More Gadding

So I’m in Chester – well, outside Chester – on a campaigning workshop all weekend. The place is about 5 miles from the station (in a gorgeous spot – who knew Chester was so lovely? I mean, apart from everyone but me, of course…). Taxis from the station were on offer but I had a better idea – why else do I have a Brompton after all? After my adventures in Glasgow I did some thorough research of my route (and took some local advice) and found that there was a rather nice greenway that ran almost from the station to almost where I was going. Armed with my GPS, a printed out map, and turn by turn directions, and having viewed all the potentially scary bits on Google StreetView to make sure there weren’t any unexpected motorway junctions, I came out of the station with my Brompton ready for almost anything.

The first thing I did, obviously, was get lost. Nobody had thought to signpost anything as unimportant as a bike route from the station, and there was a diversion as well. But that was fine – I was expecting to get lost and I had allowed plenty of time. My GPS was hopeless – I don’t know where it thought I was but it wasn’t anywhere I recognised from the street names – but my printed out map was enough to get me onto the green way which was wide and tarmacked and deserted (and unlit – I’ll be getting a taxi back on Sunday evening, I’m afraid). It ran straight the way I wanted to go, under several scary looking roads, and I was feeling pretty pleased with myself as I sailed along in the autumn sunshine.

And then I got to the flood sign, and the flood. A proper flood, right across the road, pouring out from some drain, with a smell that suggested it wasn’t just rain water that was involved. Naturally, they hadn’t thought to warn anyone at one of the exits to the path so that we could take a diversion – and besides, I think that would have meant sprinting across a motorway – so the only way on was through it. The woman in wellies walking her dog looked a little dubiously at my Brompton ‘I’ve seen cyclists go through it, but your wheels are rather low to the ground,’ she said. She wished me luck and on I ploughed, wishing I’d thought to pack wellies, or even a spare pair of shoes. The waters reached well above the bottom of my pedal stroke, but I managed with a sort of alternating foot pedal stroke to keep my shoes out of the worst of it, regretting my decision to go all ‘cycle chic’ and wear my long grey coat. I sailed out the other side more or less unscathed, if a little whiffy, and was startled to meet a guy on a racing bike – sans mudguards – coming the other way. Clearly they’re made of stern stuff in Chester. And then I went back to pedalling in the autumn sunshine, admiring the glorious countryside, and trying to ignore the faint smell of sewage coming from my bike

So there you go. Cycling infrastructure, UK style – often beautiful, occasionally extremely convenient, just make sure you wear your wellies…

Oh, and I got to the venue to find I was the first one there. Terrible traffic, apparently…


5 Responses to More Gadding

  1. welshcyclist says:

    Chester is a lovely place, and has cycling infrastructure? Excellent, sorry about the flooding sewage, as you say cyclists are made of stern stuff.

  2. John Gibson says:

    You do have some fun. I wonder how much all this rail travel is costing you.

  3. disgruntled says:

    @welshcyclist – we have to be!
    @John – a lot, tbh. Fortunately this one is on expenses for once

  4. Oh no! Can’t believe you experienced the Greenway at it’s very worst. Generally it’s a brilliant route – I was out today going the opposite way – perfect cycling all the way, avoiding lots of main roads. The main problem is once you leave it as the infrastructure is very patchy elsewhere

  5. disgruntled says:

    I hadn’t realised that was your neck of the woods! Had a gorgeous cycle to try and get a paper yesterday morning on a very sparkly frosty morning…

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