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 27 May 2012

24th May 2012: Audlem

12 of us assembled at the Ice Cream Farm under cloudy, but improving conditions (David M, Ray, Dave & Liz P, Trevor, Ivan, Martin, Dave H, Andy, Brian, Alan and Paul).  David M had a sport plan that involved riding to the Priest Hole cafe in Audlem, after which the assemblage could individually choose their own method of return: moderate, moderately brisk or brisk.

Photographs by Brian MacDonald

We all headed out in a speedy bunch through Bunbury and Burland to Sound.  Beyond this a few more lanes led to Audlem where the sun came out with a vengeance and a small splinter group of four riders led by Ivan headed for the pub.

After an excellent lunch at the cafe, eight of us headed back to Nantwich via Madeley and Wybunbury.  Other riders variously headed straight back home, or went for a blast round even more lanes (Ivan & Martin).  

At Nantwich the group of eight split to return either via Faddiley and Peckforton or the Agricultural college.  At Beeston castle, David M split off to get an ice cream at the castle and then short cut home.  However the van was absent so he continued to the Ice Cream Farm, catching Ivan & Martin on the descent from the castle but losing them on the long upward drag to the right turn at the wrought iron works.

Back at the Ice Cream Farm, most of the riders arrived in varying groups at various times for the necessary refreshing ice cream and a brew.
Mileage for the main group ride was 55 miles, Ice Cream Farm to Ice Cream Farm.

Tuesday 22 May 2012

17th May 2012: Macclesfield Forest & Lyme Park (special ride)

It was grey, drizzly and not very warm at Redes Mere. The ducks seemed just as comfortable on the wet road as in the lake. Everyone arrived in good time: Clive, Liz and Ivan in the Landie, Jim and Trev together, George and myself in our own cars and mad keen Mike on his bike from Knutsford.
We were soon into the swing, chatting and cruising along the green undulating lanes, passing close to Gawsworth Hall before our first sharp climb to Sutton Reservoir. A ‘Quiet Lane’ out of Sutton Lane Ends had front wheels going light, and no breath for chat. Layers were removed at the top. There was no rain now, nor wind, and we were truly limbered up. Just as well as semi- serious climbs approached, including a hairpin past Haddon Farm. The Hanging Gate pub was perched attractively on the edge of the steep hillside: a desirable destination for a warm summer evening’s drive with the top down!  Left and steeply up into lovely territory, and then a welcome surge down with Ivan speeding and banking like Agostini as the narrow lane threaded between the hills.
Winding gently up, Wildboarclough is delightful as ever: sheltered, peaceful and remarkably easy riding amongst these severe slopes. The musical sound of the brook accompanies us towards our lunch stop at Bottom of the Oven. The Stanley Arms has a welcoming roaring log fire, but we settle snugly in the room reserved for us in the back. A lovely lady takes our photograph, for Cheshire Life I presume, but apparently she has just been persuaded to help us out! Food, friendliness and beer are spot on.
We are soon on our way again, with an immediate slog up to the main Macclesfield to Buxton road. We then hurtle exhilaratingly down past Lamaload Reservoir. If a car comes around the corner now, you’d need forearms like Popeye to brake in time. There are five arrows on the map for this short stretch; unfortunately the last one is up. We cross the B5470 and continue sailing downhill in the direction of Bollington, stopping to take in the fine views across Cheshire. White Nancy is perched like a penguin at the north end of Kerridge Hill, and beyond that, Alderley Edge. We turn right under heavy braking, and reach picturesque Pott Shrigley before long. This is bailout time for anyone suffering, as our proposed late coffee destination is about ten downhill minutes away. Everyone votes, somewhat surprisingly, (Jim and I can almost smell the coffee and feel the waiting soft sofas), to continue towards Lyme Park via the last long and hard climb of the day- through The Brickworks and onto Bakestonedale Moor. A short fast stretch around the hairpin at Charles Head follows, and then a high speed left in the direction of Disley.   
Photographs by Ivan Davenport

