Fifteen of us at Alison’s this week, I think, which included Dave P & Liz.
There were no brisk riders, except Ray, who was happy to go with the flow. As it turns out, my offer of ‘The Swan’ at Marbury became ‘the flow’, once I pointed out the bad weather front sweeping across from Wales, which was due to hit us by 11 and a complete change from the overnight forecast.
Dave H also suggested ‘The Swan’, but was happy to relinquish the lead. Clearly he was fearing his paper Garmin would not last in the rain- Lol. Not straying to far, radially, from Alison’s, seemed to be a sensible idea with the impending rain front.
And so it was that I lead out the one ride group for the day- Lol, after a short Garmin delay, which was not helped by the barracking; “Don’t get this problem from Dave’s Garmin”(cliché gents- Lol!!!!)
Dave M did his own thing and Mike G was on a mission, checking out a route for an Audax he is organising ( best of luck with that mate). Dave P and Liz set off on their own journey, as the threat of heavy rain seemed to give him the Heebie-Jeebies. Rumour has it, he was worried about a possible short circuit on his DIY electric drive- just kidding Dave- Lol.
So, the final group consisted of :
Dave H, Steve T, Alan, Peter, Keith, Elwyn, Fiona, Mike, Andy and Ray ( took a bit to remember all, but I got there in the end, without any help-Lol).
No sooner had we left Alison’s when the rain started (think we managed to cross the A41) It certainly wasn’t long after that when I heard Fiona pipe up about her wet jacket, which started a ripple through the peleton and all of a sudden it was all stop.
We settled into our wet stride, through Carden Park and on to Tilston. Across the road at the Carden Arms, heading for ‘No Man’s Heath’. Once there, we crossed the A41, via a dead end pathway, as I fancied a nice little hill (we had ridden long enough on the flat- Lol)
We meandered around Malpas and Cholmondeley, via some very nice lanes, as I was trying to get the mileage to a nice number, before our lunch stop. This was not missed by Dave H, who twigged we were going around in circles (almost - it was a horse shoe - Lol)
Not long after Cholmondeley, I think the rain finally stopped, although the roads were so wet by now, it didn’t matter much. However, it did mean that we were drip dry, if not fully dry, by the time we got to ‘The Swan’
We settle into the Swan, which was unusually quiet, for a welcome lunch that didn’t take too long to arrive. The prime conversation seemed to revolve around the food and the poor value for money, as the portions were very small, although good quality, a single slice of bread with some prawns on and a spoonful of salad, literally, for £9:50 is a bit much. I think most were regretting not having the fish finger bap, that Andy had.
In an effort to distract the conversation from the lacking food, I mention the documentary about Costco (on TV the night before) which concluded that the business model was very clever and great value for shoppers. Surprisingly though, they apparently make all their profit just from the membership fees, as the food is genuinely great value. Fiona & I both confirmed that fact, as regulars. Suffice it to say, there was plenty of interest in how one gains membership, in these inflationary times.
Anyway, lunch now over and fully dry, we set off, but only 50 metres, as Dave H insisted on showing everybody the pond, behind the church - Lol ( ok Dave, it was a very pretty & surprisingly large mere- hidden gem in fact)
This became the perfect opportunity for a team photo, thanks to Alan.
Finally we set off again and can you believe, yet more rain/drizzle, although it didn’t last long and soon we were taking off our wet jackets.
Our route back to Alison’s, as promised, was direct via Bickerton and Brown Knowl, in order to take the easy way around Harthill.
It was at the Cholmondeley crossing when we had our first departures. Fiona, Elwyn & Ray needed to get home, so they pushed on ahead, once I had set them on the correct course as Elwyn has trouble finding the bathroom in his own house and he was the architect who designed it- Lol.
It was only a few more miles when we lost Peter, who decided to turn right at Bickerton ( not sure where he was heading, as I thought he lived in Malpas?).Two miles down the road, heading up Brown Knowl, we say goodbye to Alan, who had parked in Holt. He was cutting across, behind the sandstone ridge of Peckforton, heading for Tilston. Meanwhile we carried on up, toward what I like to call ‘Harthill by-pass’- which comes out on the other side of Harthill, leaving a nice fast descent into Tattenhall.
Back in Tattenhall and I still had 6 riders in the group, which I reckon was a record for me- Lol. I turn left down Frog Lane for my last mile home, leaving the rest to find Alison’s only a few hundred metres away.
For once my ride was a short one of only 43 miles, being as Alison’s is my local cafe.
Despite my wettest ride since last year, it was still enjoyable thanks to the temperature and the fact that there were no punctures or misadventures. The only issues I was aware of was my annoying rubbing mudguard and Fiona’s dropped chain, otherwise all good.
Thanks everybody for an enjoyable day with a few good laughs, all in good jest- Lol!!!!!!