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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, 23 September 2022

22nd September 2022: Audlem (mod+)

 It was overcast but dry and reasonably warm as we gathered at Alison’s. As usual, Dave M was just out for coffee. Clive, John and Nick were off for a short but brisk one. That left Steve Hu, Steve Ha, Steve T and George as the ‘mods’ for the day.  Steve Ha would only be with us for a short distance as he needed to get home to pack for a week bagging more Munros. Rain was forecast for some time in the afternoon, so the plan was not to go too far and hope that the rain came later, rather than sooner.

I’d taken a route originally devised by Trevor in 2017 and had used Plotaroute to change the starting point from the Ice Cream Farm to Alison’s. However, when the route was uploaded on to my Elemnt Bolt computer, it appeared as a series of straight lines, which Clive found amusing – were we going to fly rather than cycle!

As some of the route was familiar to me, I set off hoping to wing it where there were bits I didn’t know.  So, we set off out of Tattenhall, heading for Beeston and Bunbury. I soon found out that where I deviated from the straight-line route, the computer would re-route me on the nearest road going in the same direction – very clever!

Steve Ha left us at Bunbury and we continued on through Haughton and Burland to Ravensmoor and Sound. Progress was swift in spite of a stiff south-easterly wind and we arrived at The Old Priest House café in Audlem as the church clock struck 12 with 20 miles covered.

Baked potatoes with various fillings and a pot of tea for three were ordered and arrived a while afterwards. A discussion of the pros and cons of cruising (of the maritime variety!) formed a large part of the lunchtime conversation. We left at 1pm, just as a wedding party were leaving the church opposite. As per Trevor’s route we did a loop around the south of Audlem, passing through Kinsey Heath and Swanbach before turning north towards Aston and Wrenbury. Although there were odd spots of rain in the air, the roads were still dry.

 A mile and a half out of Wrenbury I heard a cry from George whose front tyre was slowly deflating, so we stopped in a gateway to fix it. At this point, it started to rain.

The tyre was new, as George had had the bike serviced recently. It proved quite a struggle to get it off the rim, which didn’t bode well for getting it back on. Strangely, we couldn’t find any sign of a puncture on the inner tube, nor a thorn or piece of glass in the outer. Happily, the tyre went back on the rim quite easily due to the skills of our in-house expert, Steve Hu.

We’d stopped at the end of a lane, which my computer correctly identified as Back Lane, so I took it that we should go along it. However, as we did so, I didn’t get the usual re-routing by the computer, so we stopped and Steve Hu devised an alternative route. This took us to The Cholmondeley Arms crossing of the A49, from where I was familiar with the way home. By now the rain was falling steadily, although it was still comfortably warm.

In fact we re-connected with the intended route as we passed Cholmondeley Castle Gardens and headed on into Bickerton. The last hurdle was to climb over Harthill before we could roll along Bolesworth Road into Tattenhall.

By the time we reached Alison’s  at 3pm we were so wet that we didn’t stay for coffee, but the ‘three musketeers’ had survived the trials and tribulations of iffy computers, a puncture and rain.  43 miles covered at a mod+ pace of 14.3 mph. Well done lads!


See routemap and/or gpx file download

Thursday, 22 September 2022

22nd September 2022 : Malpas (brisk)

You could tell we have enjoyed a long hot and dry summer by the fact that as we sat in the early Autumn sunshine at Alison’s, no one fancied a too long a ride because of rain forecast for the afternoon. In a few months time, we’ll be glad of a rain free morning!

The brisk group, Clive, John and myself didn’t have a route planned so I, somewhat rashly, offered to lead an unplanned route along known roads. Unsure of where we would be around lunchtime, that venue was left for when we felt hungry. 

So off we set on a roughly clockwise circuit, firstly heading northwards through Huxley, along the nicely twisty lane from Hoofield (slowing to admire a road sign we thought that John had recently cleaned-up for the President’s Ride) on to Clotton. This was followed by one of Cheshire’s finest rough lanes to Utkinton, potholed and uphill.

Turning south took us through the car madness of Tarporley, cars randomly shooting off in various directions for parking places. But turning right by the Texaco garage we were soon back on quiet lanes heading past the Shady Oak pub towards Beeston Castle. From there it was on very familiar roads to Bunbury and south towards Faddiley. Without even needing to slow down we crossed the A534 towards Chorley (not that one). Over the whole ride we saw remarkably few cars. Tractors however are appearing in numbers, as maize cutting is commencing. One tractor travelling at a ridiculous speed and taking up the entire road width, force me off the road, fortunately onto short smooth grass.

Approaching Cholmondeley, we turned left towards Wrenbury but then took the next right towards Norbury and Bickley Moss on some of the best lanes to cycle on, flat (ish), often straight and reasonable condition. Crossing the A49 towards Bickley, a short dip southwards took us to a cycle track to cross the A49 towards No Man’s Heath.

