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 23 March 2012

22nd March 2012: Northwood

A lovely start to the day brought out the numbers meeting at Hildegard’s in Holt.  We were even joined by three members of the Wrexham Café Hoppers who disappointingly decided to do their own thing rather than join our ride: next time perhaps?  That left 13 paid-up members for the ride comprising Clive, Ivan, Tony, Paul, Jim, George, Andy, Trevor, Mike G, Dave H, Mike M, Ray and me.  Clive had come up with a suggested ride of some 44 miles down to Northwood between Ellesmere and Wem and had already obtained the agreement of the landlady at the Horse and Jockey to open up especially for us.  While Clive rang the pub with the numbers, we agreed to split into two groups following the same route but with the brisker ride intending to add an extra loop if time permitted. 
Clive led the brisk group (Ivan, Paul, Tony, Andy and Ray) off towards Farndon while the rest of us followed with Mike G seemingly undecided on which group to join!  It later transpired that he had already done a fair few miles having cycled out from Rhos-on-Sea this morning, which would see him clocking up 70 plus miles by lunchtime.
Clive’s route saw us meandering along the back lanes through Tilston, Chorlton Lane and Threapwood before a sharp right at Sarn Bridge put us on the road to Holly Bush.  A little further and we ground to a halt to check where we were heading, at the point where our figure of eight route crossed.  Having worked out the correct leg of the four options we were off again to join the A539 for a short section before a blind hazardous right turn on a hill brought us onto a lovely lane we hadn’t ridden before.  With daffodils lining the lanes and the sound of newborn lambs announcing that spring was well under way we made good progress, keeping together as a compact group, as we made our way through Westhampton and Lyneal.  We arrived at the Horse and Jockey just as the brisk group were locking up their bikes having put in an additional five-mile loop through Lyneal to Loppington and back on the B5063.
About to leave the Horse and Jockey

Clive had to get back for a dental appointment so as he set off back home we made ourselves at home in the bar.  True to her word the landlady had opened up especially for us but had no other staff to help out.  Barmaid, waitress, and cook: it looked as though we could still be there by mid-afternoon.  But no: with admirable organisation drinks orders were taken and served, then it was on to food orders for all 12 of us, and before long the landlady was back and forth between kitchen and bar with our meals.  Great food, good ale and fantastic service make this an outstanding find: good choice Clive.

Photographs by Bryan Wade

By 14:00 hours it was time to leave as a single group of 12 riders with a photo to record the day.  The route back took us north to Bettisfield and Tarts Hill on the way to Penley with the group staying together as we worked our way through the lanes.  
Cloy Hall Farm

From Penley the planned route took us along familiar lanes even repeating the holdup while the cows were brought in for milking at Cloy Hall Farm.  At Bangor on Dee we took to the main road before turning right towards Bowling Bank and the delightful network of lanes back to Holt.  A well-earned final break of tea and cake was taken at Hildegard’s before we left to go our separate ways home.
The moderate group had clocked up just over 44 miles by the return while the brisk group with an extra outward loop had done about 49.  For those riding from Chester there was an extra 20 miles to add.

Monday 19 March 2012

15th March 2012: Goostrey (mod)

12 members gathered at Rose Farm Garden Centre in surprisingly cold weather.  I had already put on an additional layer but it was still cold.  Oh well, we would soon warm up and the forecast for the afternoon promised that the sun would break through.  “Where are off to then?”  “Does anyone have a route?” silence “Well I have a moderate ride in mind to the Red Lion at Goostrey but it involves some tracks: how does that sound?”  The nods of assent signified agreement.  
With the ride agreed it was time to leave in something of a large group comprising Andy, Ivan, Liz D, Martin, Dave M, Dave & Liz P, Dave H, Ray, George, Trevor and me.  Mindful of the shambles earlier in the month we kept together through Cotebrook and Little Budworth before turning on to the Whitegate Way for a pleasant run down to the Weaver Navigation.  We crossed the Weaver by the wooden bridge and took the rough track up to Moulton and on to Davenham where a right turn put us on the road to Lach Dennis and Goostrey.  The steady conversation from further back in the group suggested the pace was about right and we made good progress.  At Lach Dennis a surprise left turn indicated that we weren’t going straight to Goostrey today.  By Boots Green we were on unfamiliar lanes particularly as we continued along an increasingly rough track signed as a dead-end.  The highlight of the day was soon revealed as the track turned into a one-mile long bridle path peppered with mud traps to test the groups riding skills.  Once through it was only a short ride to Goostrey and the welcoming sight of the Red Lion.
It’s quite a few years since I was last there and I’m pleased to say the welcome was as good as I remembered.  It’s not easy to serve 12 hungry cyclists who arrive without warning but the Red Lion coped admirably and food was soon coming out of the kitchen while we sampled the Black Sheep and Hobson’s ales.  It was soon time to leave and, sad to say, the weather outside was no warmer.
On our way we negotiated the back lanes and a short track to emerge in the centre of Holmes Chapel before more lanes to Middlewich.  Back on home ground my services as ride leader were no longer required as the group took the familiar route back via Church Minshull and Wettenhall to Eaton.  Here we stopped to select today’s tea stop.  Was it to be the Fire Station Café in Tarporley, the Shire Horse Centre or back to Rose Farm?  The Shire Horse Centre won the vote and within a few minutes we had settled down with tea and cake for a relaxed chat before the last few miles back to Utkinton having completed 45 enjoyable miles.

