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, 7 June 2014

5th June 2014: Llandderfel (brisk)

Ivan suggested a 40+ miler to Cynwyd, and as this was close to my suggestion of Melin Rug, Tom and I were happy to take Ivan’s route. So after a quick orientation ride around Chirk to get the Garmin acclimatised, we set off up the Ceiriog valley in sunshine and a brisk westerly wind, which we would come to rue later on in the ride. At Castle Mill, where Edward II was beaten by the locals in the 12C, we turn sharp left and up, and then up and up again! We climb a 1,000ft in 4 miles to magnificent mountain and valley views all around. The lanes are getting smaller and rougher and then at a sharp bend, the Garmin says straight ahead across a wide mountain track. We consult to the OS map and decide tiny lanes are better than farmer’s tracks so we head on down towards Llansilin via some exhilarating smooth descents. The Garmin still insists we should go straight over the Berwyns but we ignore it and head westwards along the Tannat Valley and Llangynog. Here we enjoy the second 1,000ft climb over 4 miles of the day with stiff westerlies cooling us down. We top out near 1,600ft ready to enjoy the fast downhill towards Bala.

Photographs by Ivan Davenport

At 35 miles near to Llandderfel, the Bryn Tynion pub comes into view, and, as its way past lunchtime, we decide to take lunch anyway. The pints were welcome as was the promptly served food. It’s now about 15:00 and we take the B4401 towards Corwen skirting the Dee valley. Passing through Cynwyd, we notice that both of the pubs are closed and we have cycled 41 miles already! “Only 20 to go now” says Ivan. We take the easy option along the A5 back to Llangollen and then the bone-dry towpath virtually to the Pontcysyllite aqueduct. As we get very near the end of the towpath there are barriers barring our way, so we have to take the footpath down onto the road by the aqueduct. Here Tom admits to being a little acrophobic, so we give the walk across the aqueduct a miss and get back on the towpath via the road. We motor on all the way back to Chirk on the tow path having completed 62 of Ivan’s 40+ miler ride with nearly 5,000ft of climb and quite a few 20% gradients - but it was all worth it; new lanes and roads and magnificent vistas. As Ivan and I enjoy and ice cream at Chirk station waiting for the 17:48 Arriva train, our legs remind us of the 13.5 mph average speed.


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