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 26 February 2011

24th February 2011: Hanmer

For a change the forecast for the day was good and consequently there was a good turn out of 12 riders at the Bellis Garden Centre Cafe, Holt.  The roll call was Ivan, Clive, Ray, Mike G, George, Jim, Lizzie and Martin D, Dave and Liz P and Andy.  The first four rode to the cafe from Chester and, in Mike’s case, Connahs Quay.  Jim reported that Dave H had his new hip popped in last week and was making a satisfactory recovery.  We hope to see him back on his bike next week!  The group was thrilled to see that Ray’s new bike - a Van Nicholas Yukon - was being given its first official ride.  This model is rapidly becoming the all-purpose bike of choice for the discerning cyclist!
A decision was made to ride to Hanmer via Penley and Ellsmere.  We set out at comfortable pace through Farndon and heading south to Shocklach.  The temperature was rising well into double figures and a stop had to be made for removal of clothing layers.  At Tallarn Green the road appeared impassable where a bridge was being rebuilt but we were able to dismount and walk along a temporary pathway.  Towards Penley short climbs began to appear and Ray’s Van Nicholas showed an impressive turn of speed on one of them.  We passed though Penley and then skirted round the north of the mere at Ellesmere until we finally arrived at the Hanmer Arms for lunch at 12:45.
The 2-course menu at £7.95 proved popular and was generally rated as excellent.  The service was fairly rapid, so often a problem with larger groups.  The meal and increasingly warm and sunny weather meant that a degree of lethargy had to be overcome but we started rolling again along narrow country lanes where we passed more horses and tractors than cars.  Near Lower Wych Ivan called a puncture but mysteriously there appeared to be no discernible problem with either the tyre or the inner tube.  Some privately thought that it was a ruse on Ivan’s part to gain a respite form the fierce pace!  Several riders were having problems with a build up of drying mud between tyre and mudguard and improvised tools picked up from hedgerows were used to remove the accretions.
Eventually the Malpas church appeared on the hill top and we continued though the village and on to Tilston where the Chester boys peeled off and the remainder rode back to Bellis’ where we had a cup of tea in the hot and sunny cafe.
A pleasant meander of 40 miles through quite country lanes on what felt like the first day of   spring
See route map and/or gpx file download.

Saturday 19 February 2011

17th February 2011: Audlem

A grey cool day and thus it remained all day except for a brief glimpse of the sun around lunchtime.  Setting out for Rose Farm, I caught up with Liz and Dave on their tandem close to the café.  Waiting there were Andy, Liz and Martin, Trevor, Ivan and Dave M. Dave M was still poorly from his Oz holiday flights, so came along for companionship and coffee.  Dave and Liz were not going the full distance today, so we six set off for the Shroppie Fly pub in Audlem.  A minute down the road I realised I had left something behind, so asking the group to carry on I returned to the café saying I would catch them up.  Setting off again, I charged down the hill towards Tarporley and up the other side.  A quick change down to bottom gear resulted in a crashing of gears and a dead stop.  The rear mech was not adjusted properly (mea culpa) and the chain was caught solid.  Trying to sort this out on the hill was not clever so I carried the bike to top of the hill where the Famous Five were patiently waiting.  Borrowing a screwdriver from a local resident, the gearing was sorted out and we all set off bound for Eaton the back way out of Tarporley.  Thankfully the rest of the ride was incident free.
Into Winterford Lane and a few left and rights then found us on the A51 a mile north of Barbridge.  Taking the lane there, we eventually ended up near to Reaseheath and crossing the static traffic on the A51 we were quickly in the centre of Nantwich. Going via Queens Drive and the cycle path along the River Weaver, we were soon out and on the Hack Green Secret Bunker road towards Audlem.  This is a long quiet lane and comes out a mile south of Audlem.  Up the hill and a quick left at the canal found us at the pub – only 21 miles ridden but we were ready for lunch.  Good service and excellent fare refreshed us as we set off with 28 miles to do.  Out along a brief stretch of the Market Drayton road, we were soon back to hedge debris lined lanes towards Wilkesley.  The route back was very straightforward once we arrived in Aston.  Taking the NCR 45 we seemed to bowl along getting to the Ice Cream farm by mid afternoon.  After the customary sampling of the cakes, Liz and Martin wended their way back to Rose Farm with just short of 50 miles ridden.  The remaining four took the customary route back to Chester.  For me a round trip from home of 70 miles.
See route map and/or gpx file download.

PS: On this ride, I was using my Android smart phone with ViewRanger OS maps and route planning.  It worked very well – it will be more seamless once I have a bike mount for it, rather than having to keeping stopping to look at the display!  Apologies to the group today and thanks for your patience.

