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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.

For more information see the About Us tab.

Friday, 18 January 2019

17th January 2019: Aston (mod)

A cold and icy start, with temperatures only slightly above zero, but sunshine forecast, brought out four moderates among the CER members gathered at Rose Farm. I suggested a ride out to the Bhurtpore Arms at Aston, as our last attempt to visit in November had failed due to a power cut in Aston village.  I was joined by Andy B, Steve T (recently relieved from spousal chauffeuring duties) and Dave H (getting back into the swing of cycling).

There were ice patches in the Rose Farm car park, so we started gingerly following the usual route to Cotebrook, and onwards to Wettenhall, Nantwich and Wrenbury.  Passing Wrenbury Station we arrived at the Bhurtpore as their clock chimed 12 o’clock. Settling in to their welcoming food and drink we remembered how much we enjoy this pub, though only Dave indulged in a curry.  We discussed DIY and the problems of domestic appliances.  In answer to one question raised by an old sale poster on the wall, I can confirm that Imperial measures of area are the acre, the rood and the perch.  The clock chimed 1 o’clock and our lunch hour over it was time to move on.

We took a short loop along Pinsley Green Road to re-emerge in Wrenbury and make our way northwards towards Larden Green. Cycling gently along the narrow Hearn’s Lane we met an HGV that refused to move over for us, despite there being space on its side of the road. After being squeezed dangerously, if slowly between the truck and the road margin I record his details – look out for a white 7.5 toner MX58LBJ!

No more events were to trouble us.  We passed through Haughton and noted that the Nag’s Head had re-opened, then it was through Bunbury and around Beeston Castle, where we were surprised to still see some sheet ice.  We entered Tarporley from the west and called at the Old Fire Station café for refreshments.  As we left we examined the large old CTC badge in relief on the front of the Swan Hotel.

We arrived back at Rose Farm with 40 miles completed on a good winter’s day.

See route map and/or gpx file download

SH

Thursday, 17 January 2019

17th January 2019 : Sandbach (brisk)

The weather was magical – very cold (about 1C when I left home) and very bright with excellent visibilty and a full day of bright sunshine in prospect. The only problem was it had rained during the early hours, and with sub-zero temperatures, I wondered how much ice there would be on the lanes. So I rode somewhat gingerly out to Rose Farm meeting Bryan part way along the long ever-upward lanes to the cafe. Some good news seems to be that the road down the hill outside of the cafe might be repaired in early Feb if the road sign is truthful.

I had cobbled together a flat ride to Sandbach and Nick, John W and Ivan were happy to be in sheep mode today. So we left by turning right out the gates and up Quarry Bank to High Billinge – only a straight mile of 11% climbing to warm up the legs! I promised that this was the only significant hill today. So out via Cotebrook, we skirt Little Budworth onwards to Whitegate. Bowling along Chester Road, Hartford, we turn to cross the main road to access the blue bridge and thence through Davenham.

Lach Dennis comes and goes as we take the main road towards Goostrey, with the Jodrell Bank dish resplendent in the bright sunshine. Going via Twemlow Green, we are soon in the outskirts of Holmes Chapel. We skirt around to the east then briefly down the quiet A54 before diving right down the “Closed” Mill lane passing over the Croco River then onto the old main road aka the A50.

We now have to travel northwards to be able to access the lane to Bradwall Green then a couple of miles into Sandbach. Here, just after a bend, double disaster strikes as both Nick and John succumb to black ice. Thankfully both are OK but rather shaken up by the unexpected fall. We had all been very careful all the way today in reading the road to find dry spots and identifying possible black ice. So we ride on into Sandbach and into the busy “George”.

After ordering our meals, John and Nick were applying first aid to their bleeding elbows and inspecting the damage to their riding gear. The bikes were OK however. The George staff offered sticking plasters, but a hot meal and drinks were very welcome after 28 miles in the balmy 4C heat.


Wetherspoon's "The George Inn" in Sandbach
The route back was straightforward being via Ettiley Heath and Coppenhall to take the well-ridden lanes via Wettenhall to Eaton and thence Tarporley. Nick rode back to his car at Rose Farm with 48 miles ridden, as we three headed for Brassey Green and home having completed mid 70 mileage today. I got home at 1600 where the temperature was now 2C.

As ever we all enjoyed the ride, but the black ice took the shine off it. Hopefully any injuries to John and Nick will quickly heal.

See route map and/or gpx file download

CA

Update on Nick : "A bit sore, thanks. Hip swollen and bruised and strained neck muscles on one side, but I’ll recover. Hope John’s OK"

Update on John W: OK but sore as well.

Photo: ℅ Wetherspoon's website and Rob Davies

Sunday, 13 January 2019

10th January 2019: Aldford (leisure)

A good turnout on a cold January day enabled a small group of leisure riders, Bryan, Dave H and myself to set off independently. I chose a popular route going down to Holt and back to Chester as it gave us a number of options should the weather take a turn for the worse. As it happened it gradually warmed up during the day, but also brought in a thin misty drizzle. The morning was very pleasant though and we chose the Grosvenor Arms at Aldford as our lunch stop. Service was cheerful and speedy and Bryan seemed pleased with the choice of beers. I wasn’t too thrilled with the price of the lime and soda but overall a pleasant lunch stop. The return up through Saighton, where Bryan departed for Chester, gave us the chance to inspect a line of potholes that I reported to Highways before Xmas. I have to say that they have been filled in - they are now a line of humps! Progress of sorts I suppose.

Back at Guilden Sutton after 36 miles and a very pleasant winter’s ride.

JD

Saturday, 12 January 2019

10th January 2019 : Caerwys (brisk)

Today's brisk riders comprising of Nick, Ivan, Ken and myself set off from the Gallery Cafe towards the Welsh hills expecting a grey but mild dry day. It soon became clear that the forecasters had got it wrong. Persistent showers, poor visibility and  slate coloured skies were the order of the day.

However our spirits weren’t dampened as we knew we would soon be warming up on some of the steep inclines ahead on a circuitous route to Caerwys. Firstly, we motored on through Ewloe and Buckley followed by a short blast along the Mold Road before turning off at Llong. We soon passed Gwernymynydd and Loggerheads and as planned eschewed the main road to Llanbedr DC to "enjoy" the  two mile climb to the top of Bwlch Penbarras. Our only photos of the day give a good idea of the lack of visibility at the top. Anyway, having imagined the glorious view of the Vale of Clwyd we launch ourselves into the mist down the pass. It's on hills and in conditions like this that you thank God for disk brakes!
 Bwlch Penbarras
The relatively flat 8 mile run along the vale was uneventful but proved a good test for our winter kit. I regretted my lack of overshoes (damn those those weather forecasters). However, the main problem was viewing the route on the garmin through steamed up and wet specs that no amount of wiping would clear!  Needless to say the view of the Clwydian Hills to our right was more illusory than real.  It was as we stopped to check directions in Llangynhafal that Nick pointed out the enticing Golden Lion Pub which he assured us was wonderful and well worth visiting. Wondering if this was a subtle hint and, becoming concerned about a mutiny on the climbs still to come, I pondered out loud if we should call a halt, have lunch and find an easy way home.  I should have known better as Easyriders are made of stern stuff. My ruminations were given short shrift! We rolled onward and, on reaching Bodafari, sharply upwards! 


