At last! Some semblance of normality today, with more cafe’s & pubs open, if only outside service. However and more importantly, the Welsh mob were finally allowed to join the English Mob (relaxed pandemic rules). Meadow Lea was the venue & a quick head count, as I tried to get my group together, revealed 18 all told and there wasn’t the usual fast crowd, although Clive was there. Anyway, after some confusion on departure, we finally get 3 groups in order, as Jim & his good lady were doing their own thing, which prompted Dave M to realise he wanted to do his own thing as well, which we later discovered, was to go back home, as we road past him on his driveway, 30 mins later - Lol.
So, Clive led off with the fastest group.
Steve H led off with George and Peter.
While I lead off with the remaining 5, which included our ‘senior man’- Dave H (minus his paper Garmin - Lol), Mike & the Welsh contingent, Elwyn & Fiona (to be fair, they only live 200mtrs over the boarder, but rules are rules-Lol.
We were heading for Manor Wood, lakeside cafe (roughly 42 mile round trip with 500-ish mtrs of assent- so flat, although Dave didn’t think so- Lol). We set off to the North, unfortunately on to the A56 for a mile, to get around the myriad of brooks & streams to the east of Meadow Lea (no other choice to be fair). Fiona & I decide we need to warm up, so I tapp out a pace until the right turn for Great Barrow and on to a good stretch of smooth B road. I then lead the group on a slight detour and get us into a few lovely lanes, in order to point out the fabulous Blue Bell cafe to our senior man (the best cakes in the land and lovely food in general, popular with the “blue rinse” brigade and “wives that lunch”). The detour also allows us to get across to Oscroft, where we say hello to Dave again- Lol.
Still finding it a little chilly we head on past Okells, which provided a point of ref for Mike, who now knew where he was, although apparently Okells is a tricky place to find, according to Dave. This made me chuckle, as Okells sits right on the mighty A51, can’t miss it (probably owns a car without sat nav- Lol). At this point I take a few lanes I don’t usual ride, but the roads were so good thus far, I thought we better throw a few rough ones in for Dave’s benefit. This also allowed us to ride past my favourite pond, with it’s resident black swans. We push on past the 50p shop and on towards Beeston and the section of the route with a few light hills. This allowed Elwyn to stretch his legs and show us all how to do it with ease, for those who were still close enough to see him - Lol.
We take the easier route, around Harthill toward Duckington, down Brown Knowl and right, onto a cracking lane to Tilston (now a favourite of Fiona’s it seems, as I catch her up, knee out, enjoying a couple of quick switchbacks -Lol). It was shortly after, much to Elwyn’s delight, that I get discovered watering a shrub (What a lovely lady, not sure what she was laughing at though). Only a mile or two later, I get a cramp in the groin, luckily we were close to the cafe.
We arrive at Manor Wood and proceed to soak up the sun for an hour, which was lovely and gave me time to stretch out my cramp. Some interesting conversations ensued, especially the one about what could possibly be the missing ingredient in the cancelled the x3 Welsh Rarebits ordered. Dave proceeded to asked the young girl “ how can you run out of cheese in a cafe” to which she said “oh, we have cheese” - no bread then? - butter? Can’t remember who guessed it, but it was of course Worcester Sauce. Anyway a great cafe stop apart from the inexplicable; ‘let’s have a go at Tanner’. Totally uncalled for, something you’ll never see me doing, so unfair; it’s definitely WaVerrrrrrton by the way- Lol.
Anyway, at this point I decide I shouldn’t ride back to Meadow Lea, as it would mean at least another 20 miles back home and my groin was not feeling good, despite the stretching. Fiona and Elwyn head off home to Lavister and I ride to the other side of Tattenhall, in order to make sure Dave and Mike are on the right road to Waverton, before turning back home myself. I had exactly 50 miles on the clock, once home and a fraction under 500 mtrs assent.
What a gloriously sunny day, if a bit chilly at the start. Good day out, enjoyed the company and again sorry to Dave and Mike for having to bail on the finish & hope you guy’s made it back ok.