CTC Ride to Holt (Bellis,s Garden Centre)

The first ride of the year was an impromptu one, those that turn up decide where to go on the day. Normally this would probably be the Ice Cream farm but we understood it to be closed today so it turned out to be Bellis,s Garden Centre at Holt. This was a new venue for me  and I had no idea it was at Holt.

This was my first proper ride since the fall and a chance to see if I’m up to doing the Audax at the end of the month.  The ride out to the Eureka Cafe went OK, giving me a chance to see if the new cassette (12,28) on the back would make any difference. It might be another year but it was breakfast as usual. Margaret and Phil were there, it was Margarets first time out for about three months after she had broken her wrist. Janet was back from her cycling holiday in Costa Rica ( I think) and also had had a fall.

There were 8 on the ride John, Janet, Margaret, Graham, Brian, George, Annabel and moi.
It was nearly 7 as Margaret,s bike needed attention for a loose seatpost. I was just packing the multitool away in the saddle bag with the bike leaning against the bus shelter, turned around and they were gone. Still in sight, it was a quick bit of pedaling to catch up.

First Ride of the Year

It was down Woodbank a left turn and across the A5117 multi million pound Newt bypass.
Here I had to stop to tighten up a loose bottle cage so it was another catch up job. It started to rain too and some stopped to don rainwear. Margaret and Graham left to go into Chester as the rest of us headed to the Dee crossing at Saltney (footbridge). It was a drink stop on the other side.
Out of Saltney towards Bretton John went over a small puddle that concealed a pothole. If it happened to me the jolt would have set me back a bit.

Then it was on to Dodleston, Pulford right at the tee towards Rosset and then left on to the Rosset road towards Holt. Left at another tee and into the square at Holt.
Right here and Bellis,s is a couple of hundred yards down the road. I’ve never been here before but the first thing that struck me were the signs saying don’t park Bicycles virtually anywhere. Same goes for the shop. The bike gets parked up against a wall on the far side of the carpark. Obviously something has happened in the past. But they could do themselves some favours by putting up a bar similar to the Eureka.  You’d get six to eight bikes in the same space as one of the 4×4 that dotted the carpark.

STI levers aren’t cheap and I like to keep an eye on my bike, not have it shoved aginst a wall in the back of beyond. Any way the place isn’t bad Garden Centres are not  my particular cup of tea. The cafe is busy and we get the last table for six. Linda from the Sunlight joins us. She has had to stop for something to eat and the group had gone on without her. Janet mentioned about upgrading to a carbon framed bike, well Linda has a Trek Maddone WSD similar to mine, we both said how much we loved going out on them.

George was a bit more sceptical “Whats the difference, how can you tell”. Well there is a difference, I felt the same way about the Colnago Carbitubo and I didn’t know it was carbon fibre untill it broke.  Everything is a bit smoother and you can pick the thing up with one finger. The winter bike although good just isn’t the same. It may be the wheels as George suggested but the wheels on the Iceni came off the Colnago.
Chicken baguette with a pot of tea for me, I’d just cycled 18 miles for it. I’m increasingly aware of how large we have become as a nation, there were a fair number of big people in there, the furthest they walked must have been the fifty yards through the store. I was in the same position and realise just how little most are doing. I litterally did nothing. Anyway the bill was £6. No picture this week as the baguette at The Swan is going to take some beating.

Bellis,s Cycle Rack!.jpg

It was light rain when we set off again, I was riding around in circles in the carpark with the Garmin Edge 305 bleeping away at me. As I had pressed the start button to log the ride again it was counting my circumnavigation of the carpark as training laps. Four laps later we set off back into Holt. It looks like Paul Burrells Flower Shop has closed in Holt village square, pity really as it sort of put Holt on the map.
Now its a garden centre with no cycle parking.

Down the hill from Holt the lights are on red for the River Dee crossing. For those that don’t know it this is a picture postcard bridge that links Holt on one side of the river and Farndon on the other. There is only one lane and it’s controlled by traffic lights on either side. Feeling in good form I position myself in pole position at the lights aware of the car I heard coming up probably wants to beat us to the chicane.

I fly across the bridge at over 20mph the speed dropping as I hit the hill on the Farndon side its still 16-17mph as I tackle the climb to the junction. I stop for a blow as by this time the heartrate has hit 160 bpm and look back to see the car come slowly past some seconds later. The gradient is 6 to 8% so its about 1:12 in old money. As you can gather I’m having a great time.

We are following the road to Churton and then on to Aldford. After Bruera I see the climb to the tower at Saighton in the distance. Determined not to be beaten again by George I take off, well its flat on the run up and the Garmin says 22mph dropping as I hit the climb. This was a full on effort and the garmin has it logged as 177 BPM. Next one along is George which is good going as he is 72. Its pretty much straight on to Huntington past the Rake and Pikel. Avoiding the Jungle we stay on the B5130 with views over the River Dee to our left. Another sprint up the hill that has a park at the top of it. There were two grey squirrels here when I stopped for a few seconds.

It’s around the back of the Bike Factory, follow the canal for 200 metres across the bridge and work our way to the cycle path. This is by far the best route to get back to the Eureka. You only see traffic on the road you pick up on the outskirts of Blacon. Back up Woodbank to the Eureka for a picture of John and Annabel turning in.

John and Annabel Finish.jpgFinish2.jpgFinish3.jpg

Tea and flapjack in the Eureka, Linda made it back with the Sunlight, Graham and Margaret made it back. Met Roy and Joan and started talking about Audaxes, he put me onto the CTC events. I asked about Joans Giro helmet which they got from Deeside. I’ve just learnt that they have ceased trading which is a pity as I was only in there the other week. Looks like I will have to go further afield for that Colnago Extreme C that I dream about.

I followed Roy and Joan to Willaston, they ride at a respectable 16-17 mph or did do until Roy,s Cateye computer bounced down the road. This computer has nine lives as it fell off when Roy dragged me off Moel Famau when the Toy broke. Luckily there was no passing traffic when it was retrieved otherwise it would have ended up as roadkill 1 on the stats.

The front light gets switched on after Willaston and it’s the full 15 watts at Brimstage. Up RestHill on the lowered gearing the Garmin gets stopped at the top.
55 Miles, it’s been a good day out and a good start to 2007. Thanks everyone.

Link to Google Map of Ride opens in new window.

I don’t know why it has uploaded the section from RestHill to the Eureka as I have gone to some trouble to delete that data, along with software updates, hardware updates to boot.

Eureka-Bellis,s-Eureka 37.1 miles
2167 Calories burnt. Max heartrate 178 BPM. Average heartrate 130 BPM.
Average speed 12 mph. Max speed 25.2 mph.

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