Seven of us turned up at Manley Mere: Andy, Clive, George, Dave H, Dave P, myself and Bryan who wouldn’t be joining us on the ride. This may well be our last meet at the Windsurfing Centre following the Great Café Conspiracy or the Café Improvement Plan – take your pick – and the debate over last month’s decisions rumbled on, complete with jokes about refusing to accept a democratic decision a la Brexit.
In the absence of any alternatives, I suggested a ride to the Salt Barge at Marston (or Wincham if you prefer). We had mostly cycled to the meet in the rain and were doubtful whether it would stop, but surprisingly we had a fine and dry morning. We cycled up towards New Pale, stopping on Manley Common to note an un-visited café for us – Stonehouse Farm (www.stonehousefarmbandb.co.uk) – one to investigate on a future ride. From there we had planned to travel through Gt Budworth, but Clive introduced a useful by-pass route for this allegedly cycle-unfriendly village, and in so doing we passed an interesting hostelry, The Cock at Budworth, a possibility for a winter ride.
We reached the Salt Barge in good time and enjoyed tasty good value meals, and beer for those indulging. The conversation mostly centred on the big news of the week, Donald Trump becoming US President-Elect. I didn’t detect any wholehearted enthusiasm, and our mood was further depressed by the sight of heavy rain outside the window. Despite the waitress encouraging us to stay for puddings until the rain passed, we stoically strode out into the downpour and saddled up.
There were a few dry spells on our ride back, but not many. With lights flashing we passed through Marbury Park and then a roughly parallel route to our way out. At one point as we headed towards a large, very dark and ominous cloud, I was reminded of the scene in A Perfect Storm, when the Andrea Gail is sailing directly into the storm’s eye and disaster. We had a luckier outcome, though we had to negotiate some heavily flooded roads.
After Acton Bridge we detoured to look at Dave H’s perfect place to live – the tiny hamlet of Onston. From there it wasn’t far back to Manley Mere for final refreshments, except for Andy who obviously had plenty of energy spare as he peddled on towards Mold. Despite the weather, it had been a good ride with 41 miles covered.
Finally, maybe a warning to others. When I came out of the Centre I found that my bike had been blown over in the cycle racks, the front wheel had bent and the rim was deformed in the two places where it had been anchored. I’m not sure whether it was just bad luck or the design of the cycle racks, but it was a rather sour end to an otherwise good day.
|Photo by SH|
Thanks to Dave H for driving me back.