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 27 March 2010

25th March 2010: Egremont Ferry

Every ride is different with Chester Easy Riders and today was no exception calling for two quite different rides from Ness Gardens.
Brian’s story
It was very encouraging to see two bikes at the Ness Gardens RV before I arrived at 10:30.  I thought that folks are eager to get going, always a good sign. By the 11:00 KO, we had Clive on his virgin Trek bike, the two Bri(y)ans, Dave P, Jim, Liz, Ivan and a warm welcome to Phil, joining us for the first time.
As this ride was billed (by Jonathon Ross) as www “wandering wound Wirral”, we set off East over the peninsula, past Bromborough GC to the forgotten Victorian playground of Raby Mere.  Then it was up the steepest hill in Wirral (all 100 yards long) to Poulton Lancelyn, where we turned north through Brackenwood and on to Lord Levers farm at Storeton.  From there it was 4 miles of residential development (& Birkenhead) past Brian’s alma mater and an old girlfriend’s house.  Where is Marie now?
Just before lunch, the sun shone on the righteous, down by the sandy beaches of the Mersey.  All true, check out Seacombe beach at low tide.  Lunch was had in the Egremont Ferry Hotel, washed down with an excellent Cains again.
After lunch, we continued anti-clock along the Wirral foreshore, passing the huge redevelopment mess at New Brighton; what’s that about?  Then the ride along the North shore made it all worthwhile………….. sun on our faces, no wind, a traffic free cycle way and one of Mother Natures most spectacular sights, tens of thousands of starlings in a “murmuration”.   (You got fit and educated on this ride.)  We continued round the bend (literally) at Hoylake and then paralleled the Dee, riding south through the middle of Wirral, passing Caldy, Irby, Barnston, Leighton, Little Neston and back to Ness Gardens, all avoiding the busy A540.  A sunny and very pleasant 41 miles. Thank you to everyone who made it easy after my unforeseen absence.
Bryan’s story
As Phil was on his first ride with the group and not yet up to speed Bryan and Phil embarked on a shorter version of the main ride aiming to join the others for lunch at the Egremont Ferry at 12.45pm.  Leaving the others to visit Raby Mere we headed straight to Raby and Thornton Hough along the lanes and then on to Storeton where the main group passed us on their way to Birkenhead Park.  Not to be outdone we made a fast descent down to the centre of Birkenhead with the intention of circling the park before heading for lunch.  Half way round the main group appeared heading in the other direction!  We decided to follow but were dropped after a mile.  Now there is only one way from where we last saw them to Seacombe and that’s the way we went but there was no sign of them when we arrived: until a few minutes later they turned up having failed to find a mythical crossing of the docks! So much for local knowledge.
After a good lunch at the Egremont Ferry pub (don’t be put off by the external appearance) we followed the others through New Brighton before turning away from the coast at Dunes onto NCR 56.  This should have been an easy route, but with major road works under the motorway flyover necessitating a poorly signed diversion followed by a new B&Q built across the route we began to think that we would never leave Bidston.  Once back on course we headed for Thingwall, Barnston and Parkgate where we joined the Wirral Way for the last stretch back to Ness Gardens where we arrived just before 5.00pm.

Thursday 18 March 2010

18th March 2010: Brindley

The forecast threatened rain but the tandem duo (Dave and Liz) on their recently repaired bike, along with Clive, set out from Bellis in the general direction of Cholmondely and Brindley.  Ivan rang just before we left to say that he was mistakenly at Ness Gardens!  It wasn’t Ivan’s day as he had suffered a tyre blow out just before he got to Ness and domestic car assist was engaged.  Leaving Bellis via Wetreins Lane and up through Tilston and Duckington, we bowled along via quiet lanes towards the Cholmondely Arms pub. Setting off to Chorley and looking for any signpost on the left to Brindley, we eventually ended up in Swanley Bridge over the canal and off the known world (well the OS map we had with us anyway).  A few miles back along the A534 found us at “The Thatch” pub in Faddiley/Brindley for lunch.  Just at that time there were a few spots of rain so in we quickly went for a few pints of TT Landlord and a very pleasant (if a bit pricey) hot lunch.  Why is Chorley signposted from Brindley but not the other way round?  I know Ray – we should have taken the signs for Faddiley! Having put the world to rights over lunch, Liz and Dave decided to head back to Farndon via Spurstow and Peckforton for a 35-40 mile round trip to pick up their car.
Clive decided to push on after Spurstow through Bunbury and up to Eaton.  Making for the Shire Horse centre at Cotebrook, Stable Lane was taken left off the main road, swiftly followed by Heaths Lane, Tirley Lane and on up to the top of Kelsall Hill by the Farmers Arms.  This is a steady climb but well rewarded by magnificent views all around especially the threat of rain over in the Wrexham hills direction.  A swift descent followed, via the old Kelsall main road, and then back into Chester and on to Mollington.
The odometer had just touched 60 miles along with the wind picking up and rain threatening.  Another “Grand Day Out” which only was lacking sunshine (and a few more Easy Riders) to make it memorable.

