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 25 November 2011

24th November 2011: Knutsford

The Manley venue had been revamped and we sat in new chairs and cushions warming ourselves around an attractive fire feature.  Clive's chair was like a throne: he quite liked the title of "King Clive".  Clive had an innovative route around Grappenhall, Moore and Weston, but he went along with my alternative to Knutsford.  Paul, one of our new faces had returned.  We were eight altogether: Paul, Alan, Dave M, Dave B, Martin, Clive, Mike G and myself.  I was soon leading from the rear as I hauled my 15 stones plus up Sugar Lane.  We then headed north in the direction of Frodsham, right after Simmonds Hill and meandered off the main drag onto the small lanes, through Newton Hollow, and left at Crow Mere to Lord of the Manor, Djibril Cisse's property.  At this point I decided that a further detour to a viewpoint at the memorial above Frodsham was out, as we needed to press on.  I had decided that a brisk, no frills ride was now required to get to Knutsford and back in daylight.  We dived down to the A56, across the Weaver, turning right along Aston Lane.  Soon we were cycling around the picturesque duckpond at Higher Whitley, swishing through Antrobus and rollicking along in the direction of Tabley Hill.  It was pleasantly warm again, and all this pressing on had me desperate for a drink by the time we hit Knutsford, just on 12:30.  We marvelled at the McLaren showroom.  Someone deludedly wondered if you could order a carbon fibre bike rack with your £168,000, 205 mph, 12C!  Lunch was at the White Bear where they unlocked the beer garden for our bikes.  The staff were friendly, and the food and drink was fine, if unremarkable.
Dave Matthew's had an interesting proposal for a route back, so we went with it.  We set off at a quarter to two, after slowish service and some extra coffees.  Would we make it back in the light?  Dave's route back was a belter!  We set of at a good pace down the main road in a southerly direction, and then headed off right on a rural route to Davenham via Lower Peover and Lach Dennis.  Beer, extra coffees and some enlarged prostates required an early toilet stop.  We also had to negotiate a closed road, but the workmen were helpful as we edged through on the pedestrian route.  We passed some lovely old properties as we threaded through Davenham.  We then went through the woods after Hartford Bridge on a leafy route alongside The Weaver.  We came up through the golf course at Vale Royal on the Abbey site, and through a luxury toy town housing development close to Whitegate.  We then headed for the beautiful Mill Pond, just past Oulton Park.  From Cotebrook to Utkinton was hard uphill work, but we were soon ramming down Willington Road, as Dave M. took his leave near his house at Oscroft.  It was becoming dusk, but modern bike lights are reassuringly bright and we were close to home now.  Through the sandstone cutting at the back of Barrow, and back to Manley just on official lighting-up time, around 4pm.  Over 53 miles clocked up: pretty good for a winter ride!
See route map and/or gpx file download.

Wednesday 23 November 2011

22nd November 2011: Welshpool (Tues)

The weather was ideal and the scenery well worth the 4,000ft of climb.  Ray, Ivan and I set off from Chester at 07:30 for Welshpool and, by 08:45 we were having a pre-ride drink in the Coco café in the High Street.  Dave M was down with the lurgy so regrettably missed what was a very rewarding if not extremely hilly ride.  The hills started immediately out of the town and with cold legs we ground up and out bound for Four Crosses via minute lanes up and down dale.  At Four Crosses, we rode across the flat Severn River valley floor.  Espying a monument on the top of Breidden Hill (1,056ft) Ivan was keen to ride up to “Rodney’s Pillar” named after Admiral Rodney of Cape St Vincent Battle fame in 1779.  This was not to be as we were bound round the back of it for Long Mountain and 1,265ft.  From the ridge road there are extensive views of the Long Mynd, Stiperstones and Clee Hills to the East and the mountains around Lake Vyrnwy to the West.  Soon we were running fast downhill towards Montgomery.  This delightful but small county town is on a hill and overlooked by a Parliamentarian ruined castle.
Photograph by Ray Stigter

