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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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Friday, 21 January 2022

20th January 2022: Goostrey (mod)

We seem to have had quite a few very cold and frosty starts recently and today was no exception as we gathered in the Station Café at Delamere.  Nonetheless it was a good turnout of both brisk and moderate riders, plus David M in civvies having made his way from the frost hollow that is Oscroft. While we supped our coffee, I spoke to Clive about the navigation apps we use for rides.  Some of you will be aware that Viewranger is our preference but that this is being migrated to OutdoorActive and switched off at the end of February. This would leave us with a much inferior solution, and it seems from Clive’s investigations that our best solution in future will be the plotaroute app to plan our rides and the PocketEarthPro app to follow the routes and record them.

The mods comprised myself, Mike, George, Andy B, Dave H and Keith making a welcome return to one of our rides. Our destination was to be The Crown at Goostrey. In view of the cold, I repeated much of the outward route we took from Delamere when we last met there: following the larger roads that were less likely to be icy.  We headed for Kingsley passing a part frozen Delamere and Hatchmere.  From Kingsley we picked up the road to Acton Bridge, then on to Weaverham and into Northwich. Instead of riding through the centre we took the service road beside the River Weaver at the back of the new commercial developments in the town.  This led us to the big roundabout from where we took the road to Higher Wincham.  Then we followed our familiar crossing of the A556 by Smoker Brook and on to Lower Peover.  Here we decided to try the lanes and came across a mix of big potholes, mud and some ice. It was a relief to reach Townfield Land and soon after that Goostrey itself.

The Crown was suffering from a shortage of staff, as many hostelries are at present, and could only offer a restricted menu. Light bites were off so we made our selection from a handful of main courses.  Nonetheless the food was good with fish and chips being very popular. Having warmed up, it was time to leave.

Our return was on familiar roads through Lach Dennis, Davenham and on to Hartford. It remained cold, so it was warming to climb up Norley Bank and on to Hatchmere.  Here we split, with some heading back to Delamere station, others to their cars and a couple cycling back to their homes.

Another good ride in dry conditions with lots of sunshine, though later in the day almost blinding us.  A total of 41 enjoyable miles travelled, and nice to see the days starting to get longer.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Thursday, 20 January 2022

20th January 2022 : Dunham Massey (brisk)

Meeting for today’s CER ride was the railway station cafe at Delamere. John W and I decided to ride out and it was pretty chilly but better climate conditions than last Thursday ride. At the cafe there was a good number of moderate riders and also Clive and Nick to join the brisk group. Tea and tea cakes finished, the four of us venture out into the chill and ride.

The road from the cafe to Hatchmere must rank as one of the worst surfaced roads in Cheshire although writing that there are several others we have to ride also. Today’s ride is a longer route to Dunham Massey and a shorter return leg to cater for the excellent selection of home made pies and a £2.00 pint we expect to eat at The Vine pub. So after taking the junction at Hatchmere, we head to Norley and Sandiway.

Taking an unusual route into Winsford, my Garmin got us completely mixed up and also a resulting puncture. Not sure if it was the debris on a cycle path or too many pot holes, but a snake bite was evident. Tube replaced and were off and head to Bostock and into Davenham. Taking the usual lane past the Davenham small theatre and the church, we continue the usual route towards Bucklow Hill and Rostherne. 

I now suffered a second puncture at Lostock Gralam, and whilst carrying out repairs, a white van man slowed and enquired “Did I see you guys at Winsford fixing a puncture”. I wish I could have thought quick enough for a suitable response.

At the Tatton Park gates, John comments that he knows this road and a reply was its a good sprint road to Ashley. Nick was first to unleash his power and up the watts and I tried to follow thinking John will pass in a minute. Sure enough at 27mph (my speed), a rider passes me but not John, then, the whoosh of rubber and John’s on his wheel both hunting Nick down and gone into the distance so Clive and I just try and pace the others only to be passed by another chasing Peloton, give up!! They were probably a third of our age though.

The road runs into Hale, but there is a detour on the Garmin again at Ashley Hall. We are routed along a pathway cutting a large corner off, if heading towards Bowden which we were, so we stop and search the oracles on our phones. Consensus achieved, we take the path and are pleasantly surprised by the quality of surface except at a farm entrance which changed from tarmac to cobbles, so okay if riding a Rubaix!

After two punctures, we arrive at The Vine but oh dear, Covid must have struck hard as its shut and well locked up. Best made plans!!! To the "Rope and Anchor" we go arriving at the same time as a second funeral party; so Plan C is the Dunham Massey Farm cafe. We enjoy a quick snack and considering its now 14:00, we’re keen to get on our way. No other incidents deter our progress back to Delamere but, being slightly later than expected, on dropping down the hill from Anderton into Winnington it is now manic with many vehicles desperately trying to go faster than us to get the kids home for dinner and homework. 

With heading West, we’ve ridden most of the afternoon with a very bright sun rendering us with limited vision. On such busy roads, I make a wrong turn so we decide to re-route and pass Hartford station before the sharp righthand bend heading away from Sandiway. Back on course, we are only a few miles from Hatchmere, where John and I continue back to Chester and Nick and Clive to return to their cars.

Having an issue of two punctures is a much happier situation to be in with so many willing hands to help; so thanks to the group and to Clive for donation of his spare tube. 

Home a little later than planned!

The route is a 63 miles round trip but the extra mileage to Chester gave John and I 84/90 miles ridden on a lovely sunny winter's day and our bikes much much cleaner than last week's Shropshire mud ride.

Home before dark, and many thanks for another good day out

See route map and/or gpx file download


Photo JW

Friday, 14 January 2022

13th January 2021: Edgerley (brisk)

Our second meet of the year was the Castle Bistro in Chirk. John W and I travelled out from Chester on the train. These are getting busy again but we had room to put our bikes in the cycle storage area. Arriving into Chirk, it is chilly after sitting in the warm train. We cycle from the station to our cafe start and are swiftly joined by Clive, John M and Nick, so today’s peloton is 5 brisk riders. After a coffee and tea cake, we get ready to brave the expected low temperature with frost and fog predicted. 

Our route is to the Royal Hill Inn at Edgerley which is located on NCR 81 between Pentre and Melverley. 

Leaving Chirk, we cautiously head down Chirk Bank which feels icy but no frost is visible. Ray had had a crash on his bike Tuesday when riding with J W to ride a 200k audax route. This incident heightened our concentration and senses and we descend carefully. At the A5 roundabout, we continue to St Martins along the B5070. We head right off and along Church Lane and pass St Martins parish Church.

