Retired, work part-time or shifts, enjoy being out in the countryside? Then cycle the lanes and byways of Cheshire and surrounding areas with Chester Easy Riders: you won't get left behind.
Chester Easy Riders is an independent cycling club affiliated to Cycling UK. We cycle every Thursday throughout the year with moderate and brisk day rides of 40 to 80 miles.

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Thursday, 20 September 2018

20th September 2018: Chirk (brisk)

The weather forecast was dire - wall-to-wall rain from about 1100 in Chirk. What to do?  I messaged the brisk group to see if there was any interest in an early ride out and back from Chester to Chirk. So three of us met at the Old Dee Bridge at 0815 in the dry, to ride the shortest route directly to Chirk and a cooked breakfast!

Ivan led John W and myself out via Eccleston and through to Rossett, where we picked up Ken. We motored up Marford Hill and, at the A 483 roundabout, we shimmy around Wrexham heading for Sainsbury's and the Hospital. 

Out down the lanes, Ruabon arrives quite quickly and we are soon heading down the Cefn Mawr road.   The drag up and out was surprisingly fast and I put this down to the breakfast smells emanating from the Ruabon cafes giving extra impetus.

We arrive at the Castle tea rooms after 24 miles at 15.5 mph. There is a warm welcome from the waitress, and we generally opt for the smaller breakfast option except Ivan, who requires more fuel with the large breakfast. 

Nick appears as advertised, at just after 1000, having cycled cross-country from Tilston. We wonder if there will be any other CER riders today? Keith arrives announcing that Dave H is just behind him. So we all sit around discussing the weather and where the Moderate Duo will ride to today. The Brisk group is very clear on our route  - we are going straight back to ameliorate getting too wet.

We leave about 1045 and opt to go through Johnstown on the return loop, otherwise the route back is the route out. At the Cefn Mawr bridge, I have a chain disfunction as I change down for the hill out. The chain is stuck fast between the chain rings. The solution was to loosen the chain ring retaining bolts and all was then fine. 

Ken to the rescue as my chain is jammed.
Ken splits off with Nick on the outskirts of Gresford to help Nick negotiate suburban Wrexham. We remaining three pile it on as the rain starts to pick up. By the time we are nearing Chester it is a steady downpour.  

So we get back after 47 miles at 16.5 mph on the return journey making it a 16 mph average speed. We are glad we bothered to make the effort and wonder how Keith and Dave are doing in the heavy rain which is now inevitably engulfing them.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Photo ID

Saturday, 15 September 2018

13th September 2018: Welshampton (mod)

The weather was typically autumnal - a mite chilly when leaving home for the Ice Cream Farm, and warming up just enough throughout the day. Bryan was out just for a local ride, and Steve H was in civvies. Surprisingly we had three guest riders. John V and Mike E were from Watson’s Wanderers and Howard G got to know of us via Dave H and Steve T. So whilst the Brisk Riders (Ivan, John W and Nick) set off for Barthomley, I offered to cobble together a ride for the three visitors plus Keith and Neil.

I searched through old Viewranger routes and used one from Oct 2017 to the Sun Inn at Welshampton. Setting off via Brown Knowle and No Man’s Heath, we wiggle across the A41. Sliding down the quiet lanes to Bradley, and via Higher Wych, we end up at Eglwys Cross. I worry about the lane to Arowry which normally is knee deep in mud from the farm traffic but today the mud is slight. Turning south towards Bettisfield, I succumb to a rear wheel puncture. It takes a while to find the glass shard then realise I only have a 25mm inner tube for a 28mm tyre, but Keith comes to the rescue.

Having wasted quite a bit of time, I elect to take the main road straight to the Sun Inn in Welshampton. As ever, the welcome here is warm and we are soon seated away from the roaring fire. The conversation is varied as ever. The food is wholesome and plentiful as well. Looking at the route home, I can’t bring it upon myself to take three visitors back through the narrow and probably muddy lanes of the planned route, so I have a radical re-think.

Agreeing with the sentiment of my re-routing, the group heads for Ellesmere where the mere is looking pretty in the sunshine. I take a wrong turn towards St Martins, so, hoping no-one will realise that we should be on the Overton road, I re-route again to get us back to Trench and thence Lion Lane to the delights of Sandy Lane hill. We slide through Threapwood and wiggle back to Chorlton and Tilston. Here, we have just passed Nick’s house when he is seen motoring towards it!

By the time we get to Tattenhall, Neil and Mike have split for their homes nearby, whilst Howard is heading Runcorn bound. So as Keith and I ride the High Street, there is a shout from two cyclists sitting on a bench eating ice creams. It is Ivan and John W! We stop and chat and by this time John V, who had decided to take it a little easier, arrives as well.

We hope that the visitors enjoyed our club ride today, and hope to see them in the future.


13th September 2018: Barthomley (brisk)

The ride out from the ICF for brisk riders consisted of John W, Nick and myself.  The forecast was for a fine day with south westerly wind; so we decide to ride to Barthomley and the White Lion, a favourite lunch stop.

We set of out via Beeston and Bunbury. Over the past few weeks, cycle racing has figured greatly on our tv's and this style of riding taken on board today. The pace is pretty fast and heading towards Brindley it is a chain gang formation and probably around 20+mph average. Out to Ravensmoor, and continuing on to Broomhall Green, we have an altercation with a fraught car driver who waits for us to approach then pulls out from the right and cuts in front to turn left; what a plonker and a good job John couldn't catch him

We are cycling -very fast!
I make an error here and, instead of continuing to Audlem, I head towards Nantwich. Arriving in the town, we divert towards Wybunbury and Wrinehill, then pick up the route towards Betley. It's a nice uphill climb from Betley along Church Road and along Knowbank Road from where you get fantastic views of the Cheshire plain. You can almost touch Jodrell Bank it appears so close.

