Ride to the Merckx bar in Eccleshall for some Belgian beer


I arranged to meet up with Tim this afternoon for a ride to the excellent Merckx Belgian bar in Eccleshall.

We met on the lane near home and headed off on a slightly longer route to Eccleshall to get a few miles in before the beer. Quite a wind coming in from the west and a bit wet but we made good progress and I managed to crack a few Strava PB’s.


At the bar, we settled in for a few of the excellent Belgian beers. Really nice but REALLY strong. Some were getting on for 10% proof!

A great few hours and a few miles under the belt to start the week with.

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Ride out for lunch with my old mate Ged in Manchester and then home via Altrincham and Jodrell Bank. Longest ride I’ve done to date and feel fabulous!


I had not got a sportive booked this weekend as I’d decided to take a weekend off and spend *some* time with the family. That did not mean I did not want to do a 100+mile ride though, so planned a ride out to Altrincham and lunch at the Manchester Airport Visitors Centre restaurant.

As I was cycling through Childs Ercall, I saw about 20-30 Raiders coming the other way. It was the Saturday morning 9 am ride and they were headed my way, at least for a mile or two.

I joined the group and had fun catching up with friends. A mile or so later they turned left towards Stoke on Tern and I carried straight on towards Market Drayton. What a lovely surprise!


I then rode up through Audlem, Nantwich and towards Middlewich. I stopped at the usual Hopley House Farm Cafe just south of Middlewich for elevenses – coffee and cake.


After Middlewich, I was wondering if my old pal Ged, who lives in Stretford in Manchester was around so called him. He was in the middle of decorating his daughter’s bedroom but suggested I come round and we could go out for lunch at his local. Perfect!

After Tatton Park and Ashley, I amended my route to go into Hale and then through Timperley before picking up the A56 to Stretford and Ged’s house.


We had a nice lunch at The Urmston and then I headed back off on my bike. I took the usual route home from Altrincham via Mobberley, Jodrell Bank and Sandbach.


On the way back I stopped to refill with water and have a pint at the Cooper’s Arms in Woore. It was starting to get dark by now so I opted to head home via a more direct route than planned.

I ended the ride with 118.7 miles on the clock, which is the longest ride I’ve ever done. A fabulous day out on the bike and totally satisfying.

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Was only supposed to be going to Dearnford Lake! Ended up at the Fire Station Cafe in Malpas for lunch via Wales, then back via Cholomondley, Nantwich and Crewe. Feeling absolutely fabulous and my bike is now a dream after the bike fit last week!


I’d planned a quick trip out to Dearnford Lake for cake and coffee this morning but as I was cycling along my plans changed and I decided to extend and try the Grindley Brook Locks cafe just north of Whitchurch instead.

They then changed again and I decided to turn left at Tilstock and head into Wales and onwards to Malpas in Cheshire, to try the Fire Station cafe as I’d heard good things about it.


The cafe was excellent and with gorgeous food – a lovely baked potato with cheese and beans and a nice piece of cake. I then decided to head off past Cholomondley towards Nantwich and home.

At Nantwich, I decided to extend the ride yet again and ended up going via Crewe and Wybunbury.

After Wybunbury I popped in to check out yet another recommended cafe at Dagfields Antique Centre. I literally stopped for a very quick coffee before heading back on my way.


In Market Drayton, I popped into our sponsors brewery tap for a quick pint and then extended the route home via Cheswardine, Shay Lane and Newport.

I ended up with 86.6 miles on the clock when I was only supposed to be doing a quick 40 miles. The joys of having absolutely no will power at all!

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Late afternoon leg spin after the weekend’s sportive.


I’d arranged with Nic for a mid afternoon spin today. We met up in Childs Ercall and headed off on the reasonably flat route to Stanton and back via Tibberton and Cheswardine.

I had literally just put my Fizik Kurve saddle on the Roubaix as it arrived about half an hour before I was due to set off on the ride, so ended up driving down to Childs Ercall as I ran out of time to ride it.

We had a lovely chatty ride and this time my batteries did not run out and I did not need a push!

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Wiggle Mega Meon Sportive Epic Course. Beautiful route on quiet country lanes in stunning countryside. Lots of climbing and lots of long and flowing descents.


This Sunday was the Wiggle Mega Meon Sportive, starting in Waterlooville, just north of Portsmouth and headed up into the South Downs via the beautiful Meon Valley (where the sportive gets its name from!).

I’d arrived the day before and stopped overnight nearby so was at the start location bright and early. After registering and having my obligatory pre-ride coffee, I was on the start line ready to go.


The route gently meandered it’s way into the Meon Valley to warm our legs up before the hills started (and continued for the rest of the ride). I was really pleased that we ventured into West Sussex for a portion of the Epic route, which is a new county for me to cycle in.

About a third of the way round the promised rain started and proceeded to be torrential for quite a time. When you can’t get any wetter than you are, you start to not mind the rain though. It still did not dampen what was an absolutely stunning route and one of the very best I’ve done.


Towards the end of the ride was the last hill, going up to this HUGE listening post with all sorts of weird shaped things on top of it, all overlooking Chichester and Portsmouth harbour.

When I arrived back at the finish, I only had 97 miles on the clock and my OCD means I can’t leave it there and not get at least 100 miles.


