A ride out with the Emergency Services Cycling Club today, starting at John's house in Canley, Coventry. Took my bike over there on the back of my car and the plan was to go out to Chadwick End, Shrewley, Hatton, Balsall Common back to Coventry.
Longbrook Lane Ford Balsall Common
Headed into quite a stiff, cold breeze although thankfully it was dry. Part of our route was on very minor roads including this one, near Balsall Common. Still a lot of water coming off the fields and this was the ford in Longbrook Lane. Not deep enough to warrant use of the walkway on the right hand side.
Hatton Locks Cafe
At just under the 20 miles mark, we arrived at the cafe at Hatton Locks. This is the riders queuing up for vittles. It was nice and warm in the cafe and just 6 seats left empty, enough for us weary travellers. Too cold to sit outside, our turn will come when the summer arrives. Whilst we were in there, it started pouring with rain which did not go down well but it stopped by the time we got back on the bikes.
E.S.C.C. at the cafe.
Well fed and watered (the teabread is to be recommended, a cross between malt loaf and fruit cake, with butter, delicious.) this is the ESCC, from l to r, Andy, Diane, John, Steve and Graham. They were willing my bike to fall over into the canal but they forget how accomplished I am at parking the machine at photo call time. Oh ye of little faith.
An unusual request from this lady, not often encountered on a bike ride. Just about to finish off the hill in Holly Lane near Balsall Common when a lady stood at the side of the road and asked for assistance. She wanted someone to help her lift some bags of leaves into her compost heap but could not do it alone. She needed a big strapping young man, so why she asked me is a mystery! I duly obliged and job done, carried on and caught the group up.
PC Gavin Carlton R.I.P
In Torrington Avenue, Coventry is this memorial stone. It commemorates the fact that PC Gavin Carlton lost his life in 1988, whilst on duty, attempting to apprehend robbers who had just attacked a nearby bank. Gavin used his car to block their getaway vehicle when one of the offenders shot the PC, and later turned the shotgun on himself. A second officer was shot but survived.
As we stopped to look at the memorial, these two elderly ladies came along and started to clear away the wreaths and tributes that had been there since the anniversary of the incident, the 19th December. They do it every year and when we told them we were retired Police Officers and Firemen, they asked if, rather than leave the site bare from now till December, could a container of flowers be left in place. They would be happy to look after them. We thanked them for the care they showed and we will pass their request on to the local Police Federation. Two unsung heroes.
We arrived back at John's house after just over 31 miles and had tea and cake. Again, as we troughed away, it poured with rain again. What a lucky day we have had, must get a lottery ticket.