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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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Sunday, 30 September 2018

20th September 2018: Lower Hordley (mod)

I rang Keith about travelling to Chirk despite the forecast of heavy rain for the day. He was determined to go, so I decided that I really ought to accompany him. He had not seen the forecast, but I thought that it was odds on that no moderate rider would be so immoderate as to chance it. And so it was, but a number of the fast guys had used their initiative, and had ridden out to Chirk with the idea of flying back to Chester in front of the inevitable deluge.  An excellent plan, punctuated by a Full English, which they were tucking into as Keith and I arrived.

My plan was to complete a circular route taking in Ellesmere and heading south, originally to Knockin for lunch, and then around Oswestry via Morda and Selattyn back up to Chirk. Some of the return route would be hilly and new to me, and as Nick was convinced heavy rain was already fast approaching, I decided that this was too ambitious, and could even be dangerous in this terrain. Plan B was to ride without a lunch break for about thirty miles and eat back at Chirk at the end.

We went out of Chirk the back way, past the Leisure Centre, and were soon on  the scenic lane to Pont y blew. We then had to climb out of the steeply wooded valley to reach St.Martin's. The damaging winds of Tuesday were thankfully absent, and tree debris wasn't as bad as anticipated. The lanes were dry and peaceful, and as there were only two of us, there was no pressure as we fettled an easy route via Crickett, crossing and recrossing the long disused railway line. We joined the B5068 into Ellesmere as the rain started. We wound our way through the town past the marina and stopped under a tree. Any lingering ambition of trying The Bradford Arms at Knockin was dismissed, but we were game to ride further south to Lee and Lower Hordley.

From Lower Hordley we started to head back north west to Lower Frankton, Welsh Frankton, New Marton and St.Martin's. On reaching the dangerous A5 we were nearly taken out by a Volvo undertaking us on the roundabout, just as we were about to signal and exit for Chirk. I yelled something at him, and he stopped and wound his window down to address us 200 yards on. I was still expecting him to follow and swerve at us, or something, as we climbed up to the church at Chirk. I was weighing up was it worth using my recently learnt boxing combinations on him, if it came to a showdown. However, just as when chatting to a nice young woman, you sometimes have to take a reality check when your my age! Realistically, I don't think that I have the pulling power of David Beckham or the punching power of Anthony Joshua! Blood, snot and rain wouldn't have been an attractive combination. Fortunately, it didn't come to that, and we were soon drying off and munching lunch in Castle Bistro. We agreed that we enjoyed the whole ride, even the wet bits. We had avoided the really heavy rain, which came on our careful drive home. We were glad that the fast lads turned up. Turning up (if you can) is a key ingredient in making our club work! I bet that most of us can't recall even a handful of times over the years, that we wished we hadn't bothered.                                                                         
DH

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