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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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Saturday, 13 August 2022

11th August 2022 : Pentre (brisk)

Today's ride is from Castle Bistro in Chirk and John W and I are travelling via train from Chester. The service is on time and unusually very quiet. Arriving at Chirk the temperature is already warming up for the making of another day in the sunshine. August already and this weather will soon be a memory as we face the wind and rain!!

Arriving at the café and joining the other riders in the garden, it was a surprise that only two other riders present – Ken and Mr Dave P who is incredibly 30 minutes early. Now we know it's Liz who makes him late, our secretary arrives shortly after and that was it for today. 3 brisk and 2 mods riding today.

Ken has put today's ride to the group and so the three of us set off heading out to Weston Rhyn and Oswestry. We then head up Mount Road !!! a two-mile slog of up to 8% ughhhh and the sun is truly on our backs. At the top, we make a left onto a lane to head towards Morda. A down hill but another hill to climb to summit Sweeny Mountain. John has a puncture and, with riding tubeless, we sit on our bikes for a couple of seconds whilst he holds his finger on the hole to keep the white stuff in. All sealed and no problem we continue to the summit. That’s the hills out of the way and now we have a relative flat ride with only rolls to hinder us. Llclys is soon passed, and the road traffic is non-existent except for three hay-baled tractors and trailers.

Our lunch destination is The Royal Hill inn, Pentre near Edgerley on the banks of the River Severn.

 

River Severn opposite the pub

The pub - Royal Hill inn

This has been our lunch venue several times now and the pricing and meals are good value. A 17th century inn with friendly staff. We enjoy a table outside and are soon served with our food which as usual was excellent. Unfortunately, we must re-join our steeds for a short 25 miles home back to Chirk.

After passing Whittington, we decide ice cream would be pleasant and call into the Derwent college garden centre and enjoy lollies. Onwards to St Martins and down to the A5 roundabout taking us back to Chirk. John and I make our way to the station and Ken continues home to Rossett.

Ken's route today was a circular 46 miles ride with 2684 ft of ascent. You can miss out the lumps at Oswestry and head towards Morda via much flatter roads but not as interesting or scenic. 

Thanks to Ken for a super route and one we MAY do again. Ken covered 80 miles cycling out and back 

John and I had also ridden on Tuesday riding an audax route of 200k, so today's effort was sufficient.

A great day out and thanks to my two buddies

See route map and/or gpx file download

ID

Friday, 5 August 2022

4th August 2022: Ellesmere (mod)

 For two reasons, it was with some trepidation that I offered a moderate ride to Ellesmere from Tattenhall. First, I was going to use my new bike computer for navigation. I’d never used if before and I hadn’t even got the route loaded. Secondly, I could see that the group was going to be very large and I had read about Trevor’s problems of last week in losing people.

However, after engaging the help of our resident ‘techie’ (Steve Hu), I had the route up on the computer and just before 10.30 there were 10 mods ready to go - Steves Hu, Ha and T, Daves P and H, Trevor, Andy B, Alan, Richard and Electric Pete. Then, just as we were about to roll, Neil turned up, gasping for breath. He’d gone to Meadow Lea, having mis-read the blog. He only realized his error when he got there, even though he’d passed Trevor going the other way. So, he’d hot-footed it the twenty odd miles to Alison’s arriving at 10.29.

There was light drizzle in the air as we set off, but the weather was forecast to get better as the day went on. We’d got as far as crossing the A41 when the cry went up to wait. Trevor’s chain had come off and it took a few minutes to rectify this. Fortunately, that was the only ‘mechanical’ we suffered all day.

The route took us through Clutton and Tilston to Malpas. As we approached Malpas, Neil decided to go his own way. He’d already ridden from home to Meadow Lea and Tattenhall, so another 40 miles was not appealing to him.

After crossing into Wales at Higher Wych, we were soon in the Shropshire lanes, with little traffic and (mostly) smooth roads.  A brief stop was made at Starks Bridge over the Prees Arm of the Shropshire Union Canal for a photo call.

                                                              Photo SHu

Passing through Lyneal and Colemere, we arrived in Ellesmere just before 1pm. There followed a degree of confusion about where we were going to sit (inside or out) and when we could order what (drink/food) and pay for it. The peculiarities of the system run at The Red Lion were baffling, but we eventually ordered and paid for our food and drink and the food arrived surprisingly quickly. We sat outside in the sunshine, batting away wasps which seemed to be attracted even to chips!

We left the pub along Church Street, taking the right turn into Swan Hill, where we paused for a second photo beside the unusual ‘Toad crossing’ road sign. Apparently, the road is closed between 19.00 and 05.00 throughout March and April each year to allow toads, which have been hibernating during the winter, to migrate to their traditional breeding grounds in ponds and the mere. Volunteers help them across the road.

                                                             Photo AO

Our route back took us through Penley and Worthenbury to Shocklach. As we turned right for Tilston by The Bull pub, Alan, Andy B, Richard and Electric Pete left us, heading for their respective homes. As we turned left at The Carden Arms, heading for Stretton, Dave P suggested a stop at The Lost Barn. It was set up in 2018 and has built up a strong reputation for their speciality coffee, which is roasted on site. Five of us stopped here, but Steve Hu pressed on as he still had plenty of miles to cover. 

Suitably refreshed, the ‘fabulous five’ pressed on to Tattenhall and our journey’s end.  My initial trepidation turned out to be unfounded as we didn’t lose anyone and my new computer took us around the planned route without any problems other than those I brought on myself through lack of familiarity with the new device. Thanks to Steve Hu for acting as ‘sweeper’ and to the rest of my companions for a great day out in the English and Welsh countryside.

4th August 2022 : Welshampton (brisk)

Alison’s was  buzzing this morning with a good dozen or so riders assembled for today’s rides. I had no idea which direction the mods were heading but the brisk group,  consisting of Ivan, Clive, John W and yours truly, set off  towards the Sun Inn at Welshampton on a route devised by Ivan.

Leaving promptly at 10:30 we headed in a SE direction towards Wrenbury and with a following breeze, the riding was a ‘breeze’. We arrived in Wrenbury just as the canal bridge was being raised this allowed a welcome pause  whilst the marine tourist traffic passed through.Once over the bridge we endured a brief high speed burst on the A530,, before turning off onto more favourable cycling roads to enjoy the villages of Ash Magna, Prees Heath and Welsh End before arriving at the Sun Inn.

