The fast lads had been conspicuous by their absence last week, but like Theresa May, had now returned as an aspirational force. Some had expensive shoes, but none had kitten heels. It was good to see Petar back, and the Donaldsons on their return from cycling in Germany and Austria. The moderate riders' plans were .. er ..moderate: fifty-five fairly flat miles to The Dog, just short of Chelford. The group members were: Steve and Steve, Liz and Martin, Liz and Dave, Trevor, Brian Macca, Keith Metcalfe, George, Petar and myself.
|Photos by Macca|
Steve was leading, and set off in the opposite direction to our intended destination. This illogical behaviour is known as the Clive Perverse Loop Manoeuvre. The route took us to Kelsall, then on the Delamere Forest switchback, heading for Acton Bridge via Norley and Onston. Great Budworth was as cute as ever, and had the additional attraction of interesting figures dressed up, and placed throughout the village. By the time we reached Plumley Moor via Pickmere and Higher Wincham I was tempted to snatch a coffee at The Colonial Cafe while we waited for the tandem. I don't know what had delayed the tandem; they'd likely stopped off to buy duck eggs from a local farm. They do have previous form in this regard. From Smithy Green we crossed the A50 and avoided cycling along the Macclesfield Road by riding a semi-circle of pleasant lanes from Ollerton to Marthall, and then Peover Heath.
Despite being posh, The Dog is always a welcoming and attractive destination for us cyclists. The food was very good and the service very friendly, but we did have a fair wait.
After lunch we meandered on an equally picturesque, but more southerly route home via Goostrey and Lach Dennis. Steve then took us to a new coffee stop destination on a farm before Davenham (the Pump House Café at Shipbrook Hill Farm: www.riversideorganic.co.uk). Some of us discussed the current political upheaval following the Brexit vote. This was probably not a good idea given the wide range of political allegiances in the group! However, I don't think we really fell out, and the atmosphere was as convivial as ever as we returned to stroke the lambs adjacent to our machines. At this stage Martin and Liz decided to crack on, and we counted how many we should be. We had had a problem counting in the morning at Rose Farm, so we were hoping we wouldn't learn later of any forgotten, flattened CER cyclist reported on the North-West Tonight programme. The back road into Davenham passes the church, and then has varied and attractive character properties either side. We headed down under the railway from Moulton and over the Vale Royal Cut. The Whitegate Way provided shelter from the headwind from the Salt Mine to the old station. We then headed for Little Budworth, and stopped to don rain jackets. The time Dave Pipe took must have been down to more serious garment strategy, perhaps wet suit underpants, and, of course, topped by a vintage cape. Suffice to say, by the time the tandem and its vast panniers were cleared for take-off, the rain had nearly fizzled out, and I'd lost the will to live! Only joking, Easy Riders would never be the same if they stopped coming. We were soon back after the usual climb from Cotebrook, no longer haunted by the past Macca nightmare of having a car locked in. A very enjoyable ride in great company, excellently led at a very inclusive pace. Our thanks to Steve, also to Brian for the trouble he goes to for his action photos.