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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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Thursday, 12 May 2022

12th May 2022: Gwaenysgor (mod)

We gathered at Hawarden for our first ride from here since hearing the sad news of Spiros’ passing - it was a thoughtful moment. Alison seemed to have called all hands to the pump to keep the place going and we had our usual good and friendly service.

It was likely to be a fine day, and although a westerly wind was blowing, this was only forecast to strengthen later on, prompting a plan to cycle out west to Gwaenysgor, and get blown back east. Although the Eagle and Child is a popular destination, no-one seems to have found how to pronounce the name of the village, making it hard to explain to people where were going. It was a good turnout of eight moderates: myself, Dave H, Steve T, Alan, Keith, Andy B, Trevor and Clive, back from his holidays in Cornwall. John W also briefly looked in and then went on his way.

I had a route out which we followed with Alan’s input, whereas Alan had a route back which he followed with Clive’s input. We headed out to cross the big roundabout at Ewloe, and then took Green Lane/Magazine Lane to drop down by Northop Hall, continuing into Northop, before climbing up Middle Mill Road to gain altitude and arrive in Halkyn. Thence on to Babell and Pen-y-cefn, heading almost onto the A55, before running parallel to it, past a field which I remember sometimes being filled with daffodils, but today was too late in the season. It seems that Andy is a connoisseur of A55 crossing points having investigated most of them, but he approved of this one as being one of the least dodgy. We headed north to Trelawnyd, with Gop Hill high ahead of us, to which Andy drew our attention.  This is the second-largest neolithic mound in Britain after Silbury Hill, in Wiltshire, and prehistoric remains have been found in the caves beneath it. From Trelawnyd it was a short ride west along the A road, before heading north again and reaching our destination.

In the Eagle and Child we were directed to an Arthurian round table, underneath a remarkable wooden motorbike hanging on the wall. 

Photo by SH

We settled with our drinks and made our choices from the menu – whilst we could have had Eagle Burgers or an Eagle Brunch, there seemed to be no child-related food choices! While waiting, Alan received a video call from Steve Hu, who while absent somewhere in NW Scotland was obviously missing his Thursday with Easy Riders. As usual we had good service food and drinks before we left for what now seems to be an obligatory ride up the hill for the spectacular viewpoint above the 33% gradient descent and overlooking Prestatyn and the windmills in the Irish Sea.

Photo by AO

For our return Alan took us to Llanasa, Berthengam and Trelogan, before descending to Mostyn – along several lanes which were delightful and new to many of us. Here we joined the North Wales coastal routes avoiding the main road where we could to Bagillt and Flint. Here our cohesive group fragmented: Alan and Clive heading towards their homes, Trevor and I detouring for coffee and cakes at Temptations Café before heading to the Greenway, and the remainder heading back towards Northop Hall and Hawarden. The route totalled 46 very enjoyable miles in good weather and company.

See route map and/or gpx file download

SH


Sunday, 8 May 2022

5th May 2022: Bunbury (mod 2)

Ride Vuelta de Oulton Park 

The earlier rain in the week had clearly not deterred the CER crew which had an excellent turnout at Delamere Station Carpark.

As I arrived the fast lads were off on a 100+ miler. The mod group were getting ready for a ride and Neil was discussing his ride to Tilley’s. 

I joined Neil and Ray who was convalescing after a cold on a second mod ride. 

The route took us up to Hatchmere and along School Lane to Cuddington Lane. At this point we joined the lovely Whitegate Way. The surface was superb unlike earlier in the week when Neil had reccied it, when he described it as a “dust bowl”. 

Photos by Steve Hu

The Whitegate Way meandered Lobslack Wood passing lots of sand quarries now flooded until we broke off at Clay Lane. Now we entered the picture postcard village of Little Budworth where I’m sure the Wisteria owners club must reside, judging by the displays. From here it was easy lanes to Tilston and our lunch stop at Bunbury.


Replete with Eggs Royale we sidled around Beeston Castle (a good Cafe but no toilets apparently) and crossed the Shropshire Union Canal, before heading back towards Oulton Park for the second time today. A quick spin down Oulton Mill Lane took us to Cotebrook. 

At this point our intrepid leader Neil left towards Kelsall and Ray and I drag raced along Tarporley Road to Nunsmere were we resumed more in keeping CER lanes. Following our outbound route we returned to Hatchmere. A nice 36 miles with some spirited riding by Neil and Ray ensuring I had to keep up at the back. 