The lanes are wet and dirty with some flooding and in a fine fog. At one point we brake the surface ice on flood water making us even more alert. Although the sun was bright it restricted our views of the countryside. Arriving at the A495 at Welsh Frankton, it’s a quick right and left thankfully as the main road was busy with some big lorries behind us as we cycled up the bank. The first 8 miles of the route is an uphill ride but we are now over the most and dropping down towards Tetchill the roads are getting drier. At 15 miles, we stop to remove a layer of clothing and it’s a little surprising that we’ve only ridden a short distance as it feels we’ve been out all morning such is the concentration.
Our pace is now picking up as we approach Rednal and skirt around the airfield and the numerous adventure parks dotted around the disused areas. The sun is now burning away the fog and with little wind it is a pleasure being out in the fresh air. Through Ruyton XI Towns, we again have a little climb up towards Little Ness. We are on a lane which runs through Valeswood Wood and the road surface is very muddy and wet. Eventually leaving the trees behind, we run parallel with the A5 and into Nesscliffe and take a narrow lane to Pentre and our lunch stop at Royal Hill Inn.

The menu for light bites costs approx £4.50 and it is a good portion. A good slice of shortbread is served with our drinks of tea and coffee and our lunch is quickly served. We are seated in a small bar snug area with an open fire and have to open the window to let some cool air in; just no pleasing some!

Agricultural veneer
Ready to ride after lunch

Leaving the Inn, we ride on NCR 81 to Melverley and Crew Green where we begin to head north and home. The sun is now very bright and in our face rendering us with blindness at times. We pass through Llandrinio the village which hosts the lunch stop of the CTC 100 mile ride.

Crossing the A483 at Llanymynech, we are heading towards Knockin. Not stopping at the shop today but continue on to cross the busy A5. We witness an unusual courtesy from a car driver who slowed the traffic behind him, to allow us to cross this busy road in short order.. 

Passing West Felton and Queen's Head, it’s the 4 mile slightly uphill straight drag to Whittington. Passing straight through the village, a shout of "flat" rings out and, considering the road conditions we’ve ridden on today, Whittington can boast relative good surface conditions. Nonetheless, John W has succumbed to the snake bite pinch and he is quick to release his front wheel and smoothly replace the tube. After 5/10 minutes max, we are again heading to our end of journey for today. Through Gobowen and the back of Lions Quay, we cross the A5 again for the last time then heading to Weston Rhyn and Chirk.

As we arrive at the bottom of Chirk Bank, the sun is illuminating the viaduct so John and I stop to snap the photo opportunity for the final blog picture and to act as a reminder of what a great day out on the bike it’s been. As always good company and after the first hour of our ride, great weather for January.

A total of 57 miles ridden with 2412 feet of ascents . Let's hope our next ride out from Delamere is as favourable. Thanks to all for making a great day out. 

See route map and/or gpx file download


Photos JW

Thursday, 13 January 2022

13th January 2022: Llanymynech (mod)

As I drove out to Chirk, at one point the thermometer in the car registered -2.5C. Outside the car it felt like the coldest start we’ve had this winter, so it was good to see six mod and six brisk riders gather in the Castle Bistro. Welsh Covid regulations now require that groups of no more than 6 can gather indoors, so sitting on separate tables, we fell within that threshold. The mod group comprised Mike, just back from Germany, Andy B, George, Dave H, Steve T and myself.

We were concerned about ice on the lanes, so initially we kept to main roads, crossing the A5 and heading up to St Martins. From here we struck out on minor roads through New and Old Marton. We could see frost on the pavements and one small stretch of ice on the road as we cautiously navigated these lanes. We passed near a trig point recording 138m above sea level, and hoped the surfaces would be less cold as we descended from here. We had noticed the tracks of some road bikes and thought perhaps the brisk group had taken the same route ahead of us.

After passing through Perthy we took a short stretch of A-road before descending to Welsh and Lower Frankton. We sped up passing through West Felton and Maesbrook, and shortly arrived at the Bradford Arms in Llanymynech. A friendly welcome and a warm open fire made us regret we hadn’t visited more recently – the last record I could find was from 2018. Welsh Covid restrictions need not be a reason for saying away because although the street outside is in Wales, the pub itself is in England. We speculated on why there is a Bradford Arms here and also nearby in Knockin, when the closest we were to Yorkshire seemed to be the Black Sheep Bitter they served.  It stems from the Earldom of Bradford and today “Bradford Estates stewards 12000 acres of land in Shropshire and Staffordshire”. 

Photo by SHa

Well fed and watered we left the warmth of the pub and headed NE through Morton and Maesbury. After crossing the A5, we had to decide whether to return via Whittington or Oswestry. Oswestry won and soon we were following familiar lanes past the Old Hillfort and into Weston Rhyn.  The temperatures had improved and the day had been sunny throughout, but Andy warned us about possible ice on the north-facing descent from Weston Rhyn to the Ceiriog Valley.  Indeed, he was right, but by this time in the afternoon it was limited to the side of the carriageway, so unhindered we descended and then climbed back up again to arrive back into Chirk and stop for a final brew.

Despite the cold start, it had been a great day out: sunny and with little wind.  The lanes had often been filthy, but we’d revisited one of our favourite lunch stops and travelled around 37 miles.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Thursday, 6 January 2022

6th January 2022: Whitchurch (mod)

Not many members gathered in Alison’s for the first meet of the year, just myself, Dave H, Steve T, Andy B, Ray and David M. David was in civvies reading out the day’s miserable weather forecast: temperature hovering around zero, brisk southerly wind and soon to arrive rain. Consequently, almost everyone had arrived by car. Steve T had a route in mind to Aston, but as soon as we stepped outside the café it started to rain heavily. These weren’t encouraging conditions, and the general consensus was to abandon the day’s ride, which I could understand. However, I thought that I would ride out a bit and see what developed.

So it was that I set out alone towards Harthill, hoping that the hill climb would warm me up. As I headed up Bolesworth Road the rain turned to snow and I abandoned the climb to Harthill, instead heading towards Brown Knoll. As I passed Bickerton Church the snow had stopped and the rain lightened, so I continued towards Bickley.  The surfaces weren’t at all icy, but very muddy and strewn with hedge cuttings. I got as far as Marbury without incident, so thought that I might as well continue into Whitchurch where I stopped for a coffee and a snack.  