We all opted for the healthy option off the light bite menu, fish or sausage accompanied with a portion of chips! The refreshment was from the Purple Moose brewery. Our meals arrived promptly and conversation revolved around the up coming energy price rises and associated cost of living payments.

Back on the bikes, the return route headed directly north which meant riding into a head wind this was compounded by  the poor quality of the roads around Hanmer and Threapwood. However with Ivan and John on the front, our pace hardly slowed .

We better have a photo, John!

The only incident of note was a front wheel puncture on John’s bike. The self healing properties of his tubeless tyres  meant that we we were not delayed at all, very impressive!  A 50 miler at 16.5 mph average (at least) 

See route map and/or gpx file download

KP

Photo JW

Thursday, 28 July 2022

28th July 2022: Aston (mod)

It was a wet start to the day but it had already brightened up by the time I rode the short distance to Meadow Lea. I had in mind a ride that we had done back in May 2019. I figured no-one would remember it as it was before the pandemic. Who remembers life before Covid anyway? Several riders said the suggested pub wasn't the best and the alternatives close by weren't favoured either. A suggestion was made that we could go to our old favourite, the Bhurtpore at Aston. It would require a short detour off my route but only a simple case of turning off in Wrenbury then retracing our steps to pick up the route again after lunch. Oh how I wish I'd stuck to this idea.....but more of that later.

Brisk riders were again in short supply today (although John did appear briefly before disappearing again). With David M just out for a coffee eleven of us (Alan, Andy B, Andy W, Clive, Dave H, George, Mike, Richard, Steve Ha, Steve Hu and myself) set off through Guilden Sutton to the A51 and across towards Waverton. Rather than turning down Martins Lane (we would be coming back that way) we carried straight on before turning right to head through Hoofield. As we approached the road junction at Huxley another similarly sized cycling group came up from the right. I carried straight on thinking I was bringing my group with me but halfway along this road I suddenly realised that I was now leading the wrong group. At the turning to Beeston I let them go then had to wait while the rest of my group caught up. We dropped down to the Shady Oak, up past Beeston Castle and over to Bunbury where we turned south to Brindley and Swanley. There is a sharp right turn here, just after zig-zagging over the Llangollen Canal. Just before the turning we had all been together but halfway towards Ravensmoor I realised that we were missing three riders. There was no sign of them behind us and we had gone too far to go back looking for them. The consensus was that we should carry on. Fortunately one of those missing was Dave (with Alan & Steve Hu) who has been to the Bhurtpore more times than anyone else. If anyone could find their own way there it would be him.

And so to our little detour. As the rest of us approached Wrenbury I looked down at my Garmin and noticed a short cut that would take us a quicker (I thought) way to Aston. As I turned I heard Clive mutter something like 'Very adventurous, Trevor'. I should have paid heed to it but no, on I went. At a cross-roads we passed a 'no through road' sign but it did say 'except cycles' so I went confidently onwards. The nice tarmac road brought us to a farm where it suddenly stopped and became a loose stone track which dropped down and disappeared round a corner. We had come too far to turn back now so down we went, round the corner where the loose stone track became a muddy track and disappeared into murky water some 20m across. How deep it was was anybody's guess. It was certainly impassable. I could see a bridge over to the left but no sign of how to get to it. At this point Clive decided to admit that he had been down here before. He also mentioned that in winter it was almost impossible to get through. Well, Clive, it’s not much better in July! A quick search and we discovered an overgrown gap in the hedge which led to an overgrown (with nettles) path, which led to the bridge which thankfully got us over the water. A short ride up the track and within a few minutes we arrived at the Bhurtpore. A short time later the lost three arrived.

So what of the conversation over lunch. First I got an earful from the three 'lost' riders for having left them behind. It's contrary to the club's rules. But they should think themselves lucky as then I got another earful from the others for leading them down paths not intended for bikes such as ours. I was glad when lunch was over and I could get back on my bike.

Photo by TC

We turned left out of the pub and rode to Wrenbury along the road I should have taken before lunch. Our return trip took us along quieter lanes to the back of Cholmondeley Castle, through Bickerton and over Harthill. Then it was down through Tattenhall, turning right towards Hargrave and joining our outward route at the end of Martin's Lane

We arrived back at Meadow Lea having done about 50 miles. I won't be leading next week. After today's debacle I probably won't be allowed to.

See route map and/or gpx file download.

TC


Thursday, 21 July 2022

21st July 2022: New Brighton (mod)

There was a good turnout of mods at Ness Gardens today, the fast boys were absent, possibly doing an alternative start venue. Jim D, Dave M and Steve Ha had all chosen to ride to the start venue, then do their own thing back. Trust you had a good return ride lads. 

Alan had a route using the tried and tested route out to New Brighton but with an alternative route back via Bidston Landican. So six intrepid mods consisting of Dave H, Neil T, Alan (leader and boss man) George, Trevor and Steve Hu. 

Alans route started with the “plunge” back down to the marsh and a gentle coastal bimble to Parkgate. At this point we had our first parting of ways as Steve Hu following his computer took the Wirral Way to Parkgate only to look in his mirrors to see no one had followed. Alan having developed a cunning route to avoid the dusty Wirral Way. Back together the Sextuplets set off along boathouse lane and then on the steady pull up to Heswall. By this time it was clear Alans computer was playing a game of “I bet you can’t guess where we are going next” Neils computer had lost signal so maybe we were at the centre of a denial of service aimed at thwarting the CER day out. However normal service was resumed and we briskly whistled though Irby Frankby and into the lovely town of Hoylake. Hugging the coast we cruised through Meols and then used the scenic sea wall route, which apart from the occasional pockets of sand afforded us a quiet route to New Brighton. 

Photos by AO

As we approached New Brighton the subject turned to our lunch stop, would it be “The Chippy or Wetherspoons” In the event our decision was made easier by Spoons being closed for refurbishment. The Seaside Cafe provided a super £8.95 special of Fish Chips Salad Bread & Butter plus a drink. Furthermore the young lady serving us found Alans name to be particularly attractive there followed Neill (Alan 2) and Steve (Alan3) all being served huge portions and great smiles.


