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 25 June 2011

23rd June 2011: Hendrerwydd, Vale of Clwyd

Eight members met up at the Tudor House Café in Caergwrle in somewhat mixed weather conditions with light drizzle prevalent and sun and showers forecast for later.  Dave & Liz P planned to do their own thing and Jim announced that he wouldn’t be riding but had come along for a chat and to collect outstanding membership subs.  Once we had paid up we got down to planning the ride.  I had come along with a hilly route in mind but I wasn’t at all sure I was up to it.  The route can be summarised as up the steps, down the shelf, along the Vale of Clwyd and back over Moel Arthur.  The others were happy with the challenge however, so everything was agreed.
With that five of us set off (Martin, Alan, George, Ivan and me) to Cefn-y-bedd where we turned right and started the drag up the steps.  At the top we took the Bwlchgwyn road and the back lanes towards Llandegla before joining the A525 for a fast run to the Llandegla turnoff.  Having reached the top of the Clwydian Hills we could now start to look forward to the descent down to the Vale of Clwyd and what a descent it turned out to be.  From a height of 350 metres down to 80 metres in one long continuous sweeping descent: wonderful!
Once in the valley we contoured north above Ruthin through Llanbedr-Dyffryn-Clwyd and on to the White Horse at Hendrerwydd for lunch.  The White Horse proved to be a great choice with real ale and an excellent menu from which the group chose omelettes and battered Llyn Brenig trout.  The food came promptly as we enjoyed the views of Moel Famau and poured scorn on the latest medical pronouncement that all over 65’s should be tested for drug and alcohol abuse!

Photograph by Alan Jeffs

All to soon it was time to leave and we took the back lanes towards the all to prominent Moel Arthur.  Martin had warned that the start of the climb from this side was steep and so it was; not helped by a car and van trying to squeeze by on the narrow road.  Within half a mile the others were out of sight some way ahead as I struggled slowly up.  We regrouped at the top and then enjoyed the fast descent down to the A541.  Martin decided to continue back to Hawarden on the main road while the remaining four of us took the more interesting, (code for hilly) option.  First we negotiated the lanes through to Nant Alyn, up to Gwernaffield-y-Waun, Gwernymynydd, Leeswood Hall and on to Pontybodkin to arrive back in Caergwrle with 40 hilly miles clocked, or 60 plus for those of us riding from Chester.
See route map and/or gpx file download.

PS A completely refurbished SatMap made its reappearance after it's unfortunate 'accident' on the Stone 110 ride when the rear mount sheared off.  Many thanks to SatMap for the fantastic service in repairing and returning the unit free of charge in just three days.

Tuesday 21 June 2011

16th June 2011: Audlem

Ride details to be posted when received.
If you were on this ride please contact Bryan or supply a brief description for the blog.

Sunday 12 June 2011

9th June 2011: Chirk Castle

Eight of us turned up at Bellis and we decided to ride to Chirk Castle via Overton and return via Newbridge and Sontley.  Seven of us progressed beyond Bangor on Dee and six of us returned via Sontley after Martin elected to return home via Wrexham after Johnstown.
Weather was dry with a brisk headwind going out which turned over lunch to become a brisk headwind on return.
Bellis only return was just under 50 miles with Chester riders clocking 70 plus miles for the day.

Sunday 5 June 2011

2nd June 2011: Stone 110 ride (long)

An early start today for our annual ‘long’ 100 plus ride!  Ivan was busy fuelling up when I arrived at Chester Station café just after 07:30.  Within a few minutes Clive, Dave Hill and Mike G had joined us, leaving only Dave P unaccounted for.  Leaving it until the last moment Dave P and his son Dominic (planning to ride with us for the first hour) arrived just before 08:00.  With everyone accounted for there was just time for a photo before Clive led out down City Road.

Photographs by Bryan Wade

The weather forecast predicted ideal cycling weather: a warm but cloudy morning followed by a sunny afternoon with temperatures in the low 20’s and best of all no wind.  Clive’s planned route bore no resemblance to a normal CER ride apparently including some 12 miles of urban riding through the centre of the Potteries from Barlaston in the south to Kidsgrove in the north.  It says something about CER members to accept Clive’s assurances that we were in for a great day out: but that’s for later.  To start, we headed out of Chester along the canal towpath to Waverton where, with only a few miles done, my SatMap handlebar mount sheared off releasing the GPS to bounce at an alarming rate back down the road.  Unlike Clive’s experience a few weeks earlier the SatMap did not survive its ordeal.  A fractured screen amongst other damage signalled the end.
Back on the road we were soon going through Tattenhall, passing Bolesworth Castle, where Dominic left us, and on towards No Mans Heath where we turned left with Clive ensuring that we had one decent hill, over Wirswall, before entering Whitchurch for our morning stop.  Clive had chosen Jones Coffee House and with its impeccable and speedy service (from baked beans to toasted tea cakes) it was easy to see why.  An excellent choice.
The next leg was to take us along beautiful lanes, most of us had never ridden before, to Market Drayton and on to the upmarket village of Eccleshall.  From here the route took us past Drake Hall prison over the M6 and into Stone to complete a wonderful two hours of cycling from Whitchurch.  In Stone we headed for Wetherspoons for lunch just as the sun started to break through.  With some 50 plus miles done I couldn’t resist a pint of the ‘Stone the Crows’ ale from the local Lymestone Brewery to go with the steak and kidney pudding, chips and mushy peas.  Service could have been friendlier but was certainly quick and the meals substantial: just what was needed for a long day in the saddle.

