This post and route may prove to be one of the most popular parts of the site .
The Eureka Cafe and the Ice Cream Farm are two of the most popular cycling destinations in Cheshire and runs like this are done by hundreds if not thousands of cyclists each year.
It is an easy, flat run and can be done by anyone who could cycle 20 odd miles before needing a break.
I had another decent run to the start at the Eureka Cafe with the Garmin Edge 305 signaling the turns about 30 yards before they came up. This device is proving to be superb toy for the likes of me with more features coming out of it all the time.
Back to the ride, 10 o’clock sees two groups assembling across the road for the ride. I have a digital camera this week and it proves as problimatical as the phone camera I have used in the past. This shot should have been really crisp but for whatever reason it wasn’t.
Annabels group headed out down church lane to towards Ledsham and Capenhurst in the direction of Ellesmere Port and Cheshire Oaks. We were on the cycle lane and everything was OK untill we hit Cheshire Oaks. Here the Sunday morning shoppers were streaming into the estate as if they were about to miss the opening of a January sale. I had this thought that if we’d jumped on to the road at the roundabouts we would have been through there in no time and had right of way to boot. I was thinking of hot scones getting cold at the Ice Cream Farm.
The ride down past Stanlow was a bit bleak, it’s a fast road that is a lot quieter these days, with a white line for a cycle lane. Just as well the wind was blowing in the right direction . Things brightened up a bit when we turned off at the sign for The Gowy Landfill Site. We had a stop further on to pay our respects to the dead of two world wars I’d forgotten it was Rememberance Sunday.
It was a poingant moment. The picture was taken before we observed the silence.
After the stop it was back on the bikes an onwards towards the Ice Cream Farm.
I’m starting to recognise some of the places and routes now so I have a rough idea of where I am.
I took a gamble with weather in going out on “The Toy”, it didn’t pay off as it started to rain and it was another short stop to don some rain gear. It was a drizzle that gets right through stuff that is labelled showerproof. Worse was to come, further on the road is covered with mud and slurry and there is no getting around this mess.
The fluorescent jacket gets plastered yet again and I’ve only myself to blame.
I decide to ride off the front which is where the next picture is taken from.The rain then stops.
As we get near the Ice Cream Farm I decide to have a good go at the only hill of any sorts on the route, the one over the canal. It also gave me the opportunity to take the next shot which was the group arriving at the Ice Cream Farm.
It was busy in the cafe with a lot of faces that I recognised from the visits to the Eureka Cafe and other groups from around Cheshire. Kev had made it there but without Bob or Charlie. I had a chicken tikka baguette for lunch and it was really good. Don’t know how it would fit in with the eating plan but it came with a small salad and was washed down with a couple of cups of tea from the pot that Ray had bought. Thanks Ray.
Lunch over it was time to assemble outside and head off back to Chester.
It was acroos the crossroads and down Newton lane towards Gatesheath, Hatton Heath and Bruera. Then it was along Chapel Lane to Saighton where it was an uncontested sprint up the hill to where the road splits. This is the same hill that George dropped Ray and I a couple of weeks ago.
From Saighton it was down the road where we picked up the canal towpath at Waverton.
It was a bit of a juggling act trying to stay on the path whilst taking pictures but they came out better than expected. Things were going well when lo and behold Margaret picks up a puncture, our first and last of the day. It couldn’t have been Margarets lucky day again as she picked a puncture up on the Abbey Arms ride as well. We all know about trouble coming in three,s so be warned for the next run everybody. It could have been Phils fault for not getting the thorn out properly from the first puncture!
It should have been sorted in double quick time with all this help standing around.
It doesn’t get much flatter than a canal towpath. I took a couple of pictures from the back of the group and this is probably one of the best. We also past the site of a swans nest in the summer they were quite active in protecting their young, pecking out at everything that came near. The nest was about 6 foot from the path.
The towpath under the road near Focus DIY has had its surface leveled with tarmac and is a lot better than it used to be. It was like riding on a jackhammer originally. Once in Chester we picked up the cycle path and then it was back on a well travelled route to Woodbank. The A5117 improvement are about to start and where there was a central reservation last week there is now a 6 inch drop onto limestone foundations by the look of it. I had another go at Woodbank lane. This time it was to get in position for another picture. It didn’t come out too good as the focus was set to infinity and isn’t worth adding another 85kb to this post.
Back at the Eureka Cafe it was another cup of tea and an oat flapjack for me and a chat with the other riders. Then it was back down the Chester High Road on Phil,s wheel until the turn off for Willaston. It was back through Thornton Hough picking up Route 56 and finally up Rest Hill where the Garmin announced I was approaching the summit.
Another great day out, I even saw a couple of new places I hadn’t been before.
Thanks to Annabel for leading the ride.