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 28 January 2011

27th January 2011: Sun Inn, Trevor

Cold (0°C) but dry and a hint of sunshine - just right for going over Horseshoe Pass.  I arrived at Tudor Café first, to find it firmly shut for the day.  Off up the High Street, I found the “Deli” which offered hot fare and a few seats – this will have to do.  Andy and Dave H were de-biking their cars in the car park so they went to the Deli while I went back to Tudor Café to find two lost souls looking for more cyclists.  This was repeated a little later with a further two lost souls.  We were nine in all, Dave H, Mike M, Ivan, Liz and Martin, Andy, Ray S, Brian Mac and I.  A circular route stopping at Sun Trevor pub was agreed.  It would be hilly on the way out and “flat” on the way back- only 34 miles but those hills take it out of your legs.
Setting off behind the car park was a small lane that would cut the corner off and save half the slog up the Minera Steps.  A slight hill climb practice up a no through road set us up for the long 20% climb proper up and onto the top to Cymau village.  After apologising for the rather hilly start  (there was no mention of chevrons on the OS map!) we ducked out of the village down the steep twisting River Lane ending at a ford.  A couple of brave bikers rode it, but the rest of us took the bridge.  An equally steep twisting ascent took us up to the Steps road – Ray S decided to change his front inner tube by the ford so we regained our breath whilst we waited for him.  The rest of the route of about 10 miles was all up hill.  Cutting right of the Steps Road into Bwlchgwyn (translates as “White Pass”) and across the A525, we reach the top and onto the Old Road.  Taking the lane to the Llandegla outdoor centre, we ran parallel to the Ruthin Road.  A left at the traffic lights took us up to the roundabout signposted left for the Horseshoe Pass.  We agreed to stop at the Ponderosa to regain our legs.  It became noticeably cold and windier as the advance guard arrived ready to use the facilities.  Once the rest arrived, an unscheduled tea-break ensued.  Good for morale I reflected, after a lot of climbing to get here.
Dave and Mike decided to take the main road down and meet us at the Sun Trevor Pub on the Wrexham side of Llangollen.  After carefully briefing the remaining riders about the steepness of the old Horseshoe Pass road and the fact we would take the first left to access the Panorama road, we set off down the lane brakes well engaged. A certain slim Trek rider zoomed past and into the distance and out of view.  We six all took the left lane to get us to the Panorama road.  It became quickly evident that we were missing a slim Trek rider.  Ten minutes later my mobile rings – “Where are you?  I’m at so-and-so”.  New directions were given via the main roads to the Sun Trevor.  Meanwhile we six enjoyed the panoramic views of the Llangollen valley and Dinas Bran ruins.  Arriving at the Sun Trevor we were very soon joined by the errant three.  There is always a warm welcome at the Sun Trevor with good real ale and fare with a window seat to boot. The return route took us past the Bryn Howell Hotel and down the back lanes passing the aqueduct canal basin and into Cefn Mawr high street (very sorry state) and onto Ruabon. There is nothing pretty around here so the back road to Wrexham found us twisting this way and that around the A483, finally arriving at the Sainsbury’s roundabout.  The Summerhill road beckoned and it gradually went uphill and largely parallel to the busy Wrexham to Hope road.  A short stretch of this road found us back at the start with the Deli café shut.  Four of us set off back for Chester via Sandy Lane Kinnerton making a 60 miler with lots of hills.
See route map and/or gpx file download.

Sunday 23 January 2011

20th January 2011: Bangor on Dee

As I left Chester the sun was shining brightly through the early morning fog and although it was -4°C, I was confident the sun would burn the fog off and we would have a sunny cold day.  How wrong can you be!  The only other bright lights seen today were the car headlights in the freezing fog!  I espied Ivan ahead going towards Greenlooms on the way to the Ice Cream farm, he was cycling uncharacteristically slowly.  The reason was icy lanes around Christleton and unplanned de-bike manoeuvre.  As soon as we got into Martin’s Lane, it was clear that there was no grip and cycling would have been positively dangerous, so we walked most of it (about 1.3 miles) until it felt safe to cycle again.  By the time we arrived at the café, it was close to 10:30 but Mike M and Trevor were just getting their drinks so we agreed to relax until 11:00 when the sun would of course have burnt the fog away.  A call from Ray S came in to advise us he was not coming to the start but “where were we thinking of a lunch stop”.  The Buck Hotel in Bangor–on-Dee was chosen so off we set on a modified back lane route.  Out through Tattenhall and down to the A41, we eschewed the Bolesworth way to Brown Knowl by cutting up off the A41 into Coach Road and then across the A534 into the continuation of Coach Road and into Old Coach Road.  This normally scenic route was limited to a gloom with only 200m visibility.  Over the crossroads at Old Hampton Post, we once again hit the A41. Taking our life in our hands, we ventured across the traffic, continuing along the truncated Old Coach Road and into No Man’s Heath.  “Can we stop here” came a cry as we passed the Wheatsheaf pub – no answer from the front – just a right hand signal and down the lane towards Malpas.  Cutting left we then followed the cycle route 70 down Mastiff Lane et al until we arrived close to Worthenbury on the B5069.  It was then a short run then to the Buck Hotel.  Ten minutes later, Ray S arrives covered in hoar frost from a solo ride out from Chester.  What value for money the Buck offers in its “Over 55” menu– a two course meal plus coffee and a real ale pint for under £10 – promptly served and tasty fare.  The big news was that Ray’s Van Nicholas had been delivered but he came out on his “old bike” in case he scratched the titanium frame in an untimely de-bike activity.  Back into the cold damp gloom the route back was the familiar run of Worthenbury, Shocklach, Tilston, and Coddington. Trevor and Mike split off to go back to Tattenhall having completed a 35 mile run and the remaining three of us went back to Chester via Churton, Bruera, Saighton and Waverton having clocked up nearly 60 mile round trip from Chester.  The day was not as planned but nevertheless an enjoyable ride even though we saw very little of the Cheshire countryside.
See route map and/or gpx file download.

