Sunday, 19 January 2014

Second January ride

This year, we have added some rides to the Chester CTC itinerary, mostly a second ride per month during the winter months,to bring it equal to the 'summer' months rides.  Today, third Sunday in January was the first of these 'extra' rides; and what a beautiful day it was!  Despite continued deluges in previous days and weeks - widespread flooding for much of the country and flood warnings still in place - the morning dawned with broken cloud and a watery sunrise.

13 met at the pond, and set off following John to Rose Farm at Utkinton.

Heading out through Christleton

Crossing the Gowy

Nearly there!

Getting ready to leave - just look at that sky now!

John led a faithful 6 to The Star at Acton,near Nantwich.

A few of us headed back after coffee, giving a morning total of 17 miles back to the pond.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

January Social

Through the winter months, between September and April, Dave kindly organises a social night for us, to keep the Wednesday summer evenings spirit alive!  It is also an opportunity for potential new riders to come and meet us, and make new friends.

Stu, Nick and Martin (new face)
The first one for 2014 was to Kash, a micro brewery small pub at the end of Brook Street and just off Hoole Bridge. 

Dave, Bob and I headed out on the circuit first, before heading in at The Bars to Kash, joining Nick and
Martin who were already there.

The pub had a very strong hoppy yeasty smell, which you became accustomed to after a wee while.

A very good turn out, and very strong beer!  I stuck to the Cider, safest bet.  The artwork was superb around the pub walls, apparently painted by the owners son.  Should've taken more pics!

Sunday, 5 January 2014

New Year Revolutions

I was not going to post a date for a ride on the 5th Jan, so close after new year and the new years day ride.  It is a good job Dave persuaded me and offered to lead an easy spin out over
Bob shining like a beacon
in his orange jacket,
fluorescent piping abounding!
the Burton Marshes to Thurstaston, as 17 riders turned up!

I had thought we could maybe take up brief residence in the cafe to the north of the Town Hall Square (Coffee Crusade, I think it is or was called) - but it was closed, so plan B was MacDonalds, which I thought of as we circled the square.  Two small coffees and a double espresso later and Bob, Dave and I found some seats to wait.  It was a good spec, as we could see people arrive, and soon a little crowd had formed ready to set off.

Despite an icy start, the temperature warmed enough to see off the frost, and the Greenway was not as slippy as was feared.  We met Jo-anne and Nosheen on the greenway; as we joined the cycle superhighway (shared bike path!) we paused for effect; I took some photos and Bob, Dave and someone else tried to fix Sue's front gear - it was a little worrying when they resorted to banging it!

Colourful pile mid picture is large pile
of rubbish brought in by high tides

We carried on over the blue bridge, through Deeside industrial estate and to the Marshes, past the sandstone bluff at Burton Point and along to Nets cafe.  On the way we could see piles of grass, later strewn all over the path, and also a large collection of huge gas bottles, pallets, stuff and bits that had been floated in on two recent very high tides in December.

The path was nearly impassible further on!

We stopped for refreshments at Nettys cafe, Denhall Fisheries.  It is lovely here in the summer...but Sunday was very cold, and as we sat inside the rain started to come down outside, accompanied by a stiff breeze.  

Going to the outside loo was no small feat!

After we had finished I sensed a reluctance to go back outside in to the now rain and wind - although it did not seem as bad as had been forecast - and head on along to the Wirral way.

The Wirral way was very muddy and dirty, and the few without mudguards turned their thought to how they were going to sit down in the pub - if even allowed in!  Fortunately they were wearing shorts under their longs, so were allowed in!
The power of mudguards!

A very pleasant lunch enjoyed by all at the Cottage Loaf, run by a cyclist from Chester.  As he had never heard of Chester CTC I wasted no time in taking his email, and Dave and Bob filled him in on all the activities we get up to.

Heading back out, we were faced with a two mile slow climb, now into a headwind, through Irby and Pensby.  By the time we got to Raby, via Thornton Hough, a few people needed a comfort stop (I suspect the beer had worked its way through for a few individuals!)

It was clear that the Tuesday evenings Dave has spent with the Willaston rides were not wasted as he led us effortlessly through to Willaston and then Ledsham, and to the Hosta cafe.  Cake all round!  Bob said to me on the last run into Ledsham, that it was  a shame I had not taken many pictures.  No, only 36 by lunch!

Some more pictures of the day...

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Happy New Year 2014!

New Year, and inevitable new years resolutions...almost regardless of the weather!  And the forecast for the start of 2014 was wet and windy, getting wetter and windier!

It was certainly wet.  I met Sarah at the pond, and slowly others arrived.  It is always slow on New Years Day, usually due to the late night preceding  it!  Eventually 7 of us gathered - with Dave on his way after night shift shuffling trains.  As it was so wet, we set off without a starting photo, knowing Dave would soon be with us.

Sure enough, Bob came alongside after a mile, saying he had a text and may need to check his phone in case it was Dave - as Dave appeared at my other side.

We had a quick photo and phone stop in Churton, a chance to wring out my gloves and change into my ski mits, and carried straight on to Tilston - no variations today with a roaring and gusty headwind.  

Fortunately the fires were ablaze at the Carden Arms, so we were able to drape gloves and coats around in an attempt to dry them out.  A hearty stew, chips and crusty bread was just the ticket to revive us, along with a pint or two!

After catching up with other groups (Wrexham, Harry, Family Wright!), and with the rain stopped and the wind on our tails, we put back on the damp clothing and set off again, back to Chester (with a very pleasant stop at John's conservatory on our way back)

Sue wringing her gloves out!

Stew, beer and friends!

Lowri receives her award for CTC Competition

Ready to set off on the journey home