Saturday, April 25 – Arley

I thought I would give the bike a trial run this afternoon, (I only received it last night), and decided to try it on some well known roads, therefore I made a start along the ‘beaten, well worn track’ via Atherton and Butts Bridge. The first thing that struck me was the difference on setts. Instead of gliding comfortably over them, I was bounced and jogged unmercifully – the narrow tyres and smaller wheels accounting for it. I seemed to find very little difference in the going, except that I could pedal away downhill at any speed without fear of the chain jumping off, but on tarmac roads I was surprised at the smoothness of the transmission. The saddle is not comfortable, but the handlebars are fine. From Glazebury, I crossed Chat Moss to Glazebrook and Cadishead, then crossing Warburton Bridge, entered Cheshire. The long drag from Heatley to Broomedge was quite easy, but I put that down mostly to the lower gear I was using (59.8, a drop from 62.4), and from High Legh, I quite forgot that I was riding a real lightweight (except for the saddle which was in itself a constant reminder!), owing to the change in the countryside.

When I last rode, Spring was only just showing itself, now it was in full splendour, the gardens were full of beautiful flowers, daffodils, narcissi, tulips, and a host of others; in the hedgerows bloomed the primrose and violets; the woods were a carpet of hyacinths; the fields studded with buttercups and daisies; and in the orchards were an abundance of sweet smelling blossom. Arley Green was greener than ever, the mere was quiet and sunlit, the old water mill was to me older and more mellowed than usual. I had tea in an old world cottage at Arley, then pottered through the park and along shady roads to Tabley. I took a peep at Rostherne, Cheshire’s prettiest mere, joined the winding road to Ashley – then reached the border of commercialisation at Bowden – or was it Hale? The ride home was uninteresting then – I had passed the bounds of Spring.

This sudden conversion from Winter to Spring, from a bare, cold countryside to a warm, sun laden atmosphere, to Green tendrils and riotous blossoms has almost made those stay at home Sunday’s worthwhile. And the new bike does run easier!

58 miles