The riding pace hadn't slackened any, but as we are passing under tree-covered lanes, there is a call to halt. Nick had been stung on his eye brow. The sting still evident as a spear protruding the fleshy part of his eyelid. John was able to extricate the venomous spike but Nick's eye was already getting angry red and swollen. We're fortunately not too far from our lunch stop and on arrival at the inn the landlady provided an eye pack.

Avant-garde cycling helmet 

By the time we had enjoyed our lunch, the medicine provided and ice pack had worked sufficiently to continue our ride back. As a precaution a call home had been made, and assistance from Crewe can be made if needed. Due to high energy resources, we continue apace, and we are soon passing Crewe railway station and turning left to pass Gresty Road football ground and out to Shavington. A call home is made to confirm a stand down. We are heading towards Wrenbury and Cholmondeley and take a left and head for Old Coach Road Climb. After nearly 80miles from home, I wished I wasn't here!!

Over the top and rolling down we say farewell to Nick as he rides to home, and John and I continue to Tattenhall. We stop at the shop in the village to enjoy a Magnum ice cream and top up with water. 

Enjoying the sunshine, we are joined by the remains of the moderate group led by Clive. We all continue together to Hargrave and Christleton and back into Chester. An eventful day with 68 circular miles ridden and 18mph average, including 2565 ft of ascent, and, nearly 90 miles form home

Thanks to John and Nick for a hard day's riding, I'm out with the mods next week!.

see route map and/or gpx file download


Photos ID and JW

Saturday, 8 September 2018

6th September 2018 : Dunham Massey (brisk)

After riding solo for the last 6 weeks, I was looking forward to having company today. Meeting at Meadow Lea cafe on a wet and drizzly morning, there were not many riders braving the elements. There were a few out for coffee, but the group today consisted of Nick, John W, Ray and myself. No one had a route planned, so we decided to ride and head towards the blue sky direction.

Heading out towards Frodsham the rain was now heavier. The forecast was showers! How long do these predictions last?

We pass through the town getting ready with the market stalls and over the blue bridge and turn right to go via Aston. Our ride is heading out towards Budworth and High Lea and round to Dunham Massey and the Vine inn. Here I enjoy my first beer for ages and at £2.50 just right. We all have hot comfort food as we are soaked. Socks and boots off and placed on or near the hot radiators, we chat about the good weather and rides we've enjoyed this year. Getting ready to leave it is still raining, no one holding us back so we have to go.

We ride out to Dunham Massey grounds and join the track to pass over the river and the inn, Swan with Two Nicks. The rain has now stopped and patches of blue sky evident. We follow the usual route towards Great Budworth but keep a left route in error and ride round the extremes of the village and, instead of going up the hill towards High Lea, we continue towards Northwich. This plan was to divert from Acton Bridge climb but we still had to climb up to Marbury Road bank and pass the Anderton boat lift. Left at the lights and on Winnington Road before taking the "Clive route" through the flashes. This detour made our bikes super dirty.

Once out on the main road again, we pass Weaverham and on the Crowton, Kingsley road and return into Frodsham and the welcome stop of Costa Coffee, soon to be Coca Cola!! After our snack, it is along the main road and back to Meadow Lea Cafe.

A circular ride of 64+ miles at an average 16mph so a great ride. Well done Nick and glad you joined us.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Thursday, 6 September 2018

6th September 2018: no mod ride

Quite a number of mod and brisk members turned up at Meadow Lea cafe, and it was especially good to see Steve T and his wife.  The weather was cool and wet. Most people were just out for coffee, and as I left it looked as though there would be no club ride.


Monday, 3 September 2018

30th August 2018: no ride

I'm told that only three members turned up at Cleopatra's in Holt and there was no club ride.


Saturday, 25 August 2018

23rd August 2018: Whitchurch (mod)

Leaving Utkinton, four moderates were joined by the return of the bionic Macca after an absence of 8 months - Clive, Dave H, Jim and Keith.  The usual mods route by committee with Clive’s Garmin, Dave’s OS maps and Macca’s Google maps saw us do a large circle to the east, in order to cove more than the 17 straight miles to lunch at Whitchurch.  Jim peeled off after 10 miles for other duties whilst the 4 of us meandered through flat, quiet country through Aston juxta Mondrum (there’s a mouthful for you), Rees Heath, Nantwich and Ightfield.

Lunch was at The Wheatsheaf in the High St of Whitchurch where we were pleasantly served from the light menu.  Discussion varied from emigrating to N Z and how to navigate from Wales to Dublin.

On the shorter return journey, we stopped at the newly re-opened Swan pub in Marbury which Clive checked out; it turns out to be a Brunning pub, a breakaway from the well known Brunning & Price group.  On it’s website it says, ‘The pub is an institution unique to England, and there is nothing more English. It is not an American bar, darkened still by the long shadow or Prohibition; not a French cafe, where people sunnily drink aperitifs on the pavement; not a Bavarian beer-hall, full of swaying and noise” ..........Michael Jackson (the famous beer writer not the slightly well-known singer).