This was far enough for the day, so to return I took the old Roman road past Grindley Brook, through Malpas and on to Tilston and Stretton.  With the southerly wind and virtually no rain this was an easy section. I continued through Barton and on to Coddington. A little sunshine had started to emerge so I forwent shelter at Manor Wood Café and continued on back into Tattenhall. Just before arriving back at the start there was a sharp shower with heavy clouds suggesting more heavy rain.  I was pleased to end my solitary ride at this point with 31 miles covered.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Tuesday, 4 January 2022

31st December 2021 : Annual Statistics

About this time of year, I publish the ride statistics for our club rides - be they "leisure", "moderate" or "brisk".  Despite a second year of Covid restrictions, we managed 60% more rides and 80% more miles ridden than last year

YearMileageBlogsAv Miles/Ride


Annual Avg3,1726351

Once again, there was an array of ride leaders and blog writers which is always good to see. In all, fourteen budding novelists offered to write up their ride recollections. However, just four bloggers accounted for 66% of the write-ups.

Once again, we must thank Dave H for his guidance and leadership during this second Covid year. Not an easy job given Omicron entering the mix with Wales still insistent on doing it’s own thing, which was often different from England.

Despite all these difficulties, we have managed to enjoy the best attributes of club cycling throughout the year. We wish Matt a speedy recovery from his accident and hope to see him back on two wheels soon.

Hopefully, the coming year will be a “back to near normality” for us all in cycling and in our family lives.


BTW: If any rider wants to have a copy of any (or all) of the route gpx files ridden over the last few years, then just contact Steve T who has them safely stored away in annual folders.

Friday, 31 December 2021

30th December 2021 : Goostrey (brisk)

Unfortunately today I had to take my car into the garage and it’s at Ellesmere Port so I seconded John to pick me up and get a lift home. After having an excellent ride on Tuesday with all bar one brisk riders, today there was only John W and I venturing out on a final ride. Clive and John M would be riding today but doing their own thing.

With the start changing to Oscroft, John and I decided as the bikes were in his car the we'd have an assist and we decided on Stretton. This location has been our starting point for several rides and I'd mapped out a long and short ride. The short was selected as the weather would turn wet around midday. Parking at the Premier Inn, we set off at 09:30.
At the lights, we turn right along the London Rd. and pass over the M56 and to Lower Stretton. Turning off the main Northwich Rd, we go along lanes that are awash with floods and branches but nonetheless new lanes being covered. We exit these lanes near Aston by Budworth and riding familiar lanes to Bucklow Hill. 
Our CER inn stop here now boarded up and another housing estate to be built

Taking the sharp left turn behind the pub, we head towards Rosthern which must look very pretty after dusk as all the houses in this quaint village have lovely decorations up. Passing through Mobberley, we follow the main railway lines to Goostrey passing Jodrell Bank which perhaps today is closed I assume following the delicate unfolding of the latest satellite in orbit.

Arriving in Goostrey, we stop at the Trading Post and enjoy warm pies and cake accompanied with a good coffee and tea. Chatting to a fellow cyclist from Church Minshull,  he said had ridden 60 miles already.

Departing our stop we head to Boot Green and Lostock Gralam then a welcome down hill sprint to Gt Budworth taking a left to push up the bank. Comberbach and Higher Witley soon pass. And we're back at Stretton for 13:00. 
The last 8 miles were wet with heavy drops falling on us but happy to report it was only our outer layers wet as underneath we were dry and spirits good for a lovely chilled ride over several new lanes. 

Another good day out on the bike and apologies to CER riders who gathered at Rose Farm today for not starting at the scheduled point. 

A very happy New year to all CER members and look forward to seeing you all again soon and hear about Trevor’s new bike.

All The Very Best

The Brisk Group


Thursday, 30 December 2021

30th December 2021: Ravensmore (mod)

 It was an inauspicious start to our final ride of the year from Utkinton – Rose Farm Café was closed, from 24th December to some date in January. Gathered outside with me were Alan, Andy B, Clive, Dave H, David M, and Keith who it was good to see, but who was only there to say hello. We discussed our options – basically finding another café that would be open. Tarporley seemed the best bet, likely to offer several choices. We waited to see if any other members arrived, but it had started to rain, so at 1015 we set off in search of coffee. Just into Tarporley High Street we found our first café, which was good enough – “Ginger and Pickles” opposite the bakery of the same name. We squeezed into what was a more upmarket establishment than we are generally used to, but this was Tarporley. 

Our needs met we left, saying goodbye to Clive and a short while later goodbye to David M. Our destination was The Farmers’ Arms at Ravensmoor, which I had previously confirmed would be open and serving food. We headed through Eaton towards Oulton Mill, turning right to head for Wettenhall and southwards into Nantwich. The southwesterly wind gave us little trouble and although the early rain had ceased, it started again as we passed through Nantwich, but by then we had only a couple of miles to reach our destination. 

A sign outside announced “under new management” and we were served fairly promptly. We chose from the light lunch menu, but Dave H and I were disappointed that the liver and onions had run out.  Nonetheless we enjoyed decent meals, although the lasagne choice we deemed to be a little small. Overall I quite liked the place. We checked the weather forecast and confirmed there would be rain for the rest of the day, though of the ‘light’ variety so the forecasts claimed.

The route back took us past Swanley Bridge, then Brindley, Bunbury and Beeston.  After the Shady Oak we split, with Dave H heading into Tarporley to rejoin his car, while the rest of us made for Huxley where we bade farewell to Andy.  That left Alan and me to follow the twists of Corkscrew Lane to Clotton and then past the turkey farm to Utkinton. In total we had travelled 35 miles.

So we ended 2021. A Happy New Year to all members, and a hope that Covid will be less of a constraint on our rides in 2022.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Thursday, 23 December 2021

23rd December 2021: Overton (mod)

There was a good turnout at Cleopatra's by both the brisk and moderate riders, considering the closeness to Christmas. It was good to see Ken in fine fettle, and have a brief catch up. The moderates consisted of the three Steves, Alan, Andy, Dave Matthews and myself. Steve Haywood had looked up the White Horse Inn at Overton on tinternet the previous evening, and it appeared to be operating normally. Although most have us have forgotten what used to be 'normal', and where the latest 'normal' has got to. Had Boris or Mark Drakeford intervened since I left Naga and Charlie at breakfast? Can you trust a website to be up- to- date, particularly around Christmas? Are Kwik Fit really open for an oil change the day after Boxing Day? I'd had similar thoughts to Steve around Bangor-on-Dee or Overton with regard to not going too far on a short winter's day, because I'm scared of the dark.

