep Cob Hall Lane is and arrived at the top breathless to wait for the others. Sugar Lane led us on to Manley Road and we were soon speeding down Dark Ark Lane and thence to Kelsall and Utkinton. Just past Rose Farm, we turned left and headed for Cotebrook , where we crossed the busy A49. Oulton Park was quiet as we passed by, not even a track day here yet. We took a left into Park Road and crossed the A54 as we headed for The Plough Inn on Beauty Bank, arriving at about 12.15.
Now, the pub looked very inviting, but since Trevor had brought sandwiches and John ‘Two coronastones’ doesn’t eat lunch, it was decided to forego lunch until we got back to Meadow Lea. So on we went past the posh houses and Vale Royal Golf Club until we crossed the A559 and found the sanctity of LIttledales Lane. Hodge Lane took us to the A49 where we battled some heavy traffic before reaching Bag Lane and headed for Norley and its stamina-sapping Norley Bank and Maddocks Hill. Who said that Cheshire is flat?
Post Office Lane took us down to Hatchmere, where responsibilities for navigation were handed to Trevor on the basis that he knows the way home from there better than I do. Down the switchbacks and under the railway and on to Ashton Hayes where we turn right and followed Gongar Lane up the hill into Mouldsworth. Nortons Lane and Morley Lane lead us back to the A56 where we again diced with traffic until we reached Mickle Trafford. John B took his leave here so that he could return to grandpa duties for the afternoon, which seem to consist mostly of losing at Minecraft with his 6 year old grandson and answering endless questions from him. Trevor and I returned to Meadow Lea having completed 35 miles up and down the hills of West Cheshire.
Thanks to Trevor and John for your excellent company. Maybe we’ll see John again later this year if he can get a pass out on a Thursday. Don’t leave it too long, John!