After crossing the A41, the cycle track took us to No Man’s Heath, I was going to go one way, but Clive took us left, on a lane bypassing the village just to the south, and one which I had never been on before, and a better route. Every day is a school day!

We soon found ourselves in Malpas and parked up outside the glorious Huxley’s, a traditional village bakery. Lunch consisted, at least for two of us, a meat pie followed by a custard tart – delicious. 

Due to the impending rain, we decided on the direct route back to Tilston, funnily enough where I happen to live, so unable to continue with Clive and John to Chester via Farndon and to get a soaking for the last half hour as the forecast rain made its appearance. 

For me total of 40 miles, for John and Clive, about 60. (Sorry!). Average pace, just under 16 mph.


Friday, 16 September 2022

15th September 2022: Church Minshull (mod)

Autumn beckons as could be seen by fewer short sleeves and bare legs as we gathered at Meadow Lea, though the day was forecast to be dry. A reasonable turnout of mod riders plus Nick, though David M wasn’t going to join the ride.  He was looking forward to receiving his new winter cycling shoes from Canada, suited to temperatures of -20 degrees! We were unexpectedly joined by John B, who we hadn’t seen for a couple of years. John’s attendance on our rides has been regular but infrequent. Before Covid he came out with us once a year, and we look forward to seeing him again in 2023. The rest of our party were Dave H, George, Dave and Liz P on the tandem and Alan.

In the absence of alternatives, we chose my route to The Badger at Church Minshull, a destination we’d visited for the first time earlier this year. We headed out past Manley Mere and turned uphill onto Sugar Lane, where Nick left us to continue his own ride. We sped down the curiously named Dark Ark Lane, and rode up through Delamere Forest to Norley.  From here we headed south crossing the A556 to briefly join the A49, turning off in polo pony country beside The Hollies Farm Shop – as Dave H said it’ll cost a week’s wages to buy anything from there. 

Joining Clay Lane, a regular outward route for us from Rose Farm, we passed through the Whitegate Way traffic lights and turned down the hill for the road into Winsford, where we stopped.  The road was jammed with stationary traffic, so we did some recalculating and turned back to join the Whitegate Way. Except the tandem and John didn’t follow.  After some time, they reappeared. The sole of one of John’s shoes had separated itself from the upper.  It was lucky Dave P was there with his bottomless paniers, from whence he found two straps to keep John in the ride. 

The Whitegate Way provided a smooth and quiet alternative route, though we emerged at the bottom end of Winsford and had to navigate the back streets to rejoin our route. It was now a straightforward, though rather long run along the B-road to our destination. The Badger is full of images of badgers and even sells Badger Ale. We ensconced ourselves into a corner and tucked into our refreshments, which included a bucket-sized pot of tea for John. 

Our return took us on familiar roads to Wettenhall and Eaton, then up the hill to cross the A49 by the old road. A strengthening north-westerly slowed us down, though we hadn’t had its benefit on our way out.  Before Utkinton we turned left to Duddon and then took the road to Waverton before stopping at Walk Mill.  Alan and John continued while the rest of us tucked into caffeine and cake. It was now a short distance back to Meadow Lea, with 49 miles on the clock. A good ride, maybe even a better ride with the forced detour. Let’s hope the Autumn continues to hold off for a while yet.

Photos by AO

See route map and/or gpx file download


Thursday, 8 September 2022

8th September 2022: Malpas (mod)

There was a modest turnout of riders this week. The threatening weather forecast and booked September breaks were likely reasons for the absence of some regulars. John Wilkie and Richard were doing their own separate rides. I think John was preparing for one of his mega challenges, and Richard had workmen at home, so had been using our collection of past ride routes to dip into and return home early. The moderate group consisted of Steve Tan, Steve Haywood, Steve Hughes, George and myself. Steve Haywood had been thinking about a ride to Whittington. I think it was Ye Olde Boote Inn we had enjoyed visiting there in the past. My concern was that if the forecast number of heavy showers arrived after lunch, that two hours of a wet return ride would not be  much fun. Steve Tan had expressed the belief that it was pretty certain that we would get wet, it was more a question of when the rain would arrive and how heavy it would be. I suggested an experimental circular route to Malpas, of all places(!). Not for the first time, the idea would be to cover a decent mileage to lunch, but be close to home anytime after lunch if the rain had closed in. Another ploy in order to beat approaching bad weather is to give lunch a miss until returning to the starting venue.  Once we successfully adopted this tactic from Cleopatra's, arriving back dry, but those without cars, who stayed for lunch, found it wet on their ride home. Once, the Fast Lads rode from Chester to Chirk, had their breakfast, and beat the rain approaching from the south, by staying ahead of it on their brisk return north. 