So it was, that we set out on a contrived detour to Overton. It was a conservative detour: no sane person wants to grapple with the pock-marked, lumpen terrain of Malpas, just for the hell of it. There was also little point in doing the hokey cokey with the A49 and its whizzing wagons, just for the sake of a few more miles. The little lanes south of the A525 have little allure in their branch-strewn, slithery, shitty winter state. Many will remember being led by Clive, in his early Farmyard / Exploration Period, into the Bermuda triangle of glutinous mud between Three Fingers, Eglwys Cross and Arowry. Wheels had to be removed, as mudguards jammed and big sticks were used for cleaning. Fiona, Neil and George, to name but a few, know that I exaggerate not. Also, one has to allow time for possible punctures on very short winter days, so the untoward stretching of boundaries was not on our list of essential criteria for our moderate meander on this particular day. From Farndon we headed for Tilston, passing some hedge-cutting, which claimed Andy for our first puncture of the day. Dave Matthews had already made his planned exit for home at this stage. We do usually lose Dave, one way or another, but it is often unintentional! Andy was very efficient in dealing with the puncture, as befits a man who has been known to take very long rides on (sometimes) exceedingly thin tyres. Practice makes perfect. Next up, we passed Nick's house, I think, and headed south through Chorlton Lane to Cuddington Green. From Threapwood, we crossed Sarn Bridge and, unusually, turned right for Mulsford and Holly Bush.  A little challenge was then taken on, by not riding the most direct route into Overton, but choosing to cross the dismantled railway and doing a steep little dive and climb at Cae-Dyah before joining the B5069.

Given my reservations about the veracity of websites, as mentioned earlier, it did not come as a shock to find that whilst the White Horse was still a goer, it was closed on Thursday lunchtimes. Fortunately, The Two Doves Cafe around the corner was excellent: friendly, clean, and with very good quality light bites. A young couple kindly moved so that we could sit together, but be reasonably spaced. Steve Hughes was maintaining his behaviour of not eating inside to ensure the protection of an elderly relative. The cafe did have perspex screens, and he could have sat apart behind a screen. In fact, if the situation vastly improves, it would still be preferable if he sat behind a screen in the corner, so that we could eat in peace. As it was he sat outside on a cold corner. Alan popped out with a drink and stuff to help as much as he could. I appreciate that Steve makes the effort to come out on a Thursday, despite missing our scintillating company over lunch. We all respect the decision he has made, and it would be wrong for us to try and persuade him otherwise.  Unfortunately, Steve Tan's tyre was flat when we returned to our bikes for the ride back to Holt. The offending thorn was soon dug out, and Steve was quite quickly up and running with the help of Andy's impressive pump. The quickest return route was probably via Bangor on Dee and then alongside Wrexham Industrial Estate, but we took the pretty direct, but quieter route through Holly Bush, Worthenbury, Shocklach and Farndon. Somewhere before Shocklach, Andy, Alan and Steve Tan started to wind their speed up and disappeared from site within a couple of miles. Although it doesn't exactly fit the Chester Easy Riders commitment “that no one gets left behind”, the blast by some up to Farndon, where they wait, has become a regular tradition in recent times, and is just a bit of fun. Steve Hughes dropped back to accompany the two “leaders” myself and Steve Haywood. I could imagine some straight-laced CTC stalwarts disapproving, but we are far too tolerant for that, thank goodness! We got back in good time, despite the punctures, and once again we were lucky with the weather. A shortish, but enjoyable ride in relaxing company.       

Photos by AO

See route map and/or gpx file download


23rd December 2021 : Home (brisk)

The Brisk Group ( aka John W, John M, Ray, Ivan and myself) had ridden a very cold 55 miles from Guilden Sutton to Middlewich and back on Tuesday. The temperature was 3.5C when we started and it rocketed to 4.5C by the time we had finished. It was largely overcast with the odd ray of sunshine but the roads were all dry and the bike didn't need a wash when we got home.

We said we might meet up on Thursday at Cleopatra's and we did except for Ivan who was on domestic duties. We were joined by Ken who was out on his Christmas ride from Burton to Cleopatra's. The Mods were off Overton way, and, as I didn't fancy riding home from there in the gathering gloom, I joined the Brisk group on an extended route back to Home.

We were going right passed Ken's door from whence he had just come, but he was going on an outwards loop in the opposite direction. So just the four of us headed for Marford Hill. In Rossett we slide passed Burton and thence to Lower Kinnerton. 

Down to the River Dee at Saltney Ferry, we extended the ride by heading towards Deeside on the riverside path. Before the blue bridge, we turn off to access the Greenway and Home. Only about 35-40 miles all told but we were all home early enough to start to become organised for the coming festivities.

So less than two days to go now, and I wonder if Trevor will get his new bike.

Merry Christmas to one and all!


Friday, 17 December 2021

16th December 2021: Christmas lunch ride to Gresford (mod)

We've had to wait two years for our 'annual' Christmas lunch ride thanks to Covid and even now the pandemic has had an effect. Many venues have put a limit on the size of any one group and our usual venue of Pant-yr-Ochain at Gresford was one of them. So for the first time the moderate and brisk groups had separate lunches, although we were able to meet up together for coffee at Meadow Lea before setting off on our separate rides. Eight moderates (Andy B, Alan, Dave H, Mike, Roy, Steve Ha, Steve T and I) assembled for the ride and lunch with Fiona, Elwyn and Neil joining us just for the ride.

It was a dull cloudy day and mild for the time of year, but no rain was forecast and with little or no wind we set off towards Guilden Sutton and the A51 beyond. The shortest route was reserved for the return journey which only left one option that would get us to the Pant-yr-Ochain in time. Crossing the A51 we cycled through Waverton and then crossed the A41 to take us through Saighton and Bruera. At Aldford we avoided a section of the main road by taking the back road and did the same at Churton. We carried on along the main road to Farndon and dropped down to the bridge which took us over the River Dee into Wales.

In Holt we turned right to pass Cleopatra’s and followed the road straight through Commonwood to Borras. From here we were following the road signs to Gresford but Neil advised us to avoid the left turn into Vicarage Lane and instead we took a short diversion via Hillock Lane to reach the village. From here it was a short run along the Old Wrexham Road to arrive at the Pant-yr-Ochain.

Photos by AO

Jim had cycled straight from home and we had expected to catch up with him along the way but when we arrived he was already well into his first pint. Also with him was our special guest, Bryan, the founder and Honorary President of Chester Easy Riders. Nice to see you again Bryan. The arrival of Dave & Liz on their tandem made up a round dozen and we settled down to our meal. Dave had chosen ‘The Pant’ as it has always provided us with a warm welcome, good food and good service. Despite the difficulties faced by the hospitality industry during the pandemic it did not disappoint. Clive and Dave M joined us from the brisk group as we were waiting for our puddings as they wanted to say hello to Bryan.

After lunch Andy B, Mike and Steve Ha went their own ways home. They were replaced by Clive, Dave & Liz for the return journey. We headed through Rossett and Pulford and turned right towards Eccleston and Handbridge. Several riders left us along the way as they made their own ways home and by the time we had cycled up Hoole Lane and through Guilden Sutton only two were left to make it back to Meadow Lea. Only 32 miles ridden but managed before darkness fell.

