Goostrey Home and Leisure Tea Rooms near Middlewich for lunch. Out via the hills of Madeley and Audley, back via Middlewich and Sandbach. Back light total fail AGAIN on the way back in the dark at the end. Had to improvise!

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It’s been just over a week since I was last out on my bike. The snow and the ice last week was a killer and then I had a weekend away in Stuttgart, Germany planned with friends, so obviously no cycling then.

On the way home from the airport last night, I was checking out the roads for iceĀ and they looked very much rideable so I opted for a long ride out today. Where to go though?

I love the Jodrell Bank route as it’s a decent length and has a bit of everything in it so thought I’d do it in reverse for a change. I also fancied a different cafe stop to mix things up a bit more. My initial choice was the Chapeau Cafe and Farm Shop in Marton near Macclesfield but that is closed on Mondays so I instead opted for the Goostrey Home and Leisure Tea Rooms in Cranage, which is also highly recommended.

Apologies in advance for the lack of photos on the blog. The whole route was very misty and all the great views which would have made excellent photos were totally obscured. You could not even see any sign of Jodrell Bank from the road that runs with past it!

I set off through Howle and Sambrook then up through Knighton to Shay Lane and onwards past the lovely Bishops Wood. A quick run along the A53 past the Swan With Two Necks had me up in the Madeley hills and thoroughly enjoying the ride. I was riding cautiously looking for ice but as it turned out the roads were absolutely fine, even the smaller and quieter lanes.

After Congleton, I was soon passing the turning I would have made to the Chapeau cafe and noted it for next time. I rode past the entrance to Jodrell Bank, which had the barriers down and was closed. Very surprising as it’s always usually open during the holidays as it makes a great day out with young children. Turns out it’s closed until 26th December for Christmas.

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The cafe stop was soon after and a really nice place. Bike racks outside and then a short walk through a craft shop into the cafe itself. I ordered a panini, latte and a mince pie. I’m a veggie and so as normal I checked the filling on my panini and was horrified to see tuna in it. Yuck! All very quickly rectified by the staff and to be fair the gorgeous coffee and lovely mince pie more than made up for it!

From here it was straight over the busy A50 and onwards to Middlewich. I could not decide whether to route home via Sandbach or Nantwich but opted for the former in the end.

I did come a cropper later though as I decided to use a sneaky cut through road by the station which went straight to Wheelock and cuts Sandbach town centre out (thought it might be busy with Christmas traffic). Easy if you take notice of the map in front of you, but I didn’t and ended up halfway along the top of Crewe before I realised. Doh! Easily sortedĀ and I was back on track a few miles later.

By this time it was starting to get dark so I stuck my lights on. Shortly after I checked the back one and it was off. I stopped to take a look and despite my best efforts it would not stay on for longer than about 5 seconds. That’s the third one of this make light that has done that over 2 years now. Not buying any more of those!

I had to improvise with my iPhone torch on and pointing outwards from inside my middle back pocket. Not perfect but better than nothing. I decided to get my skates on and do as much as the journey home before the light faded too much, then take the quietest lanes I could find when it really got dark so I would not have too many cars coming up behind me.

As it turned out I got to Market Drayton as it was starting to go properly dark so I kept to the very quiet lanes past the Golf Course and onwards through Childs Ercall. Luckily only 2 cars came up behind me and I pulled over to let both of those past.

I arrived home with just over 88 miles on the clock and my legs feeling in top form. Absolutely loved that ride!

Route: click here