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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 April 2017

13th April 2017: St Asaph (mod)

It was a dull but dry day as I rode from home to Hawarden.  The forecast was for heavy cloud cover but no rain.  I hoped the forecasters had got it right.  I was the first to arrive at the Gallery Coffee Shop to be warmly greeted by mine host who appeared to be in a very affable mood this morning.  Eight other club members duly arrived as 10.30 approached.  During tea, coffee, teacake and conversation, proposals for the day’s ride were quickly agreed.  The “brisk” group consisting of John M, Paul, Nick, Ken and Tom were headed for the Horseshoe Pass and the Ponderosa while I offered to lead the “moderates” Steve H, Keith, Dave H and yours truly to The Plough at St Asaph.

We took the usual route west on the B5125 through Ewloe to Northop Hall.  I decided to cycle up the main street of the village as opposed to my usual route alongside the A55.  A mistake; the road narrows and uphill traffic has precedence in a 20 mile per hour zone.  Both these were rules lost on a bus driver coming down the hill.  He presumably didn’t consider bikes as road traffic and passed us far too close for safety doing twice the legal speed limit.  One slight misjudgement and he would have wiped us out.  No doubt he would have received a maximum three year driving ban and a modest fine – go figure.

The rest of the morning passed without further incident.  We passed through Northop and having safely negotiated the 100 yards of the A55, busier than usual as the holiday weekend got into gear, we began the steady climb on to Halkyn Mountain and through to Brynford.  Here the first of the day’s fine views unfolded looking north-west across the Wirral to Liverpool, the cathedrals clearly visible.  Re-crossing the A55 at Pantasaph we proceeded to Gorsedd turned left and at Lloc, The Rock pub now sadly closed, we picked up the A5026.  Turning left on to a country lane at Tan-y-graig we cycled past Llyn Helyg and then turned south through Tynewydd to re-cross the A55 at the top of Rhuallt hill.  An exhilarating descent down this long hill, now virtually traffic free with the building of the A55 trunk road immediately adjacent, brought us to the hamlet of Rhuallt itself.  Here we turned left on to the B5429.  Fine views to our right across the Vale of Clwyd to the Denbigh moors and the mountains of Snowdonia accompanied us as we made for Tremeirchion.  Here we turned right and enjoyed a pleasant ride across the floor of the Vale, crossing the Afon Clwyd we joined the A525.  Turning left for 200 yards we dropped off to the right on to the B5381 and enjoyed a fine ride alongside the Afon Elwy to run in to St Asaph and The Plough.

I can only recall one previous occasion when the CERs have visited this pub although it is a hostelry I am familiar with from my working days.  The car park was full but it is a biggish pub and is used to catering for large numbers.  It didn’t disappoint.  The staff plentiful they were efficient and friendly.  Table provided and food and drink ordered, we enjoyed a relaxing lunch all complete within the hour and so to the return leg.  There is no easy way over the Clwydian Hills at this point.  I therefore chose to retrace our steps up Rhuallt Hill.  We cycled up the main street in St Asaph and crossing the A55 on a cycle friendly footbridge we began the long steady pull up the hill.  A bit of a tester after lunch but we were all equal to the challenge.  On gaining the summit a quick dive down the narrow, well surfaced lane running alongside the dual carriageway gave us access to the myriad of country lanes around Caerwys.  I chose my usual route a long flattish ride on good surfaces through Babell and back on to Halkyn Mountain past the quarry.  Keeping our height and again enjoying the fine views across Liverpool Bay to the north we picked up the B5123 at Berth-ddu and followed it to Rhosesmor.  Here a left turn and largely free-wheeling we dropped steadily back in to Northop.  Here I left my three amigos to return to the start.  A very enjoyable 50 miles for those who started and ended in Hawarden, considerably more for Steve H who had cycled from home in Kelsall and the forecasters got it right.

See route map and/or gpx file download

GW

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