Saturday 12 February 2011

10th February 2011: Tremeirchion

After a short ride out to Hawarden in pleasant cycling weather it was good to see I wasn’t the first to arrive.  George had already ordered and Dave H was just locking up his bike.  We settled down to tea and toasted teacakes as the others arrived: Jim, Dave B, Clive, Dave & Liz P and Dylan joining us for the first time.  Nine of us today but none of us had any firm ideas on where we should go or how we would get there.  The Bells of St Mary’s at Gronant and the Eagle and Child at Gwaenysgor were considered but eventually the decision was made to try somewhere new and so we settled on the Salusbury Arms at Tremeirchion.  Hills didn’t appear to be flavour of the month today so Bryan agreed to lead a route avoiding the worst.
Leading out, we headed west through Ewloe and Northop until a short section on the A55 brought us to the Britannia Inn.  Dylan left us at this point while the rest of us continued to the Brynford turnoff where we headed up into the hills past the golf course, through Brynford, the Friary and on to Gorsedd.  At the boarded up Druid pub we took a left and checked out The Rock pub at Lloc and Misty Waters at Pen-fford-llan (both look possible for future rides).  From here we had a straight ‘run’ down to Tremeirchion: or so we thought!  As we ground to a halt at the A55 we realised that in fact the only way across was literally to ‘run’ across the carriageways through the gap in the central barrier.  Not ideal by any means but the tarmacked path showed that this was the approved way to cross.  Safely over, we continued on to the steep descent down to the Salusbury Arms arriving just after 12:30pm.
Once the drinks were ordered (Marston’s ales and lime and soda at an unbelievable 25 pence a pint) we were shown into the lounge where food orders were taken and served.  What a contrast with last week’s venue.  The Salusbury Arms will certainly be on the list for future rides.  All we needed now was to decide on the route back.  While discussing the possibilities Dave H remarked that it would probably be the death of him, to which a voice from the table behind piped up to offer his business card – he was the local undertaker!  After more discussion Clive’s suggestion that we go back up the way we had come and then cut through to the Babell road was agreed.
The climb back up proved much easier than we had anticipated and before long we were on easy lanes heading east to Babell, across the Halkyns and down to Northop.  George and Dave B left us here while the rest of the group returned to Hawarden via Ewloe Green, arriving well before 16:00pm to finish the day with coffee and cake at the Gallery tea shop.
Another wonderful day in great cycling weather: neither to hot nor to cold.  A round trip of 38 miles from Hawarden or some 55 miles from Chester and back.
See route map and/or gpx file download.

Friday 4 February 2011

3rd February 2011: Wimboldsley

An impressive turnout of 17 met for tea and coffee at Manley Mere Windsurfing Centre on a bright dry day.  For the record, given the record attendance: Bryan, Clive, Andy, Dave H, George, Jim, Liz, Martin, Ray S, Trevor, Mike G, Dave & Liz P, plus a non-riding Dave M newly returned from Oz with his laptop to give us a slideshow of his Australian audaxes, and three newcomers Mike (a friend of Jim who would join us to Hatchmere) and Chris and Jackie who had met up with Mike G on the way out.
With strong winds from the southwest forecast for the afternoon Bryan suggested we head past Winsford, for lunch at The Verdin Arms at Wimboldsley.  We should then have the wind behind us on the return.  With no other suggestions on the table Wimboldsley was agreed and after seeing Dave’s slides (many thanks for bringing them in Dave) we set off for the Delamere Forest.  Mike left us at Hatchmere while the remaining 15 continued on through Norley, Cuddington and Sandiway.  Jackie and Chris left us at Foxwist Green to make their own way home for lunch.  Bryan led us through Whitegate to the Weaver Navigation, which we crossed on the wooden bridge before turning right on the river path admiring the industrial archaeology of the salt industry.  A first time for all, except Bryan, this section was clearly the highlight of the day.  All to soon though we reached the main Winsford bridge and rejoined the roads to bypass most of the town on one of the few cycle friendly roads in the area.  Of course it couldn’t last and eventually we were forced onto the busy A530 for the final leg to The Verdin Arms.
What can one say about the Verdin Arms?  Good ale, but dining pretentions far beyond their capabilities.  13 of us just proved too much for the kitchen, and front of house insisted on treating us as three separate tables rather than as a single group.  Table one had finished their meals well before table three had even a hint of food.  Even a humble sandwich proved to be a problem taking three attempts!
Once outside and ready to go, we were still short of three riders (table 2 no less, who had unwisely decided on puddings).  While Dave and Liz P decided to stay longer, I have never seen anyone polish off a pudding as fast as Mike G.  It was by then past 14:00 when the remaining eleven of us set off for Church Minshull, Wettenhall, and Cotebrook.  The Cotebrook café was closed when we arrived, as too was the Rose Farm Garden Centre café in Utkinton.  No afternoon tea and cake today.  The final leg through Oscroft back to Manley Mere was completed without incidence.
A great day out clocking 42 miles on the ride or just under 60 miles to and from Chester
See route map and/or gpx file download.