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Friday, 13 August 2021

12th August 2021 : Montford Bridge (brisk)

Back on 29th April, Ivan lead a ride around the hills of Wales to Montford Bridge. We ended up at a biker's cafe just off the A5 at Montford Bridge. With this in mind, and an urge to remove the Welsh hills, I crafted a 62 miler basically running SSE of Chirk through the glorious Shropshire countryside. I only had two takers for this ride, John M and Nick, but they were up for a flat ride in the August sunshine. 

Getting out of Chirk, we first go up to Weston Rhyn then down to Gobowen cycling along the busy line of Wat's Dyke then heading for the orthopaedic hospital to enter Oswestry from the east. We slide around the town through acres of housing where the quiet lanes start at Maesbury. I can’t resist a route taking in Knockin and its large satellite dish, nor the eponymously named shop. 

Knockin Shop -they were in and out in 5 mins!

We now have a long list of tiny village names to cycle through around the edge of Nesscliffe army training area. I have to re-plot on the fly as the planned route turns out to be a rough track; so we head for the River Severn then turn west to get back on route to go over the Melverley bridge into Wales again at Crew Green.

The wind was supposed to be SSW but it was more westerly which didn't help most of the day even on the return, but Nick was keen to take the front as we go up and down along the B road to Alberbury. We slip off to the right now going down lanes anew for the next 18 miles. Through Stoney Stretton and tiny Edge and Hinton, we are soon at Lea Cross. After Shorthill and Annscroft, Hook a Gate bring us into the SW corner of the burgeoning Shrewsbury metropolis. The tack NW takes us through acres of established and new housing estates before ending up at Montford Bridge. 

To get to the cafe, there is a half mile contra-directional dash along the busy A5 then wheeling off left, down and under the road to the cafe. As before, the food is wholesome and of good value as we refill our liquid reserves after 40 miles of delightful countryside. Back on the A5 re-tracing our route to Montford Bridge, we then take the NW long lanes to West Felton going via Ruyton -XI-Towns. Here Nick is keen to push on so goes off on his own route back to Chirk at apace. John and I meander up Grug Hill and near Eardiston, Nick appears at a crossroads behind us! He shoots off again towards Queen’s Head.

The route to Gobowen via Queens Head is the old A5, and it's a long straight drag to Babbinswood and Whittington, but up ahead we see Nick battling on in the distance. After Gobowen, we sidle passed Hennle Golf Club and head straight for Chirk via the canal side at the Poacher pub.

John informs me later on, that we had broken some previous Strava segment speeds on the route we had taken, which was surprising given that we had enjoyed viewing the new countryside. So thanks to both Nick and John for their company today and  for Nick taking the front on several occasions - is he in training for something I wonder? We rode exactly 100km!


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