Our hotel was a block away from the main Birmingham train station -- too tempting. So we took the train to Lichfield and started from there.
This was the best day so far. No mechanical issues, almost all the trails either paved or well conditioned crushed limestone. My main complaint is there were lots of silly gates one had to go thru. Some you had to lift your bike over a wooden beam -- twice. Others were almost like an airlock -- you had to go into one section and close the gate behind you before you could open another gate to back your bike out.
Sometimes we hit them every quarter mile, other times it might be a couple of miles. We couldn't figure out what they were trying to keep out -- livestock would just step over the wood beams. The only thing we could think of was motorcycles -- because even motor scooters/mopeds you could get thru if you wanted. Very frustrating.
We passed Burton-upon-Trent, which is one of the historic brewing towns in England. We had been there for a day trip 7 years ago but didn't really have the time (or energy) to seek out the good pubs we knew, so we settled for a Marston's pub just down from the brewery for lunch and a beer.
As we were getting close to Derby we met a gent standing at one of the gates. He asked us if we had seen a woman in black cycling the other direction. We said we saw a woman but didn't know what she was wearing. He said it was is wife and she hadn't been on a cycle for years and decided to take it up again. The man had his hand in a cast so couldn't go with her. We assured him that she wasn't lying by the side of the trail (at least as of the time we saw her). She was going to be in a bit of a shock coming back, though. The trail there had a slight downhill grade (in her direction) -- probably not enough to really realize you are going doing hill but it enough to feel "boy, I'm doing great," Coming back up the grade would be a bit of a slog -- nothing impossible just tiring. We get the same thing in LA riding along the beach -- a good tailwind and fell you can ride forever -- until you turn around and have to fight the headwind all the way home.
By the way, the section below is supposed to show a map of that specific ride, not a list of all rides. I've sent a message to LocaToWeb support and hopefully will get things fixed...