Friday 12 March 2010

11th March 2010: Bangor on Dee

A bright sunny beckoned and it held all day – glorious spring weather but a little cold – Ivan, Dave Pike, Ray Stigter and Clive set out from Rose Farm at a fast pace bound for the Buck pub in Bangor. Sailing through Tarporley then via Beeston Castle, on to Peckforton along a very badly rutted Stonehouse Lane, took us eventually onto the A534 at Bulkeley via a left down Mill lane. After a 5 minute stop at Yew Tree Farm to check out the café for future rides, we were off up the incline on Wrexham road finally turning left down Long Lane to Larkton. A left here took us down to the No Man’s Heath turn on the A41. Ignoring this and heading south, we turned first right towards Bradley and then onto to Lower Wych. This is a little hamlet in a folded valley – fun going down but a climb out, followed by a long run until turning right after Lower Barnes towards Tallarn Green. A quick left before the bridge took us through quiet lanes and glorious views via Mulsford before making the final climb and descent into Bangor. 27 miles from Rose Farm in just over 2 hours – we were ready for a rest. The Buck did us proud with an excellent lunch and also providing spectacle-mending facilities for Clive. All were agreed that we should make best use of the weather and an indirect return leg was plotted out. With Dave leading we found ourselves back via the smallest lanes into Farndon. A dash across the Wrexham Road took us via Wetreins Lane to Stretton, then round the back of Carden Hotel and into Chowley Lane in Clutton. All were agreed on a drink’s stop at the Ice Cream Farm in Tattenhall before setting of at 16.30 via the usual route back to Chester. This was a 70-mile round trip from Chester averaging just shy of 14 mph with 2388ft of ascent and a highest point of 488 feet. All agreed it was a “Grand Day Out”.

Sunday 7 March 2010

4th March 2010: Gronant

Earlier in the week Ray had emailed with the suggestion that today’s ride from Hawarden should go out to Gronant near Prestatyn so that we could link up with Graham Payne.  Sounds like a good idea to me so I email the troops while Ray prepares the route.  Come the day 11 of us meet up at Hawarden, including Graham himself.  Is this the Graham Payne fan club I ask, or the promise of a good ride? Whatever the reason it’s a record for a regular Thursday ride: Dave Hill, Liz, Omry, Graham, Bryan, Clive, Dave Heath, Ray and Ivan plus two new riders Alan Oldfield and Alan Mort.
With the route predetermined we should be away on time but nothing is as straightforward as that. By the time all eleven of us have had our tea and teacakes its past eleven o’clock.  I notice Clive pumping up his front tyre.  “Got a puncture” I ask “No but the tyre’s blown off”. Closer inspection shows that the tyre isn’t seated properly so it’s out with the wheel and refit the tyre.  At last we’re ready and Ray leads off towards Ewloe and a diversion to Ewloe Green to add some early interest to the ride.  From here on we follow the original route through Northop, a short section of the A55 then up to the Britannia Inn and on to Holywell.  From Holywell we are back on the altogether more enjoyable lanes again through Whitford and Trelogan before descending steeply to the coast where we use the A548 to take us to lunch at the Bells of St Mary’s.
Now the Bells of St Mary’s isn’t our normal type of pub stop as is evident by the throng of customers jostling to get in. Well it’s certainly popular with the locals and with Cairns bitter on tap the beer’s not bad either.  As too food, it’s the carvery or the carvery, which explains the queue in an airport style check-in snaking back and forth.  This is too much for Dave Heath and with “I only want a sandwich”, he promptly disappears not to be seen for the rest of the day. I buy my pint and a carvery ticket and sit down to wait for the queue to disappear: big mistake!  As fast as the front of the queue is served more customers arrive, “Is the whole of Prestatyn here?”  Well at £3.59 for a superb carvery of pork, turkey and beef it is perhaps understandable. Could there be better value?
Clive has to get back so while the rest of us relax after eating he departs taking the coast road back to Chester.  By 2.15pm its time for the rest of us to leave starting with a climb up through Gronant to Llanasa.  Once on top the going is easier and we enjoy the ride in almost perfect cycling weather.  Then Alan and Graham head off for their respective homes leaving just seven to continue.  Ivan and Liz overtake Ray and take to the front for the descent through Gorsedd unaware that the rest of us are turning off at the Druid Inn: that leaves five! “They must be in Holywell by now” says Ray. I try Ivan’s mobile: no luck there, only a message saying he doesn’t pick up his messages so don’t leave one!  I try Liz next and a surprised Liz answers to discover that they need to cycle back uphill to rejoin us.
Once together again we continue through Brynford enjoying the views over the Dee Estuary from the Halkyns before a fast descent down towards Northop spoilt only by thorn strewn sections of the lanes.  Four riders decide on the direct route back through Northop while Ray, Liz and I complete the route back to Hawarden with Ray and I following the Dee cycle path back to Chester.
Today was certainly a day to remember: many thanks Ray for a great day out. Distance from Chester and back 61 miles.
See route map and/or gpx file download.