 We admired, but were not tempted by, the vision of the alluring Dinorben Arms. Knowing that lunch at Caerwys was tantalisingly close, we began the two mile grind over the shoulder of Moel y Gaer and up towards the appropriately named Sodom. Here the severity of the slope caused front wheels to lift from the road followed by loss of traction of the rear! Ivan and I lost all forward momentum and came to a halt.  We found it almost as difficult to walk 30 metres before being able to remount. Nick and Ken and manage to wobble on.  Eventually we crested the top and  after a couple of miles more arrived at Caerwys only to find that our planned lunch destination at the golf club was closed. (apparently awaiting new management). 
Plan B was the Piccadilly Inn where we were warmly welcomed by staff, a roaring log burner and customers admiring  our fortitude (actually they thought we were completely insane to be out cycling).


The place was busy but we were soon served some good food and beer. Ivan's choice of beef and onion baguette was sufficient for 2 but he was man enough for it. Our mood was good as we set off in for the shorter and relatively easier return. There was a bit of a hill up to Pant along a narrow muddy lane,  followed by the run through Pant Asaph and along the undulations of the Halkyns. For the first time since Steve Tan’s accident, we ventured down Middle Lane where Ivan and I pointed out the field were the air ambulance had landed and the spot were Steve came off and lay stricken on the floor. We are still none the wiser as to what caused such a catastrophic crash.

By chance Ian, a local, who had called the ambulance, came out of his house and we had a conversation about the events of that fateful day. We learned that his 4 year old son had seen everything and unfortunately had been quite traumatised for a day or two afterwards. Ian was delighted to hear that Steve is recovering well and asked us to pass on his best wishes. With the light failing we continued down to Northop and along the usual roads to Hawarden where Ken turned off to cycle home in Gresford and Nick returned to his car.  Ivan and I cycled along the river back to Chester and clocked around 64 miles for the day.

The main route was 45 miles and according to RWGPS should have been 3200 ft of ascent but Garmin recorded 4200ft (for my whole ride to and from home) and it certainly felt like the latter. Given the weather, readers may think we had a less than enjoyable day but, the reverse was true. We accepted the weather for what it was and enjoyed the challenge of riding our bikes supported by the company of  good humoured friends. How euphoric will we be when we return to this loop in the summer sun?!

See route map and/or gpx file download

JM

Photos by ID and NH

Thursday, 10 January 2019

10th January 2019: Minera (mod)


A good number of riders gathered at the Gallery Tea Rooms in Hawarden. It was also good to see Dave H out on a bike again – he was joining Bryan W and Jim on a shorter ride and I believe the brisk riders were off to do something incredibly steep.  That left the moderates: Andy B, George, Clive and myself.  I’d been looking for a change to our usual routes out from Hawarden and also a different lunch stop. I picked out a destination almost due south from our start – the Tyn-y-Capel in Minera.

As we set off we immediately found ourselves in drizzle and in one form or another we were in damp and murky conditions all day, albeit relatively mild ones. We headed out through Buckley and skirted around Mold to pass near Nercwys and Treuddyn. We were climbing steadily upwards throughout, but only had to surmount one steep chevroned hill. We turned left at Rhydtalog to reach Four Crosses and our high point of the day at just over 1,000 feet. Then it was steeply downhill into Minera and to the Tyn-y-Capel on the right.

The Tyn-y-Capel sits looking over the valley towards the Clwydian Hills. Apparently the building has its origins as a hostelry for pilgrims making their way over Esclusham Mountain to Valle Crucis Abbey, near Llangollen. It’s also one of the 50 best pubs in Wales according to Wales Online. The large pub has extensive terraces where you could sit in the sun and admire the views on a summer’s day. No such luck today, indeed no views at any point on our ride.  Inside we found good value food and drink.  I had an excellent pint of “The Cat in the Chapel”, which seemed a very Welsh name for a beer.  While we ate, George told us of the “Free Solo” movie he’d just seen about the El Capitan climb in Yosemite, and this led to a general discussion about climbing. We then moved on to Brexit! -  soon it was time to leave.

Our return took us downwards on the B-road by Coedpoeth. At one point heavy rain forced me to stop as the combination of a wet screen and wet glasses meant I couldn’t read the map. We then followed a zig-zag of urban roads through Pentre Broughton to find our way to Gwersyllt. We took the busy road to Llay roundabout, and after the traffic lights, followed lanes back northwards to Penymynydd.  We said goodbye to Clive and Andy, before passing through Bilberry Wood and onto Hawarden car park.

We had covered only 30 miles, but travelled in a less familiar direction from Hawarden which, as Clive pointed out, brought us into the neighbourhood of the rides we used to do from Alwyn Waters.  We also found a good pub, which we will remember for future use.


SH

Friday, 4 January 2019

3rd January 2019: Pickmere (mod)

Gathered at Delamere Station café for our first ride of the year was a decent turnout for a moderate ride: Keith, George, Andy B, Clive and myself.  Also there were Steve T only out for the café and Dave H in civvies. 

The weather was forecast to be very cold with little wind, no rain and maybe some sun.  With early morning temperatures well below zero I expected frost and ice on the lanes and therefore prepared a route which largely passed over roads likely to have been gritted and which was relatively short.  It turned out that a mix of low humidity and some cloud cover meant my fears were unjustified, but we followed the route nonetheless.

We cycled out on the road to Frodsham, Steve T left us as we turned down the hill to Kingsley, then followed the main road to Acton Bridge, and across the Weaver.  Here I suffered a rear puncture, the first for a long time, caused by a small stone chip.  The tyre was changed, with thanks to Keith’s CO2 cylinder, while the others shivered.  I them offered the choice between the original route or the quickest route to the pub: in need of warmth, the short route got it. 

In Great Budworth, we passed along Westage Lane which has been closed to traffic for many months due to the road being undermined by badgers.  This time work was underway.  The badger sett must have been moved, the banks were covered with wire netting to prevent them returning, and workers were finishing off some re-surfacing and clearing overgrown vegetation.

The pub was quickly reached and we ensconced ourselves in front of a warm fire.  The welcome was friendly, and the food and drink were satisfying. While we ate, Keith entertained us with his climb up the North Ridge of Tryfan, onto the tops and down beside the Devil’s Kitchen.  This led to a number of mountain tales from others before it was time to leave.

Our return was equally short, passing through the Flashes and Marbury Park, then by the Anderton Boat Lift, into Weaverham, Sandiway and Cuddington. Some steep hills back to Norley followed. We said some goodbyes at Hatchmere, and George and I continued for a brew.