Anyway, today's moderate riders amiably went along with my untried route plan, which reached down to Penley via Shocklach and Worthenbury. It was a pleasant surprise to briefly cross paths with Richard at Holly Bush. From Penley we turned left at the site of the former Dymock Arms a historic Grade ll-listed building which was set on fire by arsonists back in 2010. We headed up some rough, quiet lanes before  navigating left and right across the A525. It was reassuring, as always, to have sound directional advice from my Garmin-led friends. I just hope that they never acquire pedestrian recognition or lane assist technology for bikes! There would be a lot of slamming on, and landing in prickly hedges. As long as we know the wind direction, or the position of the sun in the sky, George knows where the Welsh hills lie, and we can find two stick to rub together to make fire, who needs a Garmin? We headed for Lower Wych from Tallarn Green. I was discouraged from exploring a path crossing Wych Brook at Oldcastle Mill. I must take Tonto with me and have a delve sometime soon. After the steep climb out of Lower Wych we soon reached The Lion At Malpas. Our Gourmet in the Saddle, Steve Tan, and Steve Hughes who has spent years munching his way through the menus of top Ribble Valley chefs, appeared to approve the fare on offer. We have Steve Haywood to thank for first introducing us to this particular pleasant watering-hole

After lunch, it was still not raining, so instead of bolting direct for Holt, about 8.5 miles away, we went across to No Mans Heath, and headed up narrow lanes just east of the A41. Edge Lane was a smoothly surfaced, quiet little gem, which saw us re-crossing the A41, and  passing Edge Hall and dropping into Tilston. Plenty of ominous clouds, but still no rain, so we ignored the safer bet of the Wetreins short cut for the sake of squeezing a couple of more miles in via Barton, Coddington and Churton. At Coddington, Steve Haywood took his leave to head for Tattenhall.  We did cop a heavy shower at Churton, but we weren't too wet on reaching Holt, and George was already tucking into cake, as Steve Tan and I reached Cleopatra's after chucking our bikes into the Berlingo. Steve Hughes needed to return home earlyish, so everyone was pretty happy even though our mileage had been defensively modest.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Friday, 2 September 2022

Ist September 2022 : Lymm (brisk)

Today, my neighbour, Chris  accompanied me to Ivan’s house where we also met with John W  and then all headed out to Rose Farm. There was an excellent turnout today with at least 14 riders present. The brisk contingent numbered 6, but Nick came  only for coffee and a short ride as he was  training ready for a Tri event at the weekend. So 5 brisk riders, the original 4 plus Clive, took  a route  devised by Ivan to the The Crown at Lymm.

Climbing on a rough road over Quarry Bank, we joined the A49 and headed past the old sand quarries of Nunsmere and Oakmere then turned onto quieter roads which lead us through to Acton Bridge where we  crossed the River Weaver. Once over the river we turned immediately right, the road zig-zaggged roughly north before crossing the M56 and then doglegged back eastwards before reaching Daresbury Technology  Park.  Although these roads were quiet traffic-wise, the noise from the main highways was an assault on the ears. Skirting  Stockton Heath, we crossed back over the M56 and M6 and then back over the M56 again before  passing by the picturesque Lymm Dam and arriving at The Crown in Lymm.

The mornings 45+km were trouble free other than a split mudguard on Clive’s bike which was easily fixed with some gaffer tape thus providing a temporary or a  permanent solution depending on the delivery time of his new bike. Lunch was served promptly in the beer garden where Ivan informed us that the return route was partially experimental but hopefully easy to follow.

Leaving the comfort of the beer garden, we once again crossed over the M6 and after several stop starts ,plus directions from 2 young boys on mountain bikes, we found a steep gravel footpath that led onto cycle route 62 - the Trans Pennine Trail. 

The trail, initially wooded, dropped on to the ship canal at Latchford Locks - a pair of large locks one for ocean going vessels the smaller for coasters, tugs and barges.We followed route 62 alongside the disused St Helens canal and River Mersey into Widnes where we crossed back over both waterways via the Silver Jubilee Bridge.

The next 20 minutes was a blur of residential and industrial buildings as we failed to pick up the new cycleway through Runcorn  and  eventually ended up in Weston grinding to halt outside an Ineos factory. From here we did  a dash along Weston Point Express to rejoin  the cycle route which guided us across the the M56 and River Weaver into Frodsham.

Although the posted route back to Utkington leaves Frodsham passing through Kingsley and Delamere, a total of 90 kilometres, we took the A56 back to Chester. However a proposed stop at The Chester Fields Pub was abandoned due to a wedding taking over the venue and  so we carried on into Mickle Trafford where we parted company with Clive and John. The remaining three musketeers carried on to The Bird in Hand but it was closed much to our disappointment.

So 110 kms was achieved today for Ivan, Chris and myself with John and Clive accomplishing around 120km. We averaged 24.5kmh. A ‘Liquorice Allsorts‘ of a route covering road, gravel, cycle paths and tarmac provided an interesting day out in good cycling weather and excellent lunch in a nice setting.

