It was overcast but dry and reasonably warm as we gathered at Alison’s. As usual, Dave M was just out for coffee. Clive, John and Nick were off for a short but brisk one. That left Steve Hu, Steve Ha, Steve T and George as the ‘mods’ for the day. Steve Ha would only be with us for a short distance as he needed to get home to pack for a week bagging more Munros. Rain was forecast for some time in the afternoon, so the plan was not to go too far and hope that the rain came later, rather than sooner.
I’d taken a route originally devised by Trevor in 2017 and had used Plotaroute to change the starting point from the Ice Cream Farm to Alison’s. However, when the route was uploaded on to my Elemnt Bolt computer, it appeared as a series of straight lines, which Clive found amusing – were we going to fly rather than cycle!
As some of the route was familiar to me, I set off hoping to wing it where there were bits I didn’t know. So, we set off out of Tattenhall, heading for Beeston and Bunbury. I soon found out that where I deviated from the straight-line route, the computer would re-route me on the nearest road going in the same direction – very clever!
Steve Ha left us at Bunbury and we continued on through Haughton and Burland to Ravensmoor and Sound. Progress was swift in spite of a stiff south-easterly wind and we arrived at The Old Priest House café in Audlem as the church clock struck 12 with 20 miles covered.
Baked potatoes with various fillings and a pot of tea for three were ordered and arrived a while afterwards. A discussion of the pros and cons of cruising (of the maritime variety!) formed a large part of the lunchtime conversation. We left at 1pm, just as a wedding party were leaving the church opposite. As per Trevor’s route we did a loop around the south of Audlem, passing through Kinsey Heath and Swanbach before turning north towards Aston and Wrenbury. Although there were odd spots of rain in the air, the roads were still dry.
A mile and a half out of Wrenbury I heard a cry from George whose front tyre was slowly deflating, so we stopped in a gateway to fix it. At this point, it started to rain.
The tyre was new, as George had had the bike serviced recently. It proved quite a struggle to get it off the rim, which didn’t bode well for getting it back on. Strangely, we couldn’t find any sign of a puncture on the inner tube, nor a thorn or piece of glass in the outer. Happily, the tyre went back on the rim quite easily due to the skills of our in-house expert, Steve Hu.
We’d stopped at the end of a lane, which my computer correctly identified as Back Lane, so I took it that we should go along it. However, as we did so, I didn’t get the usual re-routing by the computer, so we stopped and Steve Hu devised an alternative route. This took us to The Cholmondeley Arms crossing of the A49, from where I was familiar with the way home. By now the rain was falling steadily, although it was still comfortably warm.
In fact we re-connected with the intended route as we passed Cholmondeley Castle Gardens and headed on into Bickerton. The last hurdle was to climb over Harthill before we could roll along Bolesworth Road into Tattenhall.