The main hotel was expensive and the other pub did not offer food so, asking a local, the Ivy House Tea Room was suggested.  This quaint tea-room cum deli was ranked 1st in Wales and 17th in Britain.  The lunch was wholesome and good value, although the sweets were a bit of a let down according to the “sweet pair”.  After this early lunch, the sun came out as we ground up the hill out of the back of the town bound for Abermule.  A short diversion was planned to try to find Dolforwyn Castle but all we found were more steep hills!  Turning for home we now followed the 81 through Bettws Cedewain and Aberrriw.  As I stopped to replace the Motorola battery, Ivan spotted the local and nipped in for a swift half and Ray decided upon a precautionary change of the rear tube in the churchyard.  Continuing with the 81, we were up and down dale finally passing the gates of NT Powis Castle.  A short burst up the main rode and over a wee canal bridge found us back to the Old Station car park.  Here in exchange for free parking, we honoured our promise of being a customer at the café as the sun started to set.  Bike Route Toaster stats gave the cumulative height gain as 4,000ft – my legs agreed – interestingly it was 1,800ft hillier than last Thursday’s Llangollen ride!  A wonderful 55 mile ride enjoyed by so few.
See route map and/or gpx file download.

Friday 18 November 2011

17th November 2011: Llangollen

The new venue, the Expresso Café in Gwersyllt, was busy as Ivan and I arrived a little late from Chester.  Dave H was already there and Dave S, a Café Hopper rider, had just turned up.  Brian Mac arrived a bit later having cycled from Neston and, because of problems on the trains, explained that Janet would not be coming, and he was not out for the whole today either.  So where to go!  I had come prepared with a 44m ride to the Wild Pheasant just outside Llangollen.  All the hills would be before lunch with a nice flat 10 miles after lunch.  All agreed and we set off to navigate our way out of largely unfamiliar territory bound ever upwards for Coedpoeth via Southsea (however did it get that name!).  Dave H picked up a puncture here so, a bit delayed, we set off for the Llandegla forest and the roundabout to the Ponderosa on the A5104.  The lane off the roundabout runs parallel to the A5014 and affords magnificent views to the left and right of the Vale of Clwyd and the sea, and the Berwyns the other way.  With good visibility and the weather that we had today, this is a perfect place to view some stunning countryside.

Photographs by Ivan Davenport

Dave S knew the route well and just turning down to the A5104 at Carrog, we stop at a boundary monument erected in 1400 to recognise a short-lived land “agreement” between Owain Glyndŵr and Henry IV which lead to the razing of Ruthin and  the Welsh Revolt of 1400-1415 – amazing what you come across in the countryside.  Running down to Carrog, we take the Old Coach Road for a pleasant if not surprisingly hilly run along the north side of the Dee until the Chain Bridge Hotel at Berwyn.  A quick left down the A5 found us at the Wild Pheasant.  Here Dave S pressed for home, whilst we three were ready for a late lunch after 28 very hilly miles.  Good fare at reasonable prices – but tough if you want salad today – they had run out.  Setting off well after 14:00, I promised us a flat 10 miles to the Pontcysyllte aqueduct along the recently resurfaced canal towpath.  We had an extremely pleasurable fast and level cycling with few walkers and time to digest our repast to boot.  The mostly familiar way back was via Cefn Mawr, Ruabon and the Sainsbury’s roundabout at Wrexham that found us going along Summerhill Road and back to café arriving at 16:00 with 44 miles on the clock.  Dave was in car assist mode whilst Ivan and I, in the gathering gloom, wended our way back via Llay and Kinnerton to Chester.  For two lone souls with headlights ablaze down the Dee cycle path, we had nearly 80 miles on the clock and had experienced what a well known octogenarian rider would have exclaimed to be “Magic”.

