Andy’s Birthday – Llandudno and Welsh Mountain Zoo

The SCCC Weekend in Leicester was about the same time as Andy’s Birthday. As soon as he had completed the SCCC Club Weekend – Leicester Long Ride, it was time to climb into the car and head off for Andy’s Birthday trip. He wanted North Wales, so off we went to Llandudno.

Monday was actually Andy’s birthday and he wanted to visit the Welsh Mountain Zoo in Colwyn Bay. He even said that he wanted to cycle there and back, so that is what we did! We set off along the coastline, taking in the sea views.

It was then time to turn away from the sea and start climbing up to the Welsh Mountain Zoo, which is at the top of a rather steep hill.

When we asked about cycle parking, they said that no one ever cycles there! However, they were able to recommend a suitable place where we could lock them up safely.

Our first stop was at the cafe for a cuppa – unfortunately, they had no gluten-free cake. Then it was time to go and have a look around.

We were able to get really close to the penguin pool. Andy really likes penguins and so was pleased that we had the pool to ourselves and spent ages watching them swimming around.

Give us a kiss!

Being at the top of a steep hill did mean that there were some great views. On the day we were there it was also really windy!

The ostrich ran over to see us

As well as the animals there were lots of nice flowers around.

When we first found the bears, they were hiding in the back but we did eventually get to see them.

The highlight of the day, and the main reason that Andy wanted to go, was to see the penguin parade.

Once the parade was over, we continued looking around.

After a late lunch, which was a very limited option for something both veggie and gluten free, we set off and cycled back to Llandudno. Generally following the same round that we had gone earlier.

Back in Llandudno

Having put the bikes back in the car, we found a great cafe for tea and cake, called Love to Eat @OneTwoOne.

We hadn’t realised how late in the day it was.

After a bit of a walk around, it was time to go for Andy’s birthday tea. We found an Italian Restaurant called Romeo in Llandudno. It is now our favourite place to eat there! The food was great and the staff were all helpful and friendly.

The following day started out with a long run for me. Andy did the first half with me and we ran around the Great Orme on the toll road.

Llandudno Pier

As we reached the Great Orme Tramway station back in Llandudno, Andy’s run came to an end and I continued on as the training plan said I needed an extra 50 minutes.

I ran along the bay and then back again.

I then ran across to the other shore and as I was heading back again, Andy came past on his bike. Apparently, he had got his bike out of the car and then cycled around the toll road again whilst I was finishing my run.

At the end, we just had time for a shower and change before we had to check out of the Travelodge where we had been staying.  We went to a cafe called the Lemon Tree Tearooms where we had a great breakfast! They had plenty of gluten-free options.

After some shopping and some wandering around in Llandudno, it was time for a late lunch before heading back home. We managed to find yet another place that we had not been to before – The Cottage Loaf pub. It was another nice place to eat.

All in all, it had been a great few days away. Unfortunately, we had to head back home ready for work the following day but we will certainly be back again soon!
Our route to the zoo was:

Our route back from the zoo was:

SCCC Club Weekend – Leicester Long

It was a cool, but thankfully pleasant morning when twenty-two Stockport Community Cycling Club riders set off on the Leicester Long ride from Leicester University’s John Foster Halls of Residence. I was back-leading this ride, while Sarah was leading the Leicester Short ride.

SCCC riders ready for the Leicester Long ride

Similar to the Leicester Short ride we set off by cycling through Stoughton where we picked up NCN Route 63.

And then past Leicester Airport.

The first few miles of the route were quite hilly.

Continuing on, we cycled through Kings Norton and Gaulby.

We climbed up to Illston on the Hill.

There were some great views out over Leicestershire.

The stiffest climbs of the day were around Goadby.

Graham – triumphant that he has climbed a little hill

Here, we picked up NCN Route 64.

Ian – introducing himself to the locals

Our route gave us some respite and now flattened out a little as we headed for Market Harborough.

We skirted the edge of Market Harborough.

And joined NCN Route 6 when we dropped on to the Market Harborough arm of the Grand Union Canal.

We followed this to Foxton Locks, home of the longest set of staircase locks in the UK.

Here we stopped for lunch. We decided to split up and eat the various cafe’s, including the Foxton Locks Inn. We would meet up again in an hour.

Unfortunately, a couple of the riders missed that ‘meet up in an hour’ bit and when we arrived at the top of the locks they weren’t there!

A phone call later and they were on the way up … walking up … as we had also had to do by over-zealous canal volunteers.

Leaving the canal we made our way towards Gumley.

And on past Saddington Reservoir.

We continued to follow NCN Route 6 through little villages such as Arnesby, Peatling Magna and Willowby Waterleys.

And then the larger town of Countesthorpe.

Upon reaching Blaby we entering the outskirts of Leicester.

We turned onto the Great Central Way, previously a railway track of the former Great Central Railway.

This took us into the centre of Leicester.

We passed through de Montfort University.

And by Leicester Prison. Graham was suspiciously quiet around here.

Finally, we cycled through Victoria Park.

When we arrived back at the Halls of Residence we had completed 44 miles. This had given us an excellent taste of Leicestershire countryside. It is a great place to cycle.