It only remains for me to wish all our blog readers a Happy (and safe) Christmas with the hope that you all get what you have asked Santa for. Me? I've asked him for a new bike...........Fingers crossed!


Thursday, 16 December 2021

16th December 2021 : Christmas Lunch Ride to Holt (brisk)

This is Christmas Ride of two halves – from Mickle Trafford to Holt and then to Gresford.

In the good old days of pre-garmins and smartphones, a rider leader would either remember the plotted route, or, if mis-remembered, carry on anyway as the peloton was none the wiser. This was Harry the Bike’s favourite ploy. When I started leading rides, I used photocopies of OS maps crammed into my pocket. Dave Heath has the up-to-date version – a carefully folded OS map. I have succumbed of course and use a smart phone now.

So for the ride out to Cleopatra’s, our Christmas lunch stop* today, I had only shared my gpx with Ivan. 

So the six of us set off – Johns M and W, Nick, Ray, Ivan and myself. Ken was wisely self-isolating ( from us that is). It was a retro riding experience as Nick and Ray were asking “is it left and right now”. Of course, they shouldn’t be ahead of the ride leader! One or two appeared to know where the route was – probably due to unprotected Garmin intermingling at Meadow Lea before the ride started.

So we started out on this 50 miler by going up to Dunham-on-the-Hill and then a long run down to Ashton Hayes. Crossing the A54, we shimmy through the edge of Kelsall and slide through Willington towards Corkscrew Lane in Clotton. Up and around Beeston Castle and via the Shady Oak, then comes the long and badly surfaced Stonehouse Lane into Bickerton.
Long Lane takes us to Hampton Heath and the outskirts of Malpas where we turn right in Ebnal towards Tilston. Wetreins Lane completes the loop into the back of Holt and thence Cleopatra’s for an early lunch after 31 miles. 

The cafe was well populated with cyclists. Neil, Elwyn and Fiona were already there at 1230 as was Dave M, who was an honorary member of the Brisk group for the day. We all order various “breakfasty” type hot snacks but I went for the full monty English and very good it was.

All the brisk group decided to return home (for various reasons); however Dave and I decided to ride to the Pant which was about 5 miles away – and so we did at our own pace. The Mods were awaiting their sweet course as I arrived with my pint of Plum Porter soon to be joined by Dave M. 

It was a pleasure to see Bryan W after such a long time. I reminded him of good times and rides past all through his good offices of establishing Easy Riders way back in early 2008. Many of those riders who were around in the early days were around the table today – a testament to the easy riding ethos of CER and our physical stamina after 10+ years.

Trevor led us all back into Chester via the most direct route as the gloom was descending. I split off at Eccleston and was home with front and rear lights ablaze after 55 miles.

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*: The Brisk Group have largely eschewed pubs throughout 2021 (and 2020), preferring small cafes or al fresco facilities if available. This was why we were at Cleopatra's today.

Friday, 10 December 2021

9th December 2021: Brimstage (mod)

Another good turnout at the Cafe in Hawarden despite the thermometer reporting a cool 2 degrees Celsius. The brisk group replete with Buckets & Spades were enroute to Prestatyn, we trust you had a nice day gents. 

The mod group consisting of ride leader Alan, Trevor, Dave & Liz , Dave H Steve T, Steve Hu and Andy. Clearly Andy isn’t finding riding a 20kgs bike heavy enough so today he arrived complete with panniers. I suspect he is trying to outdo Roy (lets do a 90 miler with bricks in my panniers) Forster. 

The mod group plunged down Gladstone Way and used Alan's cunning route to ride over the A55 roundabout and get on the Shotton road. At this point instead of “Where’s Wally “ it was where’s the tandem!  A full five mins later Dave & Liz appeared , the combination of bollards tight turns and steep inclines had hampered progress some what. 

All back together again the group made their way along the river and towards the Toyota Park. At this point Alan regaled the group with his tree planting and Willow felling expertise. Sustrans have adopted a large triangle packet of land and are replanting native trees and controlling the woodland from the fast growing Willow.

The route then meandered until we approached Dunkirk on the Shotwick road. We now navigated numerous road closed signs and observed the busiest folk this week, are tree surgeons. Looking at the damage the Wirral took a real pounding by storm Arwen. A brief stop at Raby Mere then the route took us  past Brackenwood golf course and descended from Storeton hill towards Brimstage through another road closed sign. 

A fellow cyclist coming the other way advised the road was impassable, clearly he was not aware of Dave ( Indiana Jones) Heath's ability to cross roads. The underpass ( pictured) turned out to be a bit more of a challenge. Liz made a management decision and whilst 7 men debated if we could get across with a low engined Tandem , she was 400 m down the road going back the way we had come! 

Photo by AO

Suffice to say Liz’s decision was the right one and we braved the M53 roundabout to eventually arrive at out lunch stop the Mouse Inn in Brimstage. However the Mouse lived up to its name and was deemed too cosy for a Covid distanced lunch for eight of us. So we dropped into the Courtyard Coffee shop which provided a lovely fare for our hungry stomachs. 

Replete with Sausage Panninis and Cheese sandwiches plus 10 litres of tea we set off for Parkgate, the temperature had now dipped to three degrees and it had started to rain. Road captain Alan made a quick decision to re route us through Thornton Hough and Willaston. Another plunge to Burton brought us out by the marshes.

From here various members started to peel off leaving the committed to ascend the 300 feet back to Hawarden just as the drizzle started to get serious. 

Thanks to Alan for scoping out and leading the route. 

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9th December 2021 : Gwaenysygor (brisk)

Hawarden usually spells hills in Wales and the first twenty miles of today’s ride will confirm this. Meeting at the Gallery tea rooms, my brisk colleagues today were John M and Ray. Weather forecast was a fine morning and rain approaching from the west from 15:00. With drinking cups empty, the three of us set off just as Dave and Liz arrive, it was only 10:25!

Heading on Wood Lane to Burntwood, we take the junction for Mount Pleasant and we're only half way up this roll knowing the next twenty miles is of similar terrain. Cutting across Buckley Mountain, we cross the A494 (Mold Rd) at Altami then continue towards Northop and The Green. Another upward climb maxing 18% To Rhosemor. It was quite spectacular up on the Halkyns today, blue skies and little wind and no traffic. Just up hills. Continuing on, passing Rhes-y-cae and Lixwm, then passing an old watering hole The Crown inn.

Crossing over the A55, we pass Pantasaph and the Franciscan Friary. At the end of the road it’s right to Lloc, Sarn and Trelawnyd. Although riding on the A5151, it’s quiet of traffic but any approaching cars from the rear is picked up by Ray's new Garmin Varia and the call goes out “car rear, car rear” and whoosh it’s passed safely.