We rode back through Chorley, Bunbury and Tilston hoping to beat the rain forecast for 3pm ish.  Sheltering in The Old Fire Station at Tarporley with cake, we missed one shower before returning to Rose Farm.  Macca was glad to report no ill effects on his new knee (not sure about the rear end) having covered 53 miles at 12.6 average


Photo by Macca
See route map and/or gpx file download

23rd August 2018 : Norton-in-Hales (brisk)

Despite the unusual cooler weather conditions, there was good turnout at Utkinton with representatives of both moderate and brisk riders.  Clive was back from his travels in France and decided he had not recovered sufficiently to do the 65 miles to Norton in Hales; he joined the moderate riders on their trip to Whitchurch.  John W was on grandad duty and was having to make to do with coffee and  ride home. 

The net result being the brisk group comprised of John M, Nick,  myself and Dave Pipe - who was wavering due to  his uncertainty of being able to maintain a higher pace  but wanting to test his level of fitness. Having sorted a number of contingency plans with Dave, the group headed off towards Tarporley. 

The journey there was was uneventful but Tarporley was besieged by road maintenance engineers, 2 sets of traffic lights and a lot of ‘Chelsea tractors’. This slowed our progress but eventually we sped up passing through Beeston, Bunbury and Faddiley,  on route towards Audlem. The plan was to miss Audlem, but lack of concentration and a missed turning meant a short detour - anyway, Audlem is a nice village to visit. 

We arrived at the Hinds Head pub having completed 2 hours of riding. Lunch was chosen off the light bites menu although the portions were more substantial than light. The lunch chatter  covered football managers, crowd free stadiums and, of course, Brexit. Once lunch was over and photoshoot completed we set off towards home. 

Fuelled up and ready to go

The wind had increased throughout the morning  and became  a head wind which remained throughout the return journey. Fortunately Nick and John led the charge on the flat roads through to Wrenbury occasionally pulling away from Dave and myself. It appeared that Nick was using this as a bit of training for his upcoming triathlon event either that or his lunch was super-powered.

Once we reached  Bickerton, we decided to take more direct routes home so John continued on to Chester and the remainder of us headed for Tilston and Farndon. The original GPX route for the day is 57m with 634 meters of ascent but I think all of us probably rode closer to 80m .

Thanks to everybody for another good day out and very well done to Dave for testing your fitness and not having to revert to any of the contingencies.
See route map and/or gpx file download


Photo by NH

Sunday, 19 August 2018

16th August 2018: Special Ride - Bowland & Wyre District

There were some frantic last minute arrangements with regard to transport, but on the day it worked out just dandy! Ken gave Ian a lift, Mike and Dave Pipe met on my drive, Keith came in my Berlingo, and Nick was staying in Clapham, so he was arriving solo. Everybody arrived at Longridge early or on time, including Dave Pipe, who collected witness statements to prove that he had, indeed, achieved his punctuality goal after ten years of striving. We started at The Potting Shed cafe where the staff kindly opened early for us. The entrance is easily missed, so I had tied two yellow dusters on an iron rod at the entrance to catch the eye!

We were soon climbing up the south west ridge of Longridge Fell with excellent views all around, and then diving down Jeffrey Hill heading for the lovely village of Chipping. We left the village on a designated “Quiet Lane” wondering what this actually meant. Did we have to talk more quietly? Could one of those giant tractors still roar round the next corner with impunity? Our route took us on the side of the fell above the Hodder Valley, with some steep banks passing the Wild Boar Farm, an isolated old red phone box and Knot End. Before the plunge down to Burholme Bridge the view is spectacular, particularly ahead to the peaks of the Yorkshire Dales.

At Dunsop Bridge we headed north-west for the challenging climb through the Trough of Bowland. It turned just a little wet at this stage, and I apologised to Ian for my unguarded back wheel spray. If I had been on CTC ride I would have certainly failed their mudguard and long mudflap protocol, and probably been confined to the car park at the start! My only bike with guards didn't have the gear ratios to get me up this climb to the Lancashire/Yorkshire border stone (see photo).

The weather improved as predicted on our next leg to lunch at Scorton Barn which had some faster downhill stretches, but also a lot of strong headwind miles. We could clearly see Heysham nuclear power station, and across Morecambe Bay to the southern Lake District. Riding on these largely unpopulated fellside roads encapsulated that feeling of real freedom when cycling in wild country. We swooped into Scorton like a Skytrain, and dead on schedule. Mike had originally suggested Scorton Barn for lunch and we had recced this the week before. It was an excellent lunch stop, and we had a very convivial break.

Mike tried to begin the afternoon session with his helmet back-to-front. I suppose this was preferable to last week, when he didn't realise that he had left it at Dutton Locks! I wasn't too enamoured with hearing the M6 for a number of miles when heading back south last week on our recce.  I had asked Mike if we could ride a loop in the northern Fylde area instead, and he came up with an ideal rural route, initially heading out west past Winmarleigh Hall towards the coast. It was quite hard work, as this flat plain gave limited protection from the strong westerly wind. We came across a stationary huddle of ducks and ducklings on the road close to the hedge. There was a buzzard overhead, and they may have been hiding from it (see photo).

Photos by Mike G
We eventually headed south at Moss Edge to Ratten Row, and then, thankfully, with a strong tailwind toward St.Michael's on Wyre, and Bilsborrow. We were soon crossing the A6 and M6 and heading in the direction of Longridge. We stopped at Inglewhite, where there was a possibility of a picturesque route extension around Beacon Fell, but as one of those who doesn't do enough miles to be a contender, I had done enough, and fancied the cafe and a reasonably timed start for the drive home. As it happened, everyone was in agreement, although we still had a few miles to cover. I have absolute confidence in Mike's local knowledge and navigational abilities, so I'll swear he did some deliberate Clivesque extra miles before we got back to The Potting Shed!

