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.

Saturday 31 October 2009

29th October 2009: Northop

The clocks went back an hour last Sunday so we will have an hour less daylight from now on; however its still early Autumn so it shouldn’t be a problem today.  We are due to meet at the Little Roodee Café but when I arrive I note a small group of riders are huddled together outside.  Sure enough the café is closed, although Dave is convinced there is someone inside and hammers on the window.  No luck there though and as the numbers grow we decide to head down to the Blue Moon Café leaving Mike to redirect any late arrivals. 
Eight of us today including Ivan Davenport joining us for the first time after seeing our blog on the web earlier this morning!  I suggest a ride to Northop for lunch returning through the lanes above Mold, Pontybodkin and the Kinnertons.  That should allow us an early lunch and plenty of time in the afternoon.  With full agreement we set off a little behind schedule, due to the change of venue, and are soon heading along the River Dee Cycle Path towards Hawarden Bridge deep in conversation.  Graham T leaves us in Shotton to visit Deeside Cycles while the rest of us continue on the coast road.  Ray and Ivan are out in front as we head up the steep lane from the power station to the B5126 and we don’t see them again until we reach the Boot in Northop for lunch.  A wedding party are being served when we arrive but the Directors bitter makes up for the longer than normal wait for food.  Wheels, rims and wheel building are the main topic today along with Mike’s exploits checking out venues for our Christmas lunch ride.  (If you intend to come for the Christmas lunch let Bryan know ASAP)
With the delayed lunch it’s almost 14.00 by the time we leave Northop for Soughton by the back lanes before skirting Mold to head uphill to Gwernaffield-y-Waun.  From here the plan is to contour round above Mold to Nercwys and on to Treuddyn but fate intervenes and Dave makes contact with an immoveable object in the shape of a parked car while the rest of us continue to the next turning unaware of his prang.  There’s only six of us I note turning into the lane by the Swan “who’s missing?”  Retracing our steps we soon discover Dave at the side of the road with a badly gashed finger, grazed knees and hurt pride.  Once first aid has been applied an inspection of the bike reveals that both wheels are buckled: the rear rather badly.  Mission Control is called to facilitate evacuation and leaving Dave and Jim at the Swan, five of us continue to Treuddyn and a fast descent down to Pontybodkin.  A right and sharp left then has us struggling up the sharp initial part of the climb over the shoulder of Hope Mountain before a shout from the back indicates that Mike has a puncture.  While Mike and Ray work on the puncture Brian Mac decides to press on to Hope to get his hourly train back home.  Once the puncture is mended it’s downhill all the way past Hope and the Kinnertons down Sandy Lane, before making for Ferry Lane and the Dee Cycle Path home.
What a ride!  We had our fair share of incidents today but it all ended well.  The lanes above Mold were a real delight along with a fair sprinkling of hills to keep us on our toes.
Distance from Chester and back 40 miles. For route map and/or gpx file download.

Friday 23 October 2009

22nd October 2009: Malpas

Today saw the arrival of Clive on his maiden voyage with CER. Welcome.  The cold weather and 25 mph wind also sorted the men from the boys......... wearing shorts.  The earlier 15 minute start saw us easily away by 11.00am: a big improvement.
With no Bryan or Ray to lead us down tracks that no one else knew, we decided to stick to well known "B" roads & head out to Malpas via Bangor on Dee.  The attraction of quiet, little lanes soon got the better of Graham who had us ducking and diving down roads not on my map, as though we were trying to shake off a surveillance team behind us.
The Old Fire Station, Malpas was our lunch stop again, where two of us had that new culinary delight of cheese and spaghetti, on a bad of toast:  delicious.  It could have been the Ritz.  With no high milers out today, we arrived back early at Bellis, then on to Chester to take the rest of the afternoon off to shop at The Bike Factory. 
An easy 45 miles from Chester and back, and Clive was still smiling and talking at the end, so it can’t have been that bad for him.

