Wincle Brewery Ride.

It’s spring, it’s Monday, and I’m not in work. It’s a 30 mile round trip to Wincle Brewery, and I’m wearing sunglasses. Hit it!

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Like an oasis up in the hills…

I’ve been neglecting the road bike a bit lately so the plan was to dust it off for an afternoon pedal to pay Wincle Brewery their first visit of the year. A little trip out up’n’over Lask Edge, around the back of the World Famous Gun Hill, a couple of swift beverages from the folks at Wincle, then back round the lanes (maybe nip in the cafe at Rudyard Lake for a brew), followed by dragging my unfeasibly fat arse back over Lask Edge before collapsing in a heap at home with a pint of tea and some poached eggs on toast…

I love living in Stoke. It gets such a bad rep from all sides, but when you’ve got quiet lanes and hills and scenery like this on your doorstep, I really can’t understand why people are so down on it. After the big slog up Lask Edge the views over the Cheshire plain on one side and over to the Peak District on the other are truly spectacular. When your rolling along, with the smells of spring in yer nostrils as the birds chatter overhead, it’s a truly fine place to be.

The rhythm of riding the road seemed to come back pretty quickly too. Almost meditative. I remember doing a similar ride last summer on a bike with a creaky bottom bracket and I could have easily chucked it off the edge of the hill if it wasn’t such a long walk back. A creak or a rattle doesn’t really matter on the MTB, but it can totally ruin a road ride after having to listen to something creak away for hours on end.

Once the rhythm was going it seemed I was at Wincle before I even really realised it. Cant recommend stopping at Wincle Brewery enough if your ever over that way. A proper nice selection of ales on tap, all brewed on the premises, and accompanied by the finest pork scratchings available anywhere. Coffee and flapjack are also available for the less alcoholically inclined, plus they do beer for take out too so grab a box of Life of Riley or Burke’s Special to go, you you wont regret it! The brewery dog, Molly, is ace too. But be warned, you’ll have no peace once you open that bag of scratchings or once start throwing the ball for her…

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Proper cycling energy food.

But it’s still only early spring so sitting there chilling out soon became more like getting chilled to the bone. Time to move on. It turns out the cafe at Rudyard Lake was shut, but I did do my good turn for the day and went to the rescue of a man in a boat who had sailed straight into the side of the lake and got his mast and rigging caught in a tree. He’d literally bought the boat that morning, and never sailed before…

We struggled trying to push it back out with various branches (the wind and the tree refusing to let the boat go), until the chap jumped overboard to push while I was up the tree pushing with another great big branch, both using up all the curse words we knew to get the damned thing to shift… Pure Comedy Gold. Eventually we succeeded (imagine the joy and relief!) only for the poor chap to drift straight into another tree, just a couple of meters further down the lake… I may or may not have been laughing uncontrollably by this point… No other options left, the unfortunate mariner was forced to swallow his pride and phone a friend with a little more sailing expertise to come and help out. I hope they came and succeeded, the poor guy could still be stuck there otherwise…

After that, the rest of the journey home was just as pleasant. Felt good to be alive and rolling round on two wheels. So all in all, a smashing trip to pop the road bikes 2016 cherry. Twenty-nine miles ridden, 2900 feet of climbing, two beers (neither of them free), one bag of scratchings (shared with one canine companion), and plenty of laughs with the stricken mariner. Good Times!

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