Saturday, 19 March 2011

Xtra ladies ride for Cycle Chester Spring Challenge

There is something psychologically uplifting when you escape on a sunny Saturday afternoon in early spring. As the first daffodils and blossom were appearing an extra ladies ride was planned, to coincide with and indeed compliment the Chester Spring Cycle Challenge.

3 regulars joined 3 new faces (and me!) at the cafe for a cuppa, before deciding where to head.

With a plan to head for Okells near Duddon, we set off along the Greenway. Flo had already forewarned us that there had clearly been horses on the greenway earlier, and as we set off I pointed out warnings of the excrement adorning the track (as a warning for it to be avoided - see 'rider communications' tab!) - which was merrily conveyed back along the group with cries of 'poo!'. It just confirmed to me the sense of freedom and jollity that the ladies were experiencing!

After crossing the A51, and tootling around some lanes, I decided to take the route along the packhorse bridges, at Hockenhall Platts. I do think it is pretty there (and is actually managed by Cheshire Wildlife Trust) and this afternoon the sun was sparkling on the Gowy, sending shimmering reflections up under the arch of the central bridge. Some recognised the area from previous photos, especially the one that recently appeared in the CTC magazine.

One small hold up on the bridleway as Lorraine's chain jumped off. At the end of the track I was caught out by a short spur of dead end with a stile - so a brief re-trace was called for. Googlemaps on my phone to the rescue!

The cake selection at Okells was very good (although not surpassing the 50p shop - see March blog posting).

The sun stayed out for our return journey, direct back to Waverton where Flo turned off for home, and then along the canal, where we parted at Christleton, so I could call in to my Sister in law to borrow a Portuguese phrasebook!

18 miles of welcome early spring sun!

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Merry March and 50p's

11 of us gathered at Kingsway this morning, two new faces, one returning cyclist from New Zealand, and several of the usual gang.  As I have said before, different every time!  I did not subject the ladies to a parting photo this morning, although I do like to start each posting with one.

Swans on canal near Christleton
 We wended our way to the canal, and on to Waverton. I did stop to take a photo, but by then we were so spread out, it took me ages to catch the leading ladies - which I did only just before Waverton.  We re-grouped (and then I got my group photo!) and headed out on Common Lane to Old Waverton.  I suddenly remembered I had promised to call for someone in Waverton, so had to park the ladies on the side while I popped round the corner - but she was not able to join us anyway so we pottered on.

Over Golden Nook Bridge (always a sudden pull) and I held the pace so that everyone could catch up.  However, I realised that I was missing three so we waited a few moments before the Hargrave I sent the main group ahead to the 50p shop and retraced to the bridge.  Oh dear still no sign - check my mobile.  Sure enough, missed call from Moira - called her back.  They had taken the scenic route via Hargrave, and had been coming along the side lane and seen us - just as I had sent the others on! 

Anyway, I doubled back again, and caught the adventurous three shortly after the Farmers Arms, and we all continued to the 50p shop.

Christine and her lovely cakes!

What a lovely array of cakes greeted us - with Christine's warm welcome!  And what delights awaited in the 50p shop! The ladies all took turns to peruse the bargains and came out with saddlebags and panniers bulging!  - with promises to return soon (with bigger bags!).

We split into smaller groups for the fairly direct return past Walk Mill and the Crocky Trail, as some wanted to get back sooner, some were a little faster, and I held back with slightly slower ladies to make sure no-one got lost!

19 miles.

We were back just in time to catch Dr.Bike at new Scene where there had been some cycle training and information to do with the Spring Cycle Challenge starting this week and running for two weeks.  It is there again for the next two Saturdays, with an extra ladies ride next Saturday afternoon, if anyone would like to join us!
Angela meets Celia from BikeBoost!