Full of seaside fare we back tracked for about a mile along the sea front. At this point George demonstrated his cat like reflexes as the roads had been “gritted” in the heat and the gravel was treacherous. The route then took us to a further cross training exercise where our members were invited to carry their cycles over Bidston Station metal pedestrian bridge. Oh how those of us with featherweight bikes laughed. The route now took a convoluted way to Landican where we joined Landican Lane a path used in fine weather by CER veterans. 

At this point Neil decided to lead a masterclass in roadside puncture repairs. Only to find his tyre bead refused to be parted from the rim, despite two of us trying the bead would not budge. That was until “Iron Hands Heath” had a try and effortlessly removed the tyre. Following fitting the new tube Neil proceeded to bunny hop down the road to re seat the tyre!


Staying on nice lanes we travelled through Thornton Hough, Raby and lastly into Little Neston for our start position. At this point Dave H and Neil left us to drive home and the remaining group continued on to their various homes. In keeping with the TDF we are all watching, the following jerseys were awarded at the end of the day

  • Most aggressive rider of the day: George
  • Long distance award (70 plus miles): Trevor
  • Yellow Jersey: Alan 

Thanks again to Alan for developing the route and leading the group. 

Steve Hu


Sunday, 17 July 2022

14th July 2022: Plassey (mod 2)

There may have been a dozen of us at Cleopatra’s, ultimately riding in 3 groups, with the prospect of a lovely warm day, if a bit windy. DH had a couple of new route suggestions, which sounded interesting. I also had something different; to my current favourite cafe stop at Plassey (Staples cafe, adjacent to the Shipton restaurant/pub) - All part of the ‘Plassey Holiday Resort’. Effectively a posh caravan site, with lodges/Yurts and very nice amenities, including a golf course. The fast boys went to Oswestry, as I later discovered, when I got back to Cleopatra’s, all on my Jack Jones- Lol. They were just finishing their coffee’s, which left me still on my lonesome-Lol.

Anyway, back to my little group of 3: Allan, Steve Hu & Richard (newby- Lol). For those who don’t know or met, Richard has recently moved to Chester, Handbridge in fact, relocating from the Lake District. I guessed he wasn’t going to find my planned 2100 feet of total assent too be much trouble, as he had said to me, while riding to today’s start point that the average ride out from ‘The Lakes’, involved a 1000 feet of climbing, every 10 miles- not much different to the Cheshire flats really- Lol.

 We set off, leaving DH still gathering his flock, who were heading for Sleep airfield, I believe, which would have meant too many miles for my group, preferring the idea of my finishing loop around Gresford/ Marford. This was because they could all drop off and head home hence, I got back to Cleo’s with none of my group in tow (had to happen one day-Lol. The previous record was only 1 in tow, ironically that was from Cleo’s as well- Lol)

Initial progress was easy, as there was a diagonal tail wind for the first 15 miles of quiet lanes. Once out of Farndon we headed up Wetreins Lane and on into Tilston, where we encountered our first set of road work traffic lights, just before the Carden Arms.

This gave me the chance to explain that my route was a real meander of little lanes, in order to provide a very peaceful scenic route with very little traffic and several river crossings. We only had 2 short stretches of faster B roads to ride in order to connect the dots, so to speak (not a route to ride after heavy rain by the way, although the quality of all the lanes are good, with very few potholes, in fact a couple of them have recently been completely resurfaced)

So, it wasn’t long before I was cautioning the guys on the fast downhill bend that leads into the bridge over Wych Brook in Threapwood (another little favourite). The reason being the immediate tight right turn after the bridge (almost on it in fact) which at speed is a recipe for disaster, not unlike Griffin Hill, exiting Gresford, which would be my next caution, later on.

We effortlessly cruise through Willington, Hollybush & Cloy, on route to Overton, which we by-pass, by taking Argoed Lane. One of those lanes I mentioned as having new tarmac (now a cracker). Unfortunately there was no option but to take the A549 to Overton, for 1 mile. However, most of it is a fab high speed descent-Lol. So, in less than a flash, we are pulling up on the bridge, over the Dee, immediately in front of the the Cross Foxes pub. This was simply to not only show Richard the gorgeous view of the river and for me to explain the next bit of our route. This also gave me the opportunity to recommend the Boat Inn, which we were close to (next time may be-Lol). For those who are not familiar with the Boat Inn, it’s got to be the! Pub location, if you want a gorgeous river setting and nice food (large car park, as well). We therefore turn left at the Cross Foxes and start to climb a few lovely secluded lanes, which also meant we had now turned in to a headwind, which was not noticeable until we got to the top and the slight descent to the A539 again, for another half mile descent.



Photos by NT

We then turn right and head on through Crabtree, after a mile and out onto a quick downhill B road to Plassey. The entrance road to Plassey is very inviting, although uphill, which we all seem to feel somewhat, after the previous hills (probably not the mountain goat from ‘The Lakes’- Lol). We grab ourselves a bench outside the cafe and enjoy the view, which everybody seemed to soak up. We then discovered that Allan was familiar with the location, as he remembered caravanning there, some 20+ years ago. Food and drink was very good, quick and plenty, so it wasn’t long before we were off again, after a little wander around the garden to take a few pics (hopefully enclosed)



Photos by NT

We set off again, heading for Gresford/Marford, via a very enclosed set of lanes that circumvent the Wrexham industrial park. We pass through Clay’s golf course to the dual carriageway, where we take the cycle path to the roundabout and crossover said carriageway. We pass Francis Lane on route to the main Wrexham/Nantwich road, which we have to jump on for about 600 mtrs and then turn left past the Acorn cafe (Common Wood Fisheries). We then climb the little hill up to Borras Head and around to Gresford, after another lovely smooth stretch of new tarmac. This lane used to be atrocious. (I used to ride it every time I joined MGVC for a ride. Ironically, once I left that club, after 3 years, they resurfaced the lane- Lol)

We then pass through Gresford and head down Griffin Hill, not before I caution the guys again about the sharp right hander at the bottom, as the hill is 14% and we again need to turn right immediately after we pass under the old railway bridge. We enter Springfield Lane after a brief discussion about the best place for Allan & Steve to abandon their leader- Lol. They decide to ride the lane, after I pointed out a better option home, from the other end of said lane. This also meant that they could lead Richard another couple of miles toward his best route home? Springfield Lane comes out at the bottom of Marford Hill. I love the fact this 1.5 mile lane is just mtrs away and runs parallel to the very busy A483 from Chester and yet you never see it ( you can hear it though- Lol)

At Marford Hill, my route goes up, half way, in order to pick up the back lane around Marford, back to Borras Head. However the guy’s all decide to go left into Rossett, heading home. Unbeknown to them and perhaps 30 seconds after we said goodbye, I decide to chase after them as I suddenly realised that Rossett Road would have a lovely tail wind, for the 4 miles to Holt. I tried to catch them, but with only a mile into wind, I was flogging a dead horse, or should I say, dead legs- Lol.