You can view our Leicester Long route below:

SCCC Club Weekend – Leicester Short Ride

Sunday was the SCCC Club Weekend Leicester Short Ride. Having struggled the previous day, Lesley decided to miss out on the morning hills and instead spend the morning with Andy C & Barbara.

The majority of people had gone on the long ride, there was a select group of ten of us that set off on the shorter ride.

Our initial part the route  followed the same route as the longer ride, heading up towards Leicester Airport.

We climbed up and then passed through Stoughton.

Although when we had recce’d the ride we had seen helicopters using the airport, it was quiet for the club weekend.

St John the Baptist Church, King’s Norton
Gaulby Church, Gaulby

We stopped at Wistow Rural Centre for lunch. It was here that we met up with Andy C, Barbara and Lesley. The cafe did good food and there were plenty of interesting shops to have a look around.

After lunch, we continued our ride, passing through Fleckney.

We passed through Kilby village.

We headed towards and through Countesthorpe.

We then made our way back to Oadby and then to the starting point.

We had about an hours wait for the other group to arrive. Everyone seemed to have enjoyed the ride, which was about 26 miles. You can see our route below:

SCCC Club Weekend – Rutland Water

The Stockport Community Cycling Club Weekend this year visited the Leicester area. It began with a cycle ride on the way around Rutland Water.

We all met at Barnsdale car park.

There were 36 of us attending the club weekend, so we decided to split into two groups. I would lead the first group, and Sarah the second. The photos in this blog are taken from both rides.

When my group arrived at the main Rutland car park at Whitwell we found that there was a triathlon taking place. The original idea had been to have lunch here but plans quickly had to change.

The weather forecast had been for rain, and soon after we started it duly began to drizzle.

At the second car park – Sykes Lane – we stopped for a break. The food was more basic here, but it did the job (though not for Sarah when her group arrived – they had nothing in the way of gluten-free fare).

Continuing round we passed Normanton church.

For a while, the weather brightened up – though Leslie was taking no chances.

The dark clouds, however, were suggesting more rain was imminent.

And it duly arrived.

The rain came down heavy, just as my group was tackling the main climb on the route. We decided to keep going through the rain. We were after all, already wet!

Sarah’s group instead tried to take shelter.

Thankfully, the rain storm was brief, and we were all soon back cycling again.

Unfortunately, one of our group picked up a puncture.

Thankfully, we were soon on our way again and cycling through Egleton.

And finally, with the steam rising from the road as it dried, we arrived back at the car park.

Sarah’s group were still cycling around Rutland Water … and occasionally stopping to have their picture taken.

A little later they arrived back at the car park too.

We had all cycled just over 15 miles. In spite of the inclement weather, this had been an enjoyable ride around a route with some lovely scenery. A great start for our club weekend. And well worth a visit if you have some free time.

You can view our SCCC club weekend Rutland Water route below:

SCCC Media City Ride

Saturday was the SCCC Media City Ride from Chorlton Water Park. There was a good turn out. Before the ride I had been and run the Stretford Parkrun, which wasn’t too far away from the start. It was rather a misty start to the day.

We set off along the road and made our way past the tram tracks, heading for the River Mersey.

When we reached the River Mersey, we turned right and followed it for a short while.

We cycled through Chorlton Ees Nature Reserve.

It was part of the Trans Pennine Trail (which Andy and I have cycled previously), making our way via the Bridgewater  Way and onto the Bridgewater Canal.

We were passed by a WAXI (Water Taxi)

We cycled past Stretford Marina.

W came off the Bridgewater Canal at Trafford Park, near the World Freight Centre. There were some street sellers setting up as there was a match later the day.

We had to change our normal route as we were not allowed to cycle close to the football stadium, but we managed to get onto Salford Quays and made our way down to the Imperial War Museum.

Imperial Warm Museum North

We took the bridge over the quays, then into Media City.

We cycled past the BBC building.

Past the Blue Peter Garden.

Blue Peter Garden
Statue of ‘Shep’ the Blue Peter Dog
Gill, the days ride leader

We then took a tour around the quays.

We paused for a while to watch a Dragon Boat race.

Having watched the Dragon Boat Race, we continued around the Quays

We had to make our way past the Watersports Centre and through the people which were there for that event.

Our tour of the the Quays then took us past the Lowry Theatre and back over the water again.

Having cycled past the Imperial War Museum North again, we made our way back into Media City. We stopped for a refreshment break at The DOCKyard.

After our refreshment stop, it was time to continue the ride!

Time to make our way back onto the roads for a while.

Back over the water and into Trafford Park.

Manchester Oil Terminal

There were a lot of football fans making their way to the stadium as we came back through Trafford Park.

We cycled back to the World Freight Centre, making our way back towards the Bridgewater Way.

Cycling close to the Stretford Marina before joining up with the Bridgewater Canal again.

We turned off into the Mersey Valley, picking up the TPT (Trans Pennine Trail) again.

We finally got back toward the back of Chorlton Water Park, where we cycled through the park past the lake and made our way back to the car park where we had started from.

Chorlton Water Park

It had been a great ride. You can see our Media City Ride route below: