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 28 January 2012

26th January 2012: Wrenbury (mod)

The sun was peering feebly over Beeston Castle ramparts as the six of us co-agulated at Rose Farm on a typical 'Sheila Ferguson' day (that's ‘3 degrees’ for you youngsters).  The five of us, Jim, George, Trevor, Mike M and Dave H were surprised to be joined by Dave M after his bike surfing experience on the ice recently but he assured us he was only coming for a 'short loosening' up ride.
The plan was to go to Marbury via Beeston - first mistake!  The bridge by the Shady Oak is closed to all traffic - including cyclists, and the pub in Marbury seems to have taken on erratic opening hours.
Plan B it was then, so we set off up that dratted hill into Tarporley and ably led by Dave M skirted round the east and crossed the A51 to reach Bunbury as planned.  Then the usual route through Brindley, Chorley and Larden Green took us to the Dusty Miller, at Wrenbury, for lunch at 12:30 with only one short rain shower to speak of.
Dave was feeling suitably 'loosened up' by our classic Easy Riders pace and decided to stay with us as we retraced our steps back via Cholmondley, Peckforton and Tiverton.  At this point Jim and Mike split for the ostrich farm while the main group went back to Utkinton for an early bath.  A total of about 35 miles or 50 plus for those of us from Guilden Sutton and a very reasonable pace.  All in all, a classic Easy Riders day out.

Sunday 22 January 2012

19th January 2012: LLanasa (brisk)

When we reached Northop the group divided into two with Clive, Dave P, Ray and Martin going on ahead.  We followed the usual route up onto the Halkyns past the Britannia.  At Brynford Ray turned back as he had to visit his father in hospital.  The remainder continued along NCN Route 5 into a stiff westerly wind that made for hard going.  At a fairly early hour we arrived at Llanasa where an open fire in the Red Lion was a welcome sight.  The usual 2 for 1 offer was on offer and the food perfectly acceptable.  A little later the “slower” group joined us.  The route back took us along to Dyserth and then the scenic road around the side of the hill to Rhuallt.  At last we had the wind behind us, but this did not make the long climb up Rhuallt hill seem any easier.  Onto the tops and a straightforward ride back to Hawarden with a brief stop at Windmill to take in the view across the Dee Estuary.  43 miles and 1100 metres of climbing, arriving back at Hawarden by 2:45pm.
See route map and/or gpx file download.

19th January 2012: Llanasa (mod)

The four easier Easy Riders (Brian, Dave H, Jim) led by local Boy George went out the usual way towards Prestatyn through Northop.  The fast 100-metre sprint along the A55 to Halkyn village passed without incident.  Then on to Brynford, through Whitford to the Red Lion pub at Llanasa where the three speed merchants (Clive, Ivan and Dave P) were well in to their 2 for £10 meal.
After lunch we skirted Axton, crossed the A55 again & returned via Halkyn Mountain with a threatening downpour fast approaching.  At Northop, George turned off for home, just before the rain arrived.  At Ewloe, Dave H picked up a puncture and with the rain very imminent, Brian left Jim & Dave fixing it.  A hilly 38 miles. 

Friday 13 January 2012

12th January 2012: Great Budworth (mod)

I arrived early at Manley to see Mike Gilbert struggling to secure his mount in the cycle rack due to a fierce westerly wind.  Before I had undone my own cycle from the back of my car, an arriving employee was telling Mike off for propping his bike up elsewhere. When I placed my bike against a plain brick wall, sheltered from the wind, she came out to tell me that it was “against the rules”, and that wasn’t the end of it!  I then thought it unlikely that we would be welcomed in, five minutes before opening time, so waited.  Inside at 10.01 was both warm, and for me, distinctly frosty.          
A great turn out today, partly thanks to Jim texting the not so slim and spritely set, that there would be a leisurely ride available to enjoy, whatever their post Christmas condition.  Good to see the legendary Mike Morley, The Great Imbiber, return for a short ride.  Mike Evans finally made it on his luvvely personalised machine, having been assured that today some of us would not be undertaking any ride that could remotely be called ambitious in terms of distance, pace or ascent.  Nice to meet Tony Hill, a very welcome addition to the fold.   Cute and petite Glennys arrived in her new, cute, but far from petite Mini.  It was great to see her in good health, and hopefully she will be riding with us once again in the summer. Bryan Wade was missed, and we all hope he returns to at least old person’s levels of good health very shortly.
Riders made their choice between The Contenders’ ride to Alsager with Alpine trained Dave Matthews, or The Also-Rans’ ride to Grappenhall with also-ran Dave Heath.  It was explained that the latter ride might not even achieve its intended destination (and it didn’t!).  
Dave & Liz, George, Tony, Mike M, Mike E, Jim, Trevor and myself wound steadily up Sugar Lane, and meandered north-west via Simmonds Hill, Bushell’s Lane and Crow Mere to the memorial viewpoint high above Frodsham and The Mersey.  We steeply descended, and were soon bowling along towards Aston, Dutton and past Lewis Carroll Wood.  We crossed the A49 and passed the picturesque duck pond and farmhouse at Higher Whitley where Trevor’s cousin lived.  Trevor hadn’t been on his bike for two months and his legs were tiring a little.  My original planned route via Lymm was already looking a little too far, so after a brief consultation we headed for The George and Dragon at Great Budworth, via Antrobus.  Lunch was excellent, and the company was convivial.
We mounted for our return journey in this beautiful village with the church clock striking 2:00pm. Thankfully, the strong wind which had assisted us so far had died down, so wasn’t the anticipated problem on our way back.  Indeed, the weather had been really bright from early on, and it was a bonus to have a warming sun all day on a mid-January ride. The return route was through Comberbach and Little Leigh, up to Acton Bridge.  We turned up the quiet little lane through the hamlet of Onston, slogged up Norley Bank and then onto the Delamere Forest rollercoaster road.  Right, past the Goshawk, the last climb of the day, and for those a little rusty and tired, I was glad we hadn’t gone any further.  35 sociable miles, no pressure, newcomers certain to return, and everybody happy.

12th January 2012: Malkins Bank, Alsager (brisk)

At least 12 of us arrived at the wind surfing centre in windy (NW) and spotty rain conditions.  Fortunately the weather forecast predicted improving conditions and moderating winds for the rest of the day.
There were one or two new riders present, so we agreed to split with the slightly faster group heading out to the cafe at Malkins Bank golf course near Alsager.
We (David M, Ray, Mike, Paul and Alan) set out on a lumpy route to Hatchmere and then via Darnhall to Church Minshull.  A left turn here took us over towards Warmingham where we turned south through lots of minor roads until we arrived at Hassall Green (where we saw the sad sight of "The Romping Donkey” boarded up) and shortly to Malkins Bank.  The facilities here are much improved and we enjoyed a good welcome and an excellent lunch.

Malkins Bank Golf Course cafe
Photograph by Alan Jeffs

Return route went out to the A50 and a hard ride back against the still strong wind to Middlewich.  We navigated a few busy roads here to return to Hatchmere through Davenham and Acton Bridge.  More lumpy stuff through to Mouldsworth got us back to Manley Mere just as the light was going sometime after 4:00pm.
Ride distance was 100k (62m), from Manley and back to Manley at an average riding time speed of 22kph (14mph).  Most of us had covered around 120k by the time we got home.  A great use of all the available daylight and an excellent hard training start to the year.

Friday 6 January 2012

5th January 2012: Overton

The weather was foul, with very high winds and threatening rain.  Anyway we are CER riders, so I met up with Ivan at the Old Dee Bridge for the 12 mile ride out to the Expresso Café via Marford and Llay.  Battered by the wind and the rain, we arrive an hour later like drowned rats. Tony H (a potential new rider) was waiting for us as we ordered at the Expresso Café.  Martin turned up a few minutes later and we discussed a route I had planned.  We agreed to curtail the 42 miler due to the adverse conditions, so a 35 mile loop to Overton for lunch was settled on.  Leaving under rain threatening skies, we were soon battered by cold rain as we took the back lanes down to the Sainsbury roundabout.  Turning right, the wind suddenly became very severe and I decided to get shelter in the nearby shed city.  Correct decision as we allowed the squall to pass by.  Martin had had enough so decided to call it a day.  We three ploughed on via the hospital and towards Bersham.  The idea was to zigzag the A483 down to Ruabon then Newbridge and onto Chirk.  Taking Colliery Lane in Chirk gave us access to the lower Ceiriog Valley as here the river joins the Dee.  The rain had gone but the wind was as strong as ever. We climbed out of the valley via the double chevroned lane to emerge on the B5069 a few miles south of Overton.
The White Horse Inn turned out to be a Joule’s Brewery pub (ex Market Drayton) and was nicely appointed with good food and a warm welcome.  Suitably warmed, we set off in sunshine to Bangor and the Wrexham Industrial Estate ring road.  Taking the golf course lane, we ran parallel to the main road joining it at the five way roundabout.  Right down through Borras, we end up walking over the A483 pedestrian bridge to emerge a half a mile from the start point with 35 miles under our tyres.  Tony is in car assist mode, so Ivan and I return to Chester via the Gresford lanes and Eccleston.  We now had completed 65 exhausting miles at 13.2mph – not bad for the windiest ride I have ever been on.  Crazy to go out- maybe a bit- but it was all worth it!

Monday 2 January 2012

1st January 2012: Carden Arms, Tilston

Despite late night/early morning celebrations to see in the New Year, four members met at the Little Roodee for the annual ride to join all the other local cycle groups at the Carden Arms in Tilston.  The group of Dave M, Dave B, Clive and I set off at just after 10:00 heading for Hildegard’s in Holt for elevenses via Overleigh school and the cut through to eventually emerge onto Lache Lane before we were on the lanes through Dodleston and Pulford.  Clive and Dave M decided to pull in a few extra miles before elevenses and sped off up Marford Hill while Dave B and I took the Lavister turn for the direct route to Holt.  Not long after a yellow jacket in the distance heralded another cyclist making for Holt.  It was Tony Small, who had just passed Harry making use of a handy field.
By Holt it had started to rain so bikes were quickly locked as we made for Hildegard’s usual warm welcome.  Within a few minutes we were joined by Clive, Dave M and Harry followed soon after by Dave & Liz P and Ray.  Dave M announced the sad death of Jim Skelding, one of the founding members of C&NWCTC, and who as President for ten years in the 1990’s had contributed so much to cycling in the area.
By 11:45 it was time to leave but today members were intent on doing their own thing and in dribs and drabs we left Holt for Farndon and Tilston.  At Crewe by Farndon the main group was down to just three as Clive, Dave B and I made our way south to Shocklach before turning north to arrive at the Carden Arms at just after 12:15.  Most groups including Chester, the Fabulous Ladies, Wrexham, Mold and Watson’s Wanderers were already there plus a sprinkling of others.  With numbers around the 45 to 50 mark the mood was lively, even with the inevitable wait for food.
This really has to be the best way to start the New Year and renew friendships with members from other groups.  Then followed the presentation of the awards for the CTC TC after which it was time to depart.
We left with a large group comprising Chester, Fabulous Ladies, CER and some others for a relaxed ride back to Chester with the wind behind us.  What a great start to 2012.