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 November 2010

25th November 2010: Eastham Ferry

Wonders never cease.  With the prospect of -5º C temperatures and snow, I would not have been surprised if I was the only rider out today.  But CER are made of sterner stuff.  The even bigger surprise was that even with the new 10:00 winter start, we had seven riders at the Little Roodee as the cafe opened.  Clive, Dave & Liz, George, Martin, Ivan, Ray and Brian set off by 10:30 with Dave who was going to do a short ride.  Thursday was one of those rare ones in winter that you just grab; it was bright, crisp & clear, perfect for an Easy Ride.
As we had a Northerly, we set off along The New Cut to Hawarden Bridge.  From there, taking the dry roughish track thro Shotwick, we crossed the Wirral peninsula, thro Hooton, Raby Mere, Bromborough, stopping for lunch right on time at the Eastham Ferry Hotel.
The “Sneck Lifter” from Cumbria (nothing to do with Martin) was well thought of, as was the 2 4 1 Lunch.  Opinion was that The Ferry was worth repeating, especially with the generous portions.  After lunch, a bright photo shot of the group in front of a huge red oil tanker on the high tide, turned in to a picture of the pavement.  No David Bailey today.

Photographs by Ivan Davenport

The return ride with the wind behind us took us thro Eastham, which turned in to a 1970s nostalgia trip for Ivan & Clive.  On thro Raby and Thornton Hough, we found ourselves back on the banks of The Dee Estuary at Parkgate.  The obligatory ice cream & coffee was taken at Nicholls award winning Parlour.  No guesses as to who sneaked off for a quick pint in The Ship.  With the light fading we pressed on back to Chester, via Little Neston & Puddington on Sustrans NCR 56, to end a most enjoyable 47 miles.
This week’s Question......................  How many extinct ferry ports did we visit?  For the Answer, come next week.
B Mac

Sunday 21 November 2010

18th November 2010: Aston

The weather forecast was rain (almost certainly) but cycling out from Chester to Holt, the rain held off despite the murky vistas.  There were seven of us (Liz and Martin, Dave M, George, Brian Mac, Ray S and myself) for the pre-ride hot drinks at Bellis’s café.  Two potential rides were discussed; one west via Wrexham to Loggerheads, which was discarded because it meant hills and rain, and a south easterly one to Aston.  CER had last visited Aston’s Bhurtpore Inn (for it’s history see http://www.bhurtpore.co.uk/history.htm) just over a year ago (5th November to be precise). Although I was the only rider present to have visited it last year, the prospect of a menu of real ales and decent food was the clincher.  Just as we were leaving my mobile rang – it was Ivan – he had just realised he was at the wrong venue and “where were we heading for lunch?”  He knew the pub since he was one of the CER group from last year’s visit. “I’ll meet you in the bar”, says Ivan. We all thought – if he can find it from the other side of Chester!
Off we rode through Shocklach and the back way to Chorlton.  A rare event then occurred; a motorist stopped to say the road ahead was strewn with thorns and the offending tractor, when it saw us, stopped hedge trimming to let us past – such consideration which was immediately dashed by the white van driver who refused to slow down in the narrow lane and forced us all into the side of the lane. Ignoring the correct right turn in Chorlton, we went left and had to double back a bit outside Malpas down Sunnyside (it wasn’t!) to get onto Dog Lane at Oldcastle Heath.  Heading for Lower Wych, the lane takes you down into the folded valley which marks the Welsh/English border. Up the steep climb and out to Wigland we went down to Higher Wych, later passing Iscoyd House (ideal as a wedding venue apparently).  At Redbrook Maelor, we turned left onto the A525 towards the outskirts of Whitchurch. Turning into Chemistry (such an odd road name), it started to rain as we threaded our way through Whitchurch town seeking the cycle route 45 to Wrenbury. Once out on Black Park lane passing Blakemere, through Hollyhurst and Pinsley Green, and with Dave M leading the way, the Bhurtpore pub soon appeared.
The Bhurtpore lived up to its reputation with a wide choice of real ales and food, all served very promptly at the table. Just then a text arrived from you-know-who; the contents of which will not be made public to spare the sender’s blushes – suffice it to say we seven did not become eight for lunch. The rained had stopped as we made our way back via Wrenbury to Cholmondeley Castle gates at which point four split off to go back to Bellis’s via Tilston to pick up their cars. Their round trip was around 42, incident–free, miles. We remaining three made our way towards Gallantry Bank where Dave M split off for home leaving Ray and myself to slog up Harthill in order to justify the coffee and cake at the Ice Cream farm. The Chester round trip was 65 miles and considering the weather forecast, very little rain but still a murky mid November day.
See route map and/or gpx file download.

NB: Next week’s ride from the Little Roodee will be led by Brian Mac and will leave at the new earlier time of 10:30 hours.

