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 March 2011

24th March 2011: Lymm

Spring has sprung! – sunshine, shorts and bare arms – the first opportunity of the year. There was a cyclist’s dozen soaking up the sunshine at Manley mere as we set off for Lymm – exact pub to be defined when we arrived there. The original plan was to access the Trans Pennine way from Runcorn all the way to Lymm. However serious stroking of beards effected a reversal of the planned route – i.e. we would go out the way I had planned to return and find another way back from Lymm. 
Trevor was sporting his new Scott Speedster and the rest of us (Mike G, Mike M, George, Liz and Martin, Dave H, Andy, Ray, Dave M and myself) all set off to access route 70 via Delamere, Pickering’s and Dutton’s Locks and Acton Bridge along the Weaver canal. Heeding Trevor’s plea not to get his new bike too dirty, we sped down quiet lanes to Little Leigh with Dave M having now peeled off to get back to fitting his kitchen. On through Antrobus and ignoring Arley, we accessed Swineyard Lane via the edge of the old airfield to Sworton Heath. Over the M56 we joined the A56 top road through Lymm. The Crown was offering “2 for £10” so that would do nicely and nicely it was – even better since it was a certain doctor’s very big birthday – cheers Martin! 
After lunch the warm sunshine enabled us to motor back quickly via cobbled Grappenhall, and on through Appleton and Stretton. It was all going too well but Andy helped us out with an unexplained puncture. The wheel was changed in lightning speed, and we were soon through Hatton and across the A49 and in the outskirts of Moore. The Bridgewater canal provided a very pleasant route passing the Daresbury Laboratories and also a way under the M56 at Preston Brook. There is no pretty way back to Frodsham and the Cottage Tea Shop, but the warm sunshine even made the Frodsham bike by-pass aka cycleway 5, pleasant. Mike M eschewed tea and cakes and made off home to Delamere. Out of the town towards Helsby, there was a request for the novelty route through the geological park off the Old Chester Road. Last time it was unrideable, but this time Martin and Ray made a brave attempt to cycle to the top.  A final push up the hill past Alvanley and a fast run down back to Manley mere was in prospect. A round trip of 47 miles in sunny and warm conditions – the first of many hopefully.

Saturday 19 March 2011

17th March 2011: Brynford

Overcast with light rain at lunchtime - the forecast for Caergwrle was exactly right as four of us (Martin and Liz, George and myself) set off bound for a pub (yet to be determined) in Holywell. Paraphrasing the Daniel Day-Lewis film title “There will be hills” and hills aplenty there were. A short ride around the back of Hope warmed up George’s legs, and then we were off up the hill to Pontybodkin. Across the main road we took the twin single chevroned lane towards Trueddyn only to stop suddenly as Martin had picked up a glass puncture. Whilst this was being repaired, there followed a long story from George about a discussion at Cheshire Oaks Cycles re the choice of tyres for his end-to-end ride. Martin favours Gators whilst I favour Armadillos – yet both are a bit heavy. A comic interlude distracted us as the rubbish collection lorry arrived and proceeded to destroy part of the entrance to the house it was collecting the weekly rubbish from. Just as we were leaving the householder returned but we decided we had tarried long enough! Onwards and upwards towards Nercwys we took the mercifully short double chevroned lane to Gwernymynydd. Taking a left at the main road, we battled up the hill as the wind was picking up and the clouds started to look like the rain-bearing variety. Taking the lane at Loggerheads and then the right towards Cilcain, we might have thought we were on a motorway for all the traffic on this small lane. Taking the direct route to Rhys-y-Cae and yet another chevroned lane, we discussed a possible lunch stop before Holywell given the supposed dearth of decent eateries.
As the drizzle started we found that each pub we passed was firmly closed: a familiar story in this part of Wales. At the crossroads in Brynford, George was almost certain the pub in the hamlet had closed down (he was right) but the one just up the hill may be opened at lunchtime. Executive decision time: based upon L&M’s expert local knowledge, we went to the only café in town, that being at the Pet Cemetery (see the review at http://www.northwales.co.uk/cafes/the-pet-cemetery-brynford/). What a good place for lunch: good and inexpensive food on floral china and friendly service combined to give it a Michael Winner “historic” cache. After lunch, the drizzle had stopped and, passing the pub that might have been open (it looked firmly closed down), we sped back to Pentre Halkyn and the back lanes towards Northop before turning towards Altami. George and I peeled off to get back to Caergwrle whilst L&M turned towards Hawarden. Only a 38 mile ride but 750ft of height difference and 2500ft of total ascent.
See route map and/or gpx file download.

