Day 3: Gran Canaria -A longer and much hillier ride out to San Bartolome in the mountains


Today’s plan was to head off along the coast towards the airport, before turning off up into the mountains to Santa Lucia and then San Bartolome, returning via Fataga.

Just the 3 of us today as Helen had opted to stay around the hotel and relax. A nice ride out through Maspalpmas and towards the airport, stopping at a garage along the way to top up with water and fuel snacks.


Then we headed up into the mountains. I quickly did my usual and totally ran out of breath and had to stop to catch it. After a time or two doing this, I caught up with the others who talked me through their breath control on hills. I tried this as soon as I set back off and it worked a treat and I didn’t get out of breath again.


In Santa Lucia, we quickly stopped for a pastry at this lovely little cafe before carrying on. Once in San Bartolome we were hungry so stopped at another cafe for beer and the local vegetable soup, which was delicious.

We’d done the hard work now and it was pretty much all downhill to the hotel. After Fataga through, the road kicked up to a view point overlooking the coast and we got the fab photo below of me climbing up to it.

IMG_0397.jpgBack at the hotel we did the usual thing of showers, drinks, dinner and a few more drinks. A fab ride in amazing countryside.

Route: click here



Day 2: Gran Canaria – our first ride


Nicole and I headed down to the Free Motion bike rental shop after breakfast. It was about a mile walk along the front and really nice to get a feel for what is where.

The rental was really easy and quick and I was soon on my way with a top of the range Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi Mod Dura Ace 2 bike. A to die for bike and the best one Free Motion do.


The others were waiting for us when we returned to the hotel and we wasted no time getting out on our ride – an easy(ish) 20 mile round trip to Ayagaures to the north of the hotel in the mountains, up a windy road to the top and then back along the top to Meloneras.

What a fab ride – some lovely scenery and a nice introduction to the mountains which would follow in the days to come. On the way we popped up to a vantage point overlooking a lake and took the photo at the top of this page.


Back in Meloneras we were all hungry so retired to a nice Italian on the front for pasta and beer. Gary and myself then decided to do the loop again, this time in reverse.

Off we set. This way round felt much harder as the road initially kicked up pretty steeply and it was later in the afternoon by now and very hot, with virtually no wind.


Once back at the hotel we all went off for showers before meeting up for dinner and a few drinks.

Route: click here

Day 1: Gran Canaria – travelling


Four of us Nova Raiders were on the trip: Nicole, Helen, Gary and me.

We’d all arrived at the Clayton Hotel at Manchester Airport last night and after a few drinks and a nice meal (great mushroom pasta!) we retired for the night as we had to be up mega early in the morning for our 9:15 flight.

In the morning we all met up and walked out luggage over to the terminal to check in. After cleaning security we headed off for some well deserved breakfast.


Once on the Jet 2 plane we soon took off on the 4 hour 40 minute flight to Las Palmas. Not really much to report on this other than we eventually arrived after heading right down the east coast of the island and getting my first glimpse of Maspalomas, near where we were staying.


img_1952Surprisingly we walked straight through the airport as if we were domestic passengers and did not have to show out passports at all. We were soon on the transfer bus, which took an absolute age to get going and then stopped at what seemed like every hotel on the island on the way to our hotel – the H10 Playa Meloneras.


No cycling for today as it was 5pm ish when we arrived at the hotel so we had some drinks and then an evening meal at the hotel buffet restaurant (we were staying half-board, so evening meals were included). After dinner we retired to the reception bar for cocktails.

The cycling begins in the morning!


Midweek ride out to Dearnford Lake, before going to Gran Canaria this weekend


I’m off to Gran Canaria with some other Raiders this weekend for a week of cycling the hills this Sunday. Today looks like the only chance I’ll get for a ride this week, so decided to go for my usual 55 mile round trip to Dearnford Lake cafe and back via Newport.

A very chilly day but the sun came out after a short while and I was wrapped up warm for it, so not a problem. An uneventful ride up to the cafe and they had my favourite cake, Latte cake with Ginger sprinkles on, so that was another bonus!


