Happy New Year to all readers of the Chester Easy Riders blog. The New Year had started in Chester with the prospect of strong winds and driving rain – not the best conditions for cycling. But what a difference a day makes. Thursday the 2nd was a calm, dry day with the prospect of sunshine – a perfect day for our second ride of 2014.
I rode to the Ice Cream Farm at Tattenhall with an idea in my head for a 36 mile cycle to the Buck Hotel at Bangor on Dee. It was a ride we had done about 3 years ago and since only 4 members had turned up on that occasion I reckoned that not many would remember it. On this occasion 8 people turned up these being Clive, Martin, Ray, Roy, Paul W, Petar, Stephen and me (Trevor). Over tea and coffee (our usual fare of toast/toasted teacakes was dispensed with due to the over-indulgence of the Christmas festivities) it was decided that I would lead the ride. I suspected however that due to my lack of recent cycling I would end up leading from the back. (My excuse being that I wanted to make sure I didn’t lose anyone at the back).
We turned right out of the Ice Cream Farm and circled round the back of Tattenhall heading for the rear of Bolesworth Estate then right towards Brown Knoll. Then over to the Old Coach Road, following it until it turned towards the A41 at No Man’s Heath. From here we headed towards Malpas joining up with cycle route 70 down Mastiff Lane. At this point we realised that we would be arriving at the Buck Hotel to early so we turned left heading towards Lower Wych, Tallarn Green and Holly Bush before turning back towards Bangor on Dee.
The Buck offers a value-for-money “Over 55” menu: a two-course meal plus coffee and a real ale pint for under £10. However we were good again and all opted for something from the “light-bites” menu instead.
My plan was to head back to Tattenhall via Worthenbury, Shocklach, Tilston, and Coddington. However with the weather still holding up (we hadn’t seen so much of the sun since summer) we cycled beyond Worthenbury turning left towards Chorlton and Kidnal before crossing back over the A41 at Edge Green. It was on the hill up to Duckington that we had our only unfortunate incident of the day. On the mud-and-leaf strewn road Martin suffered wheel-slip and fell off taking Clive with him. Fortunately no one suffered any injury and after minor adjustment to Martin’s brake lever we carried on.
We crossed our morning’s route out and circled the south edge of Bickerton Hill to join the A534. We made a short dash down the main road to the Bickerton Poacher before returning to the Ice Cream Farm via Peckforton and Beeston. The extensions to my route added up to a 42 mile ride and made a great start to the year. Thanks to Clive for navigating the diversions on his fancy gadget that saved me from having to keep stopping to look at my map.