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.

For more information see the About Us tab.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

14th June 2018: Coedway from Waverton - Long Ride

A long spell of calm weather seemed to be ending as Storm Hector battered the north of the UK. In Cheshire gale force gusts were predicted, not ideal conditions for a long ride; however it was forecast to be dry. Nine Easy Riders arrived at the Waverton canalside car park for an 8am start: George, Nick, Ivan, Trevor, Keith, Dave H, Paul, Clive and myself.  Clive was a late addition, having shortened his sailing trip in response to Hector.

Our first goal was the Midway Truck Stop at Prees Heath, about 26 miles distant. We headed towards Tattenhall, then Tilston, into Malpas from the west, and out to Whitchurch.  The main road was closed at Bradley Brook, but a short diversion kept us on track. From Whitchurch we took the Calverhall road, but turned off to pass through the placid Brown Moss Nature Reserve. Then we walked across the busy A41 dual carriageway and into our first stop.  No-one was tempted by the Desperate Dan all-day breakfast, though a cooked option was taken by some – all good value, substantial fare.

Re-fuelled we headed on through Tilstock and Hollingwood towards Northwood.  During this section the brisk riders (Ivan, Paul, Nick and Clive) broke away and forged a path to our pub stop, 30 miles distant.  The rest continued more leisurely through Lyneal and Colemere, to Lee. Here we struck southwards to Lower Hordley and Stanwardine in the Fields, before entering Ruyton XI Towns. Turning left up Little Ness Lane, we eventually crossed the A5 and entered the Severn Valley. Passing the Royal Hill pub (a possible destination for a Chirk ride), we made for Melverley, entered Wales, passed over the Severn on a single track bridge and entered Crew Green.  From here it was little more than a mile to our lunch stop.

Apparently the Old Hand in the pub’s name refers to the Red Hand of Ulster, while the Diamond refers to gold trading.  For a 17th century inn there are also reputed to be two resident ghosts. The brisk group were well into their lunch as we ordered.  In celebration of his coming birthday, Clive generously bought everyone drinks and we settled down to eat. The roast dinner was a favourite, good value and must have replenished quite a few calories. Before long the brisk riders decided to depart, minus Clive who chose a more leisurely return.  The strong winds of the morning hadn’t caused us any great difficulties, and we looked forward to an improved forecast for the afternoon.

Pub phots by SH

Prior to heading back northwards, we took a short circuit of the hills to the southwest and appreciated the enhanced views towards Llanymynech. Back over the Severn, into England, we headed towards Maesbrook.  In the morning we had enjoyed some lovely tranquil lanes and here were some more. Next we made for Maesbury Marsh and then into Oswestry from the east.  By this time the schools traffic was diminishing and we headed towards the Old Oswestry Hill Fort. 
Oswestry Old Hill Fort, photo by ID

Here we met the only unfortunate incident of the day. Cycling up the narrow lane towards the fort, we were aware of a car just behind us.  As there were no safe passing places, we pulled into a layby to let it go by. Instead the car swerved towards us and stopped only inches from my bike.  A middle aged Mr Angry started shouting about how we were in his way and in the wrong. He climbed out of his car, perhaps to accost us, as his wife looked on embarrassed. We refused to move without an apology, and Mr Angry backed down and reversed away, threatening to ‘kick our tyres in’. That was all the result of our trying to let him pass.
Chirk Aqueduct, photo by ID

Photo by ID

From Oswestry we continued north through Weston Rhyn and into Chirk for our café stop. We weren’t surprised that the brisk group had already passed through. Large portions of cake and scones were consumed to help us on our way. We left heading for Cefn-Mawr and Ruabon, and then onto lanes to Cock Bank and Cross Lanes. Approaching Holt, Clive announced we had reached 100 miles, and we stopped outside the Spar for further refreshments and observed a minor scrape between two cars.

Between Holt and Aldford a race to the finish started between Clive and Keith, while the rest of us continued, enjoying a pleasant end to the ride with blue skies and fluffy white clouds above.  Our starting point was finally reached about 7:30pm with 108 miles completed. I later heard that the brisk riders had also successfully finished their ride an hour and a half before us. We had all been lucky with the weather and enjoyed some new territory, excellent lanes and good refreshment stops.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Tuesday, 12 June 2018

7th June 2018: Ellesmere (mod)

Twelve riders turned up at the Ice Cream Farm at Tattenhall on what promised to be a fine summer’s day. Three wanted a brisk ride while three wanted a leisurely ride, leaving six of us (Bryan, Keith, Bob, George, Neil and myself) to indulge in a moderate ride to the Red Lion at Ellesmere.