Tuesday 16 November 2010

11th November 2010: Bickerton Poacher

The big question for today is ‘what will the weather bring?’  Early in the week the forecast was for heavy rain all day but later on this changed to heavy showers and strong winds.  Last night the forecast was for showers and gale force winds gusting to 80 mph.  With such a forecast it was surprising to have a respectable turnout of eight members with six riding.  Bob and Dave McW there for a chat over elevenses and Clive, Ivan, Mike G, George, Martin and myself riding.  Given the uncertainty over the weather we decided a circular route staying within easy distance of home was called for.  I proposed lunch at the Bickerton Poacher by way of Eaton, Bunbury, Brindley and Cholmondeley, with the return route to be decided over lunch.
With the route agreed we paid our respects to the war dead of past and current conflicts with a two minutes silence on this Remembrance Day.  Then it was time leave, heading to Cotebrook with the wind behind us before turning south and the back lanes through Eaton to cross the A51 at Tilstone Fearnall.  After Bunbury Clive and Ivan took up the lead as we headed through increasingly muddy lanes to Brindley.  From here on we were heading eastwards into the wind passing Cholmondeley Castle before the final stretch north to the Bickerton Poacher.
Although only just over a power cut the staff soon had the kitchen up and running again while we sampled the ale.  The Theakstons Old Peculiar went down well, as did the other ales and not a single lime and soda in sight!  (As an aside I even had an email from Trevor the other day reporting the price of lime and soda in Thailand: 40 baht apparently.  What have you started Ray!)  The proposed change to the ride start time came up over lunch and with 15 votes in favour of an earlier start the majority view was clear.  It was agreed to implement the change on the 25th November when we will meet at the Little Roodee Café at 10.00am for a 10.30 start.
Photograph by Ivan Davenport

Dragging ourselves away from the convivial surroundings of the pub, where Ivan was threatening to stay all afternoon, we climbed back up Gallantry Bank before circling Bickerton Hill clockwise.  Once past Bolesworth Castle it was downhill to the Ice Cream Farm for coffee and cake before starting the final leg back to Chester against the wind.
What started as a journey into the unknown, weather wise, turned into a great day out on lovely lanes not far from home.  Yes it did rain, and the wind did get up, but only after we arrived home.  What more can you ask for?
Distance from Chester and back 52 miles.
See route map and/or gpx file download.

Friday 5 November 2010

4th November 2010: Llanferres

The weather forecast was not wrong for once today: bright earlier on with rain in the afternoon. All those riding today agreed with the suggested route that would get us to the Druid Inn at Llanferres for lunch. A few riders were just out for the teacake and hot drink – but only one had a valid reason for not riding out today! So, seven bikes (eight riders) set off a little later than normal. The route took us out through Ewloe and the usual back lanes way to Northop. Brian Mac unexpectedly dropped off in Northop – not sure why, but we hope all was OK with him. It was unseasonably very mild and most riders had too much gear on for the climb out of Northop to the top of Halkyn Mountain. When the sun came out, the autumn trees were very picturesque, and several lanes were covered with pine needles, which were showering down like rain in the strong wind. Although the sunken lanes gave us some protection until we hit the top, we were not really prepared for the Force 10 gale “on the nose” on the exposed ride to Rhes-y-Cae and Lixwm. Missing the planned right turn (a current feature of my map reading), the group climbed back up across the main A541 to explore the delightful village of Nannerch. Wikipedia describes the village thus: “Nannerch is one of the ancient parishes of Flintshire, made up of the townships of Trellan, Trefechan, Trecwm and Tre Penbedw. It is a quiet and attractive ancient village, sitting on a bedrock of carboniferous limestone, overlain by glacial boulder clay with glacial hollows”. You never do know what you’re cycling over! Back on the A541, the Cilcain turn soon came up and the ever-climbing undulating road brought us to the White Horse crossroads. “Is this the lunch stop?” cried a few voices – “No, it’s a little bit further on” came the leader’s reply. Very soon we were on the thoughtfully provided counter-directional “cycle path” alongside the A494 that took us straight to the Druid Inn (alt. 260m) in Llanferres. There was a warm fire and an extensive menu, promptly served, and although tasty, a little bit over-priced or small portioned. However there were several beers to choose from and the lime and soda, at £1.40, was mid-priced.
Discussing the return route and looking at the wind and the rain outside, a less hilly route to get onto the A5104 at Treuddyn, was plotted i.e. we took the B5430 rather than climbing up to Eryrys. Thankfully the rain stopped after about an hour. The long fast downhill run to Pontybodkin and on to Penyffordd brought us eventually to the top of Bilberry Wood where Dave and Dave and Liz went back to their cars in Hawarden. The remaining four of us took the usual way back to Chester via the Saltney Ferry crossing. Although the circular route from Hawarden was only 34 miles, the Chester loop added a further 16 miles and there was 650ft of straight climb with most of the route uphill fighting against a very strong headwind. Cycling back along the Dee cycle path, Chester looked very foreboding against the dark cloud backdrop pierced by the big white fun wheel being erected in Castle Square.
See route map and/or gpx file download.