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.

Sunday 29 April 2012

26th April 2012: Llandegla

I was somewhat surprised that, given the forecast and the locale, 10 lost souls turned up at Hawarden for an obviously wet ride out over the Clwydians.  After temporarily warming ourselves in the Gallery café, Jim suggested a route towards Llandegla and Martin suggested the Plough as a lunch venue.  A done deal then: so we ten (Martin, Ray, Dave H, Jim, Ivan, Paul, Mike G, Colin, Tony and I) led by Jim, set off through Ewloe and Northop bound.  It was damp but not unpleasant, but after Soughton the rain did not disappoint us.  We ground up the hill towards Gwernaffield taking a right to Cadole and Loggerheads.  At the main road Jim was planning a left and a right until Martin described the plethora of hills in prospect so thinking better of it Jim offered Martin the lead to navigate the group towards Llanarmon.  Along the main road towards Llanferres we go as the rain pours down.  We take the ever-rising river of a lane off the Rhydtalog road into the hub of Llanarmon and then the also ever rising lane towards the head of the Nant y Garth pass. The lunch venue is nearly in sight as we turn left, and down through and out of Llandegla and onto the A525 and the Plough. 
The CER lunch booking secretary (aka Liz D) had thoughtfully booked ahead to reserve ten places.  Well quiet it was and quiet it stayed since I believe we were the only patrons at lunch.  The Pensioner Special was enjoyed and tasty it was, but could have been hotter, especially the coffee!  Nonetheless the Plough is a useful addition to the lunchtime venue listing.  Ivan was itching to go as it had apparently stopped lashing it down and Mike G decided to leave us here Prestatyn bound.  A false dawn it was as the rain recommenced as we nipped up the lane across the road and onto the A5104 to the Rhydtalog crossroads.  The route back took us on the back lanes through Treuddyn, passed Leeswood Hall and to Llong.  It was early, so as I was leading after lunch, a few miles were added in as we “enjoyed” drenched lanes almost to Hope and then the reverse route back along Lower Mountain Lane to Bilberry Wood. A few of us fancied coffee at Hawarden Farm shop whilst others had had enough and took to their cars for home.  Only 38 rainy miles today, and a few hills, but in a strange masochistic way still enjoyable.  As I arrived home with 55 meagre miles on the clock, the heavens opened, but this time I had beaten the rain to it!

Wednesday 25 April 2012

19th April 2012: Llyn Brenig

The car park at Ruthin Craft Centre was a hive of activity as 14 of us met for this year’s first special ride.  The plan was to leave Ruthin heading for Lady Bagot’s Drive and then on to Cyffyffliog and the long climb up to the moors before descending to Llyn Brenig and lunch in the lakeside café.  The route was as spectacular as expected and while the wind was stiff at times we only had a few spots of rain.  The highlights were of course Lady Bagot’s Drive with its garlicky bluebell woods and tumbling peaty river.
Bryan ran out of steam at the top of the long climb out of Cyffyffliog and decided to return to Ruthin and the Craft Centre.  Thanks to Tony for accompanying him safely back down.

The moors above Brenig were still quite wintery and as Dave Heath punctured we cut the corner to avoid the tracks around Llyn Alwen.  The riverside track by Pentrellyncwmr was another beautiful undiscovered spot for all but the leader.  A belter of a climb took us to tracks in Clocaenog: all very rideable and with long views across to the Arenigs.
Photographs by Dave Hill and Alan Jeffs.
The lane descent down to Bontuchel was in a sorry state but wide tyres and good skills saw everyone reach the bottom without incident.  Some took a coffee at the Ruthin Craft Centre before heading for home.
We all made it round successfully.  I enjoyed the lead, loved to show everyone some of my favourite tracks, lanes and countryside.  Thanks for the opportunity to do so.

Saturday 14 April 2012

12th April 2012: Worlds End & Panorama Walk

A perfect spring day – cool, bright, sunny and no showers as Dave & Liz P, Martin & Liz D, Mike M, Alan, Ray, Ivan, Tony, Bryan and I set off from Expresso with Bryan leading out his prepared route to the Sun Trevor by the “over the top” route.  The way out from Expresso was ever upwards with several new lanes appearing.  
The ford above Nant Mill
Photograph by Bryan Wade