We set off down Newton Lane, turning right at the end and heading round the back of Bolesworth Castle. Crossing the A534 we sauntered through Brown Knowl and Duckington, crossing the A41 at Edge Green. Then briefly down the Cheshire Cycleway before turning right into Whitewood Lane at Kidnal. We turned left in the direction of Chorlton Lane and Cuddington Green and continued through sleepy Threapwood before crossing into Wales at Tallarn Green.

As we left Tallarn Green we turned right and then left and headed down towards Three Fingers and Little Arowry, before cycling on to Hanmer. The Hanmer Arms has always been one of our favoured stops and after closing down for a while has now reopened. It was not our intended destination today but Bryan decided to turn back here having ridden out further on a CER ride than he has for some time.

The remaining five of us continued out of Hanmer and past Bettisfield Park which was looking idyllic in the warm summer sunshine. We ran for a short time along the A495 before turning off for Bettisfield itself, crossing the Llangollen Canal as we did so. A loop round to Balmer Heath took us back into Wales once more.

Then on through Lyneal to Colemere where a vineyard, which was planted a few years ago, is now starting to look established. A sure sign of climate change. Picking up the A528, we cycled into Ellesmere. The waterfront at Ellesmere was busy in the warm June sunshine so we avoided The Boat House and headed on to the Red Lion.

The Red Lion Coaching Inn usually offers an ‘over 60s’ two course lunch for a reasonable price but on this occasion we were to be disappointed. The normally busy pub was quiet due to a kitchen refurbishment which was in progress. We were given a warm welcome but were advised that there was a limited menu in operation. We still managed to find plenty to our liking and were soon tucking in to paninis, ploughman’s lunches and the like.

Leaving the Red Lion we headed right at the roundabout, up Swan Hill and then left up to Sandyhill. Then it was into Lion Lane, a tiny road alongside Lion Lane Wood which leads on to the A539 at Sandy Lane. After only a short distance on the A-road we turned right into quiet Burgess Lane and headed up to Holly Bush and Worthenbury.  From there we went through Shocklach, Tilston and Clutton along the quiet and flat lanes of the Cheshire Plain before reaching Tattenhall. As we passed through Tattenhall Neil left us to head home and instead of turning right into Newton Lane to return to the Ice Cream Farm the rest of us carried straight on to return to our own cars or home.

49 very pleasant miles on a dry, warm summer’s day (plus our respective return journeys) in classic ‘Easy Rider’ fashion.

See route map and/or gpx file download


7th June 2018: Aston (leisure)

With the moderates heading for Ellesmere, the Leisure group consisting of Jim, with Dave and Liz on the tandem set off for the Bhurtpore Arms for a curry. The route took us through Beeston, Bunbury and then the outskirts of Nantwich. We approached Aston past the bunker (formerly known as secret) followed by a short section of main road, and arrived about 12.30.

The meal was excellent as usual and we were just finishing when Dave H appeared, having had a late start from home. Unfortunately, to gain time, Dave took the ‘crud encrusted shortcut’ only to be beset by mud and nettles, and soon realised why we had chosen not to go that way a few weeks earlier.

The return route was through Chorley, Larden Green and Brindley to have a short break at Tilleys in Bunbury for coffee and cake.

A very warm day, with good cycling of about 37 miles.


Sunday, 10 June 2018

31st May 2018: Spurstow (leisure)

The group consisting of Dave and Liz on the tandem, with Jim and Bryan, joined the moderate group as far as the end of Beeston Castle Lane when we turned towards Peckforton, past the castle gates, and then entered Bunbury by the back passage, so to speak. The Yew Tree, on the corner at Spurstow was our lunch stop, after a couple of sorties past a set of road works when the workers had to move their diggers to allow us past. The pub has been re-furbished and offered a reasonable choice of ales and dishes on the menu.

The return journey was through the village, turning left by the church to emerge on the A49 just uphill of the Wild Boar Hotel. Then Left at Tiverton and back through Huxley and Greenlooms.
A total of 37 miles.


Friday, 8 June 2018

7th June 2018: Mow Cop (brisk)

After last week's ride to the FOB, this week was going to be hard to follow. With the weather being so great I thought the annual ride to Mow Cop would be good.

Arriving at the ICF with John W, we were soon joined by the group but mainly moderate riders. Ken was out so the two of us set of on a warm and sunny morning. We ride via Beeston, Bunbury and the usual lanes to Nantwich. We get held up at the level crossing and enjoy the quick rest in the sunshine. The barriers raise and the ride is on again heading out towards Wybunbury then Weston and Radway Green. Alsager main road has three sets of traffic lights along a half mile stretch – pot hole filling!! At least road was not closed.  At the lights at Church Lawton, we join the A34 for a short distance before the right-hand turn to Mow Cop, signposted as two miles. From here it begins the gentle rise and arriving into the village we decide to head along to the drag up to the summit. Immediately joining Station Lane, the gradient goes to 14% and increasing. We hit the 24% steep bit and it’s a push to keep going at 2mph!