I get my blissful tailwind to Holt, where I briefly catch up with Ivan, Clive & John, just finishing their coffees at Cleo’s. I set off again for home. I arrived with 64 miles on the clock & just over 2000’ of total assent. I hadn’t ridden that far for several weeks, especially with a few hills as well, so I was done in- Lol. Great day out with lovely weather and great company.

See route map and/or gpx file download.

NT


Friday, 15 July 2022

14th July 2022: Sleap Airfield (mod 1)

It was a pleasant surprise to meet Clive's granddaughter, Holly, who had recently returned from South America, and was now doing a stint at Cleopatra's. There was an encouragingly large turnout, including Richard Hall, our very welcome latest recruit. The moderates split into two groups, one of these led by Neil on one of his inventive circular tours. I had three possible destination offers, although suggesting that, “I would prefer to go to Sleap” may have not been an inspiring invite to those who had never heard of the Shropshire aerodrome! Nevertheless, Mike D, the Steves, Peter, Pipey, and Trev were up for it. Just as we were leaving, Graeme from Malpas, who used to be a club member, but had to drop out, greeted me. He was looking well, and it was pleasing to see him again, and have a short chat.

The initial route was via Farndon, Wetreins and Tilston. The pace was easy, the wind behind us, and the atmosphere was relaxed and sociable. I took my familiar, small lane, scenic route avoiding Malpas. The route takes us past Nick's house, whose neighbour is also a cyclist friend of Dave Pipe's. So: Chorlton Lane, Oldcastle Heath, Lower Wych, left past Strift House and on to Whitewell, where we stopped off to look at the attractive white church of St. Mary's. There were two lovely little cottages adjacent to the chapel in this peaceful green setting, what a lovely place to live! 

St Mary's Church, Whitewell - Photo by Steve T

Fenn's Bank and Platt Lane were next, but exploring other little lanes to reach Wem is always tricky, and you can soon find you are running late for lunch. 13.15 was our eta for lunch at the Pegasus Cafe at Sleap Airfield today, but we didn't expect any problems, as the cafe was open until 5p.m. After Hollinwood and Whixhall it appeared to be quickest to cut to Waterloo, and then thrum down the three miles or so into Wem with a tailwind. We turned right at the church in Wem and headed south on the B5476, before cutting off north east to Sleap, riding in on a section of old runway. We reached the cafe in the control tower exactly on time. We chose to sit outside and watch the little training planes come and go. On the grass, close to us, what looked like a second world war plane was parked, although we failed to identify the model. The setting was relaxing, and the food was fine. The cafe's sweets were now tempting some, and we could stay here all day in the sun and breeze, but the taxi fares back to Holt could be costly. We were certainly enjoying the novelty of our destination.

Back to reality, we had already ridden thirty miles, and the return would be mostly into the breeze. A quick route back was required. So, it was back up to Tilley, via a walk across the railway line, and then through Commonwood and Noneley, right at Northwood to Bettisfield passing the lovely converted station house, and the restored locomotive down on our left. From Hanmer it was up the steep bank to Three Fingers, and onward north to Tallarn Green and Threapwood. Some way before Shocklach, Steve Tan was riding away, and as I turned my efforts up a notch, I was followed by Steve Haywood. Leading into the wind was a good workout for two miles or so, but I was grateful that Steve took over, and I could just hang on to his back wheel until reaching the main road at Farndon where Steve T was waiting. I had just been wishing that Steve Haywood had been built like a grizzly, in order to be a more effective windbreak for the last four brisk miles! We then waited a little longer, but really wanted to ensure that Cleopatra's wouldn't close just as we arrived, as had happened once before. Thankfully, our orders were taken, and we were able to sit outside with our coffee in paper cups, when they locked up. Mike made it, but my apologies to Trevor, who, I presume, rode straight home on the B1530 to Churton. Fifty-six very enjoyable miles for those arriving by car; significantly further for Trevor and Peter, I hope everybody enjoyed the evocative destination. I certainly enjoyed their company.

See route map and/or gpx file download.

DH

N.B. I am Almost certain that the plane at Sleap is an Avro Anson (WD413) multi-purpose plane, often used by the R.A.F. For training. It can be seen on YouTube. Sleap is said to be pronounced “Slape”.

Thursday, 14 July 2022

14th July 2022 ; Oswestry (brisk)

On Tuesday, four of us rode from Market Drayton to Pattingham – a round trip of 67 miles. Most of the lanes were new to us and surprisingly in very good condition for long country lanes. 

This was our route and I can recommend it if you want something different.

The ride today from Holt to Oswestry was shorter at 48 miles, but large parts of it were down very badly surfaced lanes. So Ivan, John W and myself set off with Nick bound for Threapwood. 

Nick peeled off here for home, then we three “enjoyed” 13 miles of poor quality lanes running from Threapwood to the outskirts of Whittington. Most of CER Riders have “enjoyed” these lanes over the last 10 years or so, and I doubt that apart from sporadic patching, none have been properly maintained. So what's new!

At Whittington, we admire the castle with its moat before taking the main road out and into Oswestry. We take a loop around the centre to access Willow Street and thus into the arms of Wetherspoon's “Wilfred Owen” pub. Owen was a local English lad who was a leading First World War poet dying at the very end of the war. As ever the food comes quickly, and my roasted vegetable pizza with a pint of Purple Moose bitter left me with change out of £6 !

Leaving at around 1300, we stop at the town-centre castle mount for a photo before heading up the lane to the “old castle” known as Old Oswestry iron age hill fort. A bit further along this lane the road is firmly closed, so a quick diversion via the A5 roundabout takes us into Gobowen.