I went through the finish line, collected my medal and then headed off for 3+ miles locally. This was easily completed as my legs were on fire after the recent bike fit.

What a fab day out in beautiful countryside. Loved that!

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Haughmond ‘Park and Ride’ (my bike 😂) to Dave Mellor Cycles for a bike fit, then to Nova Cycles and finally to home.


I had a bike fit booked in at Dave Mellor cycles this morning. Tim had kindly offered to lend me his new Fizik Kurve saddle to try so I stopped by his house in Newport first to collect it.

Unfortunately, it had longer sided rails and would not fit so I borrowed a Specialized Toupe saddle to try off his spare bike. It was now a bit late to cycle all the way to Shrewsbury so I opted to drive to Haughmond Hill and cycle into town from there.

At Dave Mellor I arrived a few minutes early and we set about the bike fit. It ended up taking about 3.5 hours but was very comprehensive and not only did I get the perfect fit for the Roubaix (which I can transfer to my other bikes) but I got to learn a whole lot of things about bike fits which will help me in the future.

After I was done at Dave Mellor I cycled back to Newport to Nova Cycles to get my new Hunt 4 Seasons Disk wheels fitted. The “triggers broom” Roubaix is almost complete now!

Then it was a short ride home to catch up with work.

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Fab ride out to Whitchurch and Ellesmere with great company and lots of sun.


After my ride out to Whitchurch and Ellesmere a week or so ago, Nic had asked if we could ride it again as she wanted to try it too. We’d arranged a ride with Tim Hughes today so decided today was the day!

I drove over to Nic’s house, where Tim was busy re-indexing gears. He had a look at mine and we discovered a loose cassette, which explains why I was struggling to index them myself! After tightening up the cassette the gears were dead easy to index.


We set off on the normal Dearnford Lake route and called in for coffee and cake. Then it was off into the lanes of Wales and onwards to Ellesmere.


At Ellesmere, we stopped at the Boat House and I had to use the restaurant and not the cafe as the cafe had not got any veggie sandwiches left. Not a problem though and I had the most delicious dinner.

After a quick pint (it was a hot day after all!) we headed off to Wem, where we stopped at our sponsor’s pub for another quick pint.


From there it was an easy ride home, with Tim peeling off in Ollerton and Nic and myself heading back to Hinstock where my car was.

A fab ride out and great company with lots of laughs along the way.

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Rookingham Lake for a leisurely lunch. Fab recovery ride in absolutely stunning weather.


After the Cotswold Sportive at the weekend, I’d arranged a nice easy recovery ride to Dearnford Lake with Nic today.

I rode over to her house from home and we set off on our usual route. After a lovely leisurely lunch at Dearnford, we set off home via the usual route, except we varied it after Stoke On Tern and headed to Hinstock via Wistanswick.

Then it was an easy ride home with my legs feeling much better.

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Wiggle Cotswold Sportive Epic Course. A hilly century ride in the Cotswolds. Did I mention the relentless hills? Fab ride!


Today was the wiggle Cotswold Sportive, starting at the Fire Service College in lovely Moreton-in-Marsh. I’d driven down the day before and was staying overnight at the college, literally right by the starting line!

The next morning I realised the B&B I had booked was short of a B – breakfast! The cafe did not open until 7:30am and I needed to be on my bike by then. Gutted!


I headed out to register and see if there were any concessions with something for breakfast. As soon as I went outside it was absolutely chucking it down too. Not a great start so far, but can only get better.

I had a couple of museli bars, a banana and a can of Diet Coke (had a coffee in my room earlier) and headed off to register.


I was then in the very first few riders to head off onto the course. A fabulous if not a bit hilly ride ensued. I knew the Costwolds were not going to be an easy ride and they certainly were not. A really good ride though and very scenic!


The only real thing to note was the 3rd and final feed station at about 75 miles in had been relocated down this big hill, 2 miles off route. You had to cycle off then come back up the hill for another 2 miles to rejoin the course.

Forget that as I don’t need the extra miles and have enough food to last me anyway. I was a bit short on water so decided to stop at the next pub and top up there.


A few villages later and I found a nice looking pub that was open so stopped for water and was persuaded by the guy behind the bar to have a quick pint too. Very nice indeed.

Then it was 20 or so miles back to the finishing line, with no real let up in the hills.

A really great ride and so glad the rain stopped after about a 1/3 of the ride and we all dried out.

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Di2 battery fail ride. Should have been an easy ride but first front mech stopped, then rear one, leaving me in bottom gear.


I’d arranged with Nic to go out on a steady ride today as I have the Wiggle Cotswold Sportive tomorrow and know that’s going to be a tough ride.

I drove over to her house as I did not need any extra miles today. We decided to do the flattish 30ish mile route to Stanton upon Hine Heath and back.


A really nice ride apart from my di2 battery started to run out of charge (I’d grabbed the Scott bike this morning without checking the di2 battery level!). First, the front mech stopped working and then just after Cheswardine the rear mech stopped working too.

I was stuck in the very lowest gear which was usable on inclines but totally useless on the flat and downhill. Nice ended up very kindly pushing me all the way from Goldstone Hall back to Hinstock.

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