Our second meet of the year was the Castle Bistro in Chirk. John W and I travelled out from Chester on the train. These are getting busy again but we had room to put our bikes in the cycle storage area. Arriving into Chirk, it is chilly after sitting in the warm train. We cycle from the station to our cafe start and are swiftly joined by Clive, John M and Nick, so today’s peloton is 5 brisk riders. After a coffee and tea cake, we get ready to brave the expected low temperature with frost and fog predicted.
The lanes are wet and dirty with some flooding and in a fine fog. At one point we brake the surface ice on flood water making us even more alert. Although the sun was bright it restricted our views of the countryside. Arriving at the A495 at Welsh Frankton, it’s a quick right and left thankfully as the main road was busy with some big lorries behind us as we cycled up the bank. The first 8 miles of the route is an uphill ride but we are now over the most and dropping down towards Tetchill the roads are getting drier. At 15 miles, we stop to remove a layer of clothing and it’s a little surprising that we’ve only ridden a short distance as it feels we’ve been out all morning such is the concentration.
Our pace is now picking up as we approach Rednal and skirt around the airfield and the numerous adventure parks dotted around the disused areas. The sun is now burning away the fog and with little wind it is a pleasure being out in the fresh air. Through Ruyton XI Towns, we again have a little climb up towards Little Ness. We are on a lane which runs through Valeswood Wood and the road surface is very muddy and wet. Eventually leaving the trees behind, we run parallel with the A5 and into Nesscliffe and take a narrow lane to Pentre and our lunch stop at Royal Hill Inn.
The menu for light bites costs approx £4.50 and it is a good portion. A good slice of shortbread is served with our drinks of tea and coffee and our lunch is quickly served. We are seated in a small bar snug area with an open fire and have to open the window to let some cool air in; just no pleasing some!
Crossing the A483 at Llanymynech, we are heading towards Knockin. Not stopping at the shop today but continue on to cross the busy A5. We witness an unusual courtesy from a car driver who slowed the traffic behind him, to allow us to cross this busy road in short order..
Passing West Felton and Queen's Head, it’s the 4 mile slightly uphill straight drag to Whittington. Passing straight through the village, a shout of "flat" rings out and, considering the road conditions we’ve ridden on today, Whittington can boast relative good surface conditions. Nonetheless, John W has succumbed to the snake bite pinch and he is quick to release his front wheel and smoothly replace the tube. After 5/10 minutes max, we are again heading to our end of journey for today. Through Gobowen and the back of Lions Quay, we cross the A5 again for the last time then heading to Weston Rhyn and Chirk.
As we arrive at the bottom of Chirk Bank, the sun is illuminating the viaduct so John and I stop to snap the photo opportunity for the final blog picture and to act as a reminder of what a great day out on the bike it’s been. As always good company and after the first hour of our ride, great weather for January.