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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Friday, 25 January 2013

24th January 2013: Calverhall

Would the lanes be rideable? That was the question on my mind as we sat at the Ice Cream Farm. Ivan had helpfully brought some samples of the proposed team garments and we "oohed and aarhed" just like a ladies lingerie party. Trevor and Dave M were in four-wheel mode, and Dave H and Jim were in "Jim recovery mode"; so Roy, Ray, Ivan, Paul, Martin and myself plus the tandem duo set off on time bound for the Old Jack in Calverhall. As we rode towards Beeston Castle through the snow covered fields, I wondered what it would have been like to be on sentry duty 350ft up on a raw day back in the 1220's when the castle had been built. No performance fabrics in their medieval attire - just woollen cloth and skins. At Peckforton, the tandem sanctions the pack to ride ahead and "we will meet up later on". So we dodged our way down a rutted Stone House Lane turning left towards Spurstow. Here the first diversion from the planned route was executed having seen the icy state of the side lane. So through Bunbury and towards Faddiley via Capper's Lane. I suddenly realised that something was different - it had gone deathly quiet. Everyone was concentrating on keeping on one of the black strips down the lane and avoiding the numerous cavernous potholes with ice to the right and left. Dodging right down Brindley Hall Road, we hit the dry A534 and take a left and right towards Swanley. Here the transfer lanes are even worse! Edging towards Ravensmoor, we motor on dry roads towards Wrenbury Station and slide past the Bhurtpore pub. Across the A530, we head south bound for Ightfield via Burley Dam. The outskirts of Ightfield are quite bad and we walk for some distance, but the turn left to Calverhall is dry. As we arrive at 12:30, a text from the tandem indicates that are safely tucked up in the Farmers Arms at Ravensmoor.
There is always a warm welcome at the Old Jack and there's a real fire as well as a good selection of beers. We all order and in dribs and drabs the hot meals arrive - some of the best chips as well! We chat about the cheery Danish crime and US terrorist TV programs as well as the specification of Ivan's new bike (with a triple no less). The return journey is re-planned given that going back via Wirswall and Marbury might be a bit ambitious. So it’s straight down the road to Whitchurch and then the B road to Malpas. Here the clouds part and a watery sun appears and stays with us all the way back to the Ice Cream farm via Duckington and Brown Knowle. We all take a hot drink and, as Martin heads back to his car, he notices that the tandem duo haven't returned as yet since their car is still in the car park. Roy zooms off bound for Runcorn and will have cycled nearly 90 miles today - well he is half of most of our ages! The circular route is around 46 miles but those from Chester will have chalked up nearly 70 miles in the balmy 1˚ C weather.
Well, the ride was thankfully incident free, and we were lucky that the tiny lanes were passable with care.

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