At Oswestry's "new" Castle mound

There is now a long upward run into St Martins and out to Overton before diving down into Bangor for a shortcut across the Dee bridge to seek out the quiet lanes running back to Holt. Well that's what John and I did, but Ivan missed the turn and carried on at some speed around the re-surfaced Holt Road. 

We find Ivan enjoying a cuppa at Cleopatra's so we join him. Most of this ride I had to do with just the inner chain ring, so most of the time my legs were going around like a windmill in a hurricane to keep up with the speedy duo. Graham Weigh Cycles are making it better this morning.

So only a 48 mile route with some sunshine, but with the out and back, around 70+ for the three of us riding out from Chester where we get home around 1530. 

See route map and/or gpx file download

Monday, 11 July 2022

7th July 2022: Wrenbury

 

As usual I am a little behind the curve with my submission, as I am down in London visiting my son. There’s always something that gets in the way of the blog ( I must try harder- Lol)

It was so hot last night (in a flat of course) that I am up very early this morning and therefore with no excuse to not get on with the blog, before the rest of London comes alive- Lol.

 

So, a somewhat chilly and overcast start to the day, however, the forecast was for better ( in fact, it did not improve much, except for the temperature, as we later discovered)

With less than the usual gathering at Rose Farm cafe, it didn’t take long to get organised, despite a new candidate for membership (Richard, who joined the fast boys)

 

I reckon there were 10 in total at the cafe meet, as Dave M was there and of course he went on his own merry way, as he does, but not before an interesting round up of events from the previous weeks Vets 100, which a few club members took part in. Ironically, the same major issue that affected the Vets 100 would later become our issue as well, unbeknown to both Allan and I ( the sum total of my group- Lol) More on that later.


I was slightly disappointed that we couldn’t join the two Steve’s on their ride to Goostrey, as it sounded like a good route, but both Alan and I had several reasons for creating two of the smallest moderate group rides that I can remember- Lol.

 

Anyway, we set off on my less than direct meander to ‘The Park’ cafe in Wrenbury. Little did we know that would be an unfortunate choice for the day or that the alternatives would also turn out to be a no go-Lol.

 

Being as Alan had parked somewhere in Deeside and I had ridden in from Milton Green, our destination would at least make it easy for me to ‘wing’ an interesting deviation from the plan, in order to get both of us home.

 

We skirt around Tarporley high street, by heading up the hill and past Portal golf course, in order to take a few different lanes past Eaton, heading for Bunbury. However, almost immediately, we had to make an about turn, due to a monster tractor trimming hedges, which blocked the whole lane. We were never going to get by, so we took the previous, very narrow lane that we had just passed. This was an unknown to me, but a quick scan of my Garmin revealed what I thought was a short loop around the tractor; however, the narrow right turn, only a few hundred meters further on, did not exist- Lol.


By now Alan was wondering where we were heading, when I piped up with another deviation, which unfortunately meant we would have to ride a half mile on the A51, in order for us to then head down through my favourite little hamlet of Tilston Fearnall. Once through TF, I lead us around the back of Bunbury, via Woodworth Green, which I don’t think Alan had ridden before, although he was familiar with Bunbury, remarking that there was a nice cafe around here, somewhere?- Lol. So it was, that we pass Tilly’s and turn left out of the village, at Yew Tree Inn. We were heading south via a popular route, which crosses the main road at Brindley/Faddiley.

 

The route then became a very nice meander through some of my favourite lanes. Alan remarked about how quiet it was, as we barely saw a car for miles. We keep the pace respectable, which was rather easy, as we had a cross tail wind for most of the route to ‘The Park’. However, I did point out to Alan that we would have a headwind for virtually all of the route beyond Wrenbury. However I had planned for that, as most of the planned lanes should provide great protection from said headwinds.

 

After meandering through, Chorley, Cholmondley, Bickley Moss, Norbury Common, past the Swan at Marbury and a few other little hamlets, we arrive at ‘The Park’ cafe, only to find all the outside chairs and tables all stacked away, but the door open. A brief chat with a young girl inside revealed that they were closed, due to no water in the village- what!? I was really looking forward to their gorgeous ‘Eggs Royale’ - Aaaaah!


I subsequently suggest the Dusty Miller pub, only a half mile away, on the canal. 

After 200 metres we pass the Post Office, which I ironically point out to Alan, had often been a stop off point for CER rides of old, before the days of ‘The Park’ cafe, which has since filled the gap that the Post office used to bridge.

 

We walk into the Dusty Miller, only to be told there is no food because they also have no water (there’s a surprise)It transpired that all the surrounding villages, south of the canal had had no water since 10am and that they still didn’t know why, which Alan found unbelievable, as it was now 1pm.


After the realisation that we had no options, that weren’t more than 5 miles away, we reluctantly head back to the Post Office hence, the irony earlier- Lol. However, not before another brief frustration; the bar man came out as we mounted our bikes, yet again, to offer us ready made sandwiches from the fridge. I enquire if he had prawns, being a pescatarian ( that’s not a wild cat control officer- Lol) to which he replied, “yes”.We dismount again and lock up, just as the bar man comes out, apologetically, to say “all the sandwiches are meat”.

By now I am starting to lose it; “You're not having a good day”, said Alan, with a bit more than a chuckle in his voice- Lol.

 

Fortunately, the only bit of sun that day, had now come out making the Post Office a  more palatable lunch spot- Lol. After a couple of cold pasties, literally in the case of Allan- Lol, we were ready for the off. We were grateful that the Post Office had a hot drinks machine, which obviously had a reasonable tank of water, because we were still able to get a very nice hot chocolate / coffee.

 Photo by ?

We set off again, having decided on a route to get Alan over to Holt, via my absolute favourite lane , up through Bickerton. As I surmised, we hardly noticed any headwinds, due to the hedgerow cover and before we knew it we were up through Bickerton, admiring the sunny view and wishing I owned one of the houses on that ridge line. Moments later we were beating it along Duckington Lane and into Tilston, where for the first time we did experience the full on headwind as we head to Stretton and Wetreins Lane, where I drop Alan off.


After a brief discussion on the best route for him, he heads off for Borras Head, in order to avoid the direct headwinds of Rossett road, which are always a bitch with a north westerly wind ( 4 mile stretch of very exposed road)I head off home, via Barton, passing Manor Wood cafe. It was only 6 miles home for me, where as Alan had another 12-ish.