Thanks to all for their company today and especially their route finding skills. 


See route map and/or gpx file download

Photo JW

Thursday, 1 September 2022

1st September 2022: Audlem Marina (mod)

Arriving at Rose Farm at 10am, there were already a host of bikes outside.  There were so many Easy Riders that we’d taken over two large separate tables at each end of the café. Maybe a combination of good weather which was expected to break at the weekend and the onset of Autumn.  I’d heard on the radio that morning that 1st September was the first day of Meteorological Autumn, which apparently is different from Astronomical Autumn which is the 22nd of September. If that’s confusing, consider sunrise and sunset, which differ between astronomical, nautical and civil. The mod riders were Dave H, Steve T, Dave P, Steve Hu, Alan O, Trevor, George and myself.  Jim and David M were out, but not joining the ride. Dave H suggested Audlem Marina as a destination which found favour as a new lunch stop for many. However, Dave hadn’t worked out a route so I offered to lead the way out.

Photos by AO

We headed towards Clotton and with Steve T in the lead were about to turn into Corkscrew Lane, when a cement lorry heading towards us swerved onto our side of the road before making the same turn.  Steve would have been under the wheels if he hadn’t dodged the vehicle. Just the incident when a helmet cam would have provided footage for the police. The rest of the ride was less eventful.  We passed by the Shady Oak and up to Beeston Castle before taking the lanes to Bunbury, then south to Brindley, Larden Green and Chorley Bank to enter Wrenbury. From here we made for Sound before Dave took over the lead to guide us onto Overwater Marina on the Shropshire Union Canal about a mile north of Audlem town. The site looked idyllic in the bright sunshine with water lapping and geese swimming. 

We sat outdoors on two tables as the food was prepared At Rose Farm, Nick had recommended the Staffordshire Oatcakes which I chose and were very tasty. Conversation at my table inevitably centered on the wasps that made lunch less than totally idyllic, but we stoically carried on.


After a very relaxed light lunch, socialising in the sun, we meandered lethargically from the canal to Coole Lane. Our aims on the way back were to avoid any part duplication of our lanes out, and to have slightly shorter, but pleasant return route. Perhaps, we would have time for a coffee before the end? The main road just south of Nantwich wasn't too busy, but we soon turned off on the well-maintained grit paths the other side of the little lake.  Although I take the dog for a walk by the river about twice a month when visiting Nantwich food and vintage markets, I hadn't been on these particular paths for a while. Trevor inspired confidence just ahead of me, and soon we were leaving the parkland and heading for Welsh Row. Welsh Row is full of buildings of character and history. The website “A Dabber's Nantwich” provides plenty of interesting historical information about this road. We then wiggle our way back into the countryside passing Henhull Hall before crossing the A51 and reaching Reaseheath College. It seems a shame to see so much house building going on greenfield sites around Nantwich. I haven't seen any that looks affordable for young people. A familiar route directly north takes us over the Shropshire Union Canal at Venetian Marina and up to Cholmondeston. The weather is warm, and the lane is rural and easy going, but for too long there have been stretches of poor road surface to take the shine off for cyclists. The Drays Coffee Shop would seem a good place for a nice cake and coffee sitting at the back looking across the fields. I just need to check my map, as my instinct is to turn right towards Rushton, but my domestiques rein me in, and who needs a map when we have our trusty local yokel, and master guide, Steve Ha. The people at The Drays are very friendly, and their coffee and juicy berry flapjacks are just the job. This is a first visit for some, and I am sure their reviews would be very favourable. Passing some young polo ponies on our way out, we climb straight up to Portal and across the Tarporley by-pass. We are soon back at the rough little bank before Rose Farm. We have covered forty-five very enjoyable miles in excellent company.


Friday, 26 August 2022

25th August 2022 : Rhyl (brisk)

Apologies to Dave who has arranged a great day out for the club riders today, but unfortunately my group of brisk riders were not able to take part on this occasion

Setting off from our booked start café at Hawarden joining me was, John W, Ken and Richard.

Richard is a new cyclist to the North West and Wales area so as we are in Wales, I thought I’d try to combine hills and flats with scenery in between the miles. Leaving Hawarden, the next 23 miles is only upwards, riding along Wood Lane and to Buckley then Nercwys and up to Maeshafn and up and over Moel Famau. 

We can now enjoy down hill and flattish roads to Denbigh and our final climb into the town. From here the route went via Henlian to Trefnant and on to Waen before heading towards Rhyl but an old bridge closure over the river Clwyd (where road blocked signs were prominently displayed but ignored by us!!) prevented the continued route so about turn and head towards St Asaph. 

Definitely Closed!