The cafe gave us a warm and friendly welcome once again, and we had a selection of two blackboards of cakes with our coffees. Keith thanked the guy with the tree service at the front of the site, who had agreed to only lock the gate when the last car had gone if we had returned late. We had ridden nearly 54 varied miles, with one big challenge and some lovely scenery.  It was, as ever, a pleasure to share the company of both faster and moderate riders as one sociable club, as we still make the effort to do from time to time. I was grateful for the support, with many being unavailable in this holiday season - it made it all worthwhile. I am particularly grateful to Mike for co-leading and planning the day.
See route map and/or gpx file download


Saturday, 11 August 2018

9th August 2018: Little Bollington (mod)

I arrived last minute at Delamere due to having to go to the Post Office at Kingsley, and then having my path blocked by a lorry delivering a skip excruciatingly slowly! Steve Tan had surprised us by driving himself to the cafe in his recently restored Z3. The car looked great, and it would be smashing if Steve could continue his determined progress and eventually join us on two wheels. Steve told me that his near-death experience had changed his outlook on life; if he was thinking of doing something he was more likely to just go for it. So is he going to Amsterdam to smoke pot and enjoy the company of luscious ladies? No, he is splashing out and having his drive done!

Dave Matthews had ridden out for coffee, but was bike tweaking, and not on board for our ride today.

The moderates had already decided to go to the default destination of The Swan with Two Nicks. So it was that George, Ian, Mike, Neil and myself set off for Acton Bridge via Norley. Keith kept us company for a while, but was on night shifts so soon left us for a local spin only. The route was standard, but I thought that Ian, and certainly Neil, had probably not cycled around the back of Arley Hall. This detour passes the cricket pitch and the picturesque green and pond, before we headed out for Hoo Green and Booth Bank on our way to lunch. Lunch was good as we sat outside in the warmth and chatted.

Photos by Mike G
Our return was by way of the Trans- Pennine Trail, and then through Lymm. A labyrinth of quiet, narrow lanes off Swineyard Lane transported us past Garland Hall, Antrobus Hall, Cogshall Hall and on to Little Leigh. It was a nice day to return alongside the River Weaver, and we stopped at Dutton Locks just to relax and soak in the summer scene. Mike took some photographs, and left his helmet behind! Only George noticed after we had climbed up to the 'B' road. Mike successfully retrieved his helmet, as we continued to Delamere via the back lane west of Norley village, passing some lovely properties including Norley Hall. Ian and myself returned to the Station Cafe at Delamere. We had a cup of tea, and I learnt a little more about cycling activities in the Chester area from Ian. If you are reading this Ian, and still interested in riding the Trough of Bowland on Thursday please ring me on 01928 710308 there is a choice of a shared lift available.


See route map and/or gpx file download

Friday, 10 August 2018

9th August 2018 : Marbury( brisk)

Delamere Station cafe was the venue for the gathering of 8 Easy riders today. We were all outside enjoying the  warm morning sunshine and had a lovely surprise when  Steve arrived, looking well -without his neck brace, and being free to chauffeur himself around on 4 wheels. It is good to see that you are still improving Steve.

With Clive and Ivan absent today and John M unsure whether he would be released from Grandad duties, I presumed it would be Nick and myself as the representatives for the brisk group. We had previously agreed we would cycle from our respective homes to Delamere in order that we could increase our bike mileage and allow me to get back home in time to fulfil other commitments.

We departed the cafe with Nick using his TT bike, which is not really comfortable for longer distances, because his usual road bike is  awaiting  repair.

From Delamere we headed out through Cotebrook and Rushton, where we were shadowed by  two, non- communicative, mountain bikers for a couple of miles, and then to Wettenhall. When we reached Reaseheath College we took a short detour through the  College grounds. I think this was possibly the first time Nick’s TT bike has been off road and he did not seem impressed with the harsh ride. Unfortunately for Nick once we crossed the A350 into Nantwich we took a  second off road section ,this cycleway followed alongside the River Weaver. Fortunately for Nicks derriere this was only a mile or so and we were back on the road leaving Nantwich. Passing the not so secretive ‘Secret Bunker’, through Sound and Wrenbury before arriving at the lunch stop-The Swan. Nick appeared relieved to be able to swop his TT bike for something a little more comfortable.

The Swan has had a major refit and a large conservatory extension, it offers a good selection of beer and food . We both ordered off the light bites menu- chicken caesar salad and fish fingers bap. The lunchtime chat was mainly about pubs, food, and long term survival of rural pubs.

The Swan at Marbury

Local timber-framed property

For those who do not know Marbury it is a lovely little village, 5 miles north of Whitchurch, complete with timber framed houses dating back to the 16/17 century and is well worth a visit and exploring.

Back on the bikes we went out of the village through Bickley to Cholmondeley where we left the  planned return to Delamere and headed towards our respective  homes.

The original route returning to Delamere via Tattenhall and Utkinton is 49 miles but I think we both clocked up 60-70 miles today in perfect weather conditions. Thanks for the company Nick- hope your road bike is back with you soon.


Photos by KP

Friday, 3 August 2018

2nd August 2018: Llanymynech (mod)

Good turnout at the Chirk Tea Rooms for CER from Brisk and Mod riders.  The Mods group consisted of Keith, Dave H, Dave P, Andy B (who had cycled out from Mold using various diversionary routes) plus oneself.  We set of for Glyn Ceiriog (B4500) in fine weather with an occasionally ‘light light shower’. We climbed and climbed and were able to observe Chester Easy Riders overtaken by ‘Easy Coach’. 

Photos by Mike G

On through Llanarmon and the first of the steep climbs. At the top we decided to continue on to another summit eventually dropping down to Llanrhaeadr on damp roads occasionally covered in small stones. Andy advised the road was rough in places so we singled out to make sure if anyone did fall they wouldn’t take another cyclist.