By 14:00 it was time to leave and we set off heading through the lanes to Barlaston where we joined NCN route 5 to follow the Trent and Mersey Canal towpath north.  What followed was 12 miles of truly enjoyable leisure cycling through the heart of the Potteries, ducking under the ridiculously low bridges and squeezing through the anti-motorcycle ‘gates’.  It all took time as we cruised at a sight seeing pace taking in the familiar names, Wedgwood, Etruria, Stoke City ground, and then on to Middleport and Longport where the remains of the old mills lining the canal (Oliver’s Mill, Middleport Mill and Port Vale Mill) suggest how different things were in the heydays of the early 1800’s when they were built.  Further on the Westport Lake Country Park was full of families enjoying the sun as we rode by on the last mile to the start of the Harecastle tunnels where we left the canal to continue along the lanes.

After such an interesting section of the route one might be forgiven for thinking that it would be ‘downhill’ from now on, but no Clive had a number of other surprises in store for us as we continued to Alsager before getting on to more familiar lanes to Barthomley, Wybunbury and Nantwich.  Our afternoon tea stop was now overdue but Ivan had arranged a special treat for us, so rather than a stop in the town centre we headed to his sisters house on the edge of town to be greeted with plates of sandwiches and cakes and a choice of beverages: absolutely wonderful, many thanks indeed.
“It’s all downhill from here” says Clive with a smile “Acton, Brindley, Spurstow and home” he says.  I remind him of a slight undulation he has forgotten to mention.  “It’s at least two chevrons,” I say.  “There are none on the map” he replies.  “That’s because it hardly qualifies as a track let alone a road.  In any event its virtually unrideable” I protest.  With that Ivan looks up with a gleam in his eye and you know he’s up for it.
We follow the route back but by now I’m slowing down on every hill, dropping back and catching up on the flat.  Time is going on and just outside Bunbury, and despite the offer of a free birthday pint, Dave Hill and Mike G decide to take the direct route back via Beeston.  In the circumstances I decide to join them rather than face a struggle over the Peckforton Hills.  The three of us make good time past the Ice Cream Farm, Gatesheath and Bruera.  By Saighton we are caught up in a time trial and our insignificant 16 mph speed counts for nothing as the constant ‘whooooo se’ of passing time trialists testifies.  Not far now though and 20:00 sees us safely back in Chester with just over 110 miles clocked.
The remaining three of Clive, Ivan and Dave P continue on the original route through Spurstow and Peckforton before taking the track over the Peckforton Hills.  Here Ivan attempts the track, the top part of which is surfaced with setts the size of loaves of bread, only to fall off muttering about not getting out of the cleats quickly enough!  At The Pheasant the three take a pint while watching the sun go down over the Cheshire Plain.  “A fitting finale to the days ride” says Clive.
What a great ride!  Who would have believed it was possible to cycle the full length of the Potteries on such a fabulous route.  There were also lots of surprises all the way along.  A ride to remember: well done Clive.
See route map and/or gpx file download.

Friday 3 June 2011

2nd June 2011: Abergele to Shotton (short)

The weather forecast had promised the hottest day of the week as we assembled on Shotton lower station waiting for the 10:04 train to all points west. The four of us, Brian Mac, Trevor, Norman and Jim were well covered in the necessary lotion but had some misgivings about Arriva Wales's intentions to accommodate us.  The web site declared their support for cyclists as long as there weren't more than two per train.  A plan was hatched and we stood in pairs at the opposite ends of the platform as the train arrived.  Not wishing to show any signs of hesitation we pushed on board before anyone could say “you can't bring that on here”.  In no time we were rattling along past the fleshpots of Prestatyn and Rhyl to arrive at Abergele half an hour later.  No sign of the promised sun though!  Only a cool breeze and the hilltops covered in cloud.  We set off' uphill of course (this is Wales after all) along the A548 towards Llangernwy (no I don't know where it is either).  After about 2 miles we turned left (more uphill) onto the lanes traversing the north side of the Afon Elwy valley.
If you are ever tempted to scoot down these narrow lanes without a care in the world-don't.  Round the next corner lurked a road sweeper, filling the whole road.  Hardly had we squeezed past him before a local farmer roared up behind us with a silage trailer, and then came his mate in the other direction.  At last they turned into a field and we were safe, but no, the dustbin wagon.  We were beginning to think that there was some sort of conspiracy taking place but eventually we were left alone to make our way to Trefnant just south of St Asaph.  From there we crossed the Clwyd Valley and climbed up the other side to Treheirchion and lunch at the Salusbury Arms.  The specially brewed local ale was well recommended by Don in his personal chair by the bar but all too soon we had to set off, uphill of course, towards Babell and Halkyn.
From there we swept down to Northop and finally Connahs Quay.  By now the sun was out and so were the local young mums with their muffin tops.  A quick coffee at Weatherspoons and Brian and Norman left to collect their vehicles leaving Trevor and Jim to set off along the fortunately flat Greenway back to Guilden Sutton.  A good ride of 34 hilly miles, or 55 for those from the wrong side of the tracks.
See route map and/or gpx file download.