At 10:30 we assembled for the grand depart, when Clive announced he had a minor problem, his i-phone had stopped working.(It later transpired Clive had inadvertently turned off the phone’s backlight !!) To minimise any delay, Steve was quickly appointed the new leader of the moderate ride. Both moderate and brisk rides followed the same route out of town past the golf course as far as Salisbury Hill which was where we parted company.
Our route bypassed the delightfully named Hungryhatton before passing through the lovely quiet lanes of Ollerton, Great Bolas, and Kynnersley prior to entering the outskirts of Telford. Here I had planned a detour taking us to the east of the urbanised area to rejoin the original route near the M54 at Tong but John’s Garmin indicated that the route through Telford and Shifnal should be straight forward via a cycle path.
We took the cycle path which separated us from motor traffic but the state of the cycle paths left a lot to desired with uneven surfaces which were littered with hedge cuttings. John picked up a puncture at the Limekiln roundabout where Watling Street (an ancient trackway later upgraded and paved by the Romans) enters Telford.The puncture was caused by a paper staple not hedge cuttings! The punctured tube was soon changed but then changed again,with one borrowed from Nick, as the tube John carried did not have a long enough valve body suitable for his deep rimmed carbon wheels.
Setting off again, we turned off left back into the countryside via Woodhouse Lane, passing through a wood yard. This lane quickly deteriorated into a dusty stony farm track (Clive had warned me earlier that he had not checked the route out in detail…). Fortunately it was dry and we soon rejoined the tarmac road and continued on, crossing back over Watling Street once again before reaching our lunch destination The Hartley Arms at Wheaton Aston.
|Two of the Three ( and a half) riders|
|Proof positive of lunch venue|
Lunch over and under sunnier skies we left.Turning right out of the carpark we weaved our way through quiet lanes to the villages of Milton and Bradley, the hillier terrain now giving us a better appreciation of the surrounding area that we were cycling through.With only two more brief forays off-road we finally arrive at the village of Ashley to reach the highpoint of the ride at just over 200 metres.
With Nick leading out John and I, the last 10km were ridden at a fast pace back to Morrisons. After a quick catch up with the ‘moderates’ in the cafe, we opted to forgo coffee and make our way home, hoping to beat the rush hour traffic. Clive, thank you very much for putting together a superb day out. The route of 63 miles took in some lovely quiet lanes, pretty villages and a good lunch venue.
Photos : JM