Steve Hu.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Friday, 6 May 2022

5th May 2022 : Alsager (brisk)

John W was sitting outside my house at 09:00 champing at the bit ready for a ride to Delamere Café.We set of some 15 minutes later on what will be a lovely sunny day. My ride today was a 72-mile circular ride from and to Delamere station café. Its 11 miles out to the café from Chester and the same on return so a minimum of 94-mile ride for us both. John had already covered 12 miles when arriving at my house this morning, so much for lighter early sun rising!! As expected, a good turnout for riders to welcome us, we passed Andy and Keith on our way and they to arrived shortly after us. 

Ready for the off at Delamere Cafe

We set off out towards Fishpool crossing the A54 stopping for a photo shoot of the canal at Tilstone.Through Bunbury and on towards Ravensmoor, we have the benefit of some tailwind. The roads around Cotebrook and Oulton Park were advertising the Club car championship this weekend so if out riding keep away from this location. Between Ravensmoor and Sound I got a big thorn in my rear tyre and it quickly went down. A new tube in and within 10 minutes we were rolling again. The benefit of using gas instead of a pump is an improvement to roadside emergency action.

Before entering Audlem, we take Swanbach Mill Lane leading us to the meandering lanes to Hankelow and Wybunbury. From the village we head out to Wrinehill along main road until we take a left for a new climb Heighley Hill. It got our attention at 17% but there was a splendid display of bluebells but too much effort in getting up the hill to stop for a photo.

Audlem's staircase of locks
A tranquil scene

We have ridden some lovely lanes and continuing to Barthomley was no exception. The White Lion was our choice today as they boast home made pies which are truly tasty. However, I plump for sausage and mash although John enjoyed the steak and Guinness pie. Pouring Guinness is a slow process and making the pie was as well as we ended up waiting a while for our meal.

From Barthomley we head to Radway Green and passing through Alsager and to Breton Green.Through Holmes Chapel riding on the main road, we turn left at Spinney motorhome corner for Shakeley Mere, Lach Dennis and Davenham. We cheekily ride on the pavement but as the school day had finished, we should have gone via the correct one-way road. At Hartford we ride through the town busy with school run mums and dads in their Chelsea tractors, but John shows them our rears as he passes the queues.

We are now heading to Norley and Hatchmere where anyone who rides our route would turn left towards Delamere but we’re going straight over onto Ashton Road through Delamere and Mouldsworth. We choose to go via Ashton instead of up hill passing the Goshawk Inn then Manley Lane and back to Mickle Trafford and Chester.

Again, we enjoyed a good route with lots of pleasant lanes mostly dry although plenty of rough and potholed surfaces. I covered 95 miles and John his second 125 miles of the week!.

Another good day out on the bike.

See route map and/or gpx file download

ID

Photos ID

5th May 2022: High Legh (mod 1)

Another good turnout at Delamere Station Café, with 13 CER members present. Ray and Dave M were not riding as they were recovering from Covid (Ray) and going home to mow the grass (Dave). Ivan and John W were gearing up for a short (<100 miles) ride to Alsager and Neil offered to lead a shortish ride, which Steve Hu and Peter took him up on.

That left Dave H, Keith, Steve Ha, Trevor, Andy B and yours truly for a ride I had planned to The Bears Paw at High Legh, a venue we have not visited before, but where I had booked a table ‘outside’ for 12.45pm. 

We set off by the usual route to Hatchmere and Norley, whizzing down Norley Bank to Onston Lane, Acton Bridge and down the steep hill to the A49 and the bridge across the River Weaver. After the ‘down’ there’s always an ‘up’ and so we were soon puffing and panting up Willow Green Road and over the Trent and Mersey Canal.

Reaching the top of the hill in Little Leigh, we crossed the A553 and made our way along Cogshall Lane to Comberbach. A left and right put us on the road to Great Budworth where there’s another climb into the village. Leaving the village by Westage Lane, we soon joined Budworth Road, heading towards Knutsford.  At Tabley Brook, we fork left on Old Hall Lane which takes us over the M6 and then, using a bridleway, under the A556 and out onto the old Chester Road.

From here we took the rather rough and bumpy Moss Lane and then Green Lane to join Tabley Road for the run into Knutsford. Crossing the A50, we’re soon into the tranquility of Tatton Park, where the deer are resting in the shade whilst the sheep quietly graze. Leaving the park by the Rostherne entrance (exit?), we were soon in the village itself, where we turned left into New Road. 

At this point, we were about five or six miles from our lunch stop and looking good for an on-time arrival. However, the fickle finger of fate made an unwelcome appearance. As Steve Ha was changing down to tackle the climb out of the woods near Rostherne Brook, his chain came off. The ‘chain off’ cry ran forwards through the peloton most of us stopped at the junction of Cicely Mill Lane and Mereside Road, expecting Steve to appear in a matter of seconds. When this didn’t happen, Andy B and I went back to find Steve.