After the cafe, I got stuck in roadworks for a while as they are resurfacing the A525 to the south of Whitchurch (the really rough bit of road that goes over the railway line and has needed looking at for ages!). About time!

Once I was on my way I headed the usual way down through Brown Moss Nature Reserve and onwards to Newport via Market Drayton. Once back in Newport I popped into the New Inn for some refreshments and a warm up in front of the log fire.


On the way down Shay Lane I bumped into Andrew Sowka from the club, but later wrote the following on the Raiders Facebook page (loved it!):

A Travellers Tale (part 2).
A few weeks ago, some of you may recall me meeting a wise man travelling the highway.
Today , I encountered him AGAIN! ……..
I spotted him from quite a distance away, this redoubtable bearded traveller dressed in distinctive garb.
Deciding to renew our acquaintance, I pulled over to the side of the road.
‘Hello again, o wise one. Tell me, have you had a good journey, and also have you refreshed your Soul from the Chalice of Dearnford?’
A wry smile and a twinkle in the eye, told me I had guessed correctly!
‘My child ‘, he replied. ‘The road I have travelled was long and hazardous. For this is the Lane known as Shay, and it has many many pitfalls. However, I knew I would encounter you here, for I have important news to impart!
‘Oh’, says I. ‘Pray tell ,I beg of you!’
‘The time has come for me to leave this place’, said the wise journeyman. ‘I entrust your care to another, the reliable Canon Dale.’
I was stunned! ‘But where are you going?’ I implored.
‘My destiny is for me to be raised to a higher place’, he announced in all seriousness.
‘You mean your going to …your being raised to Heaven?’
‘No’, chuckled the traveller. ‘ I’m off to Gran Canaria to climb some mountains on my bike!’
And with that, John Rooke engaged his Di2 gears, and rode off into the distance.

It was then a short 8 mile ride home to get on with some work!

Another fab ride out and 55 miles in the bag too.

Route: click here

Sunday club ride is off today as we’re all doing the Wrekinsport Reliability ride!


We cancelled the normal Sunday 50 mile ride today as Jon and myself were both going to do the Wrekinsport Reliability ride, starting at Wellington Leisure Centre.

I was going to ride down to the start from home, but it was icy cold and there was ice on the lanes so I got a lift down to the start. I soon met up with fellow Raiders, registered and went off to get ready to start.

The course was a 58.5 mile look up to Market Drayton and then onwards to Audlem, Whitchurch, Wem and back to the start, via High Ercall.

Our group set off with about 10-15 of us and kept a really good pace, swapping turns on the front to keep everyone’s legs fresh. Part of the reliability ride is to not stop for refreshments anywhere so we all brought what we needed with us. It was a nightmare going right past my favourite cafe at Dearnford Lake though!

After the ride we stopped for a nice coffee in the leisure centre cafe before I headed back to the New Inn in Newport for a few refreshments with some other Raiders. I ended the day with just over 75 miles on the clock. Not bad at all for this time of year!

A great day out which was really good fun!

Route: click here

Midweek ride out to Jodrell Bank Radio Telescope in Cheshire


I had hoped to do this ride last Wednesday but with the 43 mph forecast winds I wisely called it off!

This week, the weather looked much better with light winds of 2-3mph and overcast skies. A bit of very light drizzle too, but that was ok.

I advertised the ride on the Raiders Facebook group and wondered if anyone would turn up as a lot of people would be in work etc etc. Anyway, I arrived at Nova Cycles and sure enough it would be me on my own on the ride. Not a problem as I like my own company and I’d get several hours of ‘me’ time :).

I set off, heading up towards Cheswardine and then Woore, Crewe, Sandbach, Holmes Chapel and Goostrey, before arriving at Jodrell Bank. An uneventful ride up, apart from a route malfunction in Haslington, to the east of Crewe, where the Garmin was trying to take me down a non-existent road. Easily sorted though and I was back on route in no time.