Riding the esplanade

The plan now was to follow the river Elwy into Rhyl, but I’d mixed my location up and instead we explored a cycleway to the main A525 which we ride along on the very good cycleway, although noisy until Rhuddlan where we were able to pick up the North Wales cycle path into Rhyl.

There were no grumbles from the group regards the detour or the hilly route to Denbigh and I was hoping that a quick lunch at my favourite Wetherspoons at Rhyl would be as good as usual. Unfortunately, we had a grumpy bar person who split our order up so there were two early diners and two late diners and the food was definitely not the standard fayre we usually enjoy.

The Sussex is a North facing pub and the front is always in shade and sitting outside after all our hard work and sweaty bodies it did get a little chilly and as soon as food eaten, we were off to get into the lovely summer day. The cycle way along the coast was very busy with holiday makers enjoying a sunny afternoon. There were bathers in the sea but certain the water was far from warm today!!

Enjoying the cycle route 5 along the coast on arrival at Talacre / Point of Ayr we stop for an ice cream – lovely. Joining the A548 at the end of the coast path we now enjoy a tail wind to blow us all the way home to Chester.

At Connah's Quay we say farewell to Ken who is riding back home via Hawarden and we three continue with the millennium greenway to Chester.

The route is a 65-mile round trip starting at the Gallery tearoom with a lumpy start but on a fine day as today the views are better than photos can produce although I’m sure some good shots have been taken today.

Thanks to my buddies today for a great day out and hoping this weather lasts until December at the worst!!

See route map and/or gpx file download


Photos JW

A date for calendars: -SEPTEMBER 27th:  MacMillan coffee/cake morning at John W’s mum's house, so please give your support to this very worthy charity.

Highfield Road, Blacon from 10:00 am

25th August 2022: Waddington - Special Ride (mod)

On Wednesday morning it looked like it could be just me and Steve Tan travelling up to Whalley, which having recced the route just two days ago with Keith, was not an ideal outcome for staging a club ride. John Mills was very interested, but would he really want to tolerate my slow progress in such hilly country all day? In the end, John, Alan, and Andy Barber also fancied the route enough to rise early, and make the drive north.  Tastebuds in Whalley proved an ideal meeting place once again. The staff were very friendly, and opened a separate dining room for us. We enjoyed tasty light breakfast offerings, before departing a little after ten.

The rising lane after Sabden Brook was a very steep introduction to the variety of climbs ahead. The quiet, narrow lane that followed emerged from a green grotto onto the ridge of Padiham Heights, with its beautiful views across the moors to the left, and over the old industrial towns such as Burnley and Brierfield to our right. We took Steve Hughes' advised route to Barley via Roughlee, which worked out well, and avoided a couple of heart attack climbs on the Newchurch route. Steve used to live at nearby Higham, and if his son had not been visiting from faraway, would no doubt have joined us. Alan is also familiar with the area, as Steve and Alan have been mates since their schooldays, and they have ridden together up here. Close by is the only remaining Clarion Room in the country, and, perhaps, the grave of at least one of the “Pendle Witches” in St.Mary's churchyard, Newchurch. There is also a metal statue of Alice Nutter on the roadside to Blacko, installed in 2012, as part of the four hundredth anniversary remembrance of the Pendle Witches.

The climb around the dominating Pendle Hill is quite a slog, but before we hurtle down to Downham there is a stunning panoramic view all the way to the Yorkshire Dales to the north-east. Some claim that Downham is the most beautiful village in Lancashire, certainly it is attractive and unspoilt. It has been used for filming, and there are no Sky dishes to spoil the appearance. Whistle Down The Wind was filmed here in 1961 starring Hayley Mills and Alan Bates. The Assheton Arms has closed, which is a shame. Climbing out of the village we pass Downham Hall, the family seat of the Assheton family and Lord Clitheroe. We head for Waddington and lunch via Chatburn, crossing a pretty section of the River Ribble into Grindleton. Lunch was a sandwich or a starter sitting outside the Higher Buck in the centre of the village. This pub is very pleasant, and the food and service is reliably of a high standard. Nevertheless, I hope that we will try The Inn at Waddington sometime in the future, I just wasn't sure if the chef was back after his hip operation, and if so, was he moving quickly enough? And if they still had a “light bites” menu.