Friday 16 October 2009

15th October 2009: Lower Peover

We meet at Rose Farm Garden Centre café in Utkinton this morning.  That’s just over an hour’s ride, and its mid-October, so I dress warmly only to discover on the way out that it’s exceptionally mild today.  Arriving hot I settle down with the map to plan a route.  Since I need to be back by 17.00pm, it can’t be too long and I settle on Lower Peover via Whitegate and Davenham.  This is a lovely route marred only by the rough stretch just after the Weaver.  Jim arrives and Dave interrupts his packing to telephone and wish us well.  With most of the others away it looks as though there will only be two of us today; but then Ray arrives to make it three.  Now Ray doesn’t do tracks so I promise that we will walk the rough bit.
By just after 11.00 we are ready to leave and head off through Cotebrook to Whitegate with the wind behind us.  Walking up the rough stretch under the railway a mountain biker, coming the other way, gives us a disdainful look as if to say “what: can’t get up here without pushing?”  We are soon back in the saddle and admiring the impressive church in Davenham before following the lanes to Lach Dennis and Lower Peover.  It’s only 12.30 when we arrive at the Bells of Peover pub for lunch: a good choice of cask ale, unlike the previous time I visited, and waitress service.  We even got an extra portion of chips on the house!  The prices weren’t too bad either with Ray’s lime and soda at a respectable 95p.
It was soon time to leave so after reaching broad agreement on the route back we paid a brief visit to the timber church of St. Oswald before crossing the church yard to the lanes on the other side.  From here we headed south to Goostrey, Holmes Chapel and Middlewich before passing the interesting brick church of St. Bartholomew in Church Minshull.  Conscious of the need to get back by 17.00pm, and with the wind against us, we now took the direct route home through Bunbury, Beeston, Huxley and Christleton to arrive in Chester about 16.45pm.
Another great ride with the distance from Chester and back nudging 70 miles.

Tuesday 13 October 2009

11th October 2009: Ribble Valley

Sunday morning at 8.45am by the Hoole roundabout and a group of people are loading bicycles into a large white van.  Is this the result of nefarious night-time activities?  Are the bicycles destined for the black market?  But no: this marks the start of two firsts for Chester Easy Riders, our first away ride and our first Sunday ride.  And what a start: 14 members and guest riders registered, with 12 at the meet in Hoole.
Dave has been planning for today’s ride over the last month but even he has no control over the weather, so although we have been enjoying beautiful autumn weather over the last few weeks the journey up the motorway to the Ribble Valley is distinctly wet!  The ride start point is Whalley Abbey where Dave has arranged pre-ride refreshments at the café.  Here we meet up with Tony and Jonathan Small who have made their own way to the Abbey.  Then with everyone present its time for the off in light rain and with a heartfelt farewell from a local resident!
Dave leads us off at a steady pace past the impressive medieval church at Great Mitton heading for Hurst Green through the grounds of the impressive Stonyhurst College.  Here we stop to admire the architecture while Glennys records the moment.  Then looping back we re-cross the River Hodder and skirt around Longridge Fell before a comfort stop in Chipping.  This pretty village and its cyclist’s café deserve more attention than we have time for today: perhaps next year?  Turning northeast we head uphill until just before Wild Boar Park, Dave punctures. While a small group watch with encouraging remarks the puncture is fixed and we are off again.  Riding quietly along at the back of the group I am struck by the peace and tranquillity of the area: even the sheep and cattle seem more relaxed than those on the Cheshire plain.  It’s not hard to understand why Dave loves the area so much.  Then we leave the ridge for an exhilarating swooping descent down to Burholme Bridge.  By the time we make Dunsop Bridge it is 2.00pm so we stop at the café for a tea/coffee and cake.  While Dave rings ahead to warn our lunch venue that we are running late the rest of us take the opportunity to chat, and with seven guest riders joining us from groups across the C&NWCTC area there is much to talk about.  The ride to Waddington takes us through Whitewell with the river below us as we ride through the valley before turning uphill to Cow Ark past Browsholme Hall where, with only 10 minutes of riding before our eagerly awaited lunch stop, Jonathan punctures.  Eventually arriving at the busy Lower Buck pub in Waddington at 3.45pm we are given a warm welcome and are relieved to find that food is still being served.  It may be late but this is truly an inspired choice: an excellent range of cask ales from which I choose the Black Cat (its great to have the opportunity to try a good traditional mild) and a range of delicious home made meals to choose from.  One couldn’t wish for a better stop.