Dropping down into the Tanat valley, I made a navigational error and we followed the B4580 adding about an extra 300ft of climbing. Instead of bagging three OS chevrons, another one was added making it a proper Mods ride rather than a leisure experience. Oh, the moans, but we managed it, our English contingent were also able to observe some more ‘badly maintained’ Welsh roads.

We eventually dropped down to the B4396 and with wind assistance were quickly at Pen-y-bont. A short climb over to Llansantffraidd and then onto Llanymynech. As our intended road crossing of the River Vyrnwy was closed, we used the Montgomery Canal towpath and aqueduct to get to our lunch stop, the Bradford Arms.

At lunchtime some of us discussed the nuclear industry and Chernobyl, whilst others enjoyed an ‘Aussie Summer’, a delightful beer.

In the afternoon, we had a following south westerly wind. West Felton soon arrived and we returned via Rednal, Welsh Frankton and Hindford; returning to Chirk about 4:20pm, with sufficient time for afternoon tea and catching the train home. Overall, a pleasant cycle ride covering 53 miles and just over 3,000ft climbing. For Andy B with his return home, he would have covered in excess of 100 miles.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Thursday, 2 August 2018

2nd August 2018 : Harmer Hill (brisk)

I didn't relish the idea of cycling out the 30+miles to Chirk but Ken offered to car-assist from Rossett  so this cut down the miles out and back. We were the first at the Castle Tea Rooms but soon there were quite a few more. Nick and John M were up for my 51 miler to Harmer Hill along with Ken and myself. The Mods were heading for the dark,cloud laden hills.

We set off by a different route for me to Weston Rhyn and hence along a recently refurbished road into Oswestry. There is the odd spot of rain in the air as well. A minor diversion via the town centre to avoid the one-way system, found us bowling down Weston Lane and across the A483 at the new junction. A straight run through Maesbury and it's marsh found us at Wooslton Bank and the tiny lanes towards Weirbrook.

Onwards through Eardiston, we arrive at the back of the PGL Holiday camp at Stanwardine. There are a couple of stiffish hills and Nick stops at the top to investigate what he thinks is a stone problem with his tyre or wheel. Unfortunately for him its a broken spoke and a slightly wonky rear wheel. He is wary of riding much further, and elected to follow us towards Shrewsbury.  We turn off at Walford Heath as he trundles the few miles to Shrewsbury station to take the train back to Chirk.

Route statistics ex PlotaRoute

It is not far for us now to Harmer Hill as we enjoy the tiny lanes and gorgeous sunshine and countryside. The Bridgewater Arms beckons and we are soon ensconced around our table with a pint of Wainrights in our hands. The luncheon fare comes quickly and is substantial, tasty and reasonably priced. We discuss the Brexit mess, and decide that we don't have a solution either!

It's time to go, and it has warmed up somewhat. I miss out the back way Myddle, as we run at high speed on the A528 towards Burlton with the wind with us. The road to Loppington is smooth and fast. As we turn westwards through Cockshutt towards Lower Hordley, we have the keen westerly wind in our faces all the way.

Each cut cornfield sends up a blast of very hot air as we speed down the lanes. North towards Tetchill, we go west again up the long climbing lane to Frankton Hill. We wiggle our way to St Martins and thence via the canal into the back of Chirk at just after 1500.

So 51 miles ridden and we all elect to miss out on a coffee to get home promptly. Ken kindly drops me off at the top of Lache Lane so halving my ride home. So thanks to Ken and John for they companionship today, and we all hope that Nick made it home OK as we didn't receive a text from him telling us he was able to get the train back. Hopefully he did!

See route map and/or gpx file download


Saturday, 28 July 2018

17th July 2018 : Southport (brisk)

None of the brisk riders could make Thursday, but the two Johns W and M readily agreed to accept Ivan’s offering of a Tuesday ride with the novelty of taking a train to Southport and riding home. 

Having left Chester not long after 8 a.m., we were soon transported by Mersey Rail to our seaside departure point. However, we were already in need of sustenance so Ivan treated John and I to a full English at the conveniently situated Wetherspoons. Appetites satisfied we were soon cruising along the promenade stopping to admire the starting point of the Trans Pennine Trail (photo). 

After initially heading north with views of the Morecambe Bay and the distant Blackpool Tower we soon turned inland, passing through the distinctive, rural flatlands of Hesketh Bank, Tarleton, Bretherton and eventually reached Moss Side. Turning south along the B5250 and near Eccleston came upon a most unfortunate cyclist who we managed to rescue. (photo). 

Good deed done, we motored on for a a few more miles before arriving at our planned lunch destination in Up Holland which is not as attractive as its name may suggest! Having gone to a lot of trouble to secure our bikes, we entered the pub only to find lunch was not being served and there weren’t any alternatives close by. So we continued on our way and having got some advice from a passing cyclist were soon entering the Colliers Arms in King’s Moss. It was fairly busy which was a good sign and we enjoyed substantial steak baguettes and decent beer.

We were soon back in the saddle pressing on south, bisecting Grange Park Golf Club via a trail. Reaching Rainhill, Ivan reminded us of its historic links with the railway. It was the site for the 1829 Rainhill Trials of locomotives to decide a suitable design for use on the new Liverpool Manchester Railway. The winner, of course, was the Rocket, designed by George Stephenson.