Friday 11 March 2011

10th March 2011: Whitchurch

Cold, showery and windy with gusts up to 30mph was the forecast for today.  Despite that five members met for morning tea and coffee at the Ice Cream Farm.  George was already there, mending a front wheel puncture, when I arrived.  An ominous sign I thought.
By 10:30 we were ready for the off, having decided on Bryan’s suggestion of a 50 mile round trip to the Dog and Bull at Coton with the option of cutting the ride short for lunch in Whitchurch if the weather turned really bad.  On the road the group comprising Bryan, Ivan, Ray S, Trevor and George covered all of ¾ of a mile before a call from the back heralded George’s second puncture of the day: front wheel again!  With assistance from Ivan and Ray the puncture was soon dealt with and the tyres (note the plural) inflated, during which there was some pointed but good-humoured banter about tyre quality and track pumps.  It would be nice to say that, with two punctures out the way, the rest of the ride proceeded without incident.  Unfortunately it was not to be and just past Lower Carden George had his third puncture: rear wheel this time.  While Ivan searched the tyre case for the cause (a small shard of glass) the inner tube was marked up for George to repair over lunch.  Bryan supplied a new tube as George had used up his stock and amid more banter regarding the quantity and quality of chain lubricant the wheel was fixed and we were ready to go.  An hour into the ride and we still hadn’t reached Tilston!
We continued heading south through the lanes making for Dymock’s Mill but with Whitchurch rather than Coton as the intended lunch stop.  It’s a while since I’ve done Dymock’s Mill and I tend to treat it as a summer route only but the loose, stony uphill track I recall on the south side has been transformed.  It’s still a track but the surface is good and firm, the loose stones have gone and there are no potholes to be seen.  From here it’s not far to the A525 and a short main road section to the outskirts of Whitchurch.  But this is no ordinary day and after a mile on the main road we are faced with a few cars backed in the middle of the road and a smashed up car, upside down on its roof.  This is serious, but there is nothing we can do so we press on.  Within a few hundred yards a speeding adrenaline fuelled police car approaching on the wrong side of the road with lights and sirens blaring tries, unsuccessfully, to take out Bryan.  A near miss that!
The Old Town Vaults in the centre of Whitchurch provided a great range of ales while we waited for food to be served.  George borrowed the landlady’s pen to fill the back of a beer mat with his birthday wish list: track pump, tyres ……….  Then while discussing his forthcoming LEJOG the punctured inner tube was repaired.
Back on the road we head north up NCN route 45 in lovely sunny conditions before turning left to go through the picturesque village of Marbury.  By Cholmondeley the weather had worsened and the wet roads indicated we had just missed a heavy downpour.  The final section took us over Harthill on the usual route back to the Ice Cream Farm where we arrived in time for afternoon tea and cakes before the final leg back to Chester.
Not your usual CER ride but one that will certainly be remembered.  A round trip from the Ice Cream Farm of some 35 miles or 57 from Chester and back.
See route map and/or gpx file download.

Friday 4 March 2011

3rd March 2011: Hartford

Foggy and cold the day started but it ended up bright and sunny as we met at the Little Roodee Café.  As sheep-mode was engaged, Bryan, Dave B, Ivan, Andy, Ray S, Trevor, George, Martin and Liz and me set off promptly for a route which was planned to take in the local industrial heritage on our way to a new pub in Hartford.  Dave M still looked poorly and excused himself.  The Tandem Two arrived just as we were setting off but mysteriously off-loaded once they knew that Ince Marshes were on the menu.
Wending out of Chester on highway no 5, we scooted down through the zoo and out onto the towpath towards Stanlow.  Bryan had advised that the aptly named Oil Sites Road was open so we cycled through the local industrial heritage that is Stanlow Oil refinery into the surprisingly quaint Ince village.  Marsh Lane started off quite well – Bryan had advised that it was rideable in dry conditions but somewhat rough.  Well it was dry-ish and it was rough!  The lane is being “improved” by laying recycled old tarmac and eventually it will be compacted but today it was more like porridge than tarmac.  I took the executive decision to cut and run so we headed for Helsby rather than continue for even more mud toward Frodsham.  Why do slick tyres pick up so much mud?
Taking Howey Lane, we climbed out of Frodsham onto the Kingsley Road with the sun emerging out of the cold fog.  Taking Ball Lane out of Kingsley, we headed for the Weaver towpath, or were we?  Just before the end of the lane, a sharp right confusing marked as a No Through Road takes us out to Acton Bridge.  Hanging left at the railway station and onwards to Weaverham for more industrial heritage on the outskirts of Winnington.  Cries of “Are we nearly there” are rewarded with the Hartford Hall Hotel coming into view.  The “2 for £10” menu was on offer and we all partook of it: the well-presented and tasty food came quickly and although Lime and Lemonade was £2.60, the soda variant was £1.10- a useful lunch stop for future rides.
The return journey employed a muddy NCR5 to get us across the Weaver near to Meadowbank and onto local route 71 aka Whitegates Way.  At Cotebrook, the creperie café was closed, so Summertrees it was for afternoon cake and tea – ‘but which way to go?’ - the direct ascent via Tirley Lane or the psychologically “less hilly” route via Hollins Hill, Knights Lane and Quarry Bank.  The cake stimulus spurred the group the take the actually hilly indirect route with 350ft of ascent.  The fast spin down to Willington and Oscroft was short lived but Ivan sped off into the distance missing the Tarvin turn in Oscroft. There we found Dave M with his flat cap on, supervising his building works.  Wending our way back to Chester either to the canal or the greenway, we ended up with a 54 mile circular route that was even muddier than last week’s ride around Penley!
See route map and/or gpx file download.