A brief photo call at a ford upstream from Nant Mill caught most of us out for the steep grind up the other side of the valley.  Here we emerged in New Brighton and the start of the long slog up and over Esclusham Mountain towards World’s End.  Bryan waved us goodbye as he savoured the long descent down the Minera Steps back to Chester for an afternoon appointment.  We were now slogging up over the moors up to 1,400+ ft with magnificent views over Liverpool Bay. The tandem has some technical issues going up so we agreed to meet them later at the Sun Trevor.  The Panorama lived up its name as grand views of the Berwyns and Dinas Bran came into view.  
Reaching the final descent down to the pub, Ray and I set off believing the pack to be behind us. Having ordered a drink and lunch, they still had not appeared. A phone call revealed that Alan had had one puncture quickly followed by another and was walking down the lane.  Whilst the pack lunched (and very good it was), Ray and I helped Alan with his front wheel puncture issues.  It appeared to be due to a brake pad rubbing the tyre wall right through.  Dave P lent Alan a spare tyre and Alan was mobile again. As we all, bar two, sunned ourselves outside whilst waiting for a certain couple to finish their two course lunch, I decided upon an unauthorised deviation from Bryan’s route i.e. we take the tow path rather than the lanes to the aqueduct. Cutting back down the valley we appear the other side of the aqueduct taking the towpath back towards Cefn Mawr.  We follow the usual route back to Wrexham dodging along by the A 483.  A second unauthorised diversion finds us taking tea at Erdigg House before wending our way through Wrexham and back to Expresso Café.  Only 33 miles today but a lot of hills.  We four out from Chester sped back down Marford Hill and Eccleston with 60 miles on the clock.

Saturday 7 April 2012

5th April 2012: Calverhall (mod)

The moderate group consisting of myself, Dave H, Dave & Liz P on the tandem, Liz D, Andy, Mike M, and Trevor set off for The Old Jack at Calverhall (about 50 miles return) taking the familiar route through Tattenhall, Clutton, Tilston, Threapwood and Tallarn Green before crossing the A525 at Three Fingers.  Navigation round the west of Whitchurch necessitated lots of map stops but we soon found the signs for Tilstock and then Ightfield to Calverhall.  A steady 27 miles but our hearts sank when we saw the sign outside the pub "closed 'til Good Friday for re-furbishment".  Our only choice was to retreat into Whitchurch to the happy landlady, and she wouldn't serve us the last time we went there as we were late, or was it going to be the butty van on the industrial estate?
No, saved again as the landlady of The Old Jack came out and offered to feed us as the dining room was not affected - relief all round!!
The food was good, though it did take a little longer than we had hoped, understandably when seeing the state of the bar area.  However, suitably refreshed and with the sun peering feebly at Dave H's exposed knees we set off for the shorter return leg.  23 miles via Wirswall, Cholmondley and Harthill got us back to the Ice Cream Farm just in time for a take-away cup of tea as all the cake had gone back into the store.
A surprisingly accurate 50.1 miles or nearly 70 for those from Chester.

Friday 6 April 2012

5th April 2012: Hodnet (brisk)

Great minds think alike they say, so Jim’s idea of going to Calverhall and mine to go a little further to Hodnet bore this out as about a dozen of us supped tea and coffee at the Ice Cream Farm. Five of us (Ivan, Ray, Mike G, Tony and I) shot off bound for Hodnet. The idea was to go via Burwardsley to Malpas then Higher Wych and on to Fenn Bank. Mike G seemed to have fuelled up with nitro as he led for most of the day’s cycling at a very fast pace.  Arriving at Tilstock, my bike nav was playing up, so luckily Mike’s stone age technology of an OS map came into play as we shot off left bound for Prees, Marchamley and finally Hodnet. 
The Bear Hotel was the lunchtime venue and we were very pleased to get into the warm. The sun never really came out all day and if anything, it got colder post lunch. The food was fine but the pub a little unfriendly. The return routing took us up some delightful lanes to Ightfield and then via Edgeley into the back of Whitchurch. Sniffing our way through the town, we accessed the towpath to take us to Grindley Brook. We then dodged either side of the A41 exiting to take the lane to Hampton Post, Brown Knowl and then down behind Bolesworth Castle to be back at the café, 57 miles later, just before 16:00. The cake and tea were welcome as Ivan rang Andy to find that the other group were still some 10 miles away. Returning to Chester with 80+ miles under our tyres, we reflected on where does Mike G get his energy from, and why hadn’t the sun shone as per the forecast. Never mind – a grand day out all the same.

Monday 2 April 2012

29th March 2012: Overton

Another cloudless, sunny spring day brought out Dave & Liz P, Andy, Ray, Mike M., Paul, Clive, Dave, Martin & Liz D.  In addition we welcomed a new rider, Mike from Vicars Cross.  At the Roodee cafe a ride to Overton was decided upon.  We took the usual route through Rossett, Holt, Shocklach, Worthenbury, Bangor and Erbistock.  Clive and Dave had other commitments and turned back at Bangor.  Lunch was taken at the White Horse where service was rather slow but understandably so as they were catering for a funeral gathering.  No hurrying the dead!  We were all glad to get going again as it was colder inside the pub than it was in the sun outside.  Basically the same route back but via the lanes to Worthenbury.  New Mike showed good form and the group held together well.  Mike M. peeled off at Farndon whilst the remainder off us could not resist Kaffee und Kuchen at Hildergards Cafe.  Finally the usual routes back to Chester to finish off a satisfactory day.  If only we did all our riding in such good weather.
See route map and/or gpx file download.