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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Saturday, 3 December 2011

1st December 2011: Maeshafn

We were meeting at the Gallery Coffee Shop in Hawarden today so it was an easy, unhurried seven mile ride out.  Norman was already enjoying his tea when I arrived.  Before long we had taken over the café, with Clive, using the excuse of being hot, to strip down to an outfit suggestive of an S&M club.  With eleven of us riding (Martin, Norman, Ray, Dave M, Clive, Dave H, Jim, Dave P, Andy Ivan and myself) we decided to split into two groups with lunch at the Miners Arms in Maeshafn.  I had come with a meandering hilly ride of some 43 miles that I hastily shortened to give us the original route for the brisk group and a shorter 38 miler for the mod group.  Martin agreed to lead the brisk ride and I took the mod.
We all set off together and at the initial short but steep climb up to Bilberry Wood split into groups.  Dave M decided to do his own thing preferring an easy ride before a forthcoming long audax.  At the top of the Bilberry Wood climb Jim was clearly suffering and rightly decided to call it a day leaving Dave H, Andy, Norman and me to make up the mod group.  At the far side of the A55 footbridge we met Dave P who had been left behind by the brisk group while checking for stragglers!
From here we had a nice run down to Penyffordd, over to Padeswood and Llong before heading southeast past Leeswood Hall for the first real climb of the day.  A delightful fast descent down to Pontybodkin set the pattern for the rest of the day.  No more than a quarter of a mile on the main road and we were back on the lanes climbing the flank of Hope Mountain to Coed-talon then down to Llanfynydd, over the main road and up the chevroned climb to the stone zoo for a photograph.
The Stone Zoo

Photograph by Bryan Wade

Comments concerning my ability to seek out every hill in the vicinity were now becoming more frequent so I missed out the planned descent down to the ford, and associated climb back up, to take the flattish direct route to Graianrhyd and Eryrys.  From here on it eased off and we had a pleasant run to Maeshafn arriving just after 12:30 with 700 metres of climbing recorded!
Having arrived ahead of the brisk group we were able to order drinks and food in good time from the surprised bar staff who coped admirably with the unannounced arrival of five cyclists.  The brisk group delayed by a puncture arrived not long after, but behind two tables of locals, and fared less well in the swift delivery of food.  By 14:00 hours it was time to leave so we, the mod group, regrettably left the brisk group waiting for their food while we took to the road.  Dave P decided to swop groups at this point: rumour has it that it was the option of a pudding that was decisive.
The route back took us down to Llanferres and along the Alyn valley to Cilcain where Andy’s rear gear cable snapped at the lever.  With help from Dave H the cable was extracted and the rear mech stop was adjusted to give a middle sprocket to run on for the rest of the ride.  We then took the roller coaster route along the Alyn to Rhyddymwyn before joining the well-trodden route back through Soughton and Buckley to arrive back at the now closed Coffee Shop at 15:45 with 38 miles done.
It only remained to make the final stretch back to Chester in the twilight to complete a great day out with 52 miles clocked overall.  Thanks to Martin for leading the brisk group at very short notice.

PS It can now be reported that after their relaxing lunch the brisk riders freewheeled back to Hawarden by the shortest route to to arrive at 15:15 hours in time to partake of coffee and cake.

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