Sunday 16 January 2011

15th January 2011: Revolution

The 2010/11 Revolution Champions were decided this evening at the Manchester Velodrome in an evening packed with non-stop action.  A party of eight CER were there to enjoy the racing as Maxgear Racing picked up the trophy.

Photographs by Brian MacDonald

A great evening thanks to Brian Mac who organised the trip.

13th January 2011: Egremont Ferry

With 11 riders meeting at 10:00 at Ness Gardens, is it New Year resolutions or has the CER been on a recruitment drive?  Whatever.
It’s always encouraging to see so many, and a warm welcome back to some faces not seen for a while, like Mike, Kate and Dave B.
With a SW breeze, the best route to New Brighton was clockwise via Thornton Hough and the Viking settlements of Pensby, Irby, Greasby, Frankby and Hoylake.   Then it was that very easy ride along the sea wall, past the new £60m development of lido, hotel and shops, which hope to bring the punters thronging back to regain New Brighton’s glory days.  A photo stop ensued at Perch Rock Fort (unfortunately the passerby recruited to take the snap suffered from uncontrollable camera shake requiring the later use of the delete button).  The fort has been guarding the Mersey entrance for nearly 200 years but with walls 24 feet thick, it only ever fired its huge guns twice; and that was in peacetime.

Photograph by Ivan Davenport

Lunch was again at The Egremont Ferry Hotel, where a quality pint of Cains is always served, while enjoying the views over the city opposite and the river below.  The TV was showing Everton’s recent 5 goal spree......... bliss.
The route back is easy if you know Birkenhead; Duke St Bridge, through The Park, Manor Hill, Storeton Rd, and down to Thornton Hough.  Then back through Raby and Neston for tea and cake at Ness Gardens.  An easy, pleasant, if uneventful ride round the Peninsula, of some 37 miles or around 60 miles for those riding from Chester.
See route map and/or gpx file download.

Sunday 9 January 2011

6th January 2011: Street Dinas & Overton Bridge

a. Street Dinas
A magnificent turnout at Bellis heralded the first ride in the New Year with12 bikes and 13 riders.  The suggestion of a route towards Chirk and a potential lunch stop at the excellent Greyhound at Street Dinas was approved and we set off via the back lanes towards the Wrexham Industrial Estate.  There is no pretty way to get to Cross Lanes so an amble past the WDA sponsored businesses (some now closed!) brought us to Cross Lanes lights.  Going straight across onto the B1530 we bisected the A528 and A525.  At the A528 junction we went straight across into the quiet and occasionally icy Welsh lanes.  Given the numbers riding, we stopped at the top of Bwgan ddu Lane to call the pub and after some hesitancy they welcomed us for lunch at around 13:00.  Turning right out of Bwgan ddu Lane – which roughly translated by Google means “The specter of black (sic)”, we went straight across the B road and through Crabtree Green to come to a halt at the A539 Overton to Ruabon road.  The leading pack of seven had taken a right turn just before the main road and unfortunately the trailing group was too far behind to see the turn and had gone straight on.  Mystified why the second group had not appeared, phone calls were made and Ivan offered to ride off to try to find the group.  After 15-20 minutes, the leading group decided that as the lunch venue as known (and it being only 8 miles away by main roads) we would ride on.  Down through Ruabon, we took the Newbridge road and after slogging up the long slope from the new bridge over the Dee, we headed for Chirk.  Taking the first lane on the left, we ended up near MacDonald’s just off the A5 at Halton.  After 16 miles, the pub was very close now, only 2 miles as the crow flies but double that for these very small winding Welsh Lanes, and for good luck adding in a 20% gradient lane with running water, field debris and ice, no wonder most of us walked up this steep section.  The Greyhound was welcoming and the food was promptly served.  After lunch, we took a meandering sedate ride back through the lanes to Overton and cut right via Hollybush Lane towards Worthenbury for the traditional route back via Shocklach.  Arriving back at Bellis for afternoon repast, we were reunited with the rest of the group.  We had clocked up 41 miles and as the dusk settled three of us took the Churton Road back to Chester.  The route from Bellis was 40 miles making it a 60 mile round trip from Chester.
See route map and/or gpx file download.