Soon we approaching the industrial and suburban sprawl of Widnes and Ivan guided us unerringly to the approach road to the old bridge to Runcorn which we all assumed would be open to us, even though currently closed to cars. However, the road was blocked and guarded by a worker who resolutely insisted we would not be able to pass until 4:30, an hour or so away. Ivan and John began planning a most unwelcome diversion via Warrington while I tried to coax a bit of cooperation from the guard who eventually went off to phone his boss. Before his return, I spotted a queue of local people up the road and enquired how the pedestrians and cyclists of Widnes and Runcorn crossed the Mersey while the old bridge was undergoing refurbishment only to be told that they were waiting for the shuttle bus that would transport us and our bikes over the new Mersey Gateway Bridge. Minutes later we boarded said bus and were whisked free of charge across the river to be deposited bang back on route on the other side! 

Ivan had no problem navigating through Runcorn and we were soon passing Sutton Weaver and on to Frodsham were we stopped for cake and coffee before completing the ride back to Chester. An enjoyable day out by train, bus and bike! The bike bit was 64 miles

Photos JM  and JW

Friday, 27 July 2018

26th July 2018: Norton in Hales (mod)

This was forecast to be the hottest day of the year, with temperatures in the mid 30’s in the south and east, while our local forecast was predicting highs of 28 degrees.  Not that this deterred the moderates who again were out in force, but no brisk riders were to be seen.  We sat on the wasp-plagued terrace of the Ice Cream Farm as riders assembled: Bryan and David M were only out for the café; Andy W was only going part way with us because of another commitment; the rest were up for the ride: Ian trying us out for the first time, Neil, Andy B, Dave H, Mike G, Clive, Dave P and myself.

Our destination was the Hinds Head in Norton in Hales.  After some delay due to binding mudguards on Clive’s bike, we set out through Beeston, Bunbury, Haughton and Ravensmoor, to skirt Audlem via Kingsley Heath.  The route so far had been very flat allowing a good speed to provide the wind chill needed to keep us from over-heating.  As we approach out destination the land became more undulating and it was a relief to arrive at the pub. 

We thought about sitting outside, but with tables and chairs bolted to the floor we couldn’t sit together.  Indoors was comfortable and we were quickly fed with most choosing the baguette or wrap options at £7-8 each.  Dave H’s attempt to call a plumber led to a discussion of planned obsolescence and the non-repairability of so many household items. Before setting off on our return, multiple water bottles were replenished, and the all-important group photo taken, with Dave H revealing his artistic temperament.
Photo by Dave H

We travelled west through Adderley and around Shavington Park, before passing through Aston and stopping at the village shop in Wrenbury.  We sat outside consuming coffees, ice creams and other refreshments, while Dave H got into discussion with a local character. Finally extricating himself, our route continued, sometimes at ‘brisk rider’ speed, past Cholmondley and Bickerton.  We took the less demanding climb past Bolesworth Castle, where the 2018 Carfest of the North (www.carfest.org/welcome/welcome-to-carfest-north-2018) was gearing up for the coming weekend, and it certainly looked a massive event. 
Photo by Mike G

From there is was a short ride back to the Ice Cream Farm.  No-one suggested stopping: it was the first week of the school holidays and the place was teeming. On what is my last ride for quite a few weeks, we had covered 50 miles, in fairly demanding weather conditions, but on lovely lanes with good company.  Ian will be back for more.


Saturday, 21 July 2018

19th July 2018: New Brighton (mod)

Arriving at Ness Gardens in lovely warm weather, I was quickly joined by Keith, Bryan W had just returned from a Scandinavian holiday, George, Trevor, Andy W, Andy B and Neil.

Enquiring on whether anybody had a planned ride, Andy W said he was only out for a meet, Trevor like Andy W was out for a morning ride and those remaining had ideas for lunch but couldn’t recommend a pub. We were missing ‘Wirral Travel Guide’ Brian Mac, and so we settled on a fish and chip emporium at New Brighton that Bryan W and George knew. A route was then agreed to our lunch stop via the Wirral Way, Hoylake and the coast. Bryan led us through Neston to the Wirral Way where Trevor left us to return home. At West Kirby, George took us to Hoylake and the coast where we were able to observe the contrasting architectural delights of the offshore windfarms and Victorian water features.
Photos by Mike G

We arrived at New Brighton with George very confident on the location of our lunchtime eatery. Having almost passed through New Brighton via Marine Lake we turned around retracing our route until the correct fish and chip shop was found, The Seaside Café. We were able to sit outside in the warm sunshine and enjoy a wonderful fare. Certainly, a holiday feel to the place. As Andy B said ‘Where could you find a ‘place’ where lunch is £6:50 and such value’. Others had chips and tomato sauce, beef burger, steak pie and a calorie filling big breakfast. There was certainly a leisurely feel to the ride.

After lunch we set off for Egremont Promenade following the Wirral Circular Trail. We stopped quite frequently taking in the views of the Mersey Estuary and Liverpool Waterfront. The Trail signage in places could be improved on this section, but with each of us using our memories we found our way to the submarine museum, Birkenhead Priory, Cammell Laird through Bromborough and onto Eastham via the Country Park. A circuitous route through the housing estates of Eastham followed, returning via Raby and Neston on quiet roads, arriving at Ness Gardens in time for refreshments. Overall about 40 miles at a leisurely pace, with plenty of sunshine and lovely company.


Friday, 13 July 2018

12th July 2018: Coton (mod)

A good number of Easy Riders gathered at Cleopatra’s in Holt. The moderates were out in force: David M, Clive, Neil, Dave H, Dave P, Mike G, Andy B, George, Trevor and myself. The start of the day questioned whether the long hot dry spell was over: there was a very light drizzle on my ride to Holt, and Andy told us it had rained steadily in Mold the previous night. However we set off in dry and improving conditions with the Dog and Bull in Coton as our destination.

