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Social Ride-out March 2020

Staffordshire Advanced Riders March 2020 Ride: North Shropshire Switchback and the Ceiriog Valley. The March 2020 Ride was blessed with bright sunshine with a couple squally showers. The Ride was lead by Roger Leath, and keeping us all together was John “Yam” Hampton. Like all good things, preparation is really important, and for the March ride Mary and Mark at the Red Lion were in top form. We were greeted with a roaring log fire in the grate and steaming mugs of tea and coffee were on the bar. The smell of freshly cooked bacon was soon in the air as a slow stream of riders joined us for this months ride. Soon the bar was filled with mix of leather, Hi-vis and Helmets and banter as we tucked into a variety of breakfast goodies. At 10 am we were all saddled up, 15 bikes made our way out onto the open road. Quickly across the Staffordshire border and away down the A41, before turning off at Chetwynd and heading down the single track to Edgmond. Picking up the B5062 we were soon heading west. Hardly any traffic about this morning but plenty of standing water as we followed the twisty road out to Shawbury. At the lights in the village we changed direction and made for the lovely town of Wem. A great road with a mixture of sweeping bends and tight corners. The route Roger had chosen took us through the villages of Loppington and English Frankton before sweeping back to Whitchurch. A short jaunt down the A41 again and we were back on the twistys out of Grindley Brook. From here the tarmac snakes in and out of the Shropshire / Welsh border through Threpwood and Worthenbury. Another direction change, this time we’re off up to Bangor on Dee. Huge areas of farmland are deep under water here as the river Dee has overtopped its banks and rolled out over the flat plains. We negotiated a section that was under at least 150mm of water for over 100 meters, then change again, this time heading south through Overton then a maze of roads took us across country to St.Martins. Here some bikes with smaller tanks took on fuel and we said goodbye to three riders who’d only secured a half day pass. Re formed and back on the road we made the short ride down the road to Chirk and the fabulous Caffi Wylfa. Here we joined a gaggle of cyclists adorned head to foot in multi coloured Lycra........Poor Yam didn’t know where to look !!! Refreshing drinks and a selection of lovely homemade cakes later we were back out on the road, turning right out of the cafe. Now this is the B4500, an excellent little trail that dances along the Valley floor alongside the fast flowing River Cerirog. The steep valley covered in a mix of broadleaf and conifers brightly lit in the sunshine. The road twists and turns along the riverside and up to the small village of Glyn Cerirog. Turning left we picked up the brilliant single track of the B4579 which rises steeply up the Valley side. up and up we go, traces of snow here over the steep roadside fields. Spectacular views open out on the left as we look out across the flat north Shropshire countryside. Then we head down gently into Oswestry, slowly sneaking around the town we pick up a short section of the A5 before nipping off to the left to Babbinswood and then the historic Whittington with its castle ruins surrounded by glistening water. Changing direction again , this time we’re off to Ellesmere along the traffic free A495 with long sections of dry sweeping tarmac to enjoy. Through Ellesmere and alongside the Mere we head out of town on the A528 with the county town of Shrewsbury firmly in Rogers sights. As we neared the town we changed direction again along the A49 before picking up our old favourite B5062 back towards the east. At Haughmond hill we called in at that great little cafe nestled among the Forestry Commissions trees. A haven for families, dog walkers alike, we settled down for warm drinks and more banter. We would be losing some of our riders here so said goodbyes and gloved hands shaken. The remaining riders heading briskly east, crossing the A442 by the site of the former Dairy Crest Creamery, we made short work of the final leg to the Deer Park entrance on the outskirts of Newport. Another excellent twisty ride from Roger and Yam. Thanks Guys....... looking forward to the next one.

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