Getting the chain back on turned out to be a major job, requiring the combined efforts of all three of us, as the chain had jammed between the chainwheel and the bike frame. We eventually prised it out and got it back on the chainwheel. By now, we’d lost about ten minutes, so it was just before one that we arrived at the pub where Dave H and Keith had already arrived.

We were shown to a table which was outside, but under a plastic roof, which kept us very warm. The food was quite good with both sandwiches and small meals on offer. Unfortunately, they had no soda water and the gas for some of the beer pumps was out, so blackcurrant and water was the order of the day, although Steve Ha managed to get a pint of Guinness.

Photos by ST

Suitably refreshed, we headed off along Swineyard Lane and Barleycastle Lane to the B5356 and Appleton Thorn. Following this to Stretton traffic lights, we continued to Hatton, where we went left onto Pilmoss Lane and right onto Summer Lane. Rather than going straight on to Preston Brook, we hung a left up Newton Lane and then a right down Morphany Lane were we stopped briefly to visit the site of the old vicarage where Charles Dodgson, a.k.a. Lewis Carroll, was born in 1832. His father was the vicar of All Saints Church, Daresbury. Culture interval over, we pressed on along Higher Lane to join the A533 for a short stretch, before taking Aston Lane to Sutton Weaver and the dreaded A56.


The run down the hill to Frodsham was a pleasure only because it was downhill, as the traffic on this road is quite heavy. Trevor and Andy B stayed on the A56 heading for home as we turned into Fluin Lane and this week’s ‘sting in the tail’ – the climb up to Overton and Lady Heyes. The last couple of miles towards Norley and then along Forest Road took us to Hatchmere and back to our starting point

Forty-eight miles covered on a dry and pleasantly warm day. Thanks to Steve Ha, Dave H, Trevor, Andy B and Keith for their company

See route map and/or gpx file download

ST

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

28th April 2022: Burlton (mod)

Ivan's nostalgic railway reflexes had him steaming from Crewe in a double-header with John Wilkie. So it was just five moderate riders who chugged up at Chirk, that's if you can call Neil a moderate, although he was prepared to take it easy. Steve Hughes was missing a bottle when he arrived, Keith left his in the car, and I was missing some teeth, and didn't really have a route. It didn't feel too much like a focused Quick Step pre-stage meeting. At least Alan, our ace cameraman, hadn't forgotten his mobile, or to change out of his slippers before leaving home.

After watching the second half of the Liverpool v. Newcastle game the night before, I had looked up a few possible pub destinations, and checked that they were open for lunch and had decent reviews. On my own, I would have sorted out a route to The Dickin  Arms at Loppington, but I didn't want this to become my Shropshire Bhurtpore, and be perceived as repeatedly taking people to my same personal preferences for lunch.

As it was, we set out for The Burlton Inn, which is still a regular stop of ours. 

The priority was for quiet lanes, with a few unusual route twists for a change. In order to largely miss the busy road to St. Martin's, we turned south-west for Hindford at the first chance, and then worked north-east to Old Marton before crossing the dismantled railway for a second time at Crickett. We passed the Hardwick Estate on our left before dog-legging across the busy A495 down to the canal and on to Tetchill.

It was decidedly cool without the sun of recent days. From Lee, close to scenic White Mere, we headed south to Lower Hordley and Bagley, eventually turned up to English Frankton via Cockshutt for an extra few miles, before directly pedalling to lunch at The Burlton Inn. Our past friendly hosts had departed, but the guy who had taken over was very welcoming and the food was good, with plenty of chips. Evidently light bites, like a choice of sandwiches, are likely to be added to the menu in the future. Some of the lunch discussion was very informative about a variety of media offerings, internet scams, and what to watch out for.

After lunch, it became obviously that it was going to stay the only sunless day of the week, and as Chirk is nearly forty miles from home for some of us, I cut the intended return route to save a bit of time. At Stanwardine in the Fields , I had intended to head for Rednal  and Welsh Frankton via the climb and dive- down around Stanwardine Park and across the River Perry. The quicker route to Welsh Frankton kept us east of the River Perry, but did use a short section of the outward- bound route from Bagley to Lower Hordley. You would recognise the large factory building near Lower Hordley, slightly sinister with its lack of signage. Steve was telling me that it was a very large abattoir owned by ABP, a huge multinational food processor, who surprisingly, perhaps, own Primark. I thought that, originally, the Weston family of past Wagon Wheel fame owned Primark, which was also true. If you are interested in how this mega business developed look up ABP, Garfield Weston, or Wittington Investments on t'internet. Over seven hundred people were working in the Lower Hordley factory in 2015. Burton's Food was sold off in 2000, and they still produce Wagon Wheels. You will not be shocked to know that the Weston's Wagon Wheel of your schooldays is now smaller and lighter. From Welsh Frankton we cut up to New Marton and St.Martin's. What Alan later called “the sting in the tail” was about to come. We descended, steeply at times, into the narrow wooded valley leading to cow shit covered Pont y blew, then followed two challenging climbs back to our parked cars. 