Photos by AO

After lunch we followed a secluded back road across the hillside, with a tricky little, steep up- and -down at Talbot Bridge. We passed Browsholme Hall, before reaching Cow Ark and enacting my cunning plan for the next section of the ride. Steve led a loop on a designated “Quiet Lane” past the Wild Boar Park with fantastic views at the highest point, and I saved my legs, by taking the shortest route over to Whitewell, and going my own pace, up the picturesque Hodder Valley, to Dunsop Bridge, Newton, and Slaidburn. Newton has an excellent restaurant, The Parkers Arms, frequented by Gourmet Tan, it also has a very tough climb out! I took two minutes in beautiful Slaidburn to sit on a bench in the sunshine surrounded by flowers while I had a drink. The hairpin climb out of Slaidburn was just about manageable, and I waited up the road in the shade waiting for the peloton. They had covered just over four miles more than me, so they had done well to nearly make the catch before I had stopped. Altogether now, as we crossed the fellside, and then enjoyed a long, fast descent to Holden Clough Garden Centre for a last break and drink. The garden centre was being further developed, but we eventually located the Shepherds Hut and sat chatting in the sun, in the knowledge that the run-in back to Whalley would be relatively easy.  As we approached Sawley from Holden, Sawley Lodge looked magnificent on the far side of the River Ribble. We crossed the river, passing the ruins of Sawley Abbey before ferreting around on paths and lanes to Chatburn, Worston (Where we once had a cream tea at the Calf 's Head), and crossing the A59 for a car-free few miles past Standen Hall. We completed the ride with a brisk couple of miles through Barrow and back to our parked cars at Whalley. Fifty very scenic miles covered, and nearly 4,500 feet climbed. I appreciate the support of Alan, Andy and John in travelling up, solo, from further away than Steve and myself. I really enjoyed their company, and having the opportunity to talk to John in more than just one-liners about Everton! Also, thanks to Keith for joining me on Tuesday's scouting mission.                             

See route map and/or gpx file download


25th August 2022: Overton - Cafe Hopping (mod)

Whilst the ‘Special Riders’ were away visiting rural Lancashire, six of us turned out at the Gallery Coffee Shop, Hawarden; JohnW, Ken, Richard & Ivan representing the ‘Briskers’ and SteveH and myself the ‘Mods’. Whilst the fast boys were off to seaside places in north Wales; Steve and I discussed the options open to us. I suggested a route I had planned the previous day of visiting all the CER café meeting places (Café Hopping) in one ride. Going anticlockwise from Hawarden to Chirk, Holt etc using as many minor roads. Steve took to it as he could drop of near where he lived.

Through Llay, traffic was relatively light where we were followed and eventually passed by two police cars who had urgent matters to attend. Wrexham was busy and Erddig Country Park soon followed. As we cycled, discussions ensued on such interesting topics of family history, building submarines and metallurgy.

At Newbridge, south of Ruabon, we came across our first ‘Road Closed’. Where the B5605 crosses the River Dee. A supporting retaining wall has collapsed, but you can cycle through with care. We had a quick inspection and concluded the solution is not easy and very expensive.

Photos by Mike G

To keep off the busy roads, we diverted towards Chirk Castle with its splendid gates.

At St Martins we came across another road closure and had to walk the bikes through the surfacing works. The looks we got were not the most welcoming. Our benefit was, almost a traffic free road to Overton for our lunch stop at the ‘Two Doves’ café, having covered about 30 miles.

Having feasted, good progress was made to Holt. In Farndon we experienced a set of traffic lights causing havoc, this was not helped by parked cars. From Churton to Coddington was one of the roughest lengths of road I have cycled for a long time. The damage is generally caused by heavy agricultural traffic and lack of maintenance. It was not helped by the dark shadows cast by the trees from the strong sunlight. We also noticed on a lot of other sections of minor roads we cycled, wide longitudinal cracks randomly occurring that your wheel can drop into, with the potential to either cause damage or throw you off the bike (accident waiting to happen).

Photo by Mike G

Shortly after Clotton we went our separate ways as Steve was so close to home and Rose Farm Garden Centre was not on his ‘hit list’. Overall, a lovely day’s cycling, Steve covering in excess of 80 miles and me a little further because of a minor diversion to Ness Botanic Gardens.

See route map and/or gpx file download (Full Hawarden to Hawarden circuit, 93 miles)

Mike Gilbert

Sunday, 21 August 2022

18th August 2022 : Dunham Massey (brisk)

Starting from the station café at Delamere for today’s start, John and I join up along the greenway for the ride out and have to suffer this on the return journey also. Andy passes us as he’s sprinting along station lane on his ride from Mold. We pass Richard on the Warrington Road but failed to recognise him.

Arriving at Delamere, we meet up with Ken who was out only for the coffee along with John M and Nick both journeying out by car. Richard arrived shortly after giving the Brisk group 5 riders today. Excellent!!

The only pic of the day!

As a route had been previously distributed, we were ready for the ride to Dunham Massey and our lunch stop “The Vine Inn “secretly hoping they were open as our last visit it was locked up.

Setting off at 10:30 prompt, bidding Ken farewell until Tuesday, the 5 of us head towards Hatchmere. Taking the turn onto School Lane it’s a stop! Garmins not working for Nick, John, and myself. A reboot of the route and were off via Cuddington and Sandiway. Our first road closed sign along Norley Lane but we had easy access through. The next on the second uphill hill to Sandiway we were greeted with another road closed. Fixing potholes but we were allowed through.

