After a little hiatus in the country, circumstances, kind offers and a few requests resulted with the GA’s Holly Run being relocated back into the cradle of modern civilisation, but as befitting a modern city the stops were all new. Well with the exception of Tandem Coffee House but what we can say, we are cyclists and we do need coffee. Well actually Tandem were our impeccable and very tolerant hosts for the weekend, we are however getting a little ahead of ourselves.
It is not often being a member of he GA opens doors, but today Alison kindly opened the cafe early. In all honestly we can only assume to keep the streets outside tidy, although Alison insisted it was to make things easier for people travelling from further afield.
Somehow we even managed to set off more or less on time leaving Stockport Old Town out along the river Mersey towards the great metropolis of Manchester, at least that was the plan until a mile in one of our number sheered a “cock pin” fortunately the GA’s new resident mechanic @BicyleSeb along with a bit of brute force was on hand to help our man get rolling well enough for the bike to be ridden back to a local bike shop and for the princely sum of £1.50 to effect the repair.
Obviously the GA never leave a man down, but in this instance we pushed on after first agreeing a rendezvous point, as it transpired our agreed meeting point was abandoned brought on by a combination of rain and a rather handy bridge. With a little time on our hands it seemed like the obvious point to break out the Whisky Fizz cocktails and Mrs GC’s Lancashire Parkin. It maybe a coincidence, or the lure of alcohol but our ranks were back to their full complement far quicker than anyone expected. Everyone fed and watered (including one or two of the natives) we set off on the road again.
Then fix a puncture, but as they say what goes around comes around and one of the passers buy who we had plied with whisky re-appeared like the proverbial shop keeper this time with a track pump.
And off again…
Passing past Old Trafford (cricket and football), we made our way to Media City, home of various television shows but the important stop for us was the Blue Peter garden, where we relived our youths by throwing any available plants into the pond and daubing graffiti on the brickwork. After our unscheduled stops we were running a little behind for lunch and hunger was starting to take hold. Fortunately we were now within a few miles of our lunch stop and after a mad dash along the Ship Canal and the centre of Manchester we found ourselves at the Alphabet Brewing Company for the next couple of hours, who have in association with Grub been opening the brewery at weekends supplying the great and the good of Manchester with fine beer and food at their brewery tap.
Alas all good things come to an end and we had a tea to get to (although we did have just enough time for a quick photo call outside the Medal Factory, we can only assume the site of the GA and Basket Brigade en-mass kept the talent scouts hiding under their paperwork).
With hardly enough time for one last pint at Heaton Hops we descended back on our still understanding hosts at Tandem Cafe for an evening of Malaysian food provided by the marvellous Nasi Lemak, beer from ourselves and a rather entertaining quiz from our hosts, with possibly some of the best prizes I have personally ever witnessed and as ever a cup or two of truly fantastic coffee.
All too soon we appeared to have outstayed our welcome, but upon reflection we realised if we had stayed much longer we would have bumped into the knocker upper on his rounds.
As ever a massive thank you to everyone who made the weekend possible, and of course the ladies and gentlemen who make the rides everything that they are.
A few Polaroids from the weekend