I got home with 60 miles on the clock and Alan, I assume, had approximately 70.

Not a bad day in the end, with no rain, despite the threatening sky’s. More than a little frustration at times, but still a good ride with good company.


NT



Thursday, 7 July 2022

7th July 2022: Swettenham (mod)

It was overcast and a little chilly when we met at Rose Farm Café.  There’d been some light rain earlier, but the prospects for later on were bright. Several CER members were present, but the mods were thin on the ground. I had a ride in mind to Swettenham via the picturesque private lanes of the Davenport Estate, which appealed to Steve T. This was a little far to the east for Neil and Alan who had ridden in from west of Chester, and had alternative plans to ride to Wrenbury.  So, two mod rides set off, each with just two riders.  

Steve and I set off through Cotebrook and headed towards Wettenhall before turning NE to Winsford, then Middlewich and Brereton Green. Here we took Route 71 along a bridleway towards Brereton Hall, with a tarmac surface which then turned to gravel. Crossing the A54, we took the private drive into the Davenport Estate over lovely rolling countryside and crossed the meandering River Dane.


Photos by SHa

This deposited us beside the attractive setting of Swettenham Church and the Swettenham Arms at the relatively early time of 1220. We ordered our food and sat outside in the mild, sometimes sunny weather. Looking up the club’s records I believe I was last here in 2013 with George and others on a brisk ride led by Clive. That time Clive wrote about the “somewhat expensive repast”. Today we must have paid a lot more than then, but my fish finger sandwich with chips and salad came to £9, which isn’t far out of line with similar establishments.

Soon it was time to leave.  Our outward journey had been favoured by a north westerly breeze. We had more of a headwind for our return, but it didn’t cause us too many problems.  Our return was via Twemlow Green, Goostrey and Lach Dennis. At Shipbrookhill, we stopped for ice creams at Riverside Organics Café. Then to Davenham and Moulton, before taking the rough and surprisingly wet track downhill to cross the Vale Royal Cut of the River Weaver. We chose to ride along the Whitegate Way and onto Little Budworth, Cotebrook and back to our start point. 

We’d covered 48 miles, on quite a few private roads and tracks, through some delightful countryside in pleasant weather. What better way to spend a summer’s day?

See route map and/or gpx file download.

SHa

 

7th July 2022 : Alderley Edge (brisk)

Summer riding – wet weather – windy weather and rather chilly is what we’ve experienced this week. 

Today, riding out from Chester to Utkinton for our café start from Rose Farm, the weather at 0915 was quite chilly necessitating a gilet and worn until midday. !! On arrival at Rose Farm, we had missed the announcement of the day that our PM had reluctantly decided enough is enough. MPs are like a herd of something or other stating once one resigns, they all follow – a little like cyclists. 

Today, we have a new brisk rider, and we welcome Richard, and also out today was Clive who completed the Vets' 100 in double quick (16mph avg.) time on Sunday then rode with me to Sandbach in drizzling rain and 30 miles of a strong head wind on return to Chester and another day of plus 16mph average over 75 miles – and he is soon to get a new carbon bike so Wilkie look out!! also there was John W, Nick, and myself. 

Five brisk riders set off on an overcast morning and all wearing warm clothing. From the café out via Tarporley then Eaton and the usual route to Church Minshull and Middlewich. From Warmingham Lane and crossing over the main A533 road, we ride on Cledford Lane which we normally ride to Breton Green but today we head along Broad Lane towards Holmes Chapel. As a native of Sandbach, I had never been along this lane and quite enjoyed the new experience. We exit onto Middlewich Road and into Holmes Chapel then pass-through Cranage and taking the lanes towards Twemlow and Siddington. 

I had put the route together early in the week and with Clive's assistance he “smoothed the bumps out of my route, but soon we are heading up a long drag from Siddington via Henbury and Hare Hill part of the National Trust land. It is another new lane for us, and we stop to take a photo shoot out to Bollington and to the Peak district and the concrete of Stockport. The road surface from here to Alderley Edge leaves a lot to be desired as it was very potholed. 


Arriving in Alderley Edge, we visit the Village Café on the main street and were seated outside in now warm sunshine. Service and menu were good and considering where we were, it was excellent value and with drinks and tasty food at around £10.00 

We depart from the town along Chelford Rd. And heading out to Ollerton towards Lower Peover. On the outskirts of Middlewich again at Byley, we are overtaken by a white van when going under the railway bridge. He was going too fast as approaching cars were also close to us and he swerved in in front of John and I causing us to brake hard to avoid being knocked off. Obscenities flowed forth and the guy stopped. Oh, I thought, he is going to wish he had not stopped with our hand grenade warrior on hand but when we stopped alongside his van he only stopped to apologise. That is a first. 

On we go through Middlewhich to Winsford and the drag up to the top of the town and along the regular Winsford road to return to Rose Farm circuiting the Oulton Park circuit to Cotebrook and on to Utkinton. The attached circular route will provide you with a pleasant ride covering 68 miles with only the one hilly section as reported. 

Clive and Nick had driven out for today's ride, but the three returning riders covered the addition 20+ miles to and from Chester. Well done to Richard for joining us today and I hope he joins us regularly as he is certainly a good rider and enjoyable companion. He had not expected to be riding between 90-100 miles on his virgin ride with Easy riders!! 

John carried on with a ride to give him another 100+ miles. 

Again, we averaged 16.5 over the day even though we endured a good percentage of head/side wind to toil against. But enjoying the tail blow when we had one. So, until next week have a good weekend and thanks to my companions for an excellent day out.

See route map and/or gpx file download

ID

PS: This is the 1000th Blog on the CER website!

Monday, 4 July 2022

3rd July 2022 : NW & Chester CTC Vets 100 - Duddon to Four Crosses

The NW & Chester CTC's Vets 100 miler was run on Sunday starting from Duddon Village Hall and onwards via Overton to Four Crosses Village Hall.

Our very own Dave M, as President of NW & Chester CTC, saw off nine groups departing at 10 minute intervals from about 0800 onwards. Dave P was in attendance as a car marshal. CER riders were George,Trevor, Electric Pete and myself (apologies if I missed anyone else). There were about 70-80 riders in all I believe. 