'The sting in the tail' 
Photo AO

Quite an effort to avoid the busy main roads around Chirk. The lads lost time waiting for me, as I missed seeing a long, discarded cable as I changed my glasses whilst riding up the first climb. My new glasses were hurting my head. I'd told them at Specsavers that I had a big head, but they thought I was joking! The cable wrapped around my chainwheels, and jammed between my front mudguard and wheel. Fortunately, no lasting damage to man or machine, just a lot of dirty disentangling. About 40 miles covered. Thanks to Steve for his route support, and thanks for the patience of everyone as I worked out directions on the hoof. I enjoyed all the quiet lanes and the company. Let's hope we have the sun back for next Thursday.

DH

See route map and/or gpx file download


Friday, 29 April 2022

28th April 2022: Broken Cross (brisk)

Apologies Dave, for not joining you and other CER Riders for breakfast at Chirk, but John W and I did a 100 mile hilly Wales ride on Tuesday and the thoughts of more hills in Wales today was too much so we had a car assist to Crewe for our ride out today instead of a ride from Chirk.

We parked up at the King George 5th car park, Crewe at the Nantwich end of West St . A big car park and secure for leaving your vehicle and free. It was a chilly start as we set off heading for Maw Green and out towards Winterly.

If any readers can recall West St. Crewe, it was well known for a huge wall hiding the steam loco works of Crewe. The wall is now gone, and a new housing estate built inside the great walls. History gone. The wall was camouflaged with houses during the war to help convince the attacking planes they were homes and not a factory, but, could they tell from above they were vertical paintings?

Due to very low rain during April, the lanes are now very dry and potholes visible and we encountered several blocked roads hopefully for pothole fill-ins but with two exception no one working. The first at Siddington, the workers stopped to allow us through and the second at Ollerton they wanted a fist full of dollars, but John growled, and they let us through.

A snack was had at Everyday café at Alderley Edge which was a popular with locals. No famous people but a lot of chatter being emitted. 

The route would make an ideal 100 mile special ride as mainly flat but two 3/5 percent hills to negotiate. First is Pexhill and climbs steadily for 5 miles to Broken Cross, then going through this town you then have another little climb up Hare Hill before rolling into Alderley Edge. This is the road of the famous Wizard Inn – now closed and windows covered in tin shutters – another victim of Covid!!

Departing from Alderley Edge we now have a little tail wind to blow us the next 25 miles back to Crewe. 

Although I said only two hills to consider it is always with a clenched jaw, we must battle with getting through Winsford. The hill up from the main roundabout to the top of the hill before turning left for Church Minshull is a fair climb and I’m glad I don’t live here!!

Riding through Church Minshull and out to Bradfield Green is the last roadblock but we’re able to cross over via the lights and pass Leighton Hospital and back to the car park. 

Only 57 miles ridden but as usual enjoyed the day out and letting all the poor driving actions of motorists pass over us and not to forget being polite to horses too; just wish they showed us some polite space when they pass bikes with their boxes and cars.

See route map and/or gpx file download

ID

Sunday, 24 April 2022

21st April 2022: Llangollen (brisk)

Meeting at Alison's café today in Tattenhall, John W and I were well outnumbered by at least 16 other CER riders out today enjoying the April sunshine. As Brisk rides go, it was just the two of us!!!

John had cobbled together a route from Chester via Tattenhall to Llangollen and I slightly amended the route. Attached GPX file gives you a ride that could test your stamina but the roads and vista are well worth the effort and enjoy the ride. We experienced reasonable roads and the only Strava classified climbs were where you would expect them i.e The Horseshoe Pass .

Lunch was at the Llangollen canal-side café and the food was "ok" and no problem finding an outside table to dine in 19 degree sunshine. We were riding in shorts and sleeveless vests for the first occasion this year. The ride up the pass is much easier than fighting up steep gradients from Castell Dinas to the Panorama cafe and once over we made good progress against an easterly wind via Llandegla and Pennyfordd. 


