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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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Tuesday, 17 September 2019

12th September 2019: Aston (mod)


It was good to see a mix of old and new members at ease, chatting and supping at Rose Farm cafe. Michael Dodd had rung me the night before, and I was pleased to see that he had turned up. Our recruitment has been very idiosyncratic recently. Peter joined after Trevor gave us a plug on 'Countdown', and Michael on reading our blog,  figured that Fiona and Elwyn must be his friends from the same Chester gym.  Steve Tan had a possible ride, and Clive had a route to Alsager, but I had a cough and cold and needed moderate pace and distance, even if it meant peeling off on my own at some stage. Fortunately, Andy Whitgreave likes to take it easy, and Fiona enjoys the lack of pressure compared with proper road club sessions. Actually, Andy who is often touring abroad and is cycling fit, enjoys very easy riding so much that he had arrived on a swanky electric bike. It turned out that a route to the Bhurtpore Inn was an acceptable moderate ride for Andy, Fiona and Mike and they opted to keep me company. 

The route was familiar and relaxing: down to Cotebrook, skirting the southern edge of Oulton Park and on to Wettenhall. There were people below, enjoying tea and a bite at canal-side tables, as we crested Cholmondeston Bridge at Venetian Marina. At Reaseheath College, I pointed out where we are no longer allowed to ride through (at point of prosecution). It was very mild, and garment removal was beginning. We were soon passing Henhull Hall. At this point I decided that the ultra swish bikes of Andy and Fiona should not be subject to the grit of parkland in order to skirt south of Nantwich.

The alternative took us to the fine old church at Acton, down Ravens Lane, across to Swanley Lane, past Ravensmoor and into the Bermuda Triangle of Sound Heath. I remember being here with Dave and Liz and Dave's clockwork GPS; our heads began spinning, and we nearly disappeared up our own butted tubing. Andy and I decided that the extra loop south east of Aston would give us a few more pleasant miles before lunch. We headed in the direction of Audlem, and I tried to draw attention to the moated Hall o' Coole. This was the second time I had tried to educate the peasants, a la Brian Mac, but failed to muster any interest! The first time was when we passed Madam's Farm on the Dorfold Hall estate. When we reach The Bhurtpore, I'll tell them to look up the history on t' internet! We turned north west up Back Coole Lane to head straight for lunch in Aston. We always feel welcome and at home in The Bhurtpore. My curry was plain, but contained plenty of decent chicken, and the service was friendly and efficient. It was good to chat to new riders, and get to know each other better. It strikes me that we have been very lucky lately in the personable nature of the riders who have joined us.

The return was intended to be shorter than the 25 miles to lunch. Andy marvelled at the lightness of Fiona's bike, and they wondered how a light, fit rider would fare on a hill against old Andy and an electric motor. I had no plans to return via Harthill, for instance, to test out their imagined joust! Our return was via Wrenbury, Chorley, Burland Green and Radmore Green.  I led a little diversion down a backwater to see   Haughton Hall. Steve Tan rang to say that The Fast Lads were back at Rose Farm. As Elwyn was sharing a car with Fiona, and Steve with me, it looked like the partaking of coffee and cake at Tilly's or the Old Fire Station would be a mite inconsiderate. No matter, if anyone in the club needs less cake, its me!  The sting in the tail after Bunbury is the sharp climb at Tilston. This was a chance for the Andy and Fiona contest. I am not sure what happened, but Fiona flew up like a bird, Mike did a Vettel block on Andy, and then they disappeared around the corner. We returned on the narrow lanes to Rhuddall Heath and Tarporley before climbing back to Utkinton, with Andy peeling off for home on the way. We covered a very pleasant and sociable 45 miles on mainly quiet lanes, and managed to find a sheltered route where we hardly noticed the the strong wind. I hope Mike joins us again, when he is not in Germany.

DH

Thursday, 12 September 2019

12th September 2019 : Alsager (brisk)

It becomes more and more difficult to prepare routes which contain "new lanes" these days. There are 790 blogs on our website that have been posted over the last 10+ years. Bryan W used to mark up his OS maps with a highlighter to show the lanes and routes ridden. Maybe he still does! Its a pity that we can't collate all routes from these 790 posts to prepare an electronic version of Bryan's highlighted maps to make the ride compiler's job easier!

