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.

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Sunday 24 June 2012

21st June 2012: Malpas

I had suspected that numbers might be somewhat depleted today as four of our regulars are currently traversing the Alps, Andy is cycling in Croatia and Clive, who led last week's ride, had mentioned that he was away for the following two weeks.  Also, the weather forecast was not great with only a suggestion of some dry weather later in the day.
My suspicions proved well founded, as I was the only CER representative at Utkington today.  A fellow cyclist, who introduced himself as Roy, was sitting there when I arrived.  Engaging in conversation he told me that he had cycled over from Runcorn.  He had cycled with us once before a few weeks ago when the majority of the club were cycling in the Peak District, led by Dave Heath, Roy had joined Dave M and Ray who had offered an alternative ride on that occasion.
As the rain came down and it became apparent we were the only two brave/foolish souls out today, Roy decided to call it a day and head for home.  I was tempted to follow suit.  However, I was conscious of the need to get some miles on the bike.  I have entered next Sunday's Bert Bailey 100 mile Vets event and am not as prepared as last year when it formed part of my build up to my End2End.  So attempting to ignore the light but persistent rain I set off for Malpas through Tattenhall and Farndon.
I had lunch at the Old Fire Station cafe, now rebranded as a "Bistro" but still offering, among its more exotic fare, such old stalwarts as baked potato and toasted panini’s, both for under a fiver and therefore comparing well with pub prices.  After lunch I turned north again through Tilston and then more or less followed the Cheshire Cycleway as far as Huxley before cycling the last few miles through Duddon and back to Rose Farm.  It did eventually stop raining after lunch!

Saturday 23 June 2012

14th June 2012: Llanbedr

The forecast was for sunny spells and although rain threatened several times, only a few spots fell – so I have maintained my “ability/luck” to control the weather over the last three rides!  Six of us left the Gallery Café bound for Penycloddiau pass and the Griffin pub in Llanbedr DC.  Liz D, Trevor, George, Alan, Dave B and I left behind the Tandem Duo and Martin.
Out from Hawarden, we warm up our legs over wet roads past the Ewloe quarry towards Buckley. We take the back way to Soughton to access the steady climb up to Gwernaffield.  Down the steep descent to Cilcain Bridge, we puff up the double chevron ascent and turn right towards Nannerch.

Photographs by Alan Jeffs

At the start of the long climb to Penycloddiau I suggest we meet in the car park at the top for a breather.  In the car park Alan and I enjoy the Vale of Clwyd views and the history of this Iron Age hill fort and patiently wait but no one comes until I spot Trevor who says he is the back marker.  We three set of down the lane to find the others.  A phone call from Liz advises they couldn’t find us in the car park (?) and are down the bottom at the crossroads.  “OK” I say, “be with you soon”.  However down the lane I find Alan assisting Trevor with a puncture so I freewheel all way down to the crossroads and advise Liz and Co to follow the B road to the Griffin.  I grind back up the hill and wait at the turn for the high level lane that cuts across the countryside to the pub.  
The pub is good value and we leave bound for the Nant y Garth “bypass” at Graigfechan.  We wait for Trevor at the start of the run down to Llanarmon.  He doesn’t appear, and his phone I later discover is elsewhere.  I grind back up the road to find him changing the front tyre.  At Llanarmon, we view the Welsh motte and bailey castle thinly disguised as rocky outcrop and a copse.  Up to Trueddyn, we make our way to the edge of Leeswood before turning back bound for the old Chester Road in Penyffordd and Bilberry wood. Trevor and I go back to Chester via Saltney Ferry and the others finish the 45 miles route back in Hawarden. Several other notable riders were resting today ready for their Alps sojourn next week.  I thought they might have relished a warm up over the Clwydians!

Friday 8 June 2012

7th June 2012: Welshpool 107 ride (long)

