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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.

For more information see the About Us tab.

Monday, 14 October 2019

10th October 2019: Baschurch (mod)

After Clive's Beatles Tour a few weeks ago the moderate ride today turned into something of a Mystery Tour although we were as far away from Liverpool as we get on our normal rides. I had gone to Chirk on the train along with David M and Andy W, but David was scouting out part of a route for an Audax ride he was planning and Andy was going with him. I was pleased when Andy B and Dave P turned up at the cafe as until then it had just been me and a group of brisk riders there.

The brisk group had got themselves organised and promptly set off on their ride while the three of us hadn't even thought about where we might go. Dave and Andy didn't have any maps but I had my Garmin. However it was my first ride back after a trip to Europe and unfortunately I hadn't reloaded my British maps. I managed to find and load a route but all I had on the screen was a red line on a blank background. All I knew was that the route appeared to head down onto the Shropshire plains and was about 40 miles, two features which were acceptable to the others. And so our mystery trip began.

We turned left out of the cafe, then right and dropped down onto the canal towpath to cross Telford's aqueduct. At Rhoswiel we left the canal, crossed the A5 and found ourselves heading towards Hindford. Then it was on through Tetchill and Hordley to Bagley.

About 15 miles into the ride we started to see signs for Baschurch and I realised that we were probably heading for Ruyton-X1-Towns and the Talbot Inn. Sure enough as we approached Baschurch we turned right onto B4397. On the previous ride from Chirk, Clive had said that the Talbot Inn was closed on Thursday lunchtime and had taken us instead to Moor Farm cafe at Baschurch. Not wanting to arrive in Ruyton to find that we couldn't get any food we opted for the same alternative and ate well from the hearty menu. The pies in the farm shop looked good too (Note to self: must bring a bigger saddle bag next time!). After lunch we continued along the main road into Ruyton and noticed that the Talbot Inn appeared to be open. (Perhaps we can use it again on future rides).

If football is a game of two halves then today's ride was certainly a ride of two halves. The morning ride out had been dry but for the most part into the wind. The afternoon was just the opposite and the rain started as we headed to Wykey and Eardiston.

Now that I knew where we had been, I had a good idea of the route back. Which is just as well because as we approached Maesbury the screen on my Garmin decided to freeze. Not only was I without the maps but now I had no red line to follow either. However we found our way to the A5 crossing near Aston and then turned left towards Oswestry. I was confident that I knew the route around the suburbs of Oswestry and soon we were climbing up the road past the Old Fort.

Shortly after that we came across a car stopped blocking the road. Apparently, a herd of cattle were on their way towards us and we were advised to wait. We had to wait longer than expected and Dave decided that his light rain jacket was no longer up to the task. So he changed into his rain cape – at which point the rain stopped. If only he had decided to change earlier!

Once the cattle had passed we carried on along the top road, turned down through Weston Rhyn and found our way back to the canal for the return to Chirk. Just the three of us to complete a pleasant (despite the weather) 40 mile ride. A bit of work to do when we got home though, to wash the Shropshire mud off our bikes.

TC
 

Thursday, 10 October 2019

10th October 2019: Ruyton XI Towns (brisk)

I had 10 minutes to spare before setting off by car to Chirk, so I rapidly put together a route that could be used as a brisk or moderate ride. The problem was it was only 42 miles. I thought “never mind, someone will have a suitable route”. I arrived in the car park and it was clear that the weather could do anything today, so I had a ride around to warm up the legs before going to the Castle Bistro for a coffee.

There was a reasonable crowd of CER riders there and it polarised into a brisk ride ( yes, my route) consisting of John M, Nick and a dragooned in Steve T. I explained the length dilemma and explained we would just wing it when we got as far south as I had originally planned.  I didn’t catch where the Mods were going though. So we set off down the Ceiriog Road and up and around the back lanes of Weston Rhyn and in and out of Oswestry. 

The first part of today's route was a steal from the recent Mod ride to Baschurch as we continue south and east to Melverley. My original route for today then turned north for Montford Bridge and Ruyton. So after a quick conflab, we slide across the River Severn and take the long and undulating “main” road east through Ford on the A458 to turn up to Montford Bridge. The weather is threatening now and light rain and drizzle now accompany us all the way to Ruyton XI towns with 31 miles up. 

Believing that The Talbot did not open until 1400, we stop at Cafe Eleven where I am told it will be 25 minutes at least before we can hope to get some food. I ask John to ride down the high street to check if The Talbot is open - and it is! It now opens at 1200 except on Mondays, but after the ride I check their website which states food service between 1800-2100 only. So, somewhat confused now.

We go in and food is on, and as its a Joules pub, there is delicious Slumbering Monk ale to be had. We all order Eggs Benedict (in various forms) and some excellent chips.  We talk about our ancient memories and our ailments ( do we need an Ailments tab on the website perhaps?). Warmly ensconced in the bar, it is difficult to leave knowing that the rain is all around, and my original cobbled together route is a very short run back. So I look again and plot a slightly longer route back via St Martins. 

So up Grug Hill and onto Gimpo, it seemed like the lanes have all been hedge-trimmed or tractor to death, so we have mud and thorns and debris everywhere. We hit Welsh Frankton and I remember that the obviously direct lane to St Martins is in appalling condition so we circle Perthy and onto New Marton and St Martins. It is now only a quick dash down to the A5 roundabout, then onto the canal side by the Poacher Pub to end up back at the cafe after 48 miles and 2500 ft of climbs at around 1515.

