I (nearly) shot the Sheriff

Today in warming sunshine a group of us took part in the first Alternative Sheriff’s Ride. Not the first Sheriff’s bike ride though, as one participant told me he still had certificates from taking part in rides in the early eighties when a cycle event was organised to compliment the horse led event.

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Nine or so miles on a route that weaved around streets in the north, south, east and west of the city. We left Cross in Hand Lane heading up Beacon Street. Just before our planned turn into Beacon Park by Greenhough Road we came upon the horse ride. If I had been quicker I would have got a shot of the Sheriff at the front of the ride in his regalia, but couldn’t get my camera out quickly enough.

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Next time maybe we will wait for the ride to pass us before departing for our ride as it was a fine sight to see so many horses cantering down Beacon Street. Tea and cakes were taken part way round and most of us finished up back at Cross in Hand Lane. Thank you for all those who took part or came along to show support. Let’s do it again next year, the nearest Saturday to 8th September 2014 and make it a tradition to remember once more.

The Alternative Sheriff’s Ride – Saturday 7th September

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Take part in an updated version of the traditional Lichfield Sheriff’s ride. Bring your bike and ride or line the streets to cheer on the participants in this free event on Saturday.

Though the modern horse ride departs from the Guildhall at the same time, we will start from the original point of departure in Cross in Hand Lane, just off Stafford Road. Unlike the equestrian ride our bicycle jaunt will take only around an hour and a half and is over a 9 mile circular route. It has been devised to take in streets named after the ancient farms and fields from the time of the instigation of the traditional horse led ride, now over 400 years old.

Like the bigwigs we will include a stop for refreshments part way round from a generous sponsor. A free cup of tea and Women’s Institute cake will be available to fuel us for the remainder of our journey and triumphant return to Cross in Hand Lane.

Join us on our inaugural leisurely ride and help make history as we attempt to create an event for all to take part in, with a sense of fun and celebration at its heart. Meet at the Stafford Road Pinfold for a 10.30am start.

The Stafford Road Pinfold is situated on the corner of Stafford Road and Pinfold Road, on the left as you head from the roundabout at Morrisons towards the Friary School. Nearest postcode WS13 7BX.

For more about the history of the pinfold click here.

To read an account of the modern horse ride from Lichfield Civic Society click here.

Alan’s Birthday Ride- A day for remembering Absent Friends and Maurice

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The Cathedral bells began their peal at about ten to ten. Soon a trickle of worshippers appeared by foot and car to stroll down to the west front across the paved approach. It stopped and a few minutes later began again as we took to our bikes to pay our respects outside Maurice’s apartment. Shame about the out of place marble pierced Spear blade jarring with the Architecture.

Down Tamworth road to the left turn past the Horse and Jockey and on to Whittington. This route will be blitzed by HS2 and Maurice would not be pleased nor any sane person not driven by profit. I for one will never be able to afford to use it as it is not for us lesser mortals. What about planning for sustainable transport then?

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Off to Elford across the existing West Coast line route with a stop to see the River Tame, healing now, full of weed and by all account fish too. A change from my youth when it polluted the Trent well down from the confluence. A nice village with some handsome houses and church with a cracking parkland approach. We chose the village as a route to a Maurice back lane to Hazelour avoiding two hills in the process but adding to route length.
At Edingale we paused to look around and made a detour down to the River Mease which is a delightful stream of significant ecological interest. And pretty too.

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Next target, Clifton Campville, with its fine church and a turn north to Lullington over the already smaller Mease and the rich farmland of its floodplain. This route avoids the steeper climb to Lullington from the Croxhall route alternative. Maurice was no mug and tea used to be at Grangewood but alas no more. Rosliston’s Beehive Farm is cycle friendly and is our stop. Tea, toasties and teacake, served with a smile. Nice bikes to admire including a 1970’s Harry Hall.

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Homeward leg was into the strengthening breeze over the last rise past Donkhill and down to Catton Park, filled on the day with equestrian competition and Canine agility. A last glimpse of the Mease by Croxhall and on to A513 to Sittles and more back lanes through Fradley village and route 54 home to Lichfield in time for the barbecue. An excellent day altogether.

Alan