We enter Lyme Park via a rocky track and across a wooden bridge to reach East Parkgate. As we enter we see The Cage on a hill to our right and ride closely past a large number of beautiful deer. We reach Lyme Hall, the largest in Cheshire and the setting for the BBC’s adaptation of  Pride and Prejudice. Liz’s thoughts immediately turn to Mr. Darcy in a wet shirt! We leave down a wooded path to West Parkgate, and turn uphill with views over Stockport and Manchester. A stop to admire the old Coffee Tavern built as a library at the time of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee. Past Shrigley Hall, up round the corner, and right into a delightful ‘secret lane’ which ends by snaking steeply down a cobbled route between Bollington’s stone houses. 
Coffee and cake at the Waterside Café in the impressive former cotton and silk thread producing Clarence Mill, alongside the Macclesfield Canal.
We set off for the last lap, passing under the canal and then the impressive viaduct of the Middlewood Way, a disused railway cycle path which we must sample another time. It’s a good job I didn’t let the troops know that we could have substituted some undulations with a very pleasant, and more importantly, flat, few miles! Through wealthy Prestbury and up a final tough little climb, then lovely little lanes, past Henbury Hall and back to the cars.
It was a relief that we all coped, because it was a testing route, but everyone genuinely seemed to enjoy the ride, and I was really pleased that it had been worth their effort. I certainly appreciated the group’s support, and their excellent company on the day. A special thanks to Jim for his pre–ride scouting assistance and sound advice. 42 glorious, challenging miles. 

Friday 18 May 2012

17th May 2012: Warmingham (mod)

David M, Ray and new rider Roy from Runcorn met at the Ice Cream Farm in cold, wet, dreary conditions.  Fortunately the weather relented to dreary as we headed off east into the headwind for Bunbury and Alpraham.  We then continued to Church Minshull and on towards Warmingham and Hassal Green.  The intention was to ride on to Malkins Bank, but a few miles beyond Warmingham David M suffered a late reaction to last Tuesday's remedial massage and had to stop for 10 minutes to recover.  In the circumstances, we retraced to the excellent Bears Paw at Warmingham for a super lunch, having covered 25 miles from the ice cream farm.  
Return was by the usual route through Bostock & Whitegate to the Shire Horse Cafe (v. expensive!!).  The party then split with David M returning through Cotebrook to Oscroft, and Ray guiding Roy back through Eaton to the Ice Cream Farm.  Total distance 55m.  Roy seemed to enjoy himself and is to join us again, as and when his shifts allow.

Monday 14 May 2012

10th May 2012: Ellesmere (mod)

Followed the A team into massive headwind until approx 4 miles from Ellesmere, then turned left to Ellesmere and the Red Lion for excellent pensioner lunch.
Returned through Welshampton (one of my favourite roads) with massive tailwind over the moors and through river valleys to Malpas for quick brew in fire station cafe.  Then more massive tailwind to collect car from garage in Tarporley.  Downpour in last 5 minutes before Tarporley which ensured that I got home drenched, but who cares after an excellent 60 miles round trip.  Seems like I can now almost handle the distance of the stronger riders, but not the speed yet.  5 weeks to the Alps: should just make it in good shape.

10th May 2012: Gobowen (brisk)

Eleven met at Hildegard’s, but Andy & Bryan were only there for the coffee. (Hope you find your feet soon Bryan).  Clive kindly had a route programmed heading south into the wind, all the way to Gobowen.  The run to lunch was punctuated twice (punctured is more apt) as we passed through Sutton Green to Bangor, where the first of a series of pics was taken by yours truly. (PIC 1)

Bangor on Dee
First puncture
First puncture was at Hindford, where Brian’s new mini foot-pump impressed the natives with its efficiency. (PIC 2)  Lunch was unusually taken, NOT in a pub but at the VERY efficient Derwen College on the southern outskirts of Gobowen.  Main courses were ordered from the waitress and arrived in less than 2 minutes.  A new CER record for speed: well done the students.
Photographs by Brian MacDonald

After lunch, we headed north along the towpath of the very sunny and pleasant Llangollen canal, over The Chirk Aqueduct.  (PIC 3) 