Choosing the Visitor Centre Café over the station to get some better coffee (it is better!), we soon regretted this as the place was teaming with people, the queues were long and all the tables occupied. There has been some discussion of using the Visitor Centre rather than the Station café to meet due to the coffee. While there were reasons that today was particularly busy, it can also be very crowded some mornings on good days in the school holidays. We need to bear this in mind if we do switch regarding holiday dates.

Overall we had a good ride of 30 miles with a good pub stop.

See route map and/or gpx file download

SH

Thursday, 27 December 2018

27th December 2018: Bunbury (mod)

Worries about attendance at Chirk meant that today’s meet was rearranged to start at Meadow Lea Café. This seems to have resolved the worry as nine Easy Riders turned up: Dave H, David M, John W, Jim, George, Keith, Andy B, Bob and myself. The last six made up the moderate group. John and David were each to do their own ride, while Dave as a non-combatant was looking forward to getting back on his bike soon.

I had thought about a ride to try out the Nag’s Head at Haughton, but Google revealed that it was not open until Jan 7th after a change of ownership and a refit, when it would offer “modern pub fare and real ales in a stylish, 17th-century inn with exposed beams and a lush garden” - and probably also more expensive food.  Instead I aimed for its namesake – the Nag’s Head in Bunbury, a little nearer but in the same direction.

We headed out towards Waverton and then crossed the A41 for Saighton and Bruera where we turned left to re-cross the A41 and enter Tattenhall. Next we had a pleasant run towards the imposing Beeston Castle on its steep sandstone crag, then Peckforton, before Spurstow and finally Bunbury, where we noticed that Tilly’s was not open.

The Nag’s Head is in the middle of Bunbury and offers far more reasonable fare than the nearby upmarket Yew Tree Inn and Dysert Arms. I don’t think that Easy Riders have visited before, but we were made welcome and I think the verdict was that it was worth re-visiting.  I enjoyed a filling pie, chips and veg plus a pint for £8.95. Over our food we discussed life in the services and Bob told us his experience of the Royal Navy.  Then we switched effortlessly onto cat stories!

Our return took us back to Beeston Castle, down past the Shady Oak and on to Huxley, then Hargrave and Greenlooms to join our outward route at Waverton. We said separate goodbyes to Bob, Jim and Andy, so that the remaining three made it back to Meadow Lea.  It was a shortish ride of 32 miles, but very pleasant on a relatively warm, dry, windless and overcast day. It was also the last Easy Riders outing of the year. 

A Happy New Year to everyone!

See route map and/or gpx file download

SH


Monday, 24 December 2018

24th December 2018 : Ride Statistics

The old saying, attributed to Benjamin Disraeli by Mark Twain, goes “Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics” 

Well, here are some statistics.

I had a bit of time on my hands earlier in the year, so I went through all the blogs since the start in April 2008 to try to get some figures together for the 10thAnniversary Ride held on 26thApril 2018.


YearMileageBlogsAv Miles/Ride
20081,1372447
20092,8945355
20102,6405350
20113,4956157
20123,6157648
20133,0255753
20143,7087252
20154,2168152
20164,3258352
20173,8327452
20184,4408850




Totals37,32772252

I continued to log the ride data to the end of this year*. I don't claim the data is 100% accurate as some blogs didn't quote actual ride length so I took a guess. However, the numbers are impressive, especially as the mileage does not include riding out and back to the venue.

If you were to add say 20 miles per blog for the "out and back" leg, then another 14,400 miles need to be taken into account as the total distance ridden if one rider had ridden all of the rides. That person would have ridden 51,767 miles or almost 72 miles per outing.

However, just maybe this figure is in the “lies and damned lies” category!

Enjoy your Christmas Holidays

CA

PS : I believe Bryan W was or still is a professional statistician.

* It doesn't incude any miles that may be ridden on the Dec 27thride.

Thursday, 20 December 2018

20th December 2018: Overton (mod)

Gathering at the Ice Cream Farm were a mix of brisk, moderate and “only out for a short ride” riders. In the last category were Trevor, Jim and David M.  That left Neil and myself out for a moderate ride. I had the White Horse at Overton in mind, as it was a while since I’d last visited and I knew that the landlord had changed.

The route out and back again was through Tilston and Worthenbury, though we followed different lanes each way wherever possible. We arrived shortly after 1200. The gate into the back yard was sealed, unlike previously, so we locked our bikes to a bus stop.  Within we found a warm fire and a good welcome.  The menu had changed from the previous landlord but still provided substantial good value food and the Joules ale was excellent as usual.

As we left Overton it was apparent from the roads that we had luckily missed a heavy shower. Returning into Tattenhall we met the brisk group coming down Bolesworth Road. Neil then left for his direct route home, while I returned to the ICF for a coffee (no cake!). It had been an excellent day’s December riding with a slight wind, no rain while we were out, cool but not cold. The total mileage was just under 40.

See route map and/or gpx file download

SH

20th December 2018 : Whitchurch (brisk)

Another fine day in prospect today. Ivan and I had ridden to The Vine Inn near Dunham Massey the day before to exorcise his Helsby Road accident. The weather had been very sunny and the pub was very cheap – two pints of ale for under £4!. Today Ivan had prepared a route to the Black Bear in Whitchurch.

As Steve's report indicates, there was a paucity of riders out today; maybe the rest of the club were at the shops frantically trying to find that final Christmas present. So Ivan led out John W and myself on surprising wet roads around Beeston Castle towards Peckforton village. We edge around Bunbury onwards to Brindley at a brisk pace. There is then the big loop around to Ashton via Wrenbury. Thankfully the roads are very quiet as we barrel down Sheppenhall Lane trying to avoid the potholes cunningly concealed as puddles.

Crossing the A525, we are on our way to Ightfield and thence the ups-and-downs via Ash Parva and Ash Magna. The Edgeley Road transfer is employed to enter Whitchurch and into the warm arms of The Black Bear pub. It is very busy as the car park attests, yet we get a table and settle down for a well-earned rest after 30 miles. Despite the general busyness, the drinks and hot food come quickly enough. The rest of the punters seem to be locals in various Christmas lunch parties.

On leaving the pub, we notice that there has been a shower of rain and now have wet saddles. The pub landlord offers a tea towel to dry the saddles off. Very decent of him. Conscious that darkness arrives just after 1530 around the Winter Solstice, we set off  just after 1300 up Wirswall Hill passing Hill Valley golf club. At the top, before the rapid descent to Marbury, there is a magnificent view over the Cheshire plain all the way to the Pennines. Jodrell Bank is sunlit in the far distance.


The lane down is hazardous with all the agricultural mud and debris of winter on the surface, and thankfully we exit Marbury without any mishap. The way back to the start is now predictable via Bickerton and Harthill. As we enter Tattenhall, Neil and Steve H come into view. What exquisite timing! Neil shoots home while we three shoot passed Steve and, eschewing the prospect of cake, pedal for home.