Llangollen Canal Cafe

Llangollen Canal 

Although the ride should be circular to Tattenhall we headed back into Chester and completed a 70+ mile round trip with 4180 feet of ascent and many enjoyable down hill descents. Mileage covered at just under 16mph average.

Thanks to John for another enjoyable day out in sunshine

See route map and/or gpx file download

ID

Photos by ID

Friday, 22 April 2022

21st April 2022: Holt (mod)

Gorgeous day to gather at Alison’s and clearly a common thought,  as there were at least 15 club members looking forward to a spin.

This week, there were plenty of route ideas, with DH deciding to abstain from the selection process- Lol. After a few discussion, it was discovered that Fiona, Elwyn, Andy, Steve & Alan fancied a route that I offered up to the Acorn cafe, at Commonwood fisheries, as the return leg was via Holt. 

This meant they could all bail out early for home, although Steve & Alan ended up returning to Alison’s with me, despite parking their car in Holt, which also had another irony, more of that later- Lol. 

This meant that I didn’t end up returning to the start venue with nobody in tow-Lol.


So it was; that I took a group of 6 inclusive of me of course and Steve H took a group of 6 as well ( I think).


We set off, right out of Alison in order to mix it up a bit, as I headed toward Burwardsley, but turned right down a little unknown lane to most (known to Paula & I as ‘ wild garlic lane’, as we often pick it on our local walks). The right turn was to take us across to Harthill, although we were hanging another right off Harthill (where we caught up with DH in the other group, but he didn’t hear me shout “ have a good one”, just as we turned right- Lol)


We were taking the easy way around Harthill in order to head up through Brown Knowl and on toward a favourite set of lanes that lead across to the Tilston/ Malpas road. However, we simply chink left and right within 200 metres in order to get across to Threapwood and on to Shocklach, which was the only crappy bit of road on our journey and a small price to pay for an otherwise enjoyable meander, so say the others- Lol.


After a brief discussion with Fiona about what ‘going straight on’, at Shocklach means, we turn right- Lol and head toward Tilston, where I throw in another impromptu loop, up through CardenPark, for a photo opportunity at Stretton Mill. Unfortunately, as you can see from the pic, there was virtually no water flowing over the weir, which did nothing for the photo shoot- Lol.

Photo NT

So group pic done, we set off again and head down Wetreins lane to my favourite set of ‘S’ bends, where, I might add, Fiona got a ‘Legend’ award on Strava- Lol. Before we knew it we were at the road junction to Farndon getting close to our destination of Acorn cafe, with our first encounter with Holt and one of 4 encounters for Alan & Steve- Lol.


Once past Belliss’s strawberry fields, on route to Borras, we take a small lane left in order to bring us around to the Acorn cafe. However, after causing Steve to salivate over the prospect of a gorgeous Halloumi burger or wrap, we arrive to discover the chef has not turned up and hot food is off- Lol. Suffice it to say, Steve did not forget this fact, once at our alternative cafe stop of Cleopatra’s- Lol.

All suitably fed and watered, both Steve and Alan decide to complete the route to Alison’s, despite the fact that their car was parked only 50 mtrs away from Cleopatra’s hence, this was their 3rd visit of 4 to Holt, for the day-Lol.


We leave Andy, Fiona & Elwyn to make their own way home. Unusually for Andy,  he decided he would have a much shorter than usual ride for a CER gathering. Fiona had a bit of a sore throat, so didn’t want to risk a much longer ride, especially as they were due to go on a cycling holiday to Majorca on Saturday.


We three set off for Aldford via the little hamlets on route, where I throw in another little detour to point out a gorgeous little house with the most unusual detailing on the exterior walls, although this had to be pointed out after the initial distraction of at least 100 gnomes and or various animal figures on the newly mown lawn. 

Photo NT
This prompted a few chuckles about the effort required to move all those figures each time the grass was mown. We turn right to Bruera, after Aldford bridge ( where I point out some of the repairs after last years floods).


We now hit some light headwinds, all the way to Tattenhall, although the lovely smooth tarmac of Platt’s Lane made it seem easy and we were soon crossing the A41 for the back road into Tattenhall. 

At this point, while still feeling a headwind,  I try to explain to Steve, with Alan listening on, my favourite route to Holt from Tattenhall. This entails a slight climb up to Carden Park. Beyond that is Stretton Mill, for their 2nd time and of course beyond that is Holt,  for their 4th! and final time of the day- Lol.


However, memory is not a strong characteristic of Steve’s, it appears, as he puts the onus on Alan to remember the route. Suffice it to say, we had to pull up near Alison’s to explain again, the way back to Holt- Lol. I point out that I only live a mile down Frog lane and leave them to go their way.