Notwithstanding any of the above, I believed I had cracked it today with a brisk run to Alsager down some new lanes. Steve T and Elwyn were up for it, but I had to persuade Neil that the 51 miler was flat and if he were to peel off for home near to Alpraham, he would save at least 5 miles off the out and back trip. He was a little hesitant but decided to give a try. "Oh ye of little faith!*

So we four set off out via Little Budworth on our way to Blakeden Lane to skirt Winsford. Its not a pretty place neither is Middlewich which we had to skirt via the multitudinous housing estates. At Brereton Green, and after 16 miles, we now take the "new" lanes of Moorhead, Brookhouse and Moss End lanes. We now cross the A50 and run west of Rode Heath and south in deep lanes shielding us from the brisk SW winds.

Alsager comes up and we slide passed the Wilbraham Arms, a pub I had used before but service was so slow that today we would use The Plough at the western end of Alsager. Here you can get a full carvery roast at a very reasonable price if so minded. We four didn't indulge, but my small fish and chips was enormous. Lunchtime banter reflected on the present housing market and the fact that it felt like "they were being built everywhere we cycle".

So to prove it, we set off through a housing estate, diving off a little lane and over the M6 and down the lovely lanes of Oakhanger to Winterley. We're back into Crewe suburbia now circling Coppenhall on our way to Church Minshull. I change the course on the fly to get Neil closer to Alpraham to ease his run back to Tattenhall albeit directly into the gusty SW winds.

We three carry on to Eaton and thence into the back of Tarporley where I can't resist a climb up Cobbler's Cross Lane. Elwyn shoots up this even after nearly 50 miles of fairly brisk effort. The Heath Green transfer finds us close by Rose Farm at just after 1500 with 51 miles and a surprising 1938ft of ups and downs.

No cycling problems today, with lots of long quiet lanes in a quiet day for weather, except for the wind that is. As I cycle back to Chester, its full force dulls my "brisk" efforts and I am grateful that home arrives after "only" 79 miles.

CA

* Neil saved six miles!

See route map and/or gpx file download

Sunday, 8 September 2019

5th September 2019: Holt (mod)

Today’s meet was at The Gallery cafe, Hawarden, so I set thinking it’s going to be a dry one. Well it was after a little shower, the one that came as all six of us set off to the cafe.  Only two got caught as they rode out: Brian W but he boxed clever and put a waterproof jacket on and Dave M took shelter in a factory on Broughton Industrial park. You know the thing dressed as a cyclist not looking out of place, ha ha, but at least he kept dry. 

So at the cafe was myself, Brian W, Fiona, Elwyn, see I did listen this time on how to spell your name bud, oh while I’m at it he came with us but is really a fast lad so had to put up with us other mods, Peter on the electric bike like Brian’s, Dave M and me.  Dave said he has been out for an early bimble and was heading to Holt for lunch, so as Brian wasn’t riding with us and we didn’t have a  plan we asked Dave if we could tag on. So we set off on a 15 mile route to Cleopatra's via Lower Kinnerton, Rossett, etc. Here we had a light lunch.  We took a route that Fiona and Elwyn knew, liaising with Peter, back to our start, meandering  around the back lanes of Rossett up to the cafe and cars in Hawarden.  

It was only a short ride, about 30 miles due to people chatting and us not having a plan B.  Now I know what Pep and Co go on about having a plan B.  Anyway the day turned out great as the rain went, the sun shone and the company was good.  Today's blog is short and not much info but the reason is a quirky one, as except for at the cafe where big bad Brian was and he knew me and big bad Dave, all the others were new to each other so on the ride it was a case of getting to know each other, being sociable, chatting, etc. I think I know the reason individuals didn’t get to the ride as they were lording it big time as having been put in their place by 1/2/3/4/5 year olds for the last six weeks.  So they have now gone away on a break asking what happened there.

KB