So thanks to Ivan, with 46 muddy miles covered along with our bikes well covered with Cheshire mud, this rounds off the last ride for me for the year. There is now one more scheduled ride on the 27that a relocated venue ( see the web site)

See route map and/or gpx file download

CA

Photo by John W


Sunday, 16 December 2018

13th December 2018: Gresford - Christmas Lunch Ride (mod)

You know it’s getting near Christmas when someone mentions the annual Christmas lunch ride. Dave H got the ball rolling by booking us into the Pant-yr-Ochain at Gresford – a popular choice of venue that we have visited several times before for Christmas lunches. Still recovering from his op, he wasn’t able to cycle himself so I volunteered to lead the moderate group. Twenty members were booked in for the lunch and about a dozen of us assembled at Meadow Lea for the ride out. After the brisk riders had set off seven of us (Andy B, Bryan, Jim, George, Mike, Steve H and I) were left for the moderate ride. It was a bright day, which in winter also means that it was a cold day and a strong, biting wind was blowing in our faces as we set off towards Guilden Sutton.

We saved the shortest route for the return journey which only left one option that would get us to the Pant-yr-Ochain in time. Crossing the A51 we cycled through Waverton and then crossed the A41 to take us through Saighton and Bruera. At Aldford we avoided a section of the main road by taking the back road and would have done the same at Churton except that two riders at the front missed the turning. We carried on along the main road to Farndon and dropped down to the bridge over to Holt, reopened now after its recent refurbishment.

In Holt we turned right to pass Cleopatra’s and followed the road straight through Commonwood to Borras. From here we were following the road signs to Gresford and when we reached the village we turned left, passing The Flash to arrive at the Pant-yr-Ochain in good time. We had got there before the brisk riders but to be fair they had gone the long way round.

We met up with several members who, for various reasons, had chosen to arrive on four wheels instead of two. Soon the brisk riders arrived and finally Dave & Liz on their tandem. We all settled down to our meal. Dave had chosen ‘The Pant’ as it had always provided us with good food and this year was no exception. The only disappointing aspect was the standard of jokes in the crackers but isn’t that the nature of cracker jokes?

After lunch Andy B, Mike and Steve H went their own ways home leaving four of us to take the direct return route. We left before the brisk riders, heading through Rossett, and made it to Pulford before they came charging past. Bryan left us here too leaving three of us to return to Meadow Lea via Eccleston, Handbridge and Hoole Lane. We managed to make it back before darkness fell having ridden 32 miles.

Thanks to Dave H for organising the lunch, which I know from experience is not an easy task, and a Merry Christmas to all.

TC

See route map and/or gpx file download

Photos below by Mike G
















Friday, 14 December 2018

13th December 2018 : Gresford - Christmas Lunch Ride (brisk)

Given there were likely to be quite a few riders today at Meadow Lea Farm cafe, I decided to offer a short brisk ride. This started out as being 37 miles long to lunch, but it was pointed out that we had to get to the Pant y Ochain by 1230, so I shortened it to 33 miles. It then transpired we had to be there by 1215, so more trimming on the fly was necessary.

Ray, Ivan, John M and Nick joined me on a route round the back of Barrow to Ashton Hayes. A shimmy across the A51 found us heading for Kelsall Hill where I took the lower road towards Willington, curiously named Flat Lane, thence via Green Lane, and up a short incline to run down to Willington.

Crossing the A51 and now down Corkscrew Lane, we are heading rapidly towards Tattenhall. Now up Rocky Lane we cross the A41 thence down Dog Lane. By now my bike and I needed a little maintenance, so Ray stopped to wait with me whilst the Frantic Three zoomed on. We had agreed to take stock in Coddington to decide if we had time to take Beachin Lane for the Churton to Holt loop. So by the time Ray and I got to this decision point, there was no one in sight! As Ray and I had lost about 10 minutes, I made an executive decision to head for Barton and then via Wetreins Lane to enter Holt.

Ray and I ploughed on through Holt and out via Borras Road - a long and boring stretch into the wind. There is a short hill at the end and, just before this, I noticed that the Borras Anti-Fracking camp had been disbanded at last. It was now just a short sprint down Vicarage Lane and the Old Wrexham Road to get to the pub where we found the Frantic Three just locking up their steeds. Their official route was the same length as my diversion at 30 Miles.

We were all in time for dinner, magnificently organised by Dave H who enjoyed reverting to his former school master role in reminding all what they had ordered. The Pant staff were excellent as was the food. The few pints of Titanic Plum Porter really put me in the Christmas mood!

The route back was even more frantic as we sped down Marford Hill and then into the back of Chester via Eccleston. Going back to Meadow Lea would have been 44 miles as the sun went down.

See route map and/or gpx file download

CA

Saturday, 1 December 2018

29th November 2018: Marbury


Everyone riding to Rose Farm had had a struggle against the wind and rain. Maybe that’s why relatively few cyclists turned up: Clive, John W, Ivan and myself, plus David M who was only out for a short ride.  We were joined for coffee by Steve T who had some weak excuse for not coming out. I had a route in mind to the Bhurtpore at Aston, and so it was that three brisk riders and one moderate set out – giving me the chance to practice leading from behind!

The start of our ride was foul: very strong gusty winds and heavy horizontal rain.  After ten minutes this moderated to the simply unpleasant. We pressed on buffeted by a south-westerly wind, passing through Cotebrook, Wettenhall and Nantwich. We passed through Ravensmoor and Wrenbury, before pulling into the Bhurtpore car park.  Eagle-eyed Clive had noticed something wrong – no lights on. He popped into the pub to discover the whole of Aston had suffered a power cut, and we could only have cold food.  A quick conference came up with the alternative of The Swan at Marbury, which we could reach with only a short detour.

Photo by ID/JW
We rolled into Marbury and posed for a photo outside The Swan.  This has recently undergone a major refurbishment overseen by Jeremy Brunning, one of the founders of the Brunning and Price pub chain. I think we were all pleased with the place, the welcome, the beer and the food. We talked about the LLandegla mountain biking centre and about Ivan’s new jacket – very warm, very windproof, very waterproof and very expensive.

Leaving the pub we took School Lane to Gaunton’s Bank, a filthy muddy potholed road. Thence headed north to Chorley Bank, where Ivan’s impetuosity in the front led to him missing the turn and head for Cholmondley.  John chased after but, by the time he was caught, they had gone so far that they decided to head directly for home. Clive and I continued through Bunbury and past the Shady Oak.  Here Clive headed home, while I passed through Tarporley to reach our starting point with 42 miles covered.