I got home with only 43 miles on the clock and much shorter than my usual CER rides. Both Steve & Alan, I guess, might have got a Grand Fondo out of their day (well done guy’s)

Lovely day out, despite the disappointment of the Acorn cafe.


NT

Thursday, 21 April 2022

21st April 2022: Market Drayton (mod)

Another fine day and countless CER members met at Alison’s in Tattenhall, with several alternative mod routes proposed. Neil had one heading westwards and Steve T and I had ones heading southwards. We split into two groups with Steve T and I amalgamating our suggestions into a ride to the Red Lion at the Joules Brewery in Market Drayton.  It would be getting on for 60 miles, and we thought it time to stretch our legs a bit now that the short days of winter were behind us. 

Our group comprised Roy, Keith, Trevor, Dave H and us two Steves. We headed out over Harthill and then towards Cholmondley to cross the A49 near Bickley. We then made for Wrenbury where an emergency halt was needed for Dave to buy a bottle of water as he’d left his behind. Then southwards through Aston - what a shame it wasn’t yet noon, so we couldn’t call in at the Bhurtpore. We were now clearly in farming country as we passed a sign advertising a “24 hour Vintage Tractor Ploughathon”. We passed Shavington Park and soon we were entering Market Drayton. Now, I remembered that each time we’d been to the Red Lion we’d had trouble finding it, so today I took no chances and followed what you could call the inner ring road, and we got there first time. Not as direct as straight through the centre but it worked.

There were plenty of spaces in this large pub so we settled comfortably and awaited our food. While the others appeared to have hearty meals, Trevor and I found our small fish and chips, to be rather too small. While we ate, I noticed a photo on the wall of the Newport Nova Riders cycle club, which Joules sponsors.

Photo by Steve T

Our return took us towards Whitchurch, passing the Old Jack Inn at Calverhall which would have been our alternative destination. We then shimmied through to side streets of Whitchurch to emerge on Cycle Route 45, and then passed through Marbury, Chorley and Bunbury.  We had ridden 24 miles before lunch and the afternoon ride was going to be over 30 miles, so I thought a café stop would be in order. I’d checked the web and confirmed that on Thursdays Tilley’s closed at 5pm, so we were well within time, or so we thought, when we turned up at 4:20. Apparently, they close at 4:30, but at least we were in time to get a hot drink and sometime sweet and to consume these outside.  While we were there, Tilley’s updated the Google entry to their accurate opening times. 

The final leg saw us lose Keith, Trevor and Roy as they made their separate ways home, so it was only myself, Steve T and Dave who arrived back at our start with 58 miles covered. It had been a great day in warm dry weather with an easterly breeze which didn’t trouble us, and lots of lanes rediscovered south of Whitchurch.

See route map and/or gpx file download

https://www.plotaroute.com/route/1882040

SH


Thursday, 14 April 2022

14th April 2022: Church Minshull (mod)

 Benign weather at last – warm, dry, little wind - and it brought out crowds of Easy Riders – a dozen mods assembled at Meadow Lea (but no brisk riders). We had Dave H, Steves Hu & T, Alan, George, Trevor, Neil, Andys B & W, David M, Peter and myself. Ahead of the meet I’d thought of trying, what I believed to be a new venue for CER – The Badger Inn at Church Minshull – though both Peter and Andy B knew it from outings with other groups and it seems the brisk group had been here a couple of times before Covid.

We set off north and westwards, passing through Manley before dropping down Dark Ark Lane (interesting name!) and then taking the ‘switchback road’ through Delamere Forest.  Finding space for 12 people at lunch on a fine day before Good Friday might be a challenge, so once the time passed 11am, I phoned the pub to see if they could fit us in. After a bit of working through their bookings, they said they would be able to find space for us, so long as we arrived by 1220. This was going to be a bit of a stretch for us. Bag Lane led us to cross the A49 before turning towards Sandiway. We crossed the A556 to pick up Whitegate Road and enter Winsford. The way from here was straightforward down the B-road, so I told the faster riders to forge ahead and confirm the booking. Their timing was perfect arriving at 1220 on the dot, while the rest of us came along about 10 minutes later.  

It turned out that only 9 of us were dining, as David M and Andy W had diverted onto another route, and Peter, given the prevalence of Covid, chose to sit outside drinking his beer in the warm weather. The pub impressed us with a good menu and a decent choice of beers. Most chose the lighter bites option of a bap with coleslaw and chips, and fillings including crayfish, all for £7, which was considered good value.