We crossed the bridge into Farndon, noting that it is due to be closed to traffic for 14 weeks from 16th July, and for some days in that period also to cyclists and pedestrians.  Then we headed to Stretton (where David M left us), Tilston and the Cholmondley Estate, before turning south through Bickley and Marbury, and then joining cycle route 45.  Here the more observant riders admired the Mercian Way statue. We entered Whitchurch on Black Park Road, which is closed to vehicles until 02/19 a sign said, possibly due to badgers undermining the carriageway, though we could squeeze through the barrier fencing.  From Whitchurch we took the road to Alkington, then through Hollingwood to arrive at our destination just before 1 o’clock, with 26 miles completed.
Photos by Mike G

We sat outside seeking shade from the sun at a number of wobbly tables, but the food and drink were fine as usual: we had last been here in May. Clive left early to make his own way back for an afternoon appointment, while the rest of us gathered for a photo.

Our return led us north and westwards to Tallarn Green where a scarecrow festival was obviously underway. We dropped down to Sarn Bridge and turned left to avoid the bank, and made our way on a lovely quiet lane into Worthenbury.  Then it was the usual route back, with half the party pushing on ahead in the traditional(?) race to the finish, this being at Lewis’ café.  We sat on the terrace, enjoying coffee, cakes and the afternoon sunshine, when Ivan stopped on his way home after completing the brisk riders’ route.

Our total distance was 48 miles, covering many lovely gentle lanes in improving weather.  The rain did eventually come, but later that night.


12th July 2018 : Burlton (brisk)

A change from the recent weather meant it was overcast and wet as I made my way to Cleopatra’s where around a dozen CER’s were gathered. There were two routes on offer, Steve planning to visit Coton and mine to the Burlton Inn at Burlton. Everyone with the exception Ivan opted for the moderate option so at 10:30 prompt we set off leaving Steve to round up his group. 

Travelling across the Dee bridge and down towards Shocklach was fine until a lapse in concentration meant I had led us towards the homebound leg of the route instead of the outbound leg! This was soon remedied by turning left at ‘The Bull’ heading to Tilston where, as we passed the church, we saw Nick Holmes. He was  out for a run ,at least we think it was Nick he waved, we waved, it looked like Nick and it was in his locale.

Heading out of  Tilston  towards the A41, we briefly  joined  the moderate group who were probably a bit confused as to how they had managed to get ahead of us. Leaving their route, we  went through Larkton Hill, No Mans Heath and Malpas, and here we crossed the A525 at Iscoyd Park. Onwards through Fenns Bank and Whixall, we picked up a lovely smooth road, thanks to new tarmac, that took us all the way into Loppington before passing to the west of Sleap airfield and finally our lunch stop ‘The Burlton Inn’.

This pub was a first for us both and has a nicely decorated interior. There were  only a handful of customers and our food and drink order was quickly served. My main meal of Steak pie, chips and vegetables, was a large tasty portion and was consumed whilst chatting about family life and forthcoming holidays. Once fed and watered we headed back to Holt  by following a mainly straight northerly route linking Lyneal, Welshampton and Threapwood.

Ivan took over the lead  in Theapwood and set a fierce pace (obviously wanting to burn off the bangors and mash) through to Crewe by Farndon. Here we turned and took an alternative route via a back road into Farndon arriving back at  Cleopatra’s for coffee and cake at about 3:30.

Thanks for the company Ivan,  a good day out covering 57 miles.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Monday, 9 July 2018

5th July 2018: Aston (mod)

Steve had been chauffeured to Rose Farm by Lynne (my wife), and it was great to have him in the mix again. Lynne was favourably impressed by the company I keep. Perhaps, I had painted too much of an 'old lags in Lycra' picture at home, when describing our Thursday interactions! In a year when their changed circumstances had meant some individuals not renewing their membership, it was great to welcome Colin and Neil as fully paid up new members.

Route-wise, the moderate riders were without a clue, so chose our favourite default destination:   The Bhurtpore. Mike, Keith, Andy, Neil, Dave Pipe and myself formed the moderate group. We took the route through Cotebrook and along the narrow lush lanes, next to the baking brick of Oulton Park boundary. At Oultonlowe Cottage we turned right and took a quiet lane favoured by Ivan and Clive. Andy wasn't keen, having remembered a rough section of tarmac from a few weeks back. As he was on his tank-tough heavyweight steed, no harm was likely. From Wettenhall we made swift progress down Welshmen's Lane, and turned off through the park just before Nantwich centre. The paths were dry and the greenery relaxing as we passed  the ox-bow lakes of the River Weaver, and joined the A530 for only yards before heading south down Coole Lane. We then had a bit of an 85% thrash with the wind in our spinnakers, before turning north-west up Back Coole Lane. We crossed the Whitchurch Road into Aston to a very hoppy aroma. The surprisingly large grain mill in this small village was the source of the heady scent. We, of course were very at home in The Bhurtpore. We sat outside under canvas, and had a good selection of ales and curries to choose from.

Photo by Mike G

The route home took a turn left down Pinsley Green Road, for a change, and so by-passed Wrenbury. At Marbury the revamped Swan looked worth trying for a future lunch break. Ray Hardman used to have a drink and snack on the south side of the church with a lovely view over the    Big Mere, which you can't even see from the road we are on. We should stop and try 'Ray's View' next time. We headed north to Chorley Bank via Norbury and Gaunton's Bank. We crossed the A534 at Brindley, passed Tilly's in Bunbury with difficulty, climbed Tilstone Bank, and headed for The Old Fire Station at Tarporley. We took our bikes through the cafe to the back, and sat at a shaded table. We had our usual friendly reception, and were supplied with jugs of water with slices of lemon. Dave Pipe and I enjoyed ice cream cornets as well as cake and coffee. It had been a hot day, but as I made the final ascent to Rose Farm, I was alone. Everyone had ridden their separate ways home, even Keith to Runcorn. About 43 relaxing miles for me, closer to 90 for Andy, and somewhere in between for the rest of the gang.       