SH

Friday, 23 November 2018

22nd November 2018: Caerwys (mod)


This was a cold day with a frosty start and an easterly wind (‘blowing in from Siberia’ in the favourite phrase of the forecasters). Six moderates turned up at Hawarden: Dave H out only to collect Xmas lunch monies; Trevor who had ridden out to test his new rear mech and was then riding back; and the day’s riders: Bob, Andy, George and myself.  There were no brisk riders – maybe they were put off by the cold weather, but more likely they were either recovering from an epic ride earlier in the week, or had separately planned a longer even hillier route from another start point.

I’d suggested a ride out to the Piccadilly Inn at Caerwys, though someone mentioned a café in the same town so we chose to head there instead. Starting by climbing up to Buckley to warm everyone up, we then headed to Sychdyn and the steepest climb of the day to Rhosesmor. It had turned into a fine day, cold by bright with good views and some sun. The east wind was slight which would be good news for our return.  We travelled on over Halkyn Mountain and through Babell to approach Caerwys from the north. The café in on the corner of the main road as you travel south through the town, and it’s called “On the corner”!  It is a small busy place with a typical menu of good value food and large mugs of tea: two of us chose from the ‘all day breakfast’ options.

Returning we said goodbye to Bob at the café as he was heading directly home.  The rest of us made for the A55, with a small detour to avoid fresh hedge clippings.  We wheeled our bikes across the busy road and headed to Chwitffordd and then back south to Pantasaph and Windmill.  Here the weather took a change for the worse with murky cloud descending and the temperature dropping. Andy left us to head home before we dropped down towards Northop, which left George and I to make our way back to Harwarden at the height of the school traffic rush hour. It had been a good day’s ride in reasonable conditions which covered 40 miles.


SH

Friday, 16 November 2018

15th November 2018 : Sandbach (brisk)

After an hour's riding covering 15 miles, I was ready for a decent cup of coffee and the Delamere Park cafe certainly provided that (compared to the station cafe) . We shall have to see if the coffee improves in line with the anticipated make-over. 

The weather was much better than advertised, being sunny intervals as opposed to blanket cloud. This put a spring in my pedalling feet for the 52 miler to The George at Sandbach. Our group today was a lonely three consisting of Nick, Ken and myself. John M was out but not feeling 100%, and Ivan was at home recovering from being de-biked by a passing car at 18mph in Helsby on Tuesday. He is recovering well though. The bike was unscathed!

We follow the Mods out  and branch off at Flaxmere and take Norley Lane, where the vista over the Cheshire plain is resplendent in the November sunshine. It is now a rapid succession of Croxton, Acton Bridge, Weaverham and Winnington to pass by the Anderton Boat Lift. I take the Comberbatch bypass as the locals are anti-MAMIL, and circle round to Pickmere.

Onwards, passing The Smoker pub (named after the local brook), we speed through plummy Plumley and "upper-class"  Lower Peover. The crossroads in Goostrey are blocked up, but pavements are then very useful. Up the side of the Dane Valley,  we are soon through Holmes Chapel and negotiating a housing estate to exit on a very narrow "Broad Lane" and thence on-track, via various tiny lanes, to enter Sandbach Market Place and The George.

The George is a Wetherspoon's establishment and was packed at lunchtime but we got a table; and as ever, the quality, service and price was very good. It was a listed coaching in apparently. The town was granted a Royal Charter by Elizabeth I in 1579 and Foden truck manufacturing started at the end of 19C and closed down in 2006. The Market Crosses are worthy of note as well ( see photo)

Sandbach Market Crosses
After a lunchtime diet of Brexit, we are ready for the return via Elworth and Occlestone to circle around Winsford. I favour the tiny Blakeden Lane which runs behind the County Police HQ to take a short stretch of the A54 before turning for Little Budworth.

At Cotebrook, Nick takes the short return to Delamere via the Fishpool Inn and will have completed the 52 miles circuit. Whereas Ken and I take the usual route back via Utkinton and Waverton. Ken will have more than 90 on the clock today and I had just over 80 miles. 

So thanks to Ken and Nick today for taking the wind off me at the front. Hopefully Ivan and John will be back to their usual full strength next week.

See route map and/or gpx file download

CA

Photo by KP


15th November 2018: Marston (mod)


This was our second start from the Delamere Visitor Centre rather than the Station Café. Steve T tells us that the Station Café refurbishment will be finished this weekend, so next time we depart from Delamere we can try it out and maybe decide which of these two adjacent starts is best. Dave H was present collecting Xmas meal choices and feeling much better but not riding today.  This left half a dozen moderate riders for a route to the Salt Barge at Marston: George, Keith, Steve T, Bob, Neil and myself.

Our route out was across Acton Bridge and then heading north to cross and re-cross the A49 and pass through Higher Whitley, Antrobus and Pickmere before arriving at our destination. The Salt Barge is a favourite and we were not disappointed with a friendly welcome, decent food and drinks. While last week the mod’s lunchtime discussion had centred on engineering in the energy industry, today we brought our collective expertise to bear upon trust law and tax. If this serious trend continues what might we cover next week!

Our return took us through Ashton’s and Neuman’s Flashes, meeting a lot of vehicle traffic on these footpaths and cycle tracks. We passed Marbury Park to reach Comberbach and Little Leigh, returning through Norley to arrive back at Delamere.

An uneventful ride after last week’s punctures, but through lovely November weather: dry, often sunny, mild and with little wind.  We covered a little over 35 miles, which didn’t really justify the cakes that tempted some of us back in the café.


SH

Friday, 9 November 2018

8th November 2018: Llanymynech (mod)


Four moderate riders assembled in the now-named ‘Castle Bistro’ in Church Street, Chirk: Keith, Trevor, Bob and myself. The morning had started poorly with rain and low cloud on the hills. However by the time we were ready to leave, the rain was ceasing, although the day would remain murky and the lanes wet and muddy.  Our destination was the Bradford Arms in Llanymynech.

We took a common route out from Chirk, crossing the A5 roundabout and making for Hindford. Before we made it to Welsh Frankton, the long dormant curse of ‘Puncture Bob’ struck, and we stopped while he fixed his rear tyre.  While this was happening we watched several tractors pulling slurry tanks that were far too wide for the lanes pass by.  Next we saw a white builder's van speed towards us and stop.  “Have you seen a silver car?” they asked. Apparently the car had clipped their wing mirror and they were trying to chase it down. We couldn’t help them, though as we resumed our ride, we met them in their search again.  I think we were all grateful not to be the subject of their ire. We continued onwards through West Felton and Maesbrook, before joining the road into Llanymynech and cautiously driving through some fresh hedge cuttings.

Llanymynech is on the England Wales border. If the old Lion Pub had still been open we could have chosen between two bars in England and one in Wales. When many Welsh counties were “dry” on Sundays, you could always get served in the “wet” English bars.  We however were after a very much open pub.  We have visited the Bradford Arms several times before and were settled comfortably besides an open fire, while we all tucked into fish and chips. For some reason the conversation focussed on the energy industry – oil, nuclear and solar.

