Lovely ride on the Cheshire Plains, with lots of places to stop and visit or to stop and eat. This will make a great winter ride.
Another very early start (01:20am) after the rain had passed over. Heading for the Cheshire Plains I took my normal route through Eccleshaw, Stoke on Tren but turn left in the village for Baten Upon Tern and Wem (42miles). I had a final downpour as I approached Stoke on Tren which was supported by a hard headwind.
It finally stopped raining and the wind had started to reduce on my approach to Prees Heath (58miles) the sun had risen but the sunrise was hidden by the clouds. By the time I reached Prees Heath the cloud had begun to break, and I could see blue sky, the day was starting to look and feel a little brighter. The café was still closed so I opted for a meal deal at the 24hr petrol station.
Leaving Prees Heath the world was a happy place, this quickly changed as I encountered the hard headwind again which resulted in a slow crawl to Baschurch (74miles). To be honest, by the time I made it to Baschurch I was happy to turn for home! However, it was another 8miles to (81miles) Ford and Dinkys Dinahs, so I pushed on. Dinkys was open but on reduced hours and staff, this resulted in a long wait due to the volume of people. After eating my egg bap, I fancied another cup of tea, but I could not face another long wait in line with social distancing, so I pushed on for home.
The roads between Ford and Battlefield (91miles) were being resurfaced which made them very bumpy and slippy on the stone chippings. This made for an unpleasant 10miles. However, I did overtake several road sweepers along the way which was entertaining for me. I had initially promised myself that I would not stop at Battlefield Star Bucks for coffee but when I looked across the car park there were only a few people in the building, no waiting, so I pulled off for a coffee.
The leg along the main road (A53) is very uninspiring for the most part, the traffic is very forgiving of cyclists, in fact, it was the car drivers rather than the vans and trucks which came too close. Along this stretch of road, I could see a wind vortex that was sucking the cut grass from the field pushing it up into the sky. I had thought about recording it as a video, but it was too far away for the lens. As I pulled off the main road the wind gradually reduced but I think this was due to the increase in hedging and barriers.
Stanford Bridge (petrol station) at 106 miles quickly arrived and passed and before I realised, I was at 117miles and Eccleshaw. I stopped at Eccleshaw and had a drink of milk and I was very surprised at how quiet it was, but there was a semi-lockdown. The usual climb to Stone and up to Meir Heath with very few cars on the roads. I was plodding my way up the hill imagining how much nicer cycling would be with reduced traffic like today. As if to bring me back to reality the rain came back with vengeance turning me into a big drip again!
Lovely ride with lots to see along the way. It can be very hard work if windy as there is a lot of exposed roads.
I finished work early and the sun was starting to show itself, so I took the chance. Unusual for me, this is a 3pm start rather than a 3am start. This meant that I had to compete with the rush hour traffic as I made my way to through the different towns to reach the countryside. The first 20miles to Cheswardine and Saint Swithun’s church is my normal route to the Cheshire plans and beyond but it does not stop traffic and selfish drivers who are willing to risk my life to save 20 seconds (rant over). The vistas (of Wrekin and Long Mynd) from the roads as you descend from Cheswardine on Haywood Lane towards the turnoff over the canal are great so take two minutes to appreciate them.
After a short climb from the canal, there is a long descent which is frustratingly broken by crossing roads. The descent to Stoke on Tren is much nicer. The road turns and hits the A442 (Telford road), the stretch along the A442 is short, which can be made shorter by cutting the corner. This leads to a nice section to Stanton Upon Hine Heath before turning to Moreton Corbet and St. Bartholomew Church and Castle. This was full of family’s enjoying the sunny evening and picnicking. But it is worth a little delay for a stroll and to take on food and drink.
As I was going to be cycling overnight I thought that I would charge the Wahoo Bolt via my Igaro D2 during the next section as this would mean that I could just run the lights at night from the dynamo. The B5063 towards Wem was uninspiring but it was quick and mostly free of cars. This next section to Baschurch is lovely too as the roads are quiet and it feels like you’re miles from anywhere. I quickly arrived at Basechurch to see a long line of people waiting to go into the late shop, so I just kept going to All Saints Church around the corner. I check my charge rate on the Wahoo only to find that I had lost power not gained it. So I took a few photos of the church and had a play to see if I could get the Igaro D2 to work. I quickly realised that it was not recognising that power was been passed into the unit so I gave up (contacted Igaro and they sent me a new one the next day).
This next section is lovely too, this is turning out to be a great route. This section does get a little lumpy and it seemed to take an age to reach St Martins, but the sun was out, and the roads and countryside were excellent. A few points of interest along the way are St Andrew church at Welsh Frankton as you cross the main road to Ellesmere. A few hundred meters along the route you have vistas cross the plains into Wales. Finally, just after you turn on to the main road for the last mile to Chirk services there is Bryngwilla Lodge.
The Petrol station and M&S Simply Foods provide free wifi (13th July 2020) so I sent a few photo’s to the wife as I sat eating my chicken sandwiches and drinking my can of fizzy pop and a small bottle of milk.
The next section to Ellesmere was fast and more lovely countryside, I was a little surprised just how fast Ellesmere arrived. I stopped to take a photo of the St Mary’s Church set above the main road as you pass through the town. I did pull off at the Boathouse cafe in the vain hope that it would still be open, but it was not!