The final little roll uphill is to our lunch stop the "Eagle and Child" at Gwaenysgor. We were well greeted and rear doors opened so we had quick access to the outside but the warmth inside was more inviting. So Hot Pot and tea all round with a little dismay from the landlord. He thought we'd arrived for Christmas menu and a few beers. Those were the days.

The peloton  - somewhere! 

Clive had sent a WhatsApp message to the brisk group to say have a good ride but be careful down the steep 33% hill down to Gronant (as this was the original route). This put a little nag in our lunch time chat and a look on the map showed a lane cutting across the ridge to Gronant. So we changed the planned route to the new lane.

On leaving the pub, we immediately take a lane opposite the inn and enjoy super flat tarmac for a quarter of a mile before the grass starts in the middle of the road then this gives way to ruts then follows the deep ruts filled with water. If you've ever looked up at Gronant hill you would notice a huge mast, this is where we are. A walker is happily meandering towards us and we ask if the "road" is passible on a bike. Answer was an E mtb bike would or may make it and that did it, we continue on regardless. My thoughts this morning “We’re to get back to Chester for 15:00 and here we are at 13:30 walking a by way for a mile negotiating fallen trees after the wake of two recent winds and the clock is ticking”.

The lane to Gronant

Arriving at a spec of tarmac, Ray drops his rear wheel out and clears the mud from his brakes and John untangle branches from his wheels. Oh dear! Clive would be proper proud of this track. Back on a road we soon descend into Gronant and arrive on the A548 Prestatyn road and we’re again peddling at pace.

It's an enjoyable sprint on the coast road sharing the lead as we now have a strong head wind to battle. Passing through Flint and Shotton, we head up to Hawarden rail bridge and the Greenway home. Not today though as they are still renewing the deck. Not perturbed, we cycle up to the workers at the Chester end but the over-zealous worker wouldn't let us pass, 5 decking boards require fixing. So we turn around and back to the coast road and Queensferry. Our route now is the Blue bridge and the cycle path along the river all the way to Sealand Rd.

The head wind was strong and we were down to 15/16 mph and it was hard going, plus we had a light rain and the forecast was actually correct as it is now 15:00. Joining the Greenway on the Sealand Rd it’s not to long before we all go our own way home but the rain had eased and we were dry.

A good day out I hope, speaking for the others, and a route of 65 miles ridden although we didn't return to Hawarden (which would have been 45 miles all round) . On this occasion we climbed 3154 feet and only descended 2996 feet so we was robbed of a little. Probably the route after lunch!!

Thanks to John and Ray for no grumbles.

See you all at Meadow Lea next Thursday for our Christmas lunch ride.

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Photos ID

Thursday, 2 December 2021

2nd December 2021: Pickmere (mod)

I cycled with great care to Delamere Station as the temperature had fallen below zero in the night and by 10 o’clock it was only forecast to have risen to 2 degrees. The roads were largely dry, though patches that looked wet were possibly icy and puddles on the verge were iced over. Others were aware of the risks, with some members staying away and David M coming in civies.  In total we had six riders: myself, Steve T, Clive, George, Dave H and Ray.  

I had looked for a route that would keep to the busier roads where gritting and the passage of traffic would reduce the ice risk.  This took us along B roads, northwards to Kingsley and then easterly past Acton Bridge station, through Davenham and into Northwich. As we travelled east, it seemed to get colder with more frost on the paths. We passed a queue of people waiting for their Covid vaccines. We then crossed the Town Bridge over the Weaver Navigation, one of many listed structures on the waterway, this was built in 1899 and was one of the first electrically powered swing bridges in the country. We avoided the dual carriageway by taking to shopping streets surrounded by more mundane structures, and emerged at the roundabout where we took the B-road to Marston.  We stopped for a quick time check as we were running early for our destination. We decided to extend our ride along Budworth Road towards Arley Hall.  Here we were onto country lanes for the first time and we noticed more frost, so caution was called for. We reached the security of the B road heading towards Higher Wincham and soon turned right into our destination at around 1210.

We’ve visited the Red Lion at Pickmere before, but this time it was busier despite the early hour, possibly due to the approach of Christmas.  We settled ourselves on a large table near to one of their fires and began to warm up. An indication of the cold day was that 4 of us ordered hot drinks. After a bit of a wait our food arrived, mostly reasonably priced bagettes with chips and salad garnish. 

Photo by SHa

Soon it was time to leave. Over lunch Clive had told us of a café at Pickmere Lake and as we cycled through Pickmere village we saw it signposted by two bright yellow bicycles on our left: somewhere to investigate on another occasion. Our return route assumed that ice on the lanes would have largely gone, and so we took the familiar route through Great Budworth, Comberbach and Little Leigh. Steve T left us to head home at this stage, and the rest of us took the steep hill above Acton Bridge. We passed through Crowton and climbed up Norley Bank, and before long we were at Hatchmere crossroads. Here we split with Clive and Dave heading back to their cars at Delamere Station, and the rest of us making our various ways home.

Despite the cold it, we had made the most of a fine and sunny day. The total distance travelled from and to Delamere was 33 miles.  

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Friday, 26 November 2021

25th November 2021 : Edgerley (brisk)

Today’s ride starts from Chirk so, for the first time since lockdown, I travel to the town by train. Unfortunately, the service was 20+ mins late and arriving at the cafe it was only to say hello to the other moderately brisk riders. I was the only Brisk rider out today due to various reasons.

My route was planned to be as flat as possible and a round trip 55 miles and 2400 feet of ascent. The plan was ok but you can't remove undulating roads. Leaving Chirk dropping down Chirk Bank before taking the right turn to Western Rhyn, I brake and reduce speed as Dave’s parting words were "Have you seen any frosty roads!" No problem it’s brake, indicate and then up hill. Flattish; not yet!

Passing Gobowen, I am on the long straight through Whittington and Queens Head. From Chirk to this point is only 8 miles, we've had rides only out to the pub here in the past. Taking the left fork avoiding the A5,  I ride down to Elbridge and on towards Knockin. It was only a couple of weeks ago Clive ,John W and I stopped off at the Knockin shop for a coffee, but as I’d only ridden 14 miles it's non-stop today. Onwards via Maesbrook and through Llanymynech passing the village hall used for the Vets 100.

Today the roads are dry and not much traffic. Blue skies and a moderate tail wind is taking me out to Four Crosses and passing over a very calm river Severn. Admiral Rodney's Pillar is on my right and I seem to have passed this monument so often of late.

