Monday, 25 October 2010

Sunday sun....

Gary had arrived back from his holiday and we were both keen to get out for a few miles. Overnight had seen a frost descend and the early morning signs were that caution would be required, especially on some of the quieter roads where the accumulation of the 'brown gooey' stuff and ice could lead to potential problems.

After a bellringing session at Overseal we set off from Netherseal on one of our usual routes, climbing up Hunts Lane and heading via Grangewood through to Coton in the Elms. We've ridden these lanes so often over the past 12 months i'm sure we could almost manage it blindfolded. In Coton we followed a van collecting scrap; I remember the old 'Rag and Bone' men from my childhood, they came around with a horse and cart blowing hard on an old bugle and giving out goldfish to anyone who parted with sufficient booty. These days it seems the Rag and Bone industry has become more tuned into technology; this particular vendor had an amplified sound system blaring out from atop his vehicle - but still playing the familiar 3 note refrain that must represent a nationwide calling card. Gary told me that the scrap men who call around the streets where he works in Walsall play the theme tune to 'Steptoe and Son'.

Soon we were zooming downhill towards Catton Park, the sun streaming through the trees and melting the last vestiges of frost. We passed a field that hosted a number of hen-houses, the free range chickens preening and pecking around in the warmth looking like a collection of pom-poms floating on green velvet. We were moving quickly now, 18,19,20mph - we passed many cyclists travelling in the opposite direction, the sun had clearly woken everyone to the possibility of what might be a final ride of the season in such favourable conditions.

We varied our route just beyond Edingale, travelling towards Alrewas and then Whittington along very quiet, traffic free roads. Again, lots of cyclists around. Over the Canal at Whittington and past the three pubs in the village - The Bell is one I used to call at regularly and remember it being a 'proper' pub. We headed back towards home now, past the outskirts of Elford and then onwards to Wigginton, the sharp, steep hill into the village always requires extra effort but didn't seem too bad this morning. We turned left into Sycerscote Lane, a gated road and one of our familiar routes. We stopped at the railway bridge as we always do for a drink and I needed to tighten a loose spoke. We were joined by two passing cyclists headed in the opposite direction, they spoke with Birmingham accents although they lived locally. We exchanged information about various bits of clothing and kit and they were interested in our Lands End to John O'Groats plans - one of them had ridden the coast to coast route this year staying for a couple of nights in Youth Hostels.

We pressed on soon arriving in Haunton, then it was the gentle pull, up to Clifton Campville and on to Chilcote - soon be home now. We were passed by Clive Arthur one of our friends from Netherseal who gave a hearty 'pap' as he drove by! - He works for Oakley and helped us when we were looking at suitable sunglasses/eye protection.

Suddenly we were back - both of us had worked up a decent sweat and a quick check of the computers revealed 30 miles covered - not bad - we'll hopefully be covering some longer distances weather permitting in the coming months - but today was an enjoyable Sunday morning excursion.

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