b. Overton Bridge
Deep in conversation as we progressed south from Crabtree Green the leading group had been out of sight for some time as the following group of six approached the A539.  Not realizing that the lead group had already turned off the lane some half a mile back we expected to see them at the main road: but there was no sight of them.  Which way had they gone: right on the main road or straight on?  Surely they would have waited if they had turned right?  So we headed straight on across the main road onto a lane I had not ridden before.  After a further mile and still no sight of the others I was wondering where this lane led.  Did Clive know of some short cut or was this a dead-end?  The SatMap indicated a dead-end so we stopped and consulted a passing horse rider.  “No it’s not a dead-end but it disintegrates into a potholed rough track which comes back onto this lane.”  So it’s a dead end then!
By now it’s 11:45am so it’s back to the main road and left to Ruabon to try and catch the others, or right to Overton Bridge and the attractions of the Cross Foxes.  By common consent the Cross Foxes had it and we rejoined the main roads and then the back lanes through Erbistock to Overton Bridge.  Once inside we chatted away happily until it was time to leave and then decided on the scenic but short route back rather than the longer Worthenbury/Shocklach alternative.  By 14:45pm we were back at Bellis ready for coffee and cakes having completed a 28 mile round trip or 50 miles in total from Chester and back.
Another great if interesting day with CER.

1st January 2011: Carden Arms, Tilston

Some half a dozen CER members met up with the Chester section of the C&NWCTC for the annual ride to the Carden Arms.  Somewhat unusually Martin decided on the short route, normally reserved for poor weather, this year.  Consequently the group was the first to arrive at the Carden Arms well before noon.  Before long the other groups appeared including those travelling by car (Bryan and Erla included).
This annual pilgrimage provides a great opportunity to meet up with friends in other groups and is always a good way to start the New Year.

Sunday 2 January 2011

30th December 2010: No Mans Heath

It was a grey dull overcast day with light fog, forecast to last all day, but hey the snow and ice had gone and it was great to be out and about again.  Six of us met at Rose Farm Garden Centre in Utkinton (Brian Mac, Dave Hill, Clive, Dave Heath, Ivan and Bryan) to find that frozen pipes meant the café was closed.  After waiting until 10:15am we left a note on the door to say we were off to the Fire Station Café in Tarporley for tea.  Unfortunately Dave and Liz P arriving later didn’t see the note and decided on a different café in Tarporley.
The Fire Station Café proved to be somewhat too welcoming and it wasn’t until around 11:00am that we got away. We had agreed on a ride to the Wheatsheaf at No Mans Heath with Clive navigating on a route programmed into his new Memory Map SatNav.  With that we headed off for Eaton, before looping south to Alpraham and eventually Bunbury where Dave Hill left us heading back to Chester.  The remainder continued on the empty lanes to Brindley where to vary the usual route Clive took us along the main road to Faddiley before rejoining the lanes.  Soon we were on NCN 45 for a few miles before the signposts reported No Mans Heath was only a few miles ahead.
The Wheatsheaf beckoned but as we locked up the bikes Clive noticed a group of walkers descending on the pub and with almost improper haste we made straight for the bar to get in first.  A good job we did as it turned out for with 20 of them pre-booked we would have been waiting for some time.
Now the Wheatsheaf specialises in sausages and their plate sized Yorkshire pudding filled with three sausages of choice, mash and gravy proved irresistible, along with the ale, of course.  Over lunch we discussed, amongst other matters, family tree research including a fascinating account of the problems of ‘incorrect’ birth certificates recounted by Brian Mac.  I had a brief chat with Barry Davis, ex C&NWCTC Rights Officer, out for the day with the 20 ramblers but still waiting for their food to be served.  Then we agreed a return route back via the Ice Cream Farm.
Out on the road the light fog was still in evidence, so it was on with the lights for the return journey just as they had been on the way out.  The Old Coach Road took us straight to Broxton Old Hall where we made a right turn to Brown Knowl and the usual route to the Ice Cream Farm via Bolesworth Castle.  Then while most of us settled down to an afternoon coffee and cake Brian Mac joined us with an overflowing ice cream cornet for the last chat of the day.  It was quietening down when we left, but Melanie reported that she had seen more cyclists over the last two days than the previous month.  Like us they had been eager to get out again once the snow and ice had disappeared.
With only a few more miles to go back to Utkinton or Chester we wished each other a Happy New Year and bid farewell.  Another great year of the Chester Easy Riders.
See route map and/or gpx file download.