If you need an excuse to get out of an awkward social engagement, this is the Perm for you. Just mention that you are going to see Bunbury, as Oscar Wilde might have suggested.
Head south into Cheshire through Stalybridge and Hyde. Chadkirk Chapel near Romiley is an interesting place to visit but perhaps on another occasion; there are still some kilometres to cover before that first control at Broken Cross. You are heading for Church Minshull, which offers one of surprisingly few cyclist-friendly crossings of the River Weaver.
Holt is a medieval village just over the border into Wales. It lies just over the River Dee from Farndon on Cheshire, connected by a 14th Century bridge, with its 20th Century traffic lights. There is a cafe in the Garden Centre, and Cleopatra's Cafe in the village centre.
The way back through England goes through Saighton (pronounced 'satan') and the north Cheshire towns of Helsby and Frodsham. You are aiming for Warburton Toll Bridge in order to get across the Manchester Ship Canal. Cars used to pay 5 shillings but on decimalisation this was dropped to 12p. You don't need to worry about this though, as cyclists can cross for free!
Take the A57 along the north bank of the Ship Canal bypassing Irlam and all the way to Eccles. Then head north through the former coal mining region of Pendlebury and Agecroft to reach Prestwich and Whitefield.
Simister might be a tiny village but its fame is widespread as thousands pass daily through 'Simister Island' where the M60, M66 and M62 all meet. Our route leads us through Simister and Middleton. The clock tower at Royton Town Hall reminds us that 'Tempus Fugit' (time flies) so press on, and upwards, through Shaw and the short sharp climb to Moorside and over High Moor. It's now downhill all the way to Uppermill.
This Perm starts and finishes in Uppermill, Saddleworth. If you drive here, it's handy for M62 junction 22 and there is free all-day parking at the car park by the leisure centre. If arriving by train, Greenfield Station has connections to Manchester and Leeds. TransPennine Trains allow a limited number of bikes on trains which they insist must be pre-booked, a policy ruthlessly observed.
☕ Some Useful Café Suggestions:
108km: Holt, Cross cafe, Garden Centre cafe 157km: Lymm, Popular 2000 M56/M6 services 210km: Uppermill, Many cafes, including Abaco and Cellar Pot