Retired, work part-time or shifts, enjoy being out in the countryside? Then cycle the lanes and byways of Cheshire and surrounding areas with Chester Easy Riders: you won't get left behind.
Chester Easy Riders is an independent cycling club affiliated to Cycling UK. We cycle every Thursday throughout the year with moderate and brisk day rides of 40 to 80 miles.

For more information see the About Us tab.

Friday 29 May 2009

28th May 2009: Coton

Now I have to admit that when Mike sent a tweet, earlier in the week, suggesting a ride to Coton I had no idea where it was other than somewhere south of Whitchurch. A detailed perusal of the OS map revealed that I had in fact cycled through it some years earlier on the National Byway route south to Shrewsbury. With Mike willing to lead, providing there was GPS backup, everything was in place for a good days ride. Thursday dawned with good weather in prospect so perhaps it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that ten of us turned up at Bellis Garden Centre Café for the ride with a further two, introduced by Jim, joining us for elevenses.
Mike led us out through Shocklach, over Sarn Bridge and through the lanes south of Wych Brook towards Painters Green and Fenn’s Bank. What a glorious day, probably the best so far this year: the sun shone and the countryside, just like us, appeared to be welcoming the coming summer. We made good progress with a constant buzz of conversation and I suddenly realised we had joined the National Byway with not much further to go. The Bull and Dog was almost empty when we arrived at 1.00pm. but with ten of us that soon changed. The pensioners’ special was hard to resist and Liz and Dave P both succumbed. The rest of us went for the “lighter bite” of a door step sandwich served with soup, chips and salad garnish! The non-availability of cask ale today was a disappointment to some, while Ray went without in protest at the exorbitant price of lime and soda.
For the return journey Mike led us back along delightful lanes past Whixall, Dobson’s Bridge and Bettisfield where we turned off to Penley via Tarts Hills. From here on Ray, with the route programmed into his Garmin, shepherded us back to Bellis by way of Bangor on Dee to arrive a few minutes after they had stopped serving for the afternoon. Never mind; it had been a wonderful day, with beautiful lanes we hadn’t ridden before, great weather and good company. What more could you ask for? Thanks to Mike for a great day.
Distance from Chester and back 68 miles.

Saturday 23 May 2009

21st May 2009: Wrenbury

Five of us today (Jim, Dave, Ray, Graham and myself) arrived almost simultaneously at Rose Farm Garden Centre Café for elevenses. Graham had suggested a ride to the Anderton Lift and I had come up with a route, but Ray was adamant that better weather would be had by heading southwest. After a careful study of the map it was agreed that we would head south and a number of pubs were identified en-route to provide food and shelter should the forecast heavy showers catch us out.
We headed out past the Cotebrook Coffee Shop and made good progress until 50 yards past the Boot and Slipper at Wettenhall, Dave called a halt with a puncture. No problem you might think but how wrong can you be? It took three of us just to get the tire off! Then with a thorn identified as the culprit a new inner tube was fitted and the tyre re-inflated until the valve core blew out! A second inner tube proved to be a better bet and after a few more minutes we were able to resume the ride.
With Ray leading we decided to check out the new Aqueduct Marina Café on the B5074. Once we had tracked down the café at the back of the farm and outbuildings, departing became something of a test of will power as we were solely tempted to stop and sample the delicious omelettes on offer. Apparently unmoved by the sight of food Ray led us out, some more reluctantly than others, and we were soon making our way south through Ravensmoor towards Wrenbury with the sky darkening overhead.
Arriving at the Dusty Miller we were just in time to park up before the skies opened and the rain bucketed down. A variety of substantial open sandwiches served with salad and chips washed down with a choice of Nosey Parker or Unicorn cask ales provided a fine lunch. Future plans were the topic of the day and the planned train assisted ride from Shrewsbury back to Chester was confirmed for the 25th June. A circuit of the Mersey Estuary starting in Frodsham was also planned for the 16th July, while Dave promised to come up with a proposal for the Ribble Valley.
The return journey started with a roadside stop to investigate the mechanically laid sheets of plastic with plants poking through. Maize was the considered view. Then in brightening weather but with the wind against us we headed back past the Cholmondeley Arms and the Bickerton Poacher until we reached Beeston Castle where we stopped for coffee before heading home via Christleton.
Distance from Chester and back 60 miles.

Monday 18 May 2009

14th May 2009: Gwaenysgor

Over elevenses at the Gallery Tea Shop in Hawarden we discussed the venue for the day. With a miserable, damp, grey, misty day in prospect where else could we go but the seaside? Well almost: Graham suggested Llanasa with lunch at the Eagle & Child at Gwaenysgor returning over the Halkyns. Mike asked doesn’t any place with a double L in it means big hills? Since there were no other suggestions Gwaenysgor was agreed unanimously and Graham led us off through Ewloe and Northop until, by utilising the edge of a short section of the A55, we emerged by the Britannia Inn at Halkyn. This section was new to me: a route to the coast that didn’t involve the busy coast road or a climb over the Halkyns or Clwydians!
Graham had more treats in store however, and after leaving Whitford we continued along delightful lanes through Tre-Mostyn and Trelogan to Llanasa before the smell of the sea reminded us that we were near the coast. Then to add the final touch to a wonderful morning the smell of wild garlic in abundance greeted us as we approached Gwaenysgor for our lunch stop. The Eagle & Child proved to be more than up to the task of feeding six hungry cyclists: an excellent choice spoilt only by the price of lime and soda which was so far over Ray’s spec that a complaint was lodged with each of the available staff willing to listen. Once lunch was over I gently broached the subject of Brian Lowe’s latest attempt to remove all references to the Chester Easy Riders blog from the C&NWCTC website but with the matter in the hands of the Committee we quickly moved on to corruption in high places and MP’s expenses claims.