My lunch stop was going to be the Butty Shack or The Three Pigeons at Nesscliffe but on passing The Royal Hill inn at Edgerley and, being solo, I make a management decision to stop here. Fantastic result :-pheasant, leek and bacon pie, mash and veg and two coffees all for £10.00 ! Also, I was on my way again in 20 minutes enjoying splendid lanes and never out of the big ring so for now my plan is good as a flattish route. Passing through Nesscliffe, the Pigeon looked shut but the Butty Shack had customers waiting.

Royal Hill pub
Canal and Rail by bike

Through Little Ness and en-route to Ruyton XI town, I took a wrong turn and headed up hill, oh dear after lunch -  not welcome. I pass a big white BMW minus a back end then realised I’m going the wrong way. Clive would have advised that he took this direction just to view the car. Back into the town, and passing the only cafe in this location, it is very popular with cyclists as there were probably in excess of 20 bikes outside. Hopefully their wait not too long as my past memory was it was very very slow service.

Now 38 miles into the route, it’s the Rednal airfield I’m skirting round before heading up to Tetchill, Welsh Frankton and St Martins. This last 10 miles had all the bumps and was uphill to St Martins but then into recovery by rolling down the hill, and round the A5 roundabout which takes you back to Chirk.

Arriving back at the station for my ride home it's 14:40 and my decision was if there was a train within time then catch it: had I missed 14:49, I was riding back to Chester. Another lucky break. All done and a very enjoyable day out with my own company and a relatively clean bike after 55miles.

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25th November 2021: Burlton (mod)

It was very sunny but cold as we gathered at The Castle Bistro in Chirk. ‘We’ consisted of Steves Ha, Hu and T, Dave H, Alan and George. We were drinking our coffees and debating where we should go when Ivan arrived, having come out by train. He was the sole representative of the brisk riders, the others variously being away or unwell. Ivan was heading for Nesscliffe and was soon on his way.

Steve Ha had a route to The Bradford Arms at Llanymynech and I had one to the Burlton Inn at Burlton. As there was some doubt The Bradford Arms would be open, we opted to head for Burlton. We set off along Castle Road and down into the Ceiriog valley. To avoid the steep climb from Pontfaen into Weston Rhyn, I chose to go further up the valley to Castle Mill before heading uphill. What I had forgotten was that the first 200 metres of the road here is very steep, even though the OS map shows no chevron. Whilst several were equal to the challenge, one or two chose to dismount. Dave H reminded me that it was on this very hill a few years ago that Keith Barlow’s rear mech broke and he had to abandon the ride.

We soon reached Bronygarth and skirted round the edge of Weston Rhyn to pick up the road out to Hengoed. From here we zoomed down the hill to cross the A5 at the roundabout which leads to the Orthopaedic Hospital at Gobowen, where I spent several weeks three years ago. At Whittington, we joined the A5009 and a long run down to Queens Head. Steve Hu was quick to score me 0/10 for this section of the ride as the road was quite busy and the traffic was going past us at high speed.

The roads were now quieter and more to Steve Hu’s liking as we passed through Eardiston, Wykey and the PGL Centre at Boreatton Park. PGL have been running adventure holidays for children since 1957 and my brother and I had a holiday with them more than 50 years ago, canoeing down the River Rhone and camping on the shores of the Med near Marseille. A memorable experience!

We were soon through Weston Lullingfields and Marton, arriving at The Burlton Inn at about 12.15. Unusually, this establishment doesn’t offer ‘light bites’ or sandwiches, so most people had fish and chips or soup. I wonder if it still deserves a place on our list of favoured lunch stops?

Photo by AO

Leaving the pub, we headed to Brownheath. This meant that we were going into a headwind, which was already feeling very cold, even though the sun was still shining. But the countryside was looking beautiful and the lanes were smooth and quiet as we rode around Colemere and White Mere, so Steve Hu was scoring the route more highly now. On reaching Welsh Frankton, we decided to avoid the rough and dirty lanes at Hindford by diverting via Perthy and New Marton to reach St. Martins. I held back here to wait for Steves Ha and Hu, whilst the others headed for Chirk via the B5070. When we reached the A5 roundabout, Steve Ha wanted to go back via Weston Rhyn, so we finished the ride by dropping down once again into the Ceiriog valley before climbing back into Chirk.  

44 miles covered and 2447 feet of climb completed as we got back to The Castle Bistro at about 4 pm. Although the sun was still shining, it had already dropped cold (~ 3°C), so it would not have been wise to be much later back. Winter is truly on its way.

My thanks go to my companions for their company, support and general banter.

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Thursday, 18 November 2021

18th November 2021: Wrenbury (mod)

 It was a shame Neil wasn’t present when we decided on a route to his much-recommended café: No 18 The Park at Wrenbury.  We were starting from Alison’s in Tattenhall, where we had a good turnout of 12 members.  David M was resting, while Dave P was only riding out with us for part of the route because he had no lights and wanted to get back before dark.  That left 10 riders: Steve T, Steve Hu, Alan, Roy, Trevor, Andy B, George, Clive, Mike and myself. 

We set out south-westwards towards Barton and then Stretton and Tilston. To avoid Malpas we turned eastwards before the hill, towards Cholmondley, at least most of us did. The follow-my-leader system broke down and Trevor and Andy carried on to Malpas.  Assuming they knew our destination and hoping they would meet us there, the main party continued from Chorley Bank, over the Llangollen Canal and into Wrenbury.  We cycled slowly through the village looking for our destination. We found it on the left beside the Primary School, just before the turn to Wrenbury Station.  We had arrived at noon having covered 18 miles in a “moderately brisk” pace.

It looked smart as we entered and they found space for the eight of us, just before the missing two, Trevor and Andy turned up.  Pleased to be re-united, we reconfigured our seating with three sitting outside and the rest around a large table. The food was a hit, with most ordering the Eggs Benedict. There was some disquiet inside when the outdoor party were served well before us, but we passed the time with reminiscences of earlier days in the club and George’s memorable first ride. Food was hungrily consumed and we thought that this café deserved future visits.  The only downside was when I got locked in the lavatory, only to be released by brute force. 

Photos by SHa

Our return took us to Ravensmoor, Swanley and Bunbury, where we decided not to stop at Tilley’s having only covered 10 miles after lunch.  We said farewell to some riders on the return journey and arrived back at Alison’s by 2:30pm, early enough, for once, to take refreshments.

Our total distance was 35 miles, which we had covered in mild, dry conditions.  Something about the day encouraged a relatively speedy ride: the surfaces seemed smooth; headwinds negligible and hills slight. An excellent day out on generally familiar lanes, with a new lunch stop discovered.

