9th July 2017 VCC ride for lightweights Cheshire Section “Heading East to the Tree of Imagination”

This was the first time I have organised the Lightweight ride for the Cheshire Section, this having being the preserve of Bob Bennett for many years.

Eleven intrepid explorers arrived at the Courtyard coffee house in Knutsford full of glee in glorious morning sunshine for the start of this ride. The weather was ideal, blue sky with sunshine but was not too hot.

Most people see Knutsford services on the M6 and never visit the town. It is a pretty Georgian town, being the setting of Elizabeth Gaskell’s “Cranford” and is full of history, originally being the town that served the neighbouring Tatton Estate. Henry Royce of Rolls Royce fame lived in Leigh Road, Knutsford at the time of his forming the partnership with Charles Rolls in 1904. Leigh Road also made a guest appearance in Steven Spielberg’s film “Empire of the Sun” (1987), doubling up as colonial Shanghai.

We set off across the Knutsford Moor (adjoining Tatton Mere) and under the railway bridge to Mobberley Road. Although only a B road this connects Wilmslow & Alderley Edge to Knutsford so is fairly busy. After a short while we turned off this road and headed into the Cheshire Countryside to Warford, then on to Nether Alderley, part of Alderley Edge.

We picked up a cobbled track here which was likened by a few of our riders to that of the Paris–Roubaix race!

Although Cheshire is considered flat it does have its lumps where it borders on the Peak district to the East, Shropshire to the West and Staffordshire to the South. This did not go unnoticed by Peter!

Alderley Edge is packed with folklore- it was also the site of copper mines going back to the Bronze age. These are open certain times of the year and are a sight to behold with vast underground caverns- something hard to believe when walking or cycling on the surface.

The riders on Alderley Edge

A gradual ascent was made followed by a good descent down to the main Chelford-Macclesfield Road. On this road we passed a beautiful church, St Catherines, on the right. This is unusual in that it has an octagonal tower and is also known for having beautiful German and Dutch stained glass. It is listed in the top 1000 churches in Britain.

Crossing this road we went around the back of Redesmere lake. This was where Ben Ainsley learned to sail as a youngster and won the RYA club of the year in 2016- a great achievement for a land locked sailing club.

From Redesmere we headed into the deep Cheshire countryside surrounded by fields of wheat and cattle, indicating the rich diverse nature of Cheshire’s agricultural base.

Our Lunch stop, which was over half way, was reached early afternoon at the Swettenham Arms in the picturesque village of Swettenham. Here we sat out in the gardens, adjoining a field of beautiful blue lavender. We had a lovely mixture of freshly made sandwiches and chips!

Following a good break, setting off from here, for a bit of fun, I decided to go via a local ford. This has a concrete base so is quite safe.

Marion and Cathy

Me. The RRA was thoroughly cleaned and dried afterwards!

This was enjoyed by everyone but was a lot lower than when I first checked out the route for the ride in March!

Heading back through countryside we passed through Goostrey, which is close to the radio telescope at Jodrell Bank, and then to another off road section through the Peover Estate to the main Knutsford-Holmes Chapel Road.

We cycled for a short way along this busy road and then turned down another small lane.

This led to the “Tree of Imagination” where we stopped. This has been carved from an old tree stump in the form of a fairy’s home- it has now become quite an attraction in the area.

The Tree of Imagination

It was originally quite an eyesore- the local parish council held a competition as to what to do with it- fortunately the carving won the day!

Heading back into Knutsford we finished the day with a lovely ice cream on the Moor.

Altogether a glorious day with great company!

Riders and Machines

Bob Bennett                1953 Carlton International

Andy Coley                  1954 Dawes Tartan Club

Peter Havelock            1970s Gios Evolution

Simon Head                1948 Raleigh Record Ace

Cathy Head                 1987 Raleigh Caprice

Simeon Head              1986 Raleigh Granada

Marion Head               2010 Scott ATB

George Mumford         1970s Benotto Racer

Marion Rowlands        Bosch E-Bike

Nick Russell                1999 Fondriest Molven

Patti Wilson                 1980 Ladies Sun Solo


Lymm Transport Festival 25 June 2017

Another great day. Started a bit wet but brightened up over the day.

The festival started with a procession through the town with the cycles taking part in a cavalcade of vintage vehicles- we then  displayed the machines within the VCC area.

Many interesting exhibits including some really old machines from Paul Adam’s collection.

The day was busy throughout and included a replica Spitfire within the show ground and a fly over of another Spitfire in the afternoon.

Thanks goes to Nick Russell for organising everything 

Some photos below

The procession team

Marion and Patti dressed as suffragette girls in period dress and machines 

Bob Bennetts gorgeous Carlton

Me and the RRA. Dave Cane’s beautiful colnago can just be seen to the left. I should have taken a picture of this as it was truly excuisite.