Photographs by Glennys Hammond

It’s after 5.00pm by the time we leave the pub so Dave wisely decides to shorten the route back to Whalley where we arrive just before 6.00pm with 40 miles completed and an appreciation of the rugged beauty and interest of the Ribble Valley and Forest of Bowland.  Many thanks Dave.  All your planning and hard work paid off, for this was a truly memorable ride.  A return trip next year?  Yes please: you can put me at the top of the list.

Saturday 10 October 2009

8th October 2009: Malpas

Another dry day with sun forecast for the afternoon, promises a good cycling day, so armed with the local OS map its off to the Gallery Coffee Shop for elevenses.  Half way up the hill in to Hawarden my mobile rings: its Dave calling to say he won’t be riding today as he intends to do a final recce of his Ribble Valley ride.  Ray’s bike is outside when I arrive with Brian Mac close behind.  The usual tea and toasted teacakes are ordered and before long Jim arrives to complete the group of four.  Ray is nearing his target but still chasing the miles while the weather remains good.  His plan is to ride south to Rossett, then down to Bangor on Dee and through Oldcastle Heath to Malpas for lunch.  Returning to Hawarden from there should give us about 45 miles but Ray has it in mind to continue further east to Wrenbury before turning for home.
We agree to ride together to Malpas for lunch and then leave Ray to continue while the rest of us return to Hawarden.  Leaving Hawarden we head off through Bilberry Wood and are soon in the lanes enjoying the countryside and chatting away.  At Hoseley House I stop for a few moments, as I always do, to take in the view.  We’re not that high but the view across the Cheshire plain is stunning.  Then it’s catch-up with the others before skirting Wrexham Industrial Estate and through Bangor-on-Dee where Ray stops at the basket-making centre to advise the proprietress on the finer points of café food and pricing.  With luck Bangor-on-Dee will have its own cyclist café the next time we come through!  By now the sun is out and the last few miles through the lanes to Malpas seem to fly by.
Lunch is taken at the Fire Station Café where we discuss the forthcoming Ribble Valley ride (14 of us registered) and last week’s 80 miler to Barthomley.
After lunch three of us head back through Tilston and Holt where Brian heads off for the nearest station leaving Jim and I to continue through Higher Kinnerton and the long drag back up to Bilberry Wood and Hawarden.  A great day out.
Distance from Chester and back 60 miles.

Saturday 3 October 2009

1st October 2009: Barthomley

After the recent spell of warm autumn weather the air had a distinctly chilly note this morning although the forecast was for bright and dry conditions.  Leaving early I took the opportunity to check out progress on the Millennium cycle path extension to Mickle Trafford, which appears to be almost complete except for the surfacing.  By the time we next ride from the Windsurfing Centre it should all be finished.
Jim, Ray and Dave soon joined me over tea and teacakes while we discussed today’s ride.  Ray suggested Barthomley for lunch and outlined his proposed route through Cotebrook, Rease Heath and Hatherton.   Then with everyone in agreement Ray led us off up the first of many hills, over the Yeld, past Summer Trees tea rooms and on to Cotebrook.  Once on flatter terrain we were soon bowling along at a decent pace with the wind behind us.  Conversation was animated but I do recall passing Venetian Marina and the agricultural college before tacking the Nantwich traffic.  I had been a little sceptical of the wisdom of using the stretch of the A529 down to Hatherton but the leaders choice was soon vindicated and before long we were back on the lanes to Wrinehill, and the final stretch to Barthomley for a late lunch with 40 miles done.
One couldn’t wish for a better lunch stop than the White Lion: full of character, popular with the locals and excellent food and ale.  Then with a delicious hot-pot inside and conscious of the passing time we were soon back in the saddle heading for Nantwich via Wybunbury to sample kwazulu tea at Inglenook Tea Shoppe.  Suitably impressed by the tea and proprietor Bob’s description of its origin, but with tiring legs and with pleas for a flat route we were soon heading back towards Manley Mere with the dying sun casting long shadows across the roads as we revelled in the early evening light.  Past Beeston, Kelsall, Ashton and we were back at the Windsurfing Centre and all that remained was the ride back to Chester in the gathering gloom.
Another fantastic day: thanks to Ray for the choice of route, lunch stop and afternoon tea.
Distance from Chester and back 78 miles.
For route map and/or gpx file download.

24th September 2009: Unknown

Ride details to be posted when received.
If you were on this ride please contact Bryan or supply a brief description for the blog.