Chief Exec Paul takes to his tandem to discover the cycling treasures of Cheshire
Early autumn sunshine replaced the morning storm clouds just in time for the start of the rides, to the delight of the 40 or so who took part.
The event takes place alternately in Cheshire and in North Wales. This year, Paul and Wendy were introduced to the quiet lanes, sandstone villages and rustic scenery of Cheshire.
The rides started at Walk Mill, a restored mill near Chester – and a venue which was Chester and North Wales CTC’s 2015 ‘Cafe of the Year’.
Here, some of the group’s riders from the farthest reaches of North Wales gathered with others more locally based for ‘CTC’ – coffee, tea and cakes (made with the organic flour produced at the mill).
If they didn’t know it already, Paul and Wendy quickly discovered the essence of the rides is sociability. Speed and distance are immaterial, and riders are encouraged to ride with others they might not normally meet. There is considerable overlap between the two routes – one slightly longer than the other – to cater for all abilities.
Soon riders were passing through the Duke of Westminster’s peaceful estate village of Aldford, just south of Chester, before heading through traffic-free lanes to the village of Tilston. Those on the longer route detoured through Malpas with its lovely sandstone church before gathering at Tilston for lunch.
The huge spread at lunch left nobody hungry and gave further opportunity for Paul to meet a number of the group’s hard-working members and to share ideas with them on the way forward for Cycling UK.
The lunch break also saw the presentation of the President’s Trophy, donated by the mother of late President Graham Mills, who died suddenly in 2007.
Current President Mike Cross awarded the trophy to long-standing member Reg Waud, who played a major part in the design of Chester and North Wales CTC’s tops and, more recently, lovingly restored a rare cast-iron CTC ‘Winged Wheel’ sign which is now preserved in a transport museum.
Cycling UK Chief Exec Paul said: “It was a real pleasure to ride with the Chester and North Wales CTC on our Galaxy tandem. The route was superb and Wendy was grateful that it was flat in comparison to our Kent rides!
“President Mike Cross gave a wonderfully engaging speech and lunch was perfect. Meeting up with cyclists from one of our member groups ON their bikes is great fun. I was speaking with one member while Wendy behind chatted with another. Tandems are so sociable!
“At lunch we met members whose enthusiasm and drive to share the gift of cycling was a joy to behold. I can’t wait to do another.”