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

Cycling Weekly - - Ride With -

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.

Mixed ter­rain

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

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