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Group Rideout - November 2016

The ending of British Summertime and the retracing of one hour on the clocks, means that our ride outs now start half an hour later, setting off at 10am instead of 9.30. This might seem counter intuitive, but is for good reason. The extra half hour allows for any frost to have more of a chance of disappearing and November’s ride proved the point, with temperatures at around 4-6 degrees.

However, on arrival at Eccleshall Fire Station, it soon started to become apparent that the chill in the air was not putting folks off. One by one they arrived, Graded riders, Associates, "newbies", and the odd ex member. In total 18 bikes turned up. Now that’s a large group and immediately discussions began about splitting the group in two, since past experiences had shown that large groups become unwieldy. Although the cut off for halving the group is usually 20, it was decided to ride the first part as a whole, then make a decision at the first café stop.

The day’s leader was Patrick Turnbull, who had come well prepared with a route map and notes, plus a few copies to hand out. Wales was our destination, and after a quick briefing the group set off. "Weedfree" and Irene picked up the tail end and off we set .

The first part had a few damp roads and the odd spit of rain, but nothing to worry about. Patrick lead us off into the wilds of Wales via Woore, (‘' What is it good for? Absolutely nothing” .... flash back to 1970!!),then Audlem, round Whitchurch and off into the wilds of Wales and the morning tea stop at Holt. The café was heaving with pedal cyclists so it took a while for everyone to get sorted. This did however, give myself and Jon Cooke, chance to make a decision on splitting the group. The decision was made and a small group of mainly graded riders was sent off to find their own way, lead by Jon, so off they headed for the Gliding club café on the ‘’Slug’’ ( Longmynd),

The main group then set up behind Patrick, to continue the planned route. Now down to about 11 bikes, it was much more manageable, and meant the pace was good.. Following some nice roads the group finally arrived at Ruthin for lunch. OH DEAR!! Someone had decided to turn the café into an Indian! After a quick scout round to see what other options there were ( none!!), it was decided to head for the Ponderosa, about 12 miles away, and guaranteed to have some good grub. Mind you, as we climbed up the Horseshoe Pass you could feel the temperature dropping. Needless to say everyone filled their bellies, ready for the return home. Fed and watered we headed back, and as the time was pressing on, due to the unexpected reroute to the Ponderosa, it was decided not to have an afternoon break, but just carry on home to Eccleshall.

The journey back was well planned, and rather than doing the A5 route, we followed Patrick down the more scenic roads, arriving back at a reasonable hour to allow everyone to head home.

All in all, it was a great day out, and many thanks to Patrick's hard work in organising the route. The decision to split the group worked very well, and although it was below our usual threshold of 20 bikes, it was the correct decision. Thanks therefore go to Jon Cooke for organising and leading the second group.

If this fires you up, then why not join us for the next Social ride, in January. ( weather permitting of course).

Ride safe!

Gary

(Can I just add a big thanks to everyone who came out to this ride and for all the thanks expressed to me for organising. Patrick)


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