Saturday 10 March 2012

8th March 2012: Tremeirchion (mod)

The group consisted of Clive, Dave H. Dave and Liz P, Ray, Andy, Tony and Jim.
It was decided to head for Tremeirchion for lunch and we set off in bright sunshine and a slight headwind as we approached Northop.  Up the hill through Halkyn and along to Pentre Halkyn where a slight mis-calculation took us onto the old main road at Holywell.  We were going to take it anyway but we just weren't quite where we expected to be.  Clive and Ray had by now gone on ahead to rendezvous with Mike G who had pedalled out from his summer lodge overlooking the sea to join us.  The main group continued through Gorsedd and Pant y Wacco, back over the A55 to pick up the lane down to Tremeirchion for lunch.  Clive, Ray and Mike had already arrived and as we had only done 20 miles Dave and some of the others decided to keep going to the bottom of the hill so that they could ride back up again to the pub!
Despite being short staffed the food was served fairly speedily and we were soon pedalling slowly and steadily back up the hill.  A right turn at the top took us through Babell and Windmill though by now the wind was behind us so the hills by the quarries didn't seem as horrible as usual.  Mike left us at this point and we set off downhill back to Northop.  Here the Chester riders branched off towards the coast and the greenway while the rest of the group continued to Hawarden.
An excellent day out covering about 40 miles or 60 plus from Chester.

The extended ride
Ray and I steadily accelerated away from the main group after the Britannia Inn.  The plan was to follow the same route to the Salusbury Arms at Tremeirchion but just past Lloc we came across Mike G cycling towards us.  He was out from Prestatyn.  Since we were quite early, he suggested a meander via Rhuallt to the pub and a very pleasant meander it was too.  On the return we rode with the main group all the way back to Northop and then four of us (Ray, Andy, Tony H and I) veered down to Connah’s Quay and the greenway back to Chester.  The circuit from Chester was about 60 miles.

Saturday 3 March 2012

1st March 2012: Dunham Massey

Around a dozen of us assembled at Manley Mere in fabulous cycling weather.  The group contained, amongst others David M, Dave H, Ray, Martin, Andy, Ivan, Dave & Liz P tandem and Tony.  Special mention to Liz D returning after illness and Colin Bell (new rider).
After some discussion, the sport plan became riding to the Red Barn at Dunham Massey via Kingsley, Antrobus and the "Swan with 2 Nicks" with David M and Dave H variously leading.  All riders would go to Red Barn as a group and then return at own pace in brisk, very brisk and not so brisk groups.
On the first hill, the group split totally with several riders shooting off wrongly beyond the Kingsley turn to ride into the Dark Arc.  So David M, Dave H, Andy, Liz, Ivan and the tandem continued over the hills and down hidden lanes as the "official" ride.  Somewhere above Kingsley we lost the tandem and Ivan.
The small "official group" (i.e. David M, Dave H, Andy and Liz) continued on a super route down perfect lanes to arrive at Dunham Massey at approx 1:00pm.  Eventually Martin, Ray and Ivan arrived, having been to Lymm and then followed the trans pennine trail.  No signs of anyone else, though we knew that the tandem riders had returned home to fell trees rather than ride lanes.
Following the regroup, we agreed to return as follows: Dave H would ride directly back to Runcorn while David M would lead the main group back through Tatton Park to Knutsford.  At this point Martin and Liz would take the direct route back to Manley via Great Budworth (well done to Liz for keeping going in spite of effects of lay-off) and the remaining four to return via Lower Peover, Whitegate and Cotebrook.  Thus we had a brisk chain gang through the lanes once we left the main Knutsford road with a slight diversion at Cotebrook to the Shire Horse Centre café as Ray was bonking out (we had been riding non-stop for 2 1/2 hours at this point).  Ivan sped on as he had a date with a couple of pints down at his local.  David M split at Utkinton for the short route to Oscroft, leaving Andy and Ray to ride onwards to Chester.
If anyone had ridden Manley to Manley, the distance would be around 65 to 70 miles by this route.  My distance to Oscroft was 108km (67miles).
An interesting day out, with a few lessons learned re: group dynamics and waiting at junctions.