Soon it was time to leave and we tracked back through the hedge cuttings before heading north to Maesbury and approaching Oswestry through quiet lanes from the east.  For once we were ahead of school closing times and the traffic was light.  As we passed by the old hill fort, several riders remembered the altercation with the angry old man who tried to run us off the road on this year’s long ride. No such problems today, as we make our way towards Weston Rhyn.  A few miles out from the village, the curse strikes again, this time in the front tyre. Trevor leaves us to catch his train while repairs are made.  We exit Weston Rhyn via the High Street which takes us down to the Ceriog valley and a much more pleasant return to Chirk than the main road.

We head straight to the car park, where we meet the returning brisk riders. A good ride in reasonable conditions: 20 miles before lunch and 16 after.


SH

8th November 2018 : West Felton (brisk)

A showery damp day was  forecast by the Met Office and six riders turned up for the brisk ride, John W, John M, Ivan, Clive, Nick and myself. The ‘moderates’ planned a ride to the Bradford Arms at Llanymynech and, coincidently , the ‘brisk’ group, courtesy of Ivan, planned a ride to the Bradford Arms at Knockin, but  the day  became the day of the detours. 

The rain was falling as we left Chirk and headed up the Ceiriog valley and into Glyn Ceiriog. Turning left across the river, we climb to the high point of the day Graignant (350 metres) where we stopped to take a photo. Alas, the  autumn colours, although lovely,  just needed a little sunshine to make them spectacular. 

Yes, there is another hill over there
Onwards through Selattyn and before climbing the hill to the Old Racecourse, west of Oswestry, we came to a stop as our road was blocked due to  tree-felling operations .  We dismounted and carried the bikes past the obstruction before riding through various unpronounceable Welsh hamlets. On reaching the bridge over the canal and river about 1.5 km outside Llanymynech, we found the bridge closed for maintenance. The bridge repair operative made it very clear that no-one was going to pass. Even though, in our view, it looked as though we could dismount and walk across. A roadside discussion ensued to determine a diversion; this resulted in turning away from the bridge and heading into Four Crosses along the main road to rejoin our route in Llanymynech. This detour only added 4 km .

The road into Knockin was flat but John M was feeling a bit under the weather and struggling to keep up, so John W held back to keep him company while the rest of the group, totally unaware of John’s issue, carried on to the pub. On entering the Bradford Arms car park, it was evident that a large funeral wake was in progress and we were politely told that they could not accommodate us. After another discussion, we  decided to divert to the Queens Head at Queens Head although poor John did not relish the extra miles to the lunch stop.

Leaving Knockin we headed out through Woolston to West Felton where, at the crossroads,  the Punch Bowl inn came into view. We were relieved when the landlord confirmed that they were still serving food given it was 2pm and we had ridden 61 km. The Punch Bowl has a nice friendly atmosphere and everyone appeared to enjoy their lunch so it is venue well worth adding to the CER lunch list. 

We were back on the bikes by 3pm and heading to Rednall, here we  rejoined our original route. John M had recovered during lunch and we all cycled together for the remaining 22 km to Chirk. On arrival at Chirk, everyone went there separate ways; Clive and John M to their cars, Nick and myself opted for a coffee prior to our drive home, Ivan and John W chose to ride home rather than wait an hour for the train.

The original route is 86 km but because of all our detours we rode 84 km with 1199 meters of ascent, John and Ivan’s mileage was obviously a lot higher.

A lot happened today with plenty of disruption to our planned route.However, I subsequently took a closer look at the OS map which revealed the diversion we took at Llanymynech could have been shortened to just 400 mtrs by using a canal towpath and aqueduct to cross the River Vyrnwy!  

See route map and/or gpx file download

KP

Photo KP

Saturday, 3 November 2018

1st November 2018: Hanmer (mod)


All Saints Day began with steady rain, but by the time I’d ridden to the Ice Cream Farm, the clouds had cleared and the day promised to be dry with some sunshine and mild winds. Twelve Easy Riders turned up, the moderates comprising Jim, George, Mike G, David M, Neil (on his new bike), Steve T, Trevor and myself.  It was good to see Dave H also there, in civvies performing his club secretary duties, and also collecting choices and monies for the Christmas Lunch.  He needs to receive confirmation of attendance and at least the £5 deposit by 22nd November.

I had pulled a previous ride to Hanmer from the archive: a figure of eight with a return through Malpas and Brown Knowl. We started through Tattenhall, Barton and Threapwood, but were making good time and I therefore decided to divert eastwards and dip down through Lower Wych to avoid arriving too early at the pub.  As we travelled along some good surfaced lanes for a change, we split into two groups.  I remained in the slower group and we were surprised to arrive at the Hanmer Arms ahead of the others.  About 5 minutes later they arrived much muddied from their excursion through the lanes to Arowry, whilst we had taken the clean main road for the final mile or so.

The pub was quite busy but we were accommodated on a couple of tables and served relatively quickly.  As usual, there was a friendly welcome with good value food and drink. There appears to be a planning application for a large holiday home development behind the pub. These and caravan parks seem to be a way to keep many country pubs open when others are forced to close.

I modified our return plans to keep the overall route under 40 miles and to avoid what would have been a hillier return. We took the fairly direct route northwards through Tallarn Green, Shocklach and Clutton. At Sarn Bridge we find a mega-sized tractor going our way, confronting an even bigger one on the bridge.  We carefully keep well away from these monsters at they manoeuvre past each other. From Sarn Bridge we gradually shed riders, as they make their own ways home.  Eventually only Steve T, George, Jim and myself end up back at the Ice Cream Farm, to reflect on what had been a good autumn ride of 38 miles.


SH

Friday, 2 November 2018

1st November 2018 : Calverhall (brisk)

Despite the early showers, there were plenty of riders at the Ice Cream Farm but only 3 briskers. I had proposed a ride to Market Drayton but readily agreed to Clive’s amendments so as to make the Olde Jack pub in Calverhall our lunch destination. With John W making up the party, we headed off in the direction of Beeston, Bunbury and Alpraham. Clive was setting a good pace and we were soon sprinting along the short stretch of the A51 before turning off at Barbridge. Then after looping around the lanes, we cross the A51 and begin our approach to Nantwich. The route takes us through the west side of the town and through the park near the River Weaver. It was all very pleasant as we meandered along the shared pathway but suddenly Clive parted company with his bike and was flat on his back. Thankfully, he was back to his feet very quickly saying that all was well with him and his bike. We think his wheel skidded on the metal grating that runs for several metres alongside the path as it passes close to the river and under a bridge. 

Relieved that no damage had  been done, we leave Nantwich via the A530 but soon turn on to Coole Lane to coast along pretty lanes towards Audlem and without further incident to Calverhall. We enjoyed a warm welcome at the Olde Jack and were soon served our selection of baguettes and sandwiches. Conversation included the various apps available for route mapping and also Brexit. Unsurprisingly we were unable to come up with a solution to the question of the Northern Ireland backstop! 