The Raleigh Chopper was a particular favoured exhibit obviously bringing many memories back to visitors

Paul Adam’s 1887 “Whippet” with full suspension, predating the Moulton by some 75 years!

And finally another photo of the RRA

A great time had by all!


Eroica Britannia 2017 16-18 June

This was a fantastic event- the sun shone and the ground was dry.

Both the Saturday and Sunday rides were in hot weather.

This year the event moved to Friden Grange, not far from Bakewell. This was a good call- the site was much bigger than Bakewell and better organised than last year. The site had direct access to the High Peak trail.

On Friday evening we cycled up the High Peak trail with my wife Cathy on her Raleigh Caprice “Doris” to the Royal Oak pub at Hurdlow and then back.

I got a puncture on the way back and found out I had a spare inner tube with the wrong valve! This required a push back but was only about 2 miles.

VCC ride- Saturday (35 miles)

On Saturday we had a ride with the Midland group of the VCC- up the High Peak trail, leaving it at Parsley Hay. I was on the RRA, Cathy on Doris, her Raleigh Caprice. It was very hot!

We came back via Hartington, Hulme End (along the Manifold trail) and Ilam where we had lunch.

Another puncture in the RRA (rear this time) indicated that the tyres were pumped up too high. With the hot weather and hills too much heat was been put into the rims (Conloys) causing the inner tubes to be pinched under the tyre bead. I dropped the pressure in both tyres to around 55 p.s.i.- no problems after this!

The group had 2 more bikes with punctures caused by the same issue.

A really good ride through beautiful countryside!

Eroica Tourist Ride- Sunday (25 miles)

We set off at about 9:15am and covered the 25 mile tourist ride.

This started with a run right up to the end of the High Peak trail, past Parsley Hay and the along Upperblindlow Lane, Netherblindlow lane, Flat Lane and Moor Lane. These are beautiful white gravel lanes- real Eroica roads!. Eventually we arrived in Monyash where we had lunch, accompanied by a brass band- quintessentially British!

This was after about 14 miles.

The run back started with a climb from Monyash to the Tissington trail, with a link back to the High Peak trail via another white gravel track back to the High Peak trail and the Eroica show ground.

Altogether a fantastic weekend!


18th June 2016 Dads bike wins “Best Bike in Show” Eroica Britannia 2016

This was a bit of a surreal day.

I only entered the RRA into the Eroica Britannia “Best Bike” competition by chance last week in the best pre 1949 category. I am not a cycle restorer. I only have ever restored one bike- my Dad’s Raleigh Record Ace.

I was pretty amazed to be selected in the best 3 of class.

Judging took place on the Saturday morning at 10:00 am.

Thinking that that was it- I was happy to be placed into the top 3 of class (there were some gorgeous cycles in the competition). I went on a 20 mile ride with the VCC to a pub for lunch at Chelmorton which also included my wife and daughter.

I got back at about 4pm and dusted off the bike for the final judging at 5.00pm.

The final judging was running a little late but I won my class. I was amazed!

After judging of the other classes I entered the final and was named “overall winner”.

I won an Elephant Bike.

I have given this to my daughter Marion as her student bike at University. She starts in September and is reading Medicine.

Altogether an amazing day!

On Sunday I completed the 55 mile “Sportsman” ride on the RRA.

My Dad has obviously been looking down on us this weekend- he would have been tickled pink that his RRA had won the day!

eroica Britannia (2)

Above: This photo was taking during judging


Above: Final Judging

eroica Britannia (1)

Above: With the winning prize


Out with the Cheshire Section of the Vintage Cycle Club (Mid Cheshire Ridge)

25 April 16 Veteran Cycle Club Cheshire Section- Mid Cheshire Ridge. Organiser Dave Baddeley

A week last Sunday we went on a cycle ride with the Cheshire Section of the VCC (Veteran Cycle Club) around the lanes of Cheshire.

The RRA performed faultlessly over the 20 odd miles.

Here are some photos from that day.

There was a mixture of machines with some over a hundred years old.

A fantastic time was had by all in glorious sunshine.

We will definitely be going on more Cheshire Section VCC runs

Cathy, my wife was on her 1997 Marin Muirwood

Mid Cheshire Ridge2016-2

Crossing over a pack horse bridge. This was a most interesting section with 500 year old bridges (Photo: Patti Wilson)

Give me a tow!

Give me a tow. This character went virtually the whole day riding with only one pedal!  (Photo: Patti Wilson)

Mid Cheshire Ridge 2016

The team with the leader Dave Badderleyin the fore ground. Dave rode the day fixed wheel.  (Photo: Patti Wilson)