Since the start of 2020 several SMC members have joined forces for some weekend cycling adventures. These routes have usually been on quiet lanes but with some track cycling too.

SMC stalwarts Phil Simister and Margaret Harries have been heading up the fun, with lots of other members joining in, including former SMC member Ghanch. It’s great to see him back! Over the past few years Ghanch has become an avid cyclist, so he brings expertise and spare gear to the cycling party!

Below Phil S recounts some of their recent trips.

Sun 12 Jan – Mudslide Ride from Alveley.

The plan for the day was to cycle a combination of the Mercian Way up from Upper Arley to Bridgnorth with the riverside Severn Way back. The cut-off point was Hampton Load where it originally crossed the river on a ferry that might recently have sunk, or a footbridge as a backstop. An enemy agent (fellow cyclist) led us off in a slightly different direction to that intended, ‘helpfully’ telling us that the riverside ‘Severn Way’ was damp, boggy and not a tarmac/cinder path. To get to the road we wanted involved a short off-road section which turned out to be a boggy mudslide. When asked if his top quality cycling booties were waterproof Ghanch replied ‘yes until the mud and water come over the top!!!

Once back on the road, and going down a hill, Sharan tried to headbutt a hedge, before we all finally assembled near the bridge only to find that enemy forces had secured it – locked at both ends and on the access stairs by Severn Trent. Nothing for it but to about-turn and retreat to the car park. Unfortunately, Ghanch had another muddy encounter, this time in his car. Having parked in what turned out to be the muddiest part of the car park, extracting his vehicle proved to be a sticky challenge.

All was rounded off by the lovely pub we popped in to where the French chef kept the kitchen open to feed us after a minimal amount of pleading from Ghanch, and then popped out to see if things were good & to check on any deserts before closing. Definitely an adventure.

Sun 19 Jan – Hilly Run from Martley.

On Sunday 19th January we tried another cycle over in Sharan’s neck of the woods. Ghanch turned up liberally lending out Oakleys, gloves and other bits of kit. Henry was going to use the only spare man’s frame I have (a cheap heavy suspension bike). Vicky got my new £30’s worth of scrap Trek MTB which reverted to £400’s worth of r when the tyres were pumped up and the puncture repaired.

Due to time restrictions, the planned 25 mile ride was a vastly shortened 12 mile section of original route. It should have been gently undulating on the top of the ridge, a steep descent, a flat run back along the line of the river and a general rise back to the car. I’m not sure that gentle undulation is the word I’d use now. Henry now hates hills and Vicky’s reacquaintance with bikes was a little more tiring than planned. Some great views but we’re steering clear of both the hillier Shropshire runs and the flooded riversides of Worcestershire just for a bit.

Sunday 2nd Feb – Staunton Harold

We had a brilliant day of cycling on Sunday 2nd February. Margaret and I cycled a route of 13 miles on a mix of ex railway line paths, minor roads, private roads round a reservoir and a road through the National Trust owned craft centre village of Staunton Harold – just north east of Ashby de la Zouch. The meal after was great at The George, Coleorton – the latest in a line of lucky picks.

Sunday 9th Feb – Sandwell Valley

Our bike ride on 9th February was up in the Sandwell Valley in Andy Sutton’s backyard. Sharan had difficulties fitting the bike rack to the car, I think we have all been there with that one, so couldn’t join us. ‘Mr Kitman Ghanch’ turned up with everything except cycling helmet – which he’d left in the car park in a carrier bag – so had to go home to look for it. The rest of us had a merry stroll round a lovely route starting in Perry Hall playing fields and finishing along the banks of the Tame Valley Canal.

Interested in joining in?

If you would like to join the cycling crew, you would be more than welcome.

As Phil mentions

‘Cycling standard or quality of bike is never an issue. Come along and join the throng; and let not lack of a bike stop you. We have spares amongst us. Those of us who are out on the bikes all the time are happy to go at the pace of the slowest; and have spare kit for those who want to join – bikes in the case of Margaret & I and bikes, gloves, Oakleys, software controlled lights & the kitchen sink in the case of Ghanch’.

A mini WhatsApp group has been set up by Phil Simister to help coordinate things. If anyone would like to be included in the group Phil would be happy to add you in. Just contact him via the Yahoo Group. Happy cycling!

Weekend Cycling Jan/Feb 2020