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, 14 February 2014

13th February 2014: Aston

After the wildest weather ever on Wednesday, it took real faith in the forecasters to get up for a bike ride on Thursday.  There was a good turnout in the circumstances: Martin returning from a cruise, Dave R, Steve, Andy, and usually last, but never least: Liz & Dave P.  In addition to the day's riders, Brian Mac turned up for a cuppa before leaving to see his father.  Aston was the target, and responsibility was amicably shared for leadership and route.  We headed east along the river from The Little Roodee, passing through Huntingdon, Saighton and the back road at Aldford.  Although Steve was thoughtfully keeping the tandem company, we slowed down too late and Dave & Liz had decided to take their own route at an easier pace.  From Churton we headed generally south-west toward No Man's Heath.  The weather was great and the back lanes pretty and quiet.  We encountered our first large fallen tree and clambered across whilst having a cheery chat with the householder whose garden it had landed in.

Photographs by Martin Donaldson

Our feet were worryingly close to the still-live power cable that had been dragged down in the fall!  Turning right at Wrenbury by the special bridge over the Llangollen Canal we encountered our first flooded road. A Range Rover slowed for some banter, but we were able to show him that one-wheel drive was perfectly adequate to negotiate this particular hazard.
The Bhurtpore Inn was candlelit, but had gas to cook our lunches.  Andy and Martin had interesting veg and herb-packed curries.  Steve had battered whale and chips, and having been served first had to suffer our unseemly, slavering interest in his meal.  Martin told us of the Asda Valentine's meal for two that he had bought but had largely eaten himself before the day. Very romantic, Martin!
Our return was largely into the wind, and the weather was not as bright, but we worked well as a unit and made effective progress.  We did ignore another "Road Closed" sign, and on passing a cut- up tree cleared to the roadside thought we'd got away with it.

A mile later we were stopped by a very large tree which we almost needed climbing gear to surmount.  Anyway, we managed it, some of us in a more ungainly fashion than we would have chosen.  From Chorley Bank we headed to the challenge of Harthill.  It may not be The Alps, but if you are old and 14st 6lbs it's hard work!  Hanging onto Dave's wheel aided progress past the Ice Cream farm with Dave and Steve heading in Kelsall direction at the crossroads.  Andy, Martin and myself continued to Gatesheath and Saighton where we ran into the expensive car school run around the college.  I was a little uneasy at these two-ton Tonka toys barreling around the small lanes.  One yummy mummy was texting with her phone in the middle of the steering wheel as she loomed towards us at a fair lick.  Martin was beginning to feel his month off the bike; three months riding across America should improve his fitness shortly.  Many thanks to Andy and Martin for their navigation.  After the last climbs into Boughton we parted ways at about 16:00. Roughly 55 miles in very convivial company. 

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