The route is very straightforward taking in Farndon and Threapwood with Overton Village Hall coming up at around 25 miles. Essential cakes and hot drinks were on offer in Overton before the second 25 mile stretch to Ellesmere and thence Tetchill, Rednal, Maesbrook and Llanymynech before turning back into Four Crosses.

Here, a substantial two course lunch was rapidly devoured before the off again working our way back towards Overton for afternoon comestibles. This route took in Crew Green, Knockin and a turn around Rednal aerodrome before Ellesmere. Here, the only incident of the day occurred in that the water supply to Overton Village was now cut off and a hasty re-arrangement of afternoon tea was relocated to Ellesmere's Memorial Hall. This meant a 30 mile leg back to Duddon, with an optional cuppa at Farmer John's house in Tilston, before arriving back in Duddon.

I was asked to lead the 9th and last group out which consisted on two riders from Nottingham CTC, a female rider who had driven down from Scotland to participate, and two local riders. We were the last to go out and the first back having completed the 101 miles at 16 mph average speed.

The Vets 100 is a great day out with the weather behaving itself (just a few spots of rain) and ample food provisions. The route will be very familiar to CER riders and not taxing at 3600 ft of climbs overall.

See route map and/or gpx file download

CA

Friday, 1 July 2022

30th June 2022: Llandegla (mod)

Today at the Gallery, we welcomed Dave H, Steve T, and Mike back from their hols. With Steve H, myself and Clive, who preferred a steadier pace with us, to save some energy for the Vets 100 this Sunday. I had a new lunch destination in mind, along a mainly familiar route, with a few miles of uncharted lanes.

We set off in sunshine, but dark clouds loomed in the distance. A few minutes later I decided to draught behind a passing bus, following it down the wrong road, then sheepishly about-turning us all to get back on track. Not a good start!  

Passing through Northop and Sychdyn, we had the long drag up to Gwernaffield before dropping down to Loggerheads and along the A494 to turn off for Llanarmon yn-lal.

Forgetting I was leading the way, another about turn was needed to get us back on track, and finally on to quiet lanes.  A lovely area to be in, especially today, in (for now) warm sunshine.  The mood briefly shaken by an oncoming driver who was not happy with Clive’s polite gesture for her to slow down a bit!

The Llandegla community shop and café was empty when we arrived, mainly indoor seating which was just as well as the rain was just starting. The menu was basic, but the food was good.

Photo by AO

Our departure, delayed as long as possible, until the very heavy rain, had abated a bit.

The lanes now resembling rivers with mud and debris everywhere, we set off with me well out in front, as I was the one rider without mudguards!   A few miles later the sun came out, briefly creating a misty landscape, and by the time we reached Cymau, it was completely dry.

Just the one puncture today, (mine). Not a long ride just 38 miles but a respectable 2800 ft of climbing, also, the more observant amongst you will have noticed that we crossed the river Alyn 6 times today!

See route map and/or gpx file download

AO

30th June 2022 : Ruabon (brisk)

Today's weather forecast was warm but there could be heavy showers, so setting of from home along the greenway I was happy with my choice of riding gear for the day. I was not happy with my bike as the rear brake rotor was rubbing on the pads making an irritating noise that would not allow a mindset of a happy ride. I met up with John along the route and after trying to resolve I decided to head to the Chester Cycle Hub cycle shop on Minerva Avenue, Sealand Road to fix. It was very quickly fixed, and John and I still made time to enjoy a cappuccino at the Gallery tea shop. 

Although no customers in the cafe, there were a few CER riders out for some Welsh hills. Brisk riders today were John W, Ray, and me. A route proposed by John and produced as a gpx file by me, was the plan for today. Unfortunately, it was 3000 feet in the first 20 miles culminating with the up and over of the Horseshoe Pass. 

We set of through Hawarden to Wood Lane and to Buckley. I prefer this route to heading out towards Northop although North Wales rides have a lot to offer. Through Buckley and on to Llong, we the uphill grind to Eryrys!! Racing down to Llanarmon yn Lal, its undulating up the ascent of the Pass to the Ponderosa summit. 

The pace has been good as the wind has been favourable to us but, after summiting the pass and hurtling down towards Llangollen, we were caught in first instance a hailstorm then torrential rain necessitating stopping to don our wet weather jackets. 

The plan A was to stop at the canal café, but we were too sodden to stop for food, so a plan B and C formulated on wheels so to speak and onwards towards the Sun Trevor Inn . We kept off the canal from the entrance to Llangollen as the path was flooded but as we approached the Sun inn the roads were DRY, so we headed onto the canal and enjoyed the ride to Pontcysyllite where we re-joined the highway and on towards Ruabon. John had googled a recommended pub here that sounded good but on passing a café “Rayos” we decided on this venue. 

Rayos Cafe Ruabon

The weather was clear blue sky now and we were seated outside on the patio in glorious sunshine to assist in drying us off and warm us through. A good menu was on offer and reasonably priced also. Service quick and after a hearty lunch and John and I devouring two big slices of lemon Victoria sponge we again set off towards Chester. 

My route heading out towards Eyton passing the Plassey Park and on through Holt but the approach to Holt at the junction for the dead-end Francis Lane (to Wrexham) we were confronted with a road closure – re-tarmac of whole road surface and still HOT. Along Francis Lane we now head and continue along the lanes that would bring us to Marford Hill. Ken had previously advised that Marford Hill had also been resurfaced so we ended up enjoying the downhill sprint into Rossett. 

We decided to ride via Eccleston and Handbridge into Chester which is where we bade John farewell and Ray and I continued to Hoole ln and home. 

Although we hoped we would not have misfortune of heavy showers, we still enjoyed our ride of 70+ miles and 3500+ feet of hills at a good pace. By the time we had arrived home we were dry, so all is well for the end of the ride. 

Thanks to John for the proposal, and both for good company on our ride today.

See route map and/or gpx file download

ID

Friday, 24 June 2022

23rd June 2022: Peover Heath (mod)

Delamere Station was the starting point for today’s ride and quite a few Easy Riders turned up in the warm sunshine. Although a few mod riders were absent, we formed a small, but shrinking party. Peter was out just for a coffee; Andy B was out for the first mile or so as he had to be back to prepare for a trip to France; and David M was out until we passed a friend’s house where he popped in to say hello.  This left myself, George, Alan and Dave P on his own without Liz.