On arrival at Winsford my navigation went haywire. Whilst the main group followed my route I deviated and headed the wrong way. We are so geared to heading up Station Road I am heading in that direction whilst the rest head up to Wharton Rd. Catching up with them, we continue through Winsford joining London Road and leaving Winsford behind. Through Davenham, we navigate to Lostock Gralam and skirting the picturesque village of Gt. Budworth. Heading up to High Legh we arrive at Bucklow Hill greeted by another closure of a past lunch stop. The inn now boarded up. Crossing the main Chester Rd, we take a sharp left to Rostherne. At the end of the lane, we are opposite Tatton Park and the straight Ashley Road. It’s the only time today that its heads down and pedals whizzing round as we motor along the road at a good pace. We take a track called South Downs Road to cut the corner on Park Road taking us into Hale. Between Hale and Dunham is the expensive homes of Bowden but the road surface is very poor surface. The expensive cars using this road are usually Chelsea Tractors, so I don’t expect too much of an issue for them, but our poor bikes and bodies didn’t appreciate it. 

Crossing the busy Dunham Rd, we’re not far from lunch. Arriving at the Vine, I am pleased to see the car park busy so looking good. It's open and we sit outside. Selection of lunch and lime and soda ordered we enjoy the warm sunshine. Due to the excellent beer, I can’t remember what the discussion over lunch was about!! Therefore, we continue our ride back towards Delamere with a mere 22 miles to ride. We’ve ridden 40 miles before lunch, and it was hoped we’d have a tail wind but no such luck. Our general direction now is back via Heatley and Lymm and Sworton Heath before changing direction and riding along the concrete surface alongside Arley airfield. Along the pleasant lanes to Antrobus we join Hall Lane and Cogshall Lane leading to Antrobus and Soot Hill which is still blocked but open for cyclists. Winnington and the climb up Burrows hill its now the usual ride to Norley and Maddocks Hill. Over the top we arrive at Hatchmere where John M and Nick leave us to return to Delamere while John W, Richard and I ride on to Chester.

A circular route of 62 miles with 2 climbs and 3000 feet of total ascent its a note that require effort!!

it’s been a good ride and the only bike incident was three chains bouncing off due to road surface.

The extended ride out and back gives a total of 91 for Richard, 89 for John and happy with 82 for me and covered at an average of plus 16mph. Well done all and a very enjoyable day in your company and to Ken for making the effort to join us for coffee. Until next week – enjoy the weekend.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Friday, 19 August 2022

18th August 2022: Goostrey (mod)

 A dozen CER members gathered at Delamere Station café on a warm but overcast morning. The forecast was for rain, but not until the afternoon, so we would at least start today’s ride dry. When we’d sorted ourselves out into ‘briskers’, ‘mods’ and ‘only here for coffee’, there were four hardy souls prepared to undertake the ride I had planned to the ‘Pastimes’ café in Goostrey.

So it was that Trevor, Dave H, Andy B and yours truly set off through Hatchmere, taking Forest Lane and Beech Lane to drop down onto the B5153 at Crowton. From here we took the usual route past Acton Bridge and the fast run down to the A49 at the swing bridge. Then followed the steep climb out of the Weaver valley to reach Comberbach.

We diverted to Budworth Heath to avoid Great Budworth village and proceeded through Plumley and Higher Wincham to reach the crossing of the A556 at The Smoker pub. From here we ran the length of Plumley Moor Road to reach Lower Peover. We then followed Free Green Lane to its intersection with the A50. A short run along the A50 took us to Booth Bed Lane after which we were soon in Goostrey, arriving at the Pastimes café just before 12.30 with 24 miles completed.

The lunch menu at Pastimes is quite varied, offering sandwiches, paninis as well as more substantial fare. When we arrived it was fairly quiet, but it’s clearly favoured by cyclists as more and more arrived whilst we sat outside and ate our lunch.

Our route back took us through the Allostock stockbroker belt with their huge mansions, Lach Dennis and Davenham. Crossing the A556 here, we rode up through Hartford to pick up Hodge Lane which led us to the crossing of the A49. That left us with the run up Norley Bank and Maddocks Hill before we turned down Post Office Lane to reach Hatchmere and our starting point at Delamere.

40 miles covered  at an average moving speed of 13.8 mph, with only a few spots of rain before we got back to Delamere. I rode home and had just got in when it started to rain ‘properly’, so I guess that, whilst Dave H and Trevor also stayed dry,  Andy B must have got wet before he got home to Mold.

Thanks to my compadres for their support and company on yet another dry day out in the Cheshire countryside.