The T junction looms the top and we head up to the tower. Taking in the views of Cheshire and Staffordshire from this vantage point is spectacular. The tower was built as a summer house during 1754 by the local lord of the manor, more money than sense or cheap labour. It is 355 feet high and gives fantastic views. The best part of getting up here is the easy ride down again and hopefully lunch. We spin down the hill and again get stopped at the rail crossing for the busy Manchester- Stafford line. We wait for two trains on this occasion but again we can proceed and head towards lunch at the Blue Bell at Smallwood.

We can enjoy lunch as the continuing route home is flat and "downhill". Getting back on the saddle again we continue Hassel Green and then ride on the A533 road into Sandbach. The route then takes us through the lanes to Bradwall and towards Middlewich. On through Warmingham it is then Occlestone Green and Wardle. We are stopping for afternoon tea and cake at Tilly's, and arriving at the café, we enjoy the slabs and a refreshing drink of tea and milk shake (mine)

Back at the ICF, we part ways and Ken heads of to Rossett and I back to Chester.Although only the two of us today it was a good day out. The route was 64 miles as a round trip and with the ride out and back it was 83.2 and Ken’s and extra 5-10 miles further. Riding at an average 16.3mph in great sunshine and good company.

Friday, 1 June 2018

31st May 2018: Audlem (mod)

It was great to see Steve Tan and Lesley at coffee.  The fast lads had been up in Bowland, and we had already discussed having two moderate groups on the day. Most weeks recently we have been able to add a 'Leisure Group' ride for those moderate riders who would rather go slightly slower and not too far. This also means that valued senior members can continue to ride with the club, and enjoy lunch together.

This week the 'normal' moderate group consisted of Bob (just back from France), George, Neil (a welcome guest), Mike and myself. Dave Matthews was able to join us for a few miles, before returning for granddad duties.

Steve H was at coffee, but wasn't available to ride. I suggested Little Bollington and  The Swan with Two Nicks, which was accepted, but we actually went as one group with the Leisure riders as far as Bunbury in the end!  At Waverton I asked those at the front if they were O.K. riding the canal route for a change, only for loud , insistent shouts from the mob behind that we turn left. Jim was the main culprit for all this, probably forty years of issuing instructions is a habit he can't break! Bryan was being apologetic to Neil, trying to assure him that we were not usually so shambolic. I couldn't make my mind up if this was democracy in action or anarchy. C.T.C. sticklers would have definitely been tutting! Dave Matthews took his leave, as we meandered through Greenlooms to Hargrave, meeting the tandem before Huxley! Don't, ask! At least this proved  we had been travelling at the correct leisurely pace.  The Leisure Group turned off at Beeston, and the famous five pressed on through Bunbury to Brindley, and then headed east to cross the Shropshire Union Canal, before turning south to Sound via Ravensmoor. We took the quiet lane past the moated Hall o'Coole, and in short order were diving down and driving up to Audlem central. The Lord Combermere staff are always friendly, and the food is consistently good. I do think plates are a better for holding meals than wooden squares though. How many of us, at home, would prefer to eat off a wooden place mat or a small bread board, rather than use a decent sized ceramic plate?  We parked our bikes by the back gardens, and away from the bins, because it is bin lorry day on Thursdays in Audlem. We sat on the verandah in the relative cool on a warm afternoon, and relaxed. We found out that Neil was a keen golfer as well as cyclist. He had only just moved to Cheshire, and had spent a long time with the R.A.F. It was obvious that with flaps retracted he was capable of more speed. Perhaps he will have a go with the brisk group next time.

Our return journey was via Aston and Cholmondeley, but we avoided  Harthill by turning left before the A534 and heading north from Brown Knoll and past Bolesworth Castle. Neil headed home at Tattenhall, where Alison's had customers inside, but a 'Closed' notice on the window. It had been a warm humid day and a cafe stop was needed, particularly with the Welsh contingent set to top 80 miles. George suggested Old Ma's. They were nominally closed, but waved us in. The mature gentleman, who I presume was the owner, was delightful company, and Bob told him that it was the best cup of tea that he had ever drunk! (I think the heat had got to Bob at this stage). Fortified by two slices of bara brith we fairly put the pedal to the metal back to Meadow Lea. Sixty miles covered, mostly just the brisk side of moderate. No thunderstorms, and enjoyable company. Jim and Dave Pipe let me know that their group's ride went really well. Out of initial confusion, organic democracy produced inclusive cycling satisfaction at the end of the day!( As Alastair Campbell may have put it).
Photo by Mike G

See route map and/or gpx file download