It had rained all the way home, and the temperature had dropped, and the bikes were covered in Shropshire countryside debris - so we all decided to head for home rather than take a coffee on the cafe. So thank you for being patient with my route planning today, but as ever, an enjoyable day out on the bike

See route map and/or gpx file download

CA

Saturday, 5 October 2019

3rd October 2019: Whitchurch (mod)

There was a fine turnout for our first club visit to Alison's Country Kitchen. The staff were very friendly and welcoming, and we were accommodated in the back room. We had plenty of space for our bikes and no problems parking our cars for the day at the back. John Adam and his friend were welcomed. John decided to go with The Fast Lads, after I explained how slow I was going to be, whilst waving two coffee stained, disintegrating maps in my hand. I did have a complicated route to Ellesmere vaguely in mind, but Steve Tan, thankfully, had a former route to Whitchurch on his Garmin.

The moderate group consisted of Andy Barber, Mike Dodd, Fiona, Steve Tan, Mike Gilbert, Neil and myself. Our route took us toward Wrenbury via Beeston. There are many little lanes you can choose in order to drift down to Whitchurch, and Mike and I became concerned that every obvious right turn was being spurned. Steve was sticking to the route he had downloaded, and we were so far south-east of Whitchurch in the end, that we were close to Calverhall. Surely this hyper-loop gives the clue that this must have been a Clive route originally! Although, we never passed through any deep mud surrounded by Saddlebacks, so perhaps not. Neil thinks that my rear tyre is soft, but I am able to assure him that it is just the visual result of my rubber squashing weight perched on the saddle.

After thirty miles, The Black Bear provided the usual friendly and characterful environment for lunch. The Fast Lads made a surprise appearance outside, having finished their own lunch elsewhere in the town. They had just stopped to tweak their afterburners.

The return starts with a surprisingly stiff climb to Wirswall, and as we briefly stop, the view is smashing. Looking out from this quiet leafy lane across Cheshire, the moment encapsulates the essential experience of riding with Chester Easy Riders: quiet, scenic routes, and a relaxed pace in convivial company. We cross the A49 at Bickley and take on Harthill before whooshing down to Tattenhall and just beating the expected rain. Unfortunately, Alison's has stopped opening all day, so no coffee and cake. Never mind, about forty-five very enjoyable miles. Many thanks to Steve for an excellent lead.

See route map and/or gpx file download

DH

Thursday, 3 October 2019

3rd October 2019 : Whitchurch (brisk)

It was an unwelcome chilly start this morning, but a huge crowd of riders had descended on Alison's Country Kitchen cafe in Tattenhall for the first visit to this "new" starting point in Tattenhall.  John M asked me "if I had a route", to which I answer " I always have one (even when I haven't actually prepared one) ", so the brisk ride was sorted!

Today, Ivan was just out for a solo ride before he went to Liverpool to "meet" Bradley Wiggins for some riding tips. So our group consisted of John W, John M, Nick, Elwyn and a potential new member, John A. Too many Johns and Daves now!

The route had been prepared by using the new features of the Viewranger app which allows one to create a route on the phone directly, and it will auto-route for walking, cycling or motoring. It will also allow you to edit the route once saved. So we set off out of Tattenhall and up and over Harthill bound for Bickley. It's about here that I realise we are going out out on the return loop of the ride, but no matter I correct, re-set the direction of travel, and we head for Ashton via a circuitous route through Marbury. It is now  along run down Steppenhall Lane. Checking again I realise that we shall be at Calverhall far too early for lunch and with not enough miles ridden. So a quick re-route takes us out in a loop to arrive in Calverhall after 25 miles. As it is still only 1230, I ask for permission to cycle on the Whitchurch town.

So off via Ightfield and the twin Ash villages, I dive off left down and through Brown Moss Nature Reserve to enter the back of Whitchurch and thence to The Wheatsheaf in Green End. We have been to this welcoming pub before and we are soon seated with food orders taken and drinks delivered to the table. There is the usual lunchtime banter, and Elwyn then informs me that the Mods are up the road in the Black Bear pub - so that is why there is a photograph of us outside it!


This was taken outside the pub where we didn't have lunch in Whitchurch!

At lunch, I had abandoned the planned route and put together an "improved" return section counter-intuitively going away from Tattenhall towards Fenn Bank via Alkington. We are soon heading in the right direction now with the wind behind us in the hilly borderlands of the Wyches. Pretty soon we in and out of Malpas heading for Brown Knowl and the hillside lane behind Bolesworth Castle

We arrive back into Tattenhall about 1530 to a closed cafe. It is then I recall that when I had last visited the cafe they said that on this particular Thursday they would be closing early.

So John W and A head off home as I promise a hot drink via the Spar shop, only to find their machine was "being cleaned". So John M and I settle for a cold chocolate drink to fortify us for the return to Chester in light rain.

The route around was 53 miles and at 15.6 mph with a surprising 2630ft of climbs - something to do with Harthill and Brown Knowl I suspect. Riding back to Chester I find that if have ridden 79 miles and my trusty Trek Pilot has just turned over 30,000 miles.

See route map and/or gpx file download

CA

Photo JW