April showers bring May flowers - or so the saying goes. Acually the weather was superb for most of the Telford/Ironbridge Origami Ride on Saturday 8th April. I tried to fit in visits to most of the Ironbridge Gorge Museums during the ride, and I can only apologise to those who came that this was over ambitious, and that the return stage was (a bit?) chaotic - that's a penalty of building flexibility into the plan! Crucially, though, I don't think we lost any of the riders, even if some of you followed the road signs, rather than my verbal instructions, and went a short, steep, way back, rather than the longer, but more gentle route.
Those who left the Victorian Town at Blists Hill early to catch a train (to avoid the football supporters who had attended the Wolverhampton/Coventry derby) missed a hail storm on the way back. The conditions were unpleasant enough that I put on my new Rainlegs (most of you have probably read other reviews, so I won't elaborate here). This was the second time I've used them - the other occasion being while walking in the Lake District on a photographic holiday. For conventional (and folding) bike riders, and many other activities, they are great - protection from the rain, light, fully waterproof and breathing (the back of the leg is not covered as in 'normal' waterproof trousers. I'm not sure if they are as effective for recumbent riders, and walking through long, wet grass, but I recommend them. I think that the process of putting them on, rolling them up, and storing them, could be refined/improved (though it's not at all bad) - it just makes you wonder why no one thought of this before (easy in retrospect). See www.rainlegs.co.uk for more details (no vested interest - I bought mine via this web site at full price).
Oh, and as a late returner, I am happy to say that the football fans on the local train (perhaps Wolverhampton rather than Coventry supporters?) were absolutely no problem, very pleasant, if disappointed (2-2, I looked it up on the web).
Many thanks to all of you who came to my last Origami ride, and supported a local visitor, Peter Wilkes, who was using this as his sponsored ride on behalf of Cancer Research. I would also like to thank the three local Birdy riders who joined us - 5 Birdys has only been surpassed once at an Origami Ride, and that was the one which was specifically designated as a Birdy Ride. There were 21 riders all told, and apart from the Birdys (4 Reds, 1 Black), we had 2 Airnimals, 2 Moultons, a Dahon, one Bike Friday, three conventional (non-folding) mountain bikes, and of course lots of Bromptons.
As leader of this not very organised ride, I didn't have time to take any photographs, but others may be adding pictures to this report in due course.
Thanks again to all who attended, and to those who make the Ironbridge Gorge a great place to visit, and worthy of its status as a WORLD heritage site.
'Steve E Michaels'