Our destination was The Dog at Peover Heath, one of our regulars. Given the good weather of the last few days, I decided to ride out to Acton Bridge along the path beside the Weaver Navigation. I remember one previous ride when this route was blocked by three horses with their backs to us, and it took us sometime to persuade them to move.  No barriers today, just a tranquil picturesque scene which demanded a couple of photos.


Photos by AO

Passing the Leigh Arms, Willow Green Lane was full of vehicles and the place was swarming with teenagers carrying large backpacks – obviously the start of a DoE expedition. Weaving through, we passed onwards towards Comberbach, and continued northwards avoiding Great Budworth. Signs for the Cheshire Show were plentiful as we swung round to Pickmere and Higher Wincham, and after crossing the A556 arrived in Lower Peover. Despite the common name we were still seven miles from Peover Heath, as we turned left through Ollerton and then swung back to Marthall.  We approach the posh environs of Over Peover and turned into The Dog at Peover Heath. 

Always a popular destination, today many were sitting outside enjoying the sunshine. We chose to sit within, similarly busy, and were shown to our table. Our waiter took our drink and food orders without writing them down, and delivered them correctly to each of us – an impressive memory.  Weetwood beer was popular and most of us ordered from the light bites menu – all fairly substantial items for less than £10!  Good value is becoming something of a rarity with today’s rising inflation.  We wondered how so many other customers of working age could be present at midday – they were unlikely to be railwaymen currently on strike. We spent some time discussing Switzerland where one of Dave P’s daughters has been teaching for many years, a wealthy country doing quite well for itself and with many foreign workers from the EU and elsewhere.

Soon it was time to go. Previously when I’ve ridden back from The Dog, the route had been south into Goostrey, west through the village and then back north and on to Lach Dennis – that is the long way round a rectangle. There is a bridleway that cuts out this loop and given the dry weather, today was the day to try it. This starts a couple of kilometres north of Goostrey near the Blackden Lane/Red Lane junction.  Alan pioneered the way forward, steering a narrow winding path between high nettles and other vegetation. Overcoming exposed roots and dips in the track we emerged after about a kilometre onto a stony drive, which eventually gave way to tarmac, and before long we were at Boots Green and back on our usual route home. This is worth riding as a novelty and it cut about 2.5 miles off our journey, but it would not be viable on road bikes in anything other than the conditions today.

Our route took us onwards through Lach Dennis, Davenham and Hartford. Then it was the dodgy crossing of the A49 south of Weaverham, the steep climb up Dog Lane into Norley, and then back to Hatchmere where the group split.  Our return had been equally warm but the skies had clouded over. Total mileage was 47, on an excellent day’s cycling.

See route map and/or gpx file download

SH


Thursday, 23 June 2022

23rd June 2022 : Warburton (brisk)

After a week of wall-to-wall sunshine today is no different. John W and I set off from Chester for a warm ride to Delamere while Clive opted to drive out to Kelsall for the start of the ride. 

I had circulated a ride for today, a 57 mile circular tour taking in two crossing bridges over the Manchester Ship Canal. Clive requested a reverse of the route which offered a longer ride before lunch and shorter ride after.

There were several riders out today and the Brisk riders were as stated with the addition of Ray who wasn’t sure if he could go the whole route as he was expecting another delivery! Ken was out for a coffee only and had cycled from home to Delamere then down to Bangor-on-Dee putting in a good ride of 68 miles. Well done Ken.

The four of us set of from the café along the worst stretch of tarmac in Cheshire to Hatchmere crossroad taking the route out towards Norley and Hartford. At Winnington, we lost John as somehow the gpx route on reversing and tinkering by Clive gave John and Ray a wrong routing and so we lost John briefly. Regrouping and a complete group again at the lights crossing the Weaver, we head up hill towards Anderton where the road is still blocked to cars due to land slip so now pleasant not having traffic trying to pass us. Continuing along the usual roads to Comberbach and Gt Budworth then we head out to Hoo Green. 

Passing the Swan with Two Nicks at Dunham Massey, we spent time chatting to a couple of cyclists who were also out enjoying the sunshine. Here we had a good introduction to an electric Specialized carbon bike capable of 100 + miles and at fast speeds (20mph), covetous of at a reasonable £5000+. After leaving them to continue with our ride, on the approach to another enjoyable hostelry, The Vine, the cyclist pair pass us with grace and ease. I chased after them until the junction with the Rope and Anchor inn and they were cruising at 25mph. The guy on the electric was very proud of his bike and his cycling ability and he was 82 years young. His usual average ride was normally in excess of 20mph!

Taking the opposite route to these fast cyclists, we head towards Carrington then along a good lane of flat road surface running passed the MUFC training ground. Clive quipped it would have to be a good surface for the select cars that would traverse this road. No players in sight and no autograph hunters chasing us, so we continue towards Irlam where we navigate the old locks via a pedestrian bridge currently undergoing some TLC.


Reflected glory at MUFC Training Complex


Manchester Ship Canal


Riding the Weaver path

We now have a 4 mile dash along the Cadishead Way, a busy dual carriage way, to our lunch stop at Hollins Green, and The Black Swan. On examination of the menu, it was pricier than the Swan at Marbury so a suggestion of visiting the Saracens Head on the outskirts of Lymn was proffered and off we went. Crossing the canal again via the toll road bridge at Warburton, it was still displaying the cost to travel over the bridge at the princely sum of 12p. We soon arrive at our new lunch stop and are rewarded with CER prices for lunch averaging £6-7 but the beer was pricey at £5.00 a pint, Only one taker for this expense (no prizes for guessing who).

Back on our route, we pass through Lymn and the cobbled streets of Grappenhall before the long drag up to the roundabout for Appleton. After the downhill plunge from High Legh to Acton Bridge, we take the off-piste route to Dutton Locks and Pickmere Locks. It is then a gradual uphill ride all the way back to Hatchmere where Clive returns to Kelsall and the remaining three head on through Delamere via Ashton Lane and back to Chester.

A good day out with some new attractions and lanes and no incidents, just enjoying the reasonably quiet lanes even though a national rail strike in progress but it was pretty warm (26C).

A circular route covering 57 miles and no serious hills to ascend.Thanks to my companion’s for another good day out on a bike. A total of 80 miles to 88 miles earned by us riding to and from Delamere cafe from Chester.

See route map and/or gpx file download

ID

Photos JW and ID