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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Monday, 19 September 2016

15th September 2016: Lake Vyrnwy (brisk)

On arrival at Chirk station, we made our way to the Tea Shop café and were soon joined by several CER members.The moderates were contemplating a route but Brisk already knew where they were going - upwards and onwards! Lake Vyrnwy was a 60 mile round trip with 1600 metres of climbing.

At 10:30 Ray, Tom, John M, Steve T and I set off heading down Chirk Bank turning right and passing over the canal. Taking the route out of Chirk via Weston Rhyn and Sellatyn following the prepared Garmin route, I was heading for the B4580 but missed the right hand turning then decided to continue into Oswestry. On arrival in the town, I turned left thinking I knew where I was going. Unable to pick up the route as my Edge was not responding, we arrive at the far side of town and on the busy A5. Time to review route properly and get back on track. I have to re-boot the Garmin and finally get the required info to get us back on track so its reverse and ride back through town and finally find the route. Had we turned left at the end of the Oswestry road (Ye Olde White Lion jnc.) we would have immediately been on course and avoided the extra 4 miles!!

The road now taken is the circuitous route round to Glyn Ceiriog and was the start of the up and up ride. We continue along the B4580 to Llansilin before turning left and heading for Llanfyllin. The day's weather was forecast as warm with high of 26C and we were all pretty warmed up now. Riding the lanes was great, but we were still in a poor visibility due to light fog spoiling of vista views. Through Llanfihangel, an old railway town, it is still upwards cycling. We have ridden some big hills and after 20 something miles we are at the top of Llanfihangel Hill (1100meteres of ascent completed) and ready for the descent to Lake Vyrnwy – hooray!!

Arriving at the lake, it is photo call on the only bridge over the reservoir and we are fortunate to have a fellow cyclist to take a well-earned group photo of the complete worn out Brisk riders. The reservoir was built in the 1880s and was built to supply water to Merseyside. The dams were built and the Vyrnwy valley flooded submerging the village of Llanwddyn. The lake was full today and with the now blue skies was an ideal cycle venue. It is 12 miles to cycle round the lake so I gave this idea a miss and headed for the Tower restaurant and some well-earned lunch.
Smiling through the pain!
The Lake!

We are eating at the Vyrnwy Hotel and Spa sitting outside on the sun balcony enjoying the splendid views across the lake. A really good lunch was delivered to our table in approx. 5 minutes of sitting down, so service has to be congratulated on. My four colleagues all went for the lime and soda at £1.60 but I could not resist a pint and enjoyed the full flavour of a local brew.

Unusually, we were not really looking forward to the return ride and were considering getting our other halves to come and pick us up, but we get back on the saddle and retrace our route back to the Vernwy hairpin bend turning left onto the B4396 and now will remain on this road for approx. 13 miles.

It is only a 7% climb out of the valley and we are soon at the top and enjoying a relative flat ride for the first time today. We arrive at a “Road Blocked” sign but choose to pass as you can always get past on a bike!- but, on arrival at the blocked site, it is a river bridge that's out!! A big JCB is working and 4 guys on shovels standing along side.As there was a little road surface showing, a polite “Please may we pass" was asked.The response was “No, go round the diversion”; oh dear, we don't fancy that alternative! We stood our ground and after a couple of minutes hard staring at the workers, they called a stop to working with the JCB and thankfully allowed us to pass.

My Garmin was flashing Chirk Bank 1.5 miles and I knew this was our last climb of the day to speak of. We turn off the B4396 and head up hill and we are soon at the top - exhausted except for flyer Tom who seems to give the impression he is now on a Sunday ramble. Our route now passes through Treflach and the route into Oswestry. No going wrong now we turn left onto the Chirk road and Hengoed road passing for the last time Weston Rhyn and Chirk Bank. Arriving back into Chirk at 16:10 we are to early for the next train back to Chester so ice cream and refreshments are taken after covering 63 miles and 5030ft or 1600 metres of ascent and managed an average of 13.5mph. Although the route out was given as hilly the ride today was a challenge. Very rewarding for completing and the company was great making a memorable day for CER.


Photographs by ANO Cyclist (on Ivan's phone) and Steve Tan


  1. To be fair Ivan advertised the ride as hard out and easier back. This was true but only relatively. My Garmin tells me we spent nearly 3 hours going up and just over 1hr 30 going down. Where's the justice in that! The beautiful countryside relieved the pain (well nearly) and the lunch venue was spectacular. The pint with Ivan at the end was so so good! Thank you

  2. The comment above was not intended to be anonymous! :-) John M