Photograph by Bryan Wade

Before starting our return journey proper Graham led us up to the viewpoint overlooking
Prestatyn where, although mist obscured what would otherwise have been a fine view, we nevertheless had a good photo opportunity. Unfortunately time dictated the need to start our return and after retracing the route to Gwaenysgor we were on new lanes through Axton to Babett and then on to Pentre Halkyn, Soughton, Buckley and back to Hawarden where the group split up to make its own way home. For me it was a quick descent to the Ferry Lane bridge returning to Chester at 6.10pm just in time to shower and change before joining the Thameswey Tandem Club Chester rally.
An excellent 60 mile ride on beautiful lanes which just has to be repeated when the weather gets better. Many thanks Graham.

Saturday 9 May 2009

7th May 2009: Swettenham

Photographs by Ray Hardman

Mike emailed on the 6th suggesting Swettenham as the destination, together with an outline route. A few minutes to get the route into the Garmin and all was set for the day, which was forecast to be sunny but windy.
So in bright sunshine and with a westerly wind on my back I arrived at the Windsurfing Centre to join Graham, Jim, Mike, Dave H and Dave McW the signalman (on his way to work) for tea and a chat. No dissenters on the route so eyes down for Swettenham, but keeping an occasional eye out for a good pub. Mouldsworth Hill warmed up an already warming day and the jerseys were soon opening like the leaves in the hedgerows. The lush vegetation, with its array of freshly blossoming wild flowers, was to be a constant feature of the day. We headed out via Great Budworth and Plumley at an easy pace as we knew we would have 40 miles against the wind on the return leg; so by the time we had reached Swan Green - just after Lower Peover - it was 1:30pm and lunch was beckoning as we spotted The Crown. It was warm enough for lunch in the beer garden so we could nurse our bikes while we sampled the menu. Luckily, lime and soda was just within spec. at £1:30p and we were well satisfied with the baguettes and jacket potatoes.

A little philosophy (How will society replace the pub?) and also (Where will our legless youth migrate to from the club?) and then we were ready for the off as we had only completed 30 miles and still had 40 to do. Down through Goostrey and Twemlow Green where a photo opportunity presented itself with the Jodrell Bank radio telescope in the background. Then a minor disaster: a Google map 'road' turned out to be an Ordnance Survey track to Kermincham Hall in Swettenham. Can this be a Ray route, he who does not do tracks? After reaching Somerford as the most easterly point we started to turn into the wind to head back via Brookhouse Green and Brereton Green before taking the back lanes to Middlewich to cross the Shropshire Union canal. Legs were tiring against the wind and the pace was dropping, prompting Jim to phone home to give his ETA as 'sometime this month'. Graham still had 40 miles to do back to Prestatyn so the rest of us couldn't moan. So with Dave peeling off at Cotebrook, Mike at Tarvin and Jim at Vicars Cross it was left to me to take Graham back for some carbo loading and moral support before setting him off into the wind for his final 22 miles to give him 124 for the day; the rest of us managing around 80.

Friday 1 May 2009

30th April 2009: Panorama Route & Worlds End

Photographs by Bryan Wade

What’s happened to the sun? Just when we need good weather to enjoy the views from the Panorama Route it’s wet and miserable. So it was on with the waterproofs and off to Caergwrle to join the others for elevenses. I arrive early, despite trying and failing to find a new way over a roman bridge suggested by Ray. Ray and Mike arrive together, having discovered an “even better” route, which turns out to be the one I had been using for the last year! Graham completes the group of four for the day so we set off up “the steps” with Ray leading. The plan is to head up through Minera and then to take the back lanes south to Penycae before contouring round on the Panorama Walk. We make good progress with the only stops being to shed waterproofs and then put them back on as the weather changes: at least the rain wasn’t heavy. By the time we reached the Panorama Walk the rain had eased and we stopped to admire the view and take photographs.
Lunch at the Sun Inn at Trevor necessitated a long and steep descent almost down to the River Dee knowing full well that we would have to climb back up after. The Sun did us proud with a good choice of food (including a very satisfying chicken curry) washed down with Timothy Taylor. While discussing the benefits or otherwise of stainless steel chains, armadillo v continental tyres and other sundry cycling topics the rain bucketed down outside making us reluctant to leave. Leave we had to though, as the Inn was being locked up for the afternoon. Back in the saddle we used the car park to engage bottom gear and started on the climb back up the way we had come and then on towards Worlds End. Having done this section a couple of weeks earlier I wasn’t looking forward to the final climb out of Worlds End but we all made it in good spirits although I for one needed a stop at the top to recover! It just doesn’t seem to get easier. From here on the gradient was easier and we were able to enjoy the views over the moors before a fast descent returned us to Minera, Cefn-y-bedd, the Kinnertons and home.
The round trip from Caergwrle was just over 30 miles while Chester and back totalled 53 miles with a tiring 2269 metres of ascent.