Friday, 6 July 2018

5th July 2018 : Dunham Massey (brisk)

Arriving at Rose Farm café it was great to see Steve T and Mrs Lynda Heath out for a coffee. Great to see you both and very glad to see Steve so buoyant, you’ll soon be back on the bike.

Today's adventure is not about the bike and speed, it’s much to sunny for heads down and bums up so a meander around sun drenched lanes, good price lunch stop and ice cream were factored for our pleasure today.

Leaving the café were, John M, Nick, Ken, Colin and myself. We headed for Cotebrook and along Oulton Mill Lane and took the first left and right to head us in the direction of Whitegate. Heading into Hartford up Cinder Hill was our first encounter with impatient female car drivers. On overtaking us on a blind right-hand bend there was a screech of rubber as she nearly went head on with approaching motorist then gave us a blast of disgruntlement on her horn!!

Through Hartford and towards Anderton, passing the boat lift dock visited in April but not today, we continue to Comberbach and passing Antrobus Golf Club. The lanes are very quiet and we are enjoying the meander and head down to Grappenhall where we are joining the Trans-Pennine cycle route 62 which we ride until Dunham Massey. The track is very hard and dry but little use by walkers but one elderly cyclist who wanted to run us down in his haste to improve his Strava segments (ha ha).

A well earned pint (or two)

Leaving the trail, we head for the Vine Pub where we enjoy a quality pint in the luxurious garden for £2.00 a pint and BLT buns and chips to follow. Hospitality was good with the chef coming out to ensure our lunch was alright and to advise us that there were alternatives on the menu. It’s too hot to eat a meal and ride was our excuse.

We regretfully depart and go via the little track along side Dunham Masset NT Hall and over the little bridge. There was a call for refreshment stop at the "Swan with Two Nicks" but ruled off-side. Onwards then to Little Bollington and to Gt Budworth where we are stopping for ice cream. Another very popular location but plenty of staff on hand to serve. Fully refreshed we continue our ride homeward bound passing through Comberbach again and to Higher Leigh and the Weaver Bridge. 

Going off road again we saunter along side the river to the locks and have time for another photo shoot for rogue’s gallery and continue through the fields to the lane which takes us up hill towards Crowton. This is a much easier route than tackling the hill up to Acton Bridge!

The Weaver bridge 
We continue to get over Norley Hill and arrive at Hatchmere where we are spitting up. Three heading through Delamere and Nick and Ken riding back to Rose Farm. Another great day out with like minded riders for company with 75 miles covered as a round trip H-H or 55 miles to and from the cafe. Next weeks ride from Cleopatra’s – time for a summer ride to Mow Cop?


Photos by John M and Ivan D

Monday, 2 July 2018

1st July 2018: Chester and N Wales CTC Vets 100

A few Easy Riders took part in the 53rd annual Bert Bailey Memorial Veterans' 100 mile ride on Sunday. You have to be over 55 but this seemed to be a loose specification. These were George, Mike G and myself. Dave P was on carpark meet-and-greet duty at Duddon village hall from before 0800 as well. In addition, there was one tandem entry, that being former CER riders Graham and Vicky Payne. There were a few Watson's Wanders riders also taking part.

Despite Dave M recommending to Laurie Mason (the organiser) that I do not lead a group, I found myself leading out Group 3 at 0830!  There were twelve of us including Graham and Vicki. The other riders were from all over and I knew none of them. My first task a week ago, had been to decipher the the route sheet which was more like a knitting pattern instruction with lots of hieroglyphics. I seemed to have got it about right as we headed for Overton village hall via Holt and Threapwood.

Stamina is needed on this ride not only for the distance but for the mountains of food at each stop. So we all tucked in to cakes after 90 mins riding in the cool morning air. Off again the route was straightforward going via Ellesmere to Queen's Head. Thence into the lovely border lands in South Shropshire.

Lunch was at the village hall in Four Crosses and we arrive just as Group 1 (who had started at 0800) were entering the hall for lunch. On the way down we had also overtaken Group 2 (who had started at 0815). Lunch was substantial, but soon my group were keen to get back on the road again. So off to back to Overton via Crewgreen and Rednal airfield and Ellesmere. Here, all the group fancied an ice-cream so went down to The Boat House by the mere. I decided to make for Overton village hall  for a longer rest. I was the first to arrive of all riders, and had remarkable restraint in not attacking the piles of sandwiches and cake before the others finally arrive.

So the final leg is back to Duddon and it's high 20C and it's hot! We decide to call the Carden Arms to see if they are open - and they were. So we all pile in for a welcome pint. Arriving back at Duddon with just a 100 miles under the tyres, we find yet again we are the first group back.

We collect our certificates and many decide they would like to go home for a shower rather than wait for the other three groups to turn up for the certificate ceremony!

Proof positive!
So, not a challenging 100 miler route-wise but as ever, the Cheshire and Shropshire countryside with a soupçon of Welsh borderlands, makes for a very pretty ride. I had an enthusiastic group behind me who kept as a group throughout the day as evidenced by the 14.8 mph average speed on what was yet another very hot and windless day.

See route map and/or gpx file download