Returning to the simpler question of getting home, we jumped on our bikes heading in a northerly direction. Keeping up a good pace we passed through Aston, Wrenbury, Cholmondeley and Bickerton. It was a bit of a grind up Harthill and we paused at the top to admire the view which on such a clear day included Liverpool Anglican Cathedral in the distance. We then raced downhill and up again before sprinting on to Tattenhall. Foregoing afternoon coffee at the Ice Cream Farm, we made our way home. A good run out in decent weather for November. Long may it last! 

The route to and from the Ice Cream Farm is about 55 miles but the three of us completed about 80 miles each (averaging 16 mph) including the return trip from home.

See route map and/or gpx file download

JM

Friday, 26 October 2018

25th October 2018: Woodbank (leisure)

Being unable to go on the special ride, I decided to have an amble up to Ness to see if anyone else had gone for coffee. Bryan W and Dave and Liz had the same idea so we all met on the Greenway and made our way to the Neston Marshes and the climb up to Ness gardens. We were a little late arriving for an official start so were surprised to see Mike G and Andy W just finishing their coffees when we arrived. Despite the pressure all around us to support the American abomination of Halloween, I was glad to see that no-one had disguised their helmet as a pumpkin and we set off for a relatively short ride towards Burton. Mike and Andy left us here to follow their own routes, so we continued up into Willaston where we joined the Wirral Way. Although only for a short distance we really enjoyed the quiet ride through the array of colours from the autumn leaves, but were soon back onto the lanes and heading for Ledsham and Capenhurst. Here we turned east to the A540 at Woodbank and the Yacht Inn.  Recently re-furbished to a high standard, with a new management, the car park had seemed fairly busy on a recent drive past so it seemed worth a try.

The menu was huge-a sort of Italian tapas offering lots of choice and reasonably priced. We were recommended to choose two or three meals by our very pleasant waitress and were all very impressed by the choice and quality. Bryan was a little disappointed by the choice of beers so this might not be a suitable venue for some members. Probably one of the best meals I have had with the group for a long time. However the restaurant was filling rapidly and we needed to move so off we went to Saughall and back onto the Greenway. Bryan and the tandem left me by the canal junction to continue back in to Chester.

Only about 30 miles-a bit further for me, but very pleasant riding at a comfortable pace.

JD

25th October 2018: Hodnet Special Ride (mod)

I hadn’t led many rides this year, but I reckoned a Special Ride in late October would be a useful club contribution. So with my penchant for trying to visit historic sites or buildings, I settled on a ride start from supposed site of the important Lancastrian dynasty battle in 1403, at Battlefield, just north of Shrewsbury. It is really worth a read on Wiki about this important battle so click on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Shrewsbury

Luckily for us the Sparrow’s Cafe on the Albrighton Estate was an ideal starting point just off the A49 north of Shrewsbury. The Moderate group consisted of Trevor, Keith, Ian, George, Steve H and myself. We let the Brisk group zoom off first as we followed them on roads anew to Bowmore Heath and Myddle. Approaching Myddle, we pass by an impressive red sandstone ridge which Ian confidently states is the southerly extent of Cheshire Sandstone. Passing through the middle of Myddle, we head north before taking a familiar lane to Loppington skirting Sleap airfield.

Dave M had taken the train to Gobowen and was planning to meet us here and going with us onwards to Hodnet. He was a little behind schedule, so texted to say he would meet us at The Bear. We are now approaching familiar territory as we take the NCR445 wiggling its way towards Whixall, Prees and Faulsgreen. Missing out Marchamley ridge (and its hills), we run down through Wollerton to The Bear in Hodnet at just before 1300. The brisk group have already finished their lunch, with Dave M tucking into his. Dave had apparently taken a more direct southerly route via Wem hence overtaking us in doing so. He was then cycling back home.

We have been to The Bear before, and, as before, the welcome and food did not disappoint. Conversation was as varied as ever but included club ride reminiscences of successes and disasters alike. For the return route, I had modified the published route to miss out a large section of the A442 Wellington road. So new long lanes and countryside to appreciate. Crossing the A442, we now enter into the Roden River valley passing through Higher Ercall, and skirting Roden and Rodington. Too soon we arrive at the A49 Shrewsbury bypass and wiggle our way through a massive housing estate as the late afternoon traffic builds.

Arriving back at Sparrow’s cafe, the Brisk group are tucking into hot drinks and cake having motored around the 62 miles at 17.7 mph. Our average over the 47 miles was nearer a sedate 14 mph as we also tuck into coffee and cakes before the 40 mile drive back to Chester.

So “thank you” to all of you who came  out on both rides today. The weather was as forecasted - dry, very cloudy, light winds and 12C, but there was good visibility as we could see the Wrekin and Long Mountain in the far distance. There were at least 50% “new” lanes today joining with familiar lanes  south of Whitchurch. 

See route map and/or gpx file download

CA



25th October 2018 : Hodnet Special Ride (brisk)

Today we had a special ride organised by Clive. Car assist to Battlefield (Shrewsbury) and a combined route for both Mod’s and Brisk as far as The Bear inn at Hodnet. The brisk riders were John W, Ken, Ray and Ivan.

Leaving the Battlefield café  (I’ll leave Clive to complete the history of this location), we join the cycle way adjacent to the A5124 for a couple of miles before turning onto Huffley Lane taking us towards Bowmere Heath and Myddle. Clive had put in a little divert here to take us off the A528 following good CTC practice, as John advised us, which decreased our main road time by a minute!! But it was a good road lane and not a muddy track. Leaving the main road, we have the pleasure of new country lanes and enjoy the relative quiet and reasonably surfaced roads. 

We pass through Prees and are routed to the villages of Darliston and Fauls. As the route is mainly flat, we join the Drayton road into Hodnet and I’m a little concerned that we would arrive before 12:00!! So, we had a cool down for a couple of miles. As we enter the village, we have a manic red transit van driver who took a dislike to us riding two abreast and directed his battering ram/van at us before swerving to miss us by inches. He is in a minority on our roads (I hope). As we’re are having our lunch, Dave M arrives after cycling from Gobowen to join us, shortly followed by the moderate group.

Our route back to Shrewsbury was extended by a few miles compared to the moderate route, so leaving our buddies to enjoy their lunches, we hit the saddle and ride out to Stoke on Tern, Eaton on Tern and Bolas where we join the A442 before turning onto the B5062 for another Tern, Longdon on Tern. We stop for a photo shoot looking at the Wrekin which we are riding the shoulder of before a downhill sprint where we meet a Freelander. John and I go one side while Ken skims the left side. Near miss and thankfully all ok. Not a red van driver, although we probably appeared as kamikaze riders to him although it had been a long quiet lane to this point.

Wrekin havoc!
Our next photo call was at the large Roman ruins at Wroxeter. A Roman City once the fourth largest town in Roman Britain during AD90s. Worth a visit. We ride along the walled gardens of Attingham Park for a mile + before hitting the outskirts of Shrewsbury where Clive has a housing estate tour in store for us. It proved a good short cut back to Battlefields and certainly a lot less car/lorry polluted. Shrewsbury has changed considerably since I lived there during the 80’s.