Sunday 13 November 2011

10th November 2011: Aston

Today was the first ride since last Thursday’s discussion and with notes of the meeting already circulated it was great to find so many members present at the Ice Cream Farm with their pre-prepared rides at the ready.  Jim and Mike G discovered that they had come with almost identical rides employing a circuitous route to the Dusty Miller at Wrenbury.  Ivan suggested we go the extra mile to the Bhurtpore Inn at Aston for the ale, so with that Jim and Mike got down to combining their rides.
By 10:30 eleven of us were more or less ready to depart with Dave Heath struggling to ensure his rack pack stayed attached.  Then with Jim in the lead we were off (Jim, Mike G, Ray, Martin, Andy, Clive, Ivan, Bryan, Brian Mac, Dave Heath and Trevor).  Jim led us out through Tattenhall, Chowley, Clutton, Lower Carden and Tilston before turning left towards Malpas.  At Simmonds Green we took a surprise left to Hampton Heath to negotiate the lanes through to Cholmondeley with the group staying together absorbed in conversation.  Somewhere along here Mike G took over at the front and we continued at the same steady pace to Wrenbury past the Dusty Miller and on to Aston and the Bhurtpore Inn.
The Bhurtpore did us proud, yet again.  Is there anywhere round here that offers a better selection of ales? And who can resist the fantastic selection of curries on offer?  When it came to deserts many were tempted but no one succumbed, possibly considering the need to get back before it got dark.
The return journey was made back through Wrenbury and north to Ravensmoor, thankfully with no one suggesting the shortcut through the ford.  We then navigated the jumble of lanes to Brindley followed by the well-ridden route back to the Ice Cream Farm through Bunbury and Beeston arriving at an unbelievable 14:30pm.  Well the wind was behind us.  No mishaps today unless you count Ivan’s rear wheel puncture with only a mile to go.
A great ride and plenty of time to sample the coffee cake at the Ice Cream Farm before the final stretch back to Chester.  37 miles there and back from Ice Cream Farm and 55 miles clocked in total back to Chester.  

Saturday 5 November 2011

3rd November 2011: Eastham Ferry

Me and my big mouth...After my Question 2 weeks ago to discuss having two groups, Bryan asked if I could choose a Wirral pub to host today’s meeting promptly at 12 noon.  Living for many years on The Wirral, I find it easy to plan a ride here on its limited quieter roads.  A big turnout was expected and with a decent forecast, I was overwhelmed to have sixteen at the start.  I won’t list them but you can see them lined up in the photo below, standing outside my back garden gate.  Ray is missing as he was taking a picture of the security camera watching us. 
We set off south, only to stop after 300 yards to have a mini lecture from me on the historical significance of the “Holloway” and medieval hospital at Denhall. Circling north towards Ness, a further stop was made to admire an “erratic” boulder outside The Wheatsheaf, deposited over 10,000 years ago when the glaciers receded to the northwest.  As my geographical gems were now receiving some abuse, I set off at a faster pace through the back of Neston village centre and along the bracing Parkgate Prom.  Continuing north we entered Gayton (the posh part of Heswall) where some houses could not be seen from the road, as they were behind locked gates.

Photograph by Brian MacDonald

Down through Lower Heswall (passing an early Beatles venue in 1962), a little spice was added by climbing the long, twisty hill up to the town centre.  Who said Wirral was flat? Crossing the A540, we skirted Heswall Common (who saw a much larger erratic there?) and under the Wrexham line at Heswall Hills Station.  We traversed the peninsula along the busy B road through Brimstage to Clatterbridge.  Crossing the M53 we cycled through Spital Cross, down past the Dibbinsdale river at Spital Dam and up through a huge sandstone cutting to cross the A41 at Bromborogh Pool.  Sensing the pub was near, people sped up through the ever expanding Bromborough Industrial Estate and down past the old moorings for the Ship Canal.  We were met at the Eastham Ferry Hotel by Alan on his bike and Liz again acting as a taxi driver for Martin.
The 2 for 1 meals proved as popular as ever, except for Clive who had a 5p reduction on his.  Unfortunately, the 5p was delivered inside his dinner.  The beer was good but with a more limited choice than usual.  Replenished, Bryan called the room to order. For absent friends, the gory details of the meet can be found elsewhere. 
As darkness was earlier after the clocks went back last week, we departed before 3pm up through Eastham Village and back across The Wirral via Childer-Thornton, Willaston and Burton. Dropping many Chester bound riders along the way, eventually five of us finished back at Ness for afternoon tea in the rather elegant Visitors Centre, having completed an easy and pleasant @@ (28??) miles.
If anyone fancies leading a ride for the first time, please email me for some ideas or advice.
Editor: Yes 28 miles confirmed.  Is this a record?