I’d emailed around to see who might venture out to Alyn, and the few positives duly arrived at Alyn Water. Colin and I had ridden out from Chester to find Steve H already there. The Tandem Two duly arrived near to departure time. I’d original planned a big ride as my last ride of the year, but with inclement weather promised, and the certainty of high winds, the Horseshoe Pass would have to wait!
We set off bound for Ellesmere into the teeth of a south easterly gale. Just passed Sainsbury’s, the wind really got up as we struggled up to the Maelor Hospital. In theory I had found a short cut to the Erdigg road via the Puleston Industrial Estate and, in practice it actually worked. A useful shortcut for the future methinks. Erdigg was in the Christmas mood and the ice-decorated gates looked quite realistic.
Photograph by Clive Albany
We go through the various Sontleys and here the hedge shearers had been out. So, as I was thinking, “one of us is bound to succumb to a puncture”, my front tyre goes down. The puncture was not due to a thorn however, but a nasty piece of shattered windscreen. Two punctures in two weeks - enough for a season that is! I divert down to Erbistock and the Dee is swollen but not too high. We slog up the main road to Overton fighting the incline and the wind. Stopping outside the White Horse to allow the tandem to catch up, there is a presumption of “we’ve had enough and this pub will do”. So solely in the interests of heading off a mutiny, and at only 14 miles from coffee, I readily agree it’s time for a warm bar and a pint. As ever, the White Horse offers friendly service and decent Joules beer.
As no rain arrives, we decide we can’t stay any longer so I modify the route to connect into my planned return from Ellesmere. We set off bound for Ellesmere but soon take a delightful lane (well in summer it will be) to Lightwood Green. A right and left takes on the lanes to Cloy bound for Bangor. A short section of A525 takes us up to Cross Lanes and thence onwards to the outskirts of Wrexham. I decide to take a distinctly un-pretty direct route through the acres of housing estates bound for the Llay Road. The Tandem miss our left turn, although we see them behind us as we turn. I chase after them but to no avail. A voicemail tells us not to worry, so we motor on back to Alyn. Only a paltry 28 miles and one of the shortest rides I’ve lead in 5 years of CER membership. Although the weather forecast was warning of showers, we barely had any rain all day - the Met Office really does need the £100m computer upgrade. Colin and I motor back to Chester down Marford Hill and through Dodleston to clock up 60 miles.
Enjoy your Christmas festivities, and I hope Santa buys you that lightweight carbon exotica you’ve always drooled over. See you in 2015.