See route map and/or gpx file download

Sunday, 14 August 2022

11th August 2022: Loppington (mod)

 I set out late due to someone taking my bathroom slot at home, and I was soon executing a three-point turn, as the police had closed the main road to the M56. Next up was Frodsham Market, and then three sets of roadworks between there and clearing Helsby. Just to cap this un-promising start to my journey to Chirk, I became stuck behind two humongous, yellow combined harvester type vehicles which ground slowly toward Mickle Trafford. Were any moderates likely to arrive at Chirk this week? Apologies had already been made by some, from those that were out the region, to those that thought their Malibu Factor20 wouldn't cut it for a day in the forecast intense heat. I reached the A55 at Chester, with doubts of being able to arrive at The Castle Bistro before riders, (if there were any), had left. I decide to go for it! 

I walked through the door at Chirk at 10.20a.m., and was pleased to find Ivan, John, Ken and Dave Pipe sat out the back. It is very pleasing to see Ken, apparently fully recovered, now regularly out with the Fast Lads again. So, unless he had a lasso, or had a GTi pacemaker fitted, it looked like Dave would have to settle for riding with me. In true easy rider fashion, we ordered another coffee, whilst outlining an intended route. We eventually headed out over the A483 and down the little lanes, passing Ebnal Hall and reaching Hindford. I missed a turn left, so to avoid the main road, we retraced our steps. Being just two of us, we could easily agree. This assertion does not necessarily apply to long-married couples. At Welsh Frankton we passed the now familiar line of coloured mobility scooters for sale, believed to be the biggest collection outside of Llandudno. We swooped down to Lower Frankton with a pleasant breeze welcome in the increasing heat. This is the lane with the two ridiculously steep hump-backed bridges, which you have to attack in the correct gear, or else. I had intended to take a southerly loop via Rednal and Wykey, but setting off a little late, and considering the searing sun, caution won over in order to ensure reaching lunch in good time, and limiting our mileage. We turned right to Lower Hordley, and then sought out a narrow lane past Kenwick Park and then through Cockshutt, English Frankton and Brownheath. Dave had left his Garmin behind, so Yozza's input was definitely missed, as I scratched my head for the correct direction, in some of these small villages with a number of little lanes out. 

 The Dickin Arms was excellent as ever: friendly, efficient service, excellent food, and really good value. We both enjoyed our Moroccan lamb tagine with couscous. Dave exclaimed that his was, “Tasty, tasty, very, very tasty!” Dave also enjoyed a favourite Bishops Castle, Shropshire ale. It felt like ten years ago chatting to Dave. Bryan and Jim would have enjoyed it. Come on Jim, try that ebike of Andy's! We set out back past the grounds of Loppington House, which led to one of my favourite well-surfaced, quiet lanes to Lyneal. Drifting along this lush summer lane encapsulates the essence of easy-riding. Passing Colemere and White Mere, it is surprising just how large and attractive these meres are, with plenty of sailing available on both. We climbed up to Lee and carried on to Tetchill, before heading alongside the Hardwick estate after negotiating a small section of main road. The disused railway line was crossed at Crickett and we were soon heading for St.Martin's and back to Chirk via the Cyclists' Suicide Roundabout. The terrain is quite lumpy and the heat was full on. We had agreed to give the Pont-y-blew wooded gulch a miss, but Dave suggested using the canal tow path in order to avoid the last main road upward grind. It was nice to finish crossing the spectacular Chirk Aqueduct 70 feet above the beautiful Ceiriog River. The path up to the road required maximum effort in order to stay on, particularly in the face of two young mountain bikers heading down. Dave fancied an iced coffee, but I needed to beat the traffic to Runcorn, and take the dog out in the local woods. I went in the supermarket for bottled water, but the shelves were bare, so bought a large bottle of cool pop, and slaked my thirst in the car park. Not quite forty miles covered at a guess, but in trusted and relaxed company, and the heat had no ill-effects. Just another beautiful Chester Easy Riders day on the bike. No pictures, because we didn't think people would be gagging to see a picture of one ancient gent, taken by another.


Saturday, 13 August 2022

11th August 2022 : Pentre (brisk)

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

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

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

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


River Severn opposite the pub

The pub - Royal Hill inn

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

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

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

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

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

A great day out and thanks to my two buddies

See route map and/or gpx file download


Friday, 5 August 2022

4th August 2022: Ellesmere (mod)

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

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

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

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

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

                                                              Photo SHu

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

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

                                                             Photo AO

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

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

4th August 2022 : Welshampton (brisk)

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

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

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

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

We better have a photo, John!

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

See route map and/or gpx file download


Photo JW

Thursday, 28 July 2022

28th July 2022: Aston (mod)

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

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

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

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

Photo by TC

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

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

See route map and/or gpx file download.


Thursday, 21 July 2022

21st July 2022: New Brighton (mod)

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

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

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

Photos by AO

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

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

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

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

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

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

Steve Hu

Sunday, 17 July 2022

14th July 2022: Plassey (mod 2)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos by NT

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

Photos by NT

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

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

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

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

See route map and/or gpx file download.