The day didn't start off well - riding around the back of the zoo towards Meadow Lea cafe I had that rear end sinking feeling! The rear tubeless tyre was well down. So I try a CO2 cylinder and can see the cut spewing out a white mist like Etna. I tried a plug, but the tear was too big - so a £40 tyre needs replacing. A quick call to the AA (my wife's initials) and a spare rear wheel set is despatched by Tiguan. The brisk group wait patiently for me at the cafe, and I meet up with them after 30 minute delay. Thanks for your patience boys!
There are six of us today - Ivan, John W, Nick, Erik and Steve F. The route is to Knutsford and "somewhere" for lunch. The weather is supposed to be rainless but the dark clouds at the horizon might belie something else. So out the usual way to Oscroft and the long drag up to Willington. Ivan guesses where we are now heading and I offer a re-route but he says Chapel Lane hill is fine by him! We grind up it and along the ridge down to Cotebrook through wet lanes - a feature today. More familiar lanes take us to Whitegate and the off-road transfer to Davenham, thence to Lach Dennis.
We then head north for 4 miles up the delightful Back Lane and Pinfold Lane to emerge at the massive roadworks at the M6 Knutsford junction. Where to eat? - I suggest The Courtyard cafe introduced to me by John when the sun was shining and it was dry and warm. So we sit outside being reminded by the waitress that if it rains there is no room inside - I look heavenwards and see the black skies above and just hope! It is also the Pennyfarthing Museum - well at least you won't get a puncture with solid wheels!
|Ivan can't resist trains - with his next bike in the window behind him!|
It's time to go as we are all getting cold and lunch took a while to come. So we use the Tan Over Tabley transfer to get us over the roadworks and the M6, thence the Great Budworth bypass and pass through Comberbatch. Eschewing the Acton Bridge route back, we head for Sutton Weaver and the fast run down into Frodsham. A left into Fluin Lane perplexes a few riders who see the "flat" route back via Helsby to be in prospect - but No, we head for the hills again! Grinding up Manley Road it is a cruel option after 50 miles, but the fast route down to Mouldsworth is exciting - for all the wrong reasons - that is, a very poor road surface hidden by puddles.
In Mickle Trafford, it is only Erik and I who head for a coffee at the cafe as the other four riders head for home. Erik and I sit in the sunshine (it didn't rain today) reflecting on the 59 miles and 2800ft of climb at 15.5 mph average. So thank you one and all for your patience at the start of the ride, and at the top of the hills!
Photo by CA