Three old relics at Wroxeter Roman city
Arriving back at the café we enjoy tea and cake while awaiting the arrival of the moderates who were not too far behind us. Thank you, Clive, for a great 63 miler route at 17.7 mph average speed. 


ID

Photos by JW and KP

Sunday, 21 October 2018

18th October 2018: Whitchurch (mod ride 2)

As it is true for caravans, it’s true for CER riders - the sun really does bring them out in droves! Jim was puzzling over an OS map wondering where to go and I offered to help him cobble together a ride. So we agreed somewhere south via Threapwood ending up in Whitchurch for lunch. We also agreed that, as there were a lot of us, we would eventually and inevitably split up into two groups, but we would both head for “The Wheatsheaf” in the centre of Whitchurch.

So off and out via Wetreins Lane, we had the Briskers flash by us bound for Shawbury. At the top of this lane we had already split into two groups. The “faster group” consisted of Ian, Neil  Bob, Steve T, Keith, Dave M and myself. In Tilston, we turn right for Horton. Here, in the chiaroscuro of a bright autumnal day, Neil unfortunately found a pothole and expertly landed on the grass verge instead of the road. Thankfully his bike was not damaged, and neither was he! By this time the rest of the Moderates had caught us up and this was to be the pattern over the next 10 miles or so.

So out via Chorlton, Sarn and Threapwood, we take the lanes to Whitwell. I knew that Jim would be taking the first left turn on the Fenn Bank road towards Alkington and thence Whitchurch, so I decided to add a few more miles in by going further south. We arrive in Tilstock down tiny lanes before crossing the A41 by The Raven pub - always a dangerous transit here.

Brown Moss nature reserve beckons as we meander through tranquillity with the A41 just a few fields away. We enter Whitchurch from the south, and no UXB activity is evident (see Brisk report). As we arrive at “The Wheatsheaf”, we see that Jim and company are already ensconced at our CER table. The landlady kindly reserved us a table after I had phoned her a little earlier.

I like “The Wheatsheaf” as it was introduced to me by “Watsons Wanderers” cycling group, sadly not led any more by the indomitable Harry Watson. He will be 90 on Nov 5th, and still cycling. The food comes quite quickly given that there are now over a dozen of us. I’ve been here three or four times now and the food is consistently good and fairly priced.

We all leave together bound for Marbury in continuing sunshine. At Bickley, I add a little variety by heading for No Mans Heath and then up to Hampton Post and onwards to the gently downhill lane in Edge. It is then a reversal of this morning’s outward route via Tilston and Wetreins Lane where the Brisk group whoosh passed us aiming to claim the best cakes at Cleopatra’s. Shortly after we are drinking our teas and coffee outside with the Brisk group, Jim and company arrive safely back.

So thanks to my group for their patience as I made up the 43 miler route on the fly and, talking about flying, I hung onto the Brisk group’s tails as they motored back to Chester. Classic autumnal weather and a classic CER day’s riding.

See route map and/or gpx file download

CA

Friday, 19 October 2018

18th October 2018: Whitchurch (mod ride 1)

Quite a large group of members assembled at the café in Holt on a brisk but sunny morning. The brisk group set off for somewhere a long way away, leaving a dozen or so moderates heading for Whitchurch. Clive’s group began to pull away early on so we decided to split, leaving a small group of Steve H, George, and myself to pootle along the lanes heading for Threapwood. We were soon joined by David M and Andy who were waiting for us at one of Shropshire's famous unsigned crossroads and we progressed pleasantly through Higher Wych to Whitewell where we crossed the A525 heading south towards Fenn Bank. Here we crossed the canal and turned northwards through Alkington and up into Whitchurch.

We eventually found the pub, The Wheatsheaf, after some pedestrian assistance and parked our bikes in the newly refurbished beer garden which will be very nice on a warm day, but not this time. There seems to be a good choice of beers and the staff were very welcoming even when we told them that Clive was on his way. The food was very reasonably priced and a good choice. Service was excellent, despite having a large group to contend with, and we were soon on our way back home.

Through the main street and out on the Marbury Road saw us once again in two groups with Steve T joining us for the return. From Marbury we went north to Swanwick Green crossing the A49 to Bickley Moss, then up to Cholmondley, Hampton Heath and the lanes by-passing Malpas to Kidnal and Tilston, where we picked up our outward route back to the café.

Sitting outside in the sun, we had a well earned drink before setting off for home.
Almost 42 miles. A very pleasant day’s riding 

See route map and/or gpx file download

JD

18th October 2018 : Shawbury (brisk)

With today's fine weather forecast, there was a big turnout at Cleopatra's café and Steve T was in the saddle and Ray joining the Brisk ride. The proposed brisk route was to Shawbury via Moreton Corbett, which is regarded as Clive’s stately restoration project. We’ve been visiting it for a few years now and there hasn’t been much progress to date.

We set of from Holt passing over the new resurfaced bridge over the Dee and out to Tilston where we were joining up with Nick who probably had a relaxing morning. The Brisk riders today were John M, John W, Ray, Ivan and Ken who was joining us for a shorter ride as he had commitments in the afternoon. As duly organised we met Nick, and we continued through Tilston to Cuddington Heath.

The weather was a little fresh, but at 11:00ish it was removal of layers and full finger gloves. Riding in the sunshine and through good dry lanes, we are heading towards Wem and join the B5063 which takes us to Moreton Corbett where a photo call is required. It is then a ride into Shawbury and a lunch stop at the Fox and Hounds. My first time here but the food selection was good and reasonably priced.

Read all about it
More ancient relics!




















After lunch, it was cycling on the A53 for 4 miles before taking the lane heading towards a little village of Lee Brockurst. Approaching Wem again, we skirted around the town and heading towards Prees Green and Prees passing over the rail route between Crewe and Shrewsbury. 

Through Tilstock and passing over the A41, we are heading into Whitchurch. As we approach the Sainsbury's supermarket, we are stopped by police cars blocking our route. Advised no access on this road due to a suspect UXB, or something the moderates had left as their destination was Whitchurch!!

We turned around and rode through the town and re-joined the road at the main roundabout passed the supermarket. It was down to Grindley Brook and onto the Malpas road and eventually Tilston crossroad at the Carden Arms inn.

Nick left us to return his solo ride home while the remaining group continued on the usual route to take us back to Holt. As were between Stretton and Crewe-by-Farndon, we catch up with the intermediate CER group headed by Clive. So as to get first choice of cake, we continue onwards and arrive at Cleopatra's not that much earlier than the second group.

Our ride today was 65 miles and covered some good lanes in fantastic autumn sunshine. Our total distance returning to Chester was 85 miles. We were joined by Clive riding with us on our return home. Another good day out on the bike. 


ID