Let’s start with the weather - rain all day forecasted - not correct in fact. True that it rained all the way to Hildegard’s where we were to pick up Dave M. Instead we lost Martin as he took a “rain-check” and also Dave M who decided the warmth of the café was preferable. So we five (Paul, Ivan, Ray, Mike G and I) struck out straight for Ellesmere. The rain soon stopped.  By 10:00, we were eating a late and welcome breakfast at the Corner Café in Ellesmere town centre, which is worth noting for future rides. It was “dry” as we ventured down new lanes towards Baschurch and crossed the A5 to pick up NCN81 towards Welshpool. We lost the route a bit due to malfunctioning software thus adding in about 7 miles, but thankfully Mike G’s hardware guided us through the maze of lanes in the hills west and parallel to A483. Here it was “not dry”, so the Raven Arms at the top of Welshpool high street was a welcome sight at just after 13:00. 
Using the pub’s wifi, I reinstalled the software and the route mapping was working OK again.  With over 60 miles on the clock, we struck out east and north in the rain to circle Breidden Hill for a route crossover at Four Crosses. In Llanymynerch, we turn east and then northeast to bypass the A483 northwards towards Maesbury. The rain has stopped and occasionally is in “on and off” mode for the rest of the day. In Oswestry by 17:00, we take coffee and cakes in Costa and reluctantly decide to miss out on Dave H’s kind offer of refreshments later in Wrexham. Refuelled, we leave Oswestry powering our way homeward via St Martins, Overton and circling Wrexham exiting down Marford Hill for a speedy 18 mph dash back to Chester by the most direct route. 
Tired, wet, but above all happy with our achievement of 116 miles at 14.7 mph average speed – no mean feat given the on-and-off rain and increasingly windy conditions. My thanks go to the riders who stuck it out all day. We had the pleasure of 60 miles of new lanes, only two punctures, some good food, and the companionship of evenly matched riders with a combined age of about 300 years!  As I cycled home at about 20:00, I added in a little loop to round off the day at 125 miles – the longest distance so far for me.

7th June 2012: Bickerton Poacher (mod)

It was Liz’s idea to put on a shorter ride for members not wishing to sign up for the Club’s annual ‘long ride’.  Great idea if it hadn’t been for the weather.  The forecast was for rain all day.  Sure enough it was raining at 09:10 as I left home for Manley Mere Windsurfing Centre and it was still raining when I arrived.  The thought did cross my mind that it might be drier doing a session of windsurfing than a day riding!  Who is going to turn out on a day like this, but true to her word Liz made an appearance and we settled down to a coffee while discussing what we should do.  I had a route down to Hanmer of some 60 miles (nice pub the Hanmer Arms) and we agreed a couple of bailout points for if it got bad.
With no one else making an appearance the two of us left Manley Mere at 10:30 up towards the Delamere Forest, through Kelsall, past Willington Hall, Clotton, Huxley, the Shady Oak and Beeston Castle.  In truth it wasn’t all wet and with time to chat we made good progress.  Then the rain started again as we made our way south through Peckforton.  By the time we reached the Bickerton Poacher the temptation to stop was just too great and as it was already past noon we convinced ourselves that it was perfectly acceptable.  So much for our pre-arranged bailout points.
A light bite of ham, egg and chips washed down with a pint of Flying Scotsman from the Caledonian Brewery made for a perfect lunch on such a dismal day.  With no need to hurry we had time for a coffee before venturing back out into the wet.
Our route back took us round Bickerton and Larkton Hills past Broxton Old Hall, down to the A41, Chowley, Tattenhall, Hargrave and Tarvin.  In Tarvin we avoided a standoff between a bus and a line of cars by taking to the pavement.  Then a few more lanes and we were back at Manley Mere having completed 37 miles.  Although wet this will be a day to remember.  Thanks to Liz for getting me out.

Friday 1 June 2012

31st May 2012: Ellesmere

Well the “raining all day” weather forecast was 95% wrong today – there was a little rain on my ride out via Hope to the Expresso café, a few spots throughout the day and a little as we arrived back at the café.  Brian Mac, Dave M, Ray and I bid Liz and Martin a farewell at the café.  Not so fast however, since Dave M’s Abus lock failed to unlock and it was locking Dave’s and my bike together!  Pliers from the local auto repair along the parade easily cut through the cable, so we were off at last bound for Wrexham down the main road.  Out past the hospital and onwards towards Bersham we ride through Rhosllanerchrugog bound for Acrefair and the aqueduct.

Photographs by Brian MacDonald

Down and over the Dee, we take the towpath towards Chirk.  Here we decide to carry on along the well surfaced towpath past the marina and through the first 173 yd tunnel to exit at the back of Chirk just before the 400 yd + tunnel that we walked three weeks ago.  Over the aqueduct and now upwards through Weston Rhyn, we cross the A5 and out through Gobowen taking NCN 31 all the way into Ellesmere to our favourite pub, the Red Lion.
Rain is threatening, and sure enough it pours down as we tuck into the two-courser.  A strategic post lunch coffee sees the rain off as we head out of town now bound for Sandy Lane.  Holly Bush and Worthenbury see us sprinting our way past Shocklach and into Hildegard’s where Dave M samples cake with port yogurt dressing.  Ray heads Chester bound as the three of us head out of Holt towards Borras back to Expresso via Pandy with exactly 50 miles on the clock.  I cycle back home via Hope and Kinnerton with 80 miles up. So all of you who saw the forecast and thought “I‘ll stay at home in the dry” you missed a pretty flat and essentially dry ride through some very green countryside.
See route map and/or gpx file download.