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Friday, 12 November 2021

11th November 2021 : Audlem (brisk)

Today we met at Meadow Lea cafe and, as usual, a good turnout was evident but only three brisk riders available for today's ride to Audlem. John W, Ray and I set off along station lane to Waverton. We head along Guy Lane passing the Crocky trail and then pass the original “50p shop” at Burton.

We have a call to stop by John, who promptly advises us to remain quiet. It’s 11/11 @11:00 and we pay our respects to our serviceman.

On the way again, there is nothing unique of our route either out or back , so I won't bore you with left or rights as you all know this route, but the autumnal colours of the countryside were fantastic.

Autumn colours 

At 24 miles, we arrive at Crewe Queen’s Park and the splendour equals Central Park NY albeit a little smaller. Gifted to Crewe by the LNWR railway company, it was designed by Edward Kemp and F. W. Webb, chief mechanical engineer and Richard Moon, the Mayor of Crewe in 1888. He also donated a very large house opposite the park which became an orphanage for children after both wars and orphans of the LNWR railway employees killed in action or died at work. Known as Webb house, it later became a railway training venue and one I was fortunate to attend several times during my career on the railway. 

We enjoy a quick coffee overlooking the lake. For reference, it supplies hot and cold food and a large outdoor covered area. Cycling through the park is allowed but, be aware during busy times can be very busy with walkers and children running around.
Leaving the park we head to Willaston, Shavington and the leaning tower church of Wybunbury and then into Audlem. The popular Old Priest House is our lunch stop and as usual very welcoming. After our lunch we leave Audlem along the Whitchurch Rd before the right turn at the top of the hill onto Coole Lane. The lanes today are reasonably dry and clean and quiet so not to long we're at Sound and Ravensmoor. Along the A534 through Burland and then Long lane into Bunbury. 

A good day out covering 68 miles as a round trip and as flat as you can have on Cheshire's rolling roads.

Thanks to John and Ray for their company.


11th Nov 2021: Comberbach (mod)

 The starting point for today’s ride was Meadow Lea, and a good number of members turned up.  I think three rides set off: a brisk one, a moderate one with Neil, Fiona and Elwyn, and one I led comprising Dave H, Andy B, Alan, Steve T, Trevor, Peter and Andy W. Daylight hours are shortening now we are in mid-November and there were concerns that we completed our route before dusk.  Andy B, who has the longest ride to our starts, was well-prepared with a new jacket featuring 6 LEDs front and back.

Photo by FOK

I had planned a route to the Salt Barge at Marston, a pub where we had enjoyed many good lunches, but which we hadn’t visited since the start of the pandemic. Our route out took us east up the A56 and then past one of our old start points, Manley Mere.  The road past here was as rough as ever, but it was good to travel the old familiar lanes: the Sugar Lane bend and the climb up past New Pale. A steady drizzle began to fall but then passed on. We sped down into Kingsley and took the quickest route to Acton Bridge. We said goodbye to Peter and Andy W and then we rode on through Comberbach and into Great Budworth. Then we took the lane to Higher Marston and finally crossed the Trent and Mersey Canal to arrive at our destination. Regrettably, we found the Salt Barge had stopped serving Thursday lunches, though the landlady suggested the Spinner and Bergamot in Comberbach. Although we had passed by this earlier, it was not far off our return route.

We passed through Marbury Park, exiting right onto Marbury Road and detouring by just over a kilometre we arrived at our new pub. We were efficiently served and were soon tucking into lunch – the favourite being the small fish and chips. I don’t believe we’ve ever been disappointed by this pub.

Photo by SHa

We continued back down Marbury Road, past the Anderton Boat Lift, over the canal again and the River Weaver, and right at the lights through the new estates of Winnington. Our route out passed several roadworks, none of which particularly inconvenienced us.  Now temporary traffic lights, combined with lots of traffic (and angry drivers!), slowed us and separated us. We finally cleared the congestion by turning off onto Hodge Lane. Then on to a dog-leg crossing of the A49, and a familiar return through Norley to Hatchmere. We sped downhill through Delamere Forest and on to Ashton Hayes. Soon we were on our outward route along the A56. We arrived back at Meadow Lea before 4 o’clock with 46 miles covered and in time for last orders.

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Friday, 5 November 2021

4th November 2021: Bridge Trafford (mod)

Well a chilly November day brought out a fair few mod riders. Trevor, Jim, Dave M, Dave H, Peter, Steve Ha, Steve Hu, Steve T, George, Andy B, Bavarian Mike and of course Road Captain for the day Alan O. 

Having braved the sheep muck section of Burton marsh Alan O presented a route from Ness towards Chester taking in the stunning sights of the Stanley Oil refinery. 

When everyone was refreshed Steve Ha advised he had an appointment with hills in Wales, Jim and Trevor planned their own route and Peter & Dave M did their own thing. 

Within five minutes of leaving the warmth of the cafe the intrepid crew were riding through Ness and skirting Neston via Little Neston on lovely small lanes. The leafy lanes of Raby were soon dispensed with as we approached Eastham. At this point George was regretting riding so close to Steve Hu who insisted on regaling George with a blow by blow account of all buildings points of interest and history of Eastham. 

A sharp right off ferry road took the group down Bankfield drive and onto the service road which parallels the start of the Manchester ship canal. 

Photos by AO

At Ellesmere Port road captain Alan led the group down to the boat museum and a glance at the Manchester Ship Canal. From here the ride took on a very industrial setting as we rode through the old Shell Stanlow site now owned by Essar. We were surrounded by fuel pipes tanks and some interesting smells. 

A sharp right heralded the return to country lanes as we bumbled through Elton, Wimbolds Trafford onto Bridge Trafford for a pub stop at the Shrewsbury Arms. 

Whilst most of the easy riders were trying to establish the provenance and make up of “Hunters Chicken” Andy B had removed his wheel removed a broken spoke, refitted a new one and re tensioned the wheel. 

At this juncture Jim and Trevor arrived and bribed the kitchen staff to serve them first, on seeing Andy’s plight they also served him first leaving the rest of the group wondering “what do I have to do to get served here” 

Replete with five portions of the aforesaid Hunters Chicken we rode the lanes into Upton Croughton to Little Stanney. This route provided many glimpses of Chester Zoo. A quick spin along the stunning section of the Shropshire Union Canal took us effortlessly to Blacon. At this time Bavarian Mike held the group transfixed with the design and history of the new Crematorium! 

Now all roads were left behind with a blast along the Millennium Greenway, only stopping to notice the improvement in road surface when we entered the privileged land of our fathers. 

As we approached the Toyota park the group finally split up with those returning to Ness Gds and others going further into Flintshire. 

Thanks to Alan for finding a great route and Mike for adding tweaks to keep us mud free and safe. 

Steve Hu

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