Grass up the ‘chuffin’ middle…

Best laid plans and all that…

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Its a bank holiday weekend, it was supposed to be the Grassupthemiddle gangs first foray over the border to sample some of Will’s new local trails, suddenly it went from all of us going to none of us going, life has a way of doing that sometimes.

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A plan was hatched to push out a bit further today with an early start to avoid the crowds. Delamere was the destination, and then I got ill! A poorly prepared ride on the hottest day of the year left me with sunstroke and severe dehydration, I bailed on the longer ride plan.

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Another change of plan, and people’s circumstances meant that we could do a special edition of the usual, this time with a twist to avoid pointless lane but to include horrible lane and to be named Grassupthe’chuffin’middle in honour of Will, who was stuck in the office working overtime.

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Yesterday’s bluebird skies were replaced with that oppressive grey that all Mancunians know only too well meaning a subdued start to the ride. Luckily Paul had considered this fact and coloured up the day by wrapping new bright blue bar tape onto his cross check, the contrast with the frames orange combined together well in that Holdsworth style.

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The canal was quiet this early, an occasional jogger, the odd surly dog walker and the geese aggressively looking after their young meant we were out of town quickly and soon surrounded by fuji green. The Trans Pennine Trail was surprisingly dry given yesterday’s thunder storms apart from that one puddle that never dries up! and early enough that the flies were still asleep, thank god.

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Arrival at the cafe to meet Nick was timed to perfection, the door sign being turned from closed to open as we parked the bikes. Sausage, bacon, egg and mushroom, coffee then cake were procured, no breakfast beer this week. Chat revolved around how our bikes are all surprisingly similar but also personalised enough to be notably different to those who know. Ever evolving depending upon what is needed to be carried, racks and bags added and removed, one common feature now is that we all have dynamo lighting, an eye towards the overnight rides planned for later this year.

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Eventually we had to leave, the ratio of carbon Boardmans to pleasing looking bikes getting out of control, and so we headed back, out towards Horrible Lane, so named because a group of fellow cyclists were once overheard describing this beautiful tree lined lane as horrible, no idea why anyone would think this? its a swoopy delightful descent one way and a charming middle ring climb the other…..

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Nick turned west to head home and Paul and I continued on to retrace our steps, by now lots of families out with the kids on bikes along the trail but still no flies, maybe last weeks sunshine killed them off ?

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Words & pictures (last picture – Paul Rance) – Steve Makin.

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