Fantastic weather meant that a great route was even better than usual. Combined with the good people of Retrobike meant that it was all good fun too.
The bikes were lined up for a Le Man's style start and then after a borrowed rear tyre was fitted to Orange Ed's Proflex we were off up through the forest.
NakedGav's Kiluaea, Mr Ship's Nuke Proof, Easy_Rider's Parkpre, drystonepaul's Dyna Tech, HarryCrumb's Giant Escaper, orange71's Proflex, Sinnett117's Ti-Mega.
Climbing commenced and OrangeEd's rear hub quickly deteriorated, necessitating a complete strip down and rebuild in the woods. A pair of old school Cool Tools and a Hypercracker were pressed into action to revive Ed's pride and joy.
Lessons from a master builder. "Ooops I've dropped a bearing in the dirt..."
Not the sort of thing you really want to see on a ride
After a slight climb we reached the summit of Charity Lane at 1500 ft. The snow had all melted so it was time for a great rocky downhill.
SMASH! HarryCrumb and his Giant piss-pot race-face.
BANG! Contrary to popular belief, NakedGav actually wears some clothes.
WALLOP! Marky Mark hits the Mark.
Local John turned up expecting an ordinary bike ride with ordinary people... Nobody told him it was a retro ride.
Easy_Rider cruises his Judy's down Charity Lane.
The descending continued losing all our hard gained height, down 'Bottom of the Oven'. The surface was loose and tricky but I'm told that fully rigid bikes and canti brakes are de rigeur for such terrain.
Going downhill fast
Mr Ship: "What this old thing? It's just another one of those titanium super-bikes"
Ed's bike managed to stay in one piece for the road climb all the way up to the second highest pub in England. We refuelled with cold drinks and a pint of chips while HarryCrumb realised his cleat was falling off.
The multi-tools were once again brandished so the riding could continue.
More mechanicals at the Cat and Fiddle
Richard and Ed look on in disbelief; Nobody has ever removed a cleat bolt without resorting to a pillar drill and an angle grinder before. Remarkable.
After a few running repairs, we hit some more moorland on a great section of bridleway. A long fast descent with a rocky technical twist brought us down to the meeting point of three counties at Three Shires Head.
Helmet on to please his mum, HarryCrumb has some fun.
Big cheesy group shot at Three Shires Head
The 'short' technical climb out was a real test of skill, stamina and balance, especially as all the best lines were filled with walkers.
The next rocky descent down Cumberland Clough saw Ed's cursed ProFlex puncture twice within half a kilometre.
While fixing his latest break-down, a passing couple on their modern bikes were given the dubious honour of picking out their 'Bike of the Ride'.
After a short guided tour and some serious deliberation, the coveted sticker nearly went to HarryCrumbs 1989 Giant Escaper. The chainstay mounted U-brake and 'pulled from a skip' story intrigued our guest judges.
But the sympathy vote went to Ed who was by now in the middle of a full strip down and rebuild.
The addition of a sticker probably held the frame together for the rest of the ride...
Doesn't that Pro-Flex dissolve in water?
After a pleasant cruise through the picture perfect Wildboarclough, the final steep climbs brought us up to the top of Macclesfield Forest.
The last hill is always the steepest...
After admiring the view at the top I shattered a group of modern bikers dreams by telling them they were riding the forest loop in the wrong direction. Then we set off down the final downhill finale they'd just struggled up.
A super-fast blast on fast forest trails with sweeping corners and chicanes.
A personal favourite descent of mine which incidentally makes a rubbish climb.
...But the last downhill is always the most fun
And so ended another cracking ride with a few well deserved drinks in the pub.
Here's till next time.