Chirk Aqueduct
We then achieved another CER first by attempting to by-pass the town by cycling through the 412 yard long Chirk Tunnel.   We cycled about 5 yards into the tunnel before deciding that we were grown men and should be sensible and walk.  Exiting the tunnel we had a fast run north as far as the very smelly Rubbish Dump at Jonestown. (PIC 4) Here George had to have a puncture and show us his patented rain proof seat cover, an upmarket carrier bag.  I must point out that all the punctures were fixed in record time by the expert re-tyreing of Ray. (Is there such a word?)  Well done Ray.
With all the stopping and starting, it was decided that afternoon tea should be taken at the very lovely Erddig Hall, voted the UK’s “Favourite Historic House” in 2007.  Suitably refreshed, we all set off for Chester and when we reached Wrexham Rugby Club, Trevor deviated off to Farndon.  A very pleasant CER 50 miles, with 3 punctures and two new records set.

Tuesday 8 May 2012

3rd May 2012: Warmingham (mod)

David M had a moderate route planned, of which the main feature was "out against the brisk east wind and get blown home".
Dave Heath was the first to volunteer for a shorter day, followed in rapid succession by Mike, Trevor, George and Liz.  We set out over Cotebrook, and then followed a series of lanes past Calvely school, through Church Minshul and then to Hopley House farm Cafe.  On arrival at the cafe we were greeted by an ominous silence and large banner that proclaimed that the cafe had been shut (due to red tape) since February 4th.
Nothing daunted, we then set off to Warmingham where Mike remembered there to be an excellent pub: The Bears Paw.  Pub is excellent, beautifully refurbished, friendly staff and served us an excellent meal.  Definitely one for future visits!
Return was via Middlewich, Bostock and "the bridges" to Whitegate.  Stiff hill out of Whitegate led to more excellent lanes (including Shays Lane) and then the Shire Horse Cafe (now known as Ray's Rest following his bonk out on a previous ride) for a cuppa.  There are two secret roads on the return from this cafe.  We opted to climb up the A49 to secret road 2 past the small lake and deep ravine before returning to Rose farm via Cotebrook.  A round trip of approx 40 miles in the cold but dry May weather.

Sunday 6 May 2012

3rd May 2012: Holmes Chapel (brisk)

There were a lot of us at Rose Farm and since Dave M had planned a shorter moderate ride, the rest of us (Ivan, Ray, Tony, Dave P, Brian Mac, Andy, Martin, and I) set off bound for Swetenham.  Out the back of Tarporley and on to Ruston and Oulton Park we ride until we access the Whitegates Way to sunny Winsford.  We exit on to part of NCN 5 bound via my eponymously named hamlet, to access the canal towpath into Middlewich.  Here a local reports “thorns on the towpath” so, as Ray and I have had recent punctures, we abandon the towpath and quickly re-route around the town thanks to the auto re-route function on Martin’s Edge 800.  As we cross the M6 the clouds appear and the sun disappears.  The forecast is for rain.  At Brereton Green we ignore the NCN 71 signs, since we have been bitten before on this very rough farm track, and so skirt around it to access Ivan’s ancestral home (he wishes) and through the lovely Dane valley to pop up via The Quinta into Swetenham proper. 
Hockenhall Platts

Photograph by Ivan Davenport
The plan was to lunch at the Swetenham Arms but after looking at the prices on-line, I have decided to continue to the George & Dragon in Holmes Chapel.  Here we enjoy waiter service and a very leisurely Pensioners Special lunch as we gradually roast in the conservatory dining area.  Martin’s had enough and heads for home solo.  Taking the back rough lane north via Hollins Farm, the rest of us track towards Cranage and via Lach Dennis to Davenham.  Here I employ the Dave M route via Vale Royal golf course and through Whitegates, Cotebrook and back to Utkinton.  Here we briefly meet Dave H in his car going home, and as Brian climbs the hill back to his van, we fancy a coffee at Okells.  We finish off the route back to Chester via Hockenhall bridges with around 80 miles on the odometer.  Well it didn’t rain and the 50 miles round route turned out to be well worth the effort of cycling it.