The cafe at Jodrell Bank was busy with other cyclists and other people but I bagged myself a table anyway. The coffee was lovely but the cake a little dry and not up to the Dearnford Gold standard. I then stocked up with a Mars bar for the ride home and topped up my water bottle.


All too soon, I had to set off back to Newport, with the aim of arriving back before dark. The route back took me down past the Clonter Opera towards Congleton, before weaving past Mow Cop to Alsager, Audley, Madeley, Ashley and finally down Shay Lane back into Newport.

The part of the route between approximately 60-70 miles in was particularly hilly as I traversed the Maer Hills to the west of Stoke. On the plus side, I got to go past lots of lovely hidden away houses all overlooking the valleys.


Only a short 7-8 mile ride home from here, so I opted to do a recovery ride and wind down my legs after the 81 mile main ride.

Route to Jodrell Bank: click here

Route home: click here

Sunday club ride to Dearnford Lake


After the ride last Sunday we had a request to go to Dearnford Lake this week and with it being such a nice ride and a fab cafe, that decided it.

The weather was not forecast to be great but at least it was not icy and too cold. There was light rain forecast all day though and I wondered if anyone would turn up for the ride besides Jon and myself. We need not have worried though as 6 people in total arrived for the ride.

We had a nice ride out, with the only thing of note being Jon’s chain snapped just outside Wollerton, before the short climb towards Dearnford. Luckily one of the other riders had a chain tool and another one knew what to do with it! All sorted pretty quickly and we were back on our way.

IMG_1851.jpgJust before Dearnford another rider had a puncture so sorted that out over coffee and cake.

On the ride back to Newport, someone commented my back mudguard looked odd, so we stopped to take a look. The metal where it attaches to the rear brake mounting had snapped clean off! No idea what had caused that, but we ended up taking the mudguard off and leaving it in a hedge for me to pick up later.

Once back at the New Inn, myself and Jon retired for refreshments before he went home and I carried on to get another 18 or so miles as I needed 75.5 miles this week to get my 100 miles in a week Strava goal and had not been out all week due to the icy weather.

A great day out with great company and a fab route and cafe.

Route: click here

Cheshire Cat Sportive now entered


I was reminded on the Raiders Facebook page about this great looking sportive so after reading up a but more about it, I’ve just entered for the long route. This is 108.1 miles and includes several big hills, including the infamous Mow Cop climb.

I better start ramping up the training both in terms of endurance and climbing as I’ll be tested on these in the sportive I have entered. Really can’t wait to try these rides!

Route: click here

Raiders Sunday ride to the Lazy Days Cafe in Brewood


It was Jon Steer’s turn to lead the usual 50 mile ride today so I thought I’d be able to kick back and enjoy the ride without worrying too much about keeping everyone on the right route. Not quite as it turned out (but that’s ok too :))…

I rode down to Nova Cycles to meet up for the ride and was met by quite a few Raiders already there. By the time the ride was due to leave, we had 18-20 Raiders so after a quick discussion with Jon, we opted to split the group in two, with me leading a quicker 15-17 mph group and Jon leading a slower 14-15 mph group.

Off I set with my group of 12 Raiders. The route today was Duncan Maiden’s one that takes us up through Lilleshall Hall, Shifnal, Beckbury, Badger, Albrighton, Codsall to Lazy Days in Brewood and then back to Newport via Gnosall and Norbury Junction. A fab route and a bit hilly on the southern end.


We had an un-eventful ride out to Brewood, with lots of chat and a stop just outside Badger to fix a puncture. A nice cafe stop was enjoyed by all (Lazy Days is always a good stop) and we headed off back to Newport for a pint or two in the New Inn at the end of the ride.

On the way 2 riders peeled off as they needed to be home earlier so we ended up with 10 of us in Newport.

At the New Inn we caught up with Jon’s group who had been to a different cafe in Brewood (we wondered where they had got to!) and then taken a short cut home via Weston Park. Shortly afterwards we were joined by the Booze Cruise riders.

After a good old chat and a few pints I headed off home, to complete the 65 mile ride for the day.

What a fab day out – loved it!

Route: click here