Photo by SH

Soon the time came to leave. We headed westwards to Wettenhall and then Eaton, passing the Drays coffee shop which we left for another occasion. From Eaton we took the steep hill up to Portal Golf Course, crossed the A49 and made for Utkinton. Before this, we turned towards Duddon and on the way to Waverton, five of us diverted for coffee and cakes at Walk Mill. After studying the mechanism of the mill, we sat outside and prepared for the final stretch back to Meadow Lea, though by then our group only consisted of Dave H, Steve T and myself.  A very satisfying with 42 miles covered. 

See route map and/or gpx file download

SH

Friday, 8 April 2022

7th April 2022: Great Barrow (mod)

 Well, another windy wintery day greeted the hardcore group of riders at Ness Gardens. A team of eight consisting of Clive, Roy, Alan, Dave H, Steve T & Hu, Keith & George.

 George, Alan and I had witnessed the brutal nature of the wind en-route to the cafe, as had Roy. Clive arrived looking like a scuba diver, he was that wet. Undaunted however, the group managed to present three different routes for the day.

 Alans option to visit the Bluebell Cafe in Great Barrow was chosen as it combined a new venue with an opportunity for an early dart for a couple of folk.

 So, suitably attired and probably wishing we had invested in a sail, we left the warmth of Ness Gardens towards Ness. We skirted Ness and took the quiet lanes to Raby and on to Willaston Mills. At this time the riders believed they had woken up with “Chris Froome” legs as progress was effortless as we whizzed down to Ledsham & Capenhurst. The tail wind was not ready to show its more challenging side.

 Due to the tail wind we were whizzing past Manley Mere and onto our lunch stop the Blue Bell well ahead of our planned time.

 This is a super venue, part of the Barrowmore Estate. Formerly a TB hospital and nursing home. Since 1983 it now provides supportive accommodation for vulnerable people. Set in 85 acres of parkland it is a super place to visit.

 The staff at the Bluebell welcomed us in, and an excellent array of food was forthcoming.

 Alas, as the teas and coffees cooled in our stomachs the return to rain and wind called. The route now took us north through Little Barrow into the teeth of the wind. Steve T bade farewell at this point to attend a family occasion. The route then wound its way in and out of the wind to the Chester Greenway where Clive set off back home.

 The remaining sextet plodded down the Greenway with a healthy amount of headwind. A brief stop at Bren Bikes revealed that this charity, which receives and repairs bicycles for sale, is very busy. Last year alone they received over 900 bikes as donations and sold over 700.

 By this time the peloton of Dave, Roy, Keith & George had set off and was not in sight. So, raising his game, ride leader Alan turned into a domestique and dragged me all the way to Garden City where we “nearly “ caught up the peloton.

Photo SHu

 A quick series of diversions to avoid the greenway civil projects found the group at Toyota where Steve Hu, Alan and George turned for the motherland and the intrepid three of Keith, Roy & Dave H soldiered on to brave the Burton Marsh Wind tunnel.

 A great 39 mile ride on a day (if not for the club) I would not have ridden.

 Thanks to Alan for the route and Clive and Dave for having back up options as well.

See route map and/or gpx file download 

SHu



Wednesday, 6 April 2022

31st March 2022 : Nantwich (brisk)

I was unable to make Cleopatras start today due to unforeseen circumstance and as none of the Brisk group had made contact via our WhatsApp group messaging, I advised John W that I can ride from 11:00  


So, we set off from Chester and headed through Christleton and Waverton along Guy Lane and out towards the original 50p shop to Huxley. Here was our first of many roads blocked but we continued onwards. It’s a chance we always take and mostly pays off but between Huxley and Brassey Green the road was blocked as Church Lane was being resurfaced. The tarmac guys allowed us to walk along the grass verge and so we got through. 


Down Bates Mill Lane passing the Shady Oak and over the Shropie canal bridge its upwards to Beeston Castle and to Bunbury. Passing through the village Tilleys is empty of any cyclists visiting!!!  Not a frequent stopping café lately.  Along Cappers Lane to Swanley then out to Nantwich where we enter via Queens drive and into the town via Welsh row. We decide to stop at the 34 café. An excellent breakfast provided and again we're off again towards the Barony and Reaseheath College. The B5074 to Church Minshull today was a tough ride as the wind was full on so we practiced a sort of flighting with a quick rotation on the front.  Turning left along Minshull lane towards Cholmondeston we have a slightly less force wind to contend with.


You can't see the wind though!

We choose Calveley Lane today rather than heading through Wettenhall to Eaton and into Tarporley. Less wind again. The weather today has been pretty chilly not getting above 5C but correct clothing kept the cold chill out But!! the roads being dry went a little way towards improving the potholed and rough surface we have to endure on our rides. The wind always plays a part in a ride and today no exception. 