The section from Ellesmere to Prees Heath took forever so much so that it did cross my mind that I had gone wrong with my route-finding but I reminded myself that the Wahoo had never failed me before and keep riding onto the night. Prees Heath finally arrived and I had my fingers crossed that the petrol station would still be open (Covid 19 opening times were still listed on their website) and it was. I sat behind the garage eating my chocolate and drinking my fuzzy pop watching the stars. I was feeling positive and strong, so much so that I gave serious thought about heading for Chester, making the route 300km but I had to be home by 8am.
I have ridden the section to Market Drayton and home a few times, so I settled in for the ride with my dynamo headlight was working its magic on the dark lanes. However, this did not stop me from having a puncture about one mile from Calverhall. I took a minute and decided that rather than trying to change the tube in the dark lane with a torch in my mouth I would walk the mile or so to the lights which I could further down the road. When I arrived I there was a gang of young lads drinking on the wall of the pub and generally just been lads. It did cross my mind to keep walking, but that would have been silly. So I located myself under one of the spotlights and started to change my inner tube.
I quickly realised that the Gaterskin had stopped the object (possibly glass) but it had taken 1cm of rubber off the tyre. I am assuming that the force burst the inner tube. Then the 20yr old lad on a pink bike for a 3yr came over asking if he could use my pump as he had a flat tyre. I had the wrong valve so I politely explain that the pump would not fit his valve and asked him if he came far on his bike. He laughed and said, from that skip point at a yellow skip about 4 meters away. Imagine four drunk 20yr lads playing on a pink bike for a 3yr child and all the silly things they were doing. Let just say that they keep me entertained but no social distancing.
Their mates arrived in a yellow airplane mover which looked and sounded like a small yellow train. This was getting more sural by the minute. I ended up with five lads chatting to me about drinking in the countryside compared to drinking within the inner city. At the same time, I had to explain to other lads the process of changing an inner tube as I went. Alongside this, were the usual questions about how far I have ridden and why I cycle at night. What was interesting, is that they wanted to know if I had ridden past their house/ town/ village. I was just ignoring the small group who were trying to start a tractor that belonged to someone inside the pub. I work on the assumption that if these lads were not interested, I should not be either.
This had to be one of the longest puncture repairs ever. I made my farewells and set off been accommodated by a wannabe Usain Bolt for the first 500meters. I think he did well considering how much he had to drink! Pushing on to Market Drayton the roads were quiet again and the city life I seek to escape had faded behind me. Until I reached Market Drayton which was full of young semi-drunk people moving around, I think from pub to pub. This was quickly over and it was nice to be back on the dark country lanes to Eccleshall.
When I arrive at Eccleshall, I always start to feel tired as I know that it is mainly climbing all the way home, especially the last five miles; I live on top of one of the highest points in Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire. It is funny that the dogs do not bark when I arrive home in the middle of the night but they do bark when the neighbour arrives home after her late shift; they must smell me!
This is a very quick overview of how to use captions, tables, figures and appendices in your report. I would always recommend that you use the auto functions in Ms Word.
Caption: The label given to a table or figures (this often mirrors the title of the object)
Table: If it looks like a table it is a table – an object made up of cells
Figures: Not tables – charts and images
Appendix: Is a space (house) which contains additional pertinent material
Cross-reference: A signal to the reader to look at a specific object (figure or table)
Table of Content: A list of all headings used within your report (e.g. level 1 to level 3) with page numbers
List of Figures: A list of all figure captions used within your report with page numbers
List of Tables: A list of all table captions used within your report with page numbers
The use of cross-referencing is about signposting your reader to supporting materials. This means that cross-referencing needs to achieve at least two outcomes, a) know what and where to look for an object and b) why they are looking at an object. For example… Figure 1, below, illustrates the flow of data around the proposed system.
The secret to good readability is recognising what to present within the text and what to move to the appendix. The best way to think about this is to consider the reading flow. If there are too many images it breaks the flow, however, if the reader is constantly flicking backwards and forwards this will break the flow too. Thus, the object (figure) needs to provide enough information (knowledge) which will allow the reader to engage with the next paragraph. If they are unsure they can choose to look at additional materials in your appendix. This is why it is critical to writing for your target audience.
Remember, if you do not cross-reference an object (i.e. figure or table) why is it in your report!
Captions and Objects
It is important to note that the caption for the table goes above and any citations go below the table (see table 1, below). Whereas figures, the caption goes below and the citation is included in the caption, see figure 1, below. If you do not provide a citation (reference) it is assumed that the object is your own work.
Using Cross Referencing
When cross-referencing an object within the immediate proximity you would use “see table 1, below”
When cross-referencing an object which is more than two pages away you would use “see table 1, pg2” or “see section 2.3, pg18” or “(see section 2.3, pg18)” or “see Appendix 2, table 1, pg45”.
Think of it like this, if you do not provide specific detail your marker will think you are hiding something and start to dig and this is never going to end well for you, the student!
The appendix is a container that houses information in the same way as a house contains rooms. If I want to cook food I would go to the kitchen and if I want to watch the television I would go to the living room. Thus, appendix one contain additional information about customer requirements and appendix two may contain additional information about your primary data.
All images and tables within your appendix will be captioned as figures and tables (see above). Thus cross-referencing needs to tell the reader the following ‘appendix one, figure 1, pg 23.’ By adding the word ‘appendix’ it signals to the reader that it is additional information that is pertinent but not critical to the narrative, allowing the reader to decide if they want to read it or not. The page number is included as this makes it very quick and easy to find figure 1.