Riding out from home with Ray the temp was 5˚C and it was chilly. Clive was sailing today so someone else needed to lead the ride and I had a ride prepared in case needed. Arriving at Hildegard’s John was already tucking into his tea and tea cakes and soon the cafe was full with riders taking advantage of an expected dry day with little wind, albeit cold.
The Brisk team today would consist of Ray, John and Ivan with new riders Sarah and Martin. A big welcome to both new riders, they are long distance cyclists and very fast with Sarah demonstrating her speed sprinting up all the hills and today we covered 791 meters!! on a route to Tilley (Where!!).
The road from the river bridge at Farndon to Holt is under resurfacing and pretty bumpy so leaving the cafe we departed along the Wrexham Rd to the main road for the chosen route out via Crewe by Farndon and Shocklach. We are soon enjoying the frost free and relative quiet roads and soon rolling down hill at Sarn Bank.
Our route is direct to Hanmer and passing the Hanmer Arms Hotel I advised the group that this is where the moderates are heading for their lunch, it was 11:20 so we carried on. The lanes passing Bettisfield and Nortwood were excellent and a pleasure to be cycling along.
We arrive at Wem and the Garmin did not let me down, following a path in the direction of a dead end car park supposedly, we got to a gate that required we had to lift our bikes over if we were to go through so we about turn back into the town.
Photograph by Ivan Davenport
It didn't take long and we were on Tilley lane and approaching lunch at our lunch venue the "Tilley Raven" last visited 8th September 2013. As then we were made welcome providing a big table for 5, although all tables were shown reserved, and our lunches were ordered. As per Clive’s write up of this inn nothing changes, we had arrived at 12:05 and lunch arrived 13:00 but it was worth the wait enjoying good cask ales and Ray selecting a Rump steak to build his stamina up for the return ride home. No puddings today!! so we rejoined our bikes and returning via Wem town and turning right for Creamore Bank we are again enjoying some lovely tarmac. The only dirty road was experienced at Welsh End and a single track taking us over the Shropshire Union Canal via a wooden drawbridge.
We were fast going down Shothill and trying to read the route on the Garmin at speed in sunshine I call a wrong turn and bring our down hill roller coaster to a halt only to advise the group we are carrying on - Sarah and Martin lead us up the hill but if any of you can recall this bank it is a long steepish climb.
Once over the brow we are then heading for Malpas with a good view of the church from this direction then on to Tilston and Stretton where our new riders leave us heading for Pulford. Prior to arriving at this juncture we had an altercation with the BMW mentality driver. We were running at 24+ leaving Tilston and just as you approach the right hand little bridge the idiot overtook us and nearly took a car out approaching in the opposite direction. He then slowed and held up his two fingers but kept far enough in front of John otherwise he would have found them elsewhere in his anatomy (he did take note of the number plate!!).
The trio arrived back into Chester and all departed for home after completing a 72 mile journey from home although from the cafe it was probably a 49 mile round trip.
A good day out for January at an average of 15.4 mph.