Through Tarporley village and Uttkinton to Willington, we are back into Chester and taking all things into account an enjoyable ride covering 60+ miles and at an amazing 16.5 mph average. Well done John, enjoyed your company and the second outing this week. The first was Tuesday from Whitchurch to Ironbridge. Another day with many road closures. 


Hopefully see the briskers out in number next week as Clive returns from another Norfolk holiday. 


See route map and/or gpx file download


ID

Sunday, 3 April 2022

31st March 2022: Aston (mod)

The weather forecast was for a very strong northerly wind and wintry showers. Five hardy, moderate riders had turned up at Holt, plus Dave Matthews who had been deterred from cycling by the icy early morning temperature at Oscroft. It was good to have Keith on board again. Andy Barber had waited for the snow to clear from around his Welsh hillside home, before riding out to Cleopatra's. Mike Gilbert had ridden to Alison's by mistake, but was riding across from Tattenhall to join us. Steve Hughes was sitting in the car park using phone images of Carol Vorderman as part of his warm-up routine. In the cafe, fond memories of Spiros, our immensely popular and friendly host at Hawarden for well over a decade, were at the heart of our conversation.

Nobody had a ride. Actually, Alan had one, but had been hooked for emergency childcare duties, so was not available. I had a couple of 'make it up as you go along' route ideas, with one eye on the weather, so not going too far, and traversing back with some shelter from the wind in mind. We set off for 18 The Park, at Wrenbury, by first heading north for Churton, and then south to Tilston, via Barton. At Tilston we turned left for Duckington, then wound up the quiet, scenic lane on the eastern edge of the Larkton Hill and Bickerton Hill escarpment. There was the occasional whisper of snow in the air, but we happily bowled along with the breeze on our backs. I think some were fancying the Cholmondeley Arms, but a while ago others remembered underwhelming fayre being served here, so were less keen. Wrenbury wasn't too far away now so on we cruised. I had not been to 18 The Park, but thought that I had pinned down its location some weeks ago. However, Dave Matthews had twice asserted over coffee that, “Coming from Ravensmoor it's on the right before the Aston turn off”. Those that had been before were letting me know that they thought we were passing the turn into the recreation area housing the cafe, but I scouted ahead a bit further, in the belief that Dave Matthews was infallible. Wrong! Dave is obviously better at freewheel reconstructions than remembering routes. Anyway, little time was lost, but the cafe was booked up inside, and despite having locked up our bikes and grabbed menus, we decided it was too cold in the outside seating, situated in the wind and out of the sun. A quick call to The Bhurtpore, just down the road at Aston, secured a table, and despite a wait for a train crossing, we were soon tucking in, in familiar surroundings.


Photo by MG

The route back was intended to be as short as possible, in case any battling against the wind was augmented by likely winter precipitation that Steve said was forecast for around four o'clock. Our chosen route took us west to Bickley via Gaunton's Bank, and then on to No Man's Heath, and cutting north-west to Ebnal, Simmonds Green, and Tilston. The expected long slog against a cold wind never really materialised. Andy couldn't understand why we had not gone through Malpas. Now let me think now! Longer, hillier, busier, rough roads, uglier, more direct headwind likely on the climb out. So, as we wound up the quiet, scenic lane to Ebnal, I couldn't understand why Andy was banging on in support of the Malpas route. After all, we all know that he is an intelligent scientist, and obviously understands that the hypotenuse route that we were taking was bound to be shorter than the sum of the alternative two sides of the right-angled triangle in and out of Malpas. I think Andy must be on a retainer from Malpas Parish Council to promote the village. Believe me, Andy, the only good reason for going near Malpas is The Lion Pub, recently introduced to us by Steve Haywood. However, some would have you believe that I am somewhat prejudiced in this matter! We continued to largely avoid any unsheltered long stretches into the wind, taking the Wetreins route from Stretton Hall to Crewe-by-Farndon. We reached Cleopatra's at about 3.40pm, and some of us managed a last coffee and chat before the expected showers. This was a relaxed little team to go out with. It is always reassuring when you are leading, but adapting your plans as you go, to have the supportive skills of Steve Hughes (HND in Being Sharp and Tech Savvy, Burnley College c.1990) and Mike Gilbert (National Orienteering Champion, 1909-1912). Just as welcome, are the personal qualities of George (easy going, good company, only recognises the Welsh Hills), Keith (likes a laugh, often thinks he knows where we are, but is usually wrong, but doesn't care where we end up), and Andy (endless stamina, intelligent company, critical friend, passes on the inside more than Max Verstappen). It's the personalities that make this club so enjoyable to be part of. About 37mls covered.                     

DH