Bridgnorth Cycling Club
Skirting the banks of the Severn and the urban sprawl of the Black Country, Bridgnorth take us on an interesting amble in the Midlands
It’s not every Sunday that a ride starts with a giant cheque, but once the group have gathered outside Clee Cycles, that’s exactly what transpires, with Bridgnorth CC members presenting a cheque to Oak Farm Friends Association, proceeds from a recent club fundraiser.
With everyone in an upbeat mood the group rolls though the low town area of historic Bridgnorth, along the banks of the River Severn and on to today’s loop through Shropshire and Staffordshire. The club’s press officer, Will Peel, isn’t able to join us on the road but helped present the cheque at the start. We talked about the area and the varied riding available. “From our base here we have flat roads to the east, and hills to the west so we can mix it up as the group and seasons dictate; we also have a strong mtb section and are spoilt for trails here too,” he told me.
As we are still in the depths of winter, those flatter roads are still the main staple, albeit with a few climbs in the mix to keep it interesting. The first few miles are snappy due to the fast main road and the want to get off it onto the pleasant back roads, which we do at the oddly named village of Quatt. Immediately we are put to work as the road climbs gently for the next four miles, with wide open views of the open countryside for miles around.
With the group rolling nicely together, there is plenty of chat to drop in on. Paul Mulready, his Yorkshire accent marking him out as obviously not from these parts, explains that he moved down to Shropshire last year and as a lifelong cyclist made finding a good club a priority; he met up with Bridgnorth CC and he and his wife joined immediately.
Heading further east, the Black Country looms on the horizon and we skirt the urban edges of Dudley and Wolverhampton, but stick to the greener landscapes, turning west at Codsall and on to the cafe at Albrighton. With numerous bikes hung up in the branches of a small tree outside, we head in for refreshments. The owners are happy to see us as the club are regulars.
Over coffee we catch up with Ken Peacock, who explains why he’s a member: “I live not far from where we are in Dudley, but I wanted an escape from the sprawl of the city. Bridgnorth isn’t on the doorstep as such, but it has a great vibe and of course, the fantastic roads and scenery the area offers.”
Back on the bikes
Time is up before we know it and the group are making
their way out to the bikes — the club prefers a stop late into the ride, leaving a short distance back to the HQ. The chatter starts once again as we drop south through some beautiful roads and villages to a planned trip along the ‘Belgian Road’ as it’s known locally, due to the straight concrete slabbed surface. But the land owner isn’t playing today and has gated the entrance, necessitating a slight diversion.
Nearing Bridgnorth with a few miles left, ride coordinator Ian Martin tells us: “I’ve been around since the start and now take the Sunday run every week. The knowledge that it will be well organised for everyone attending is helping to build our numbers a lot.”
Then there’s a warning: it’s hammer time; the last mile into town is like a team time trial making sure the legs get a good workout.
A bounty of baked goods await Bridgnorth at Latte Da
On with the clobber for the big push home
Cake: the raison d’être of the weekend ride