the Birmingham~Frankfurt Christmas Market ride

it’s a NWAlps christmas tradition to visit the metropolis and over indulge in German wheat beer in the pretence of celebrating the coming festive season, actually by tradition I mean we went last year by sort of accident and had a giggle so i wanted to go again and it’s the only time you can drink beer in the street and be able to keep an eye on your bike while doing it.
the plan was to get a big group of us, dress up in comedy christmas outfits, critical mass New Street, get a little tipsy and then, amount of beer consumed allowing either ride back or get the train, obviously the more beer you have the more sensible the idea of riding back is, did i mention 11 miles of that route is via canal towpath, nice narrow high fence on one side, dirty, smelly liquid of doom on the other, Fans of Terry Pratchet will picture the canal “texture” as similar to the river Ankh as i’m sure in places if you fell in, you could happily walk across, but quickly before your feet dissolved. got to love hundreds of years of pioneering industrial enterprise eh?
As so often happens to these kind of rides there’s a lot of initial enthusiasm and the promise of a high turn out but this fades as the excuses come in until this time it was just Dan and myself.
In a way this is better logistically and despite one false start where we got our meeting points mixed up we were soon on our way in. The only hardship apart from the diversion over the top of the Wast hill tunnel through “little Beirut” was a fallen tree that took some lifting of bikes and crawling on knees to avoid then it was a straight flat run into the city centre with a brief stop to re-inflate a slow puncture. We avoided the worst of the crowds and took the back streets to circumvent them and ended up at the first bar. Luckily it was quite quiet and we could position the bikes in view and get stuck into some very nice beers. Dan’s friend Nick who guided us around Cannock popped over for a beer.
With a puncture to fix and feeling just a bit tipsy we asked the very accommodating folk at the Yorks Bakery Cafe let us park the bikes in the hall way and brought us great food and their wonderful coffee and also didn’t bat an eyelid when Dan fixed his flat at the table!
suitable refreshed (read slightly sobered) we retraced our pedal revs back along the canal, thankfully without incident, puncture or kidnap
a thoroughly good day of non technical riding, which is just as well
ride 144
31 miles
total 2989
commute 1404

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