Stour­bridge CC

Sean Lacey has to be industrious on an au­tumn day in the Mid­lands

Cycling Weekly - - RIDE WITH -

There is a def­i­nite chill in the air, a sure sign win­ter is com­ing and the de­ci­sion to add lay­ers was an easy one — full longs, too. As the Stour­bridge A-group rid­ers ar­rive they have the same idea, bar one hardy soul. We have a good few miles to cover and the pace needs to be on the higher side, which will keep us warm at least. It will also make good use of late form, at least for those who have some, though not this writer.

As we head out of town the group is big enough to pro­vide suitable cover and wheels to ride on, fa­cil­i­tat­ing con­ver­sa­tion and ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the coun­try­side we will visit, pass­ing through the West Mid­lands, Stafford­shire and Shrop­shire on our way to the cafe stop.

One mem­ber I catch up with — the hardy chap in shorts — was South African born Ris­don Sharp, who came to the UK three years ago: “I moved to the UK to go to univer­sity and wanted to keep fit. I rode a lit­tle back home but not much. Join­ing the club was a great mo­ti­va­tor and taught me the skills I needed to get in­volved with the faster club runs — and the mus­cle de­vel­oped the hard way!” He isn’t cold ei­ther, de­spite hail­ing from warmer climes.

The trip through Stafford­shire is brief, just a few miles wide at its south­ern point and we’re into the meat of the ride in Shrop­shire. Our route takes us through the vil­lage of Badger, pop­u­lar with lo­cal clubs due to its pris­tine Olde English vil­lage charm and quiet roads. It’s rel­a­tively flat round here, too, though that won’t last though as the group rolls on to­wards the Iron­bridge Gorge, the deep val­ley open­ing up no end of climbs (and des­cents) to choose from.

We drop down a fast and twist­ing road to the River Sev­ern and tan­ta­lis­ingly ride straight past our des­ti­na­tion at the

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