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.

Tuesday 30 October 2012

25th October 2012: Ellesmere

Brian Mac, Mike G, Ray, Tony, Dave H, Dave M, Liz and Martin were on parade today at the Expresso Cafe who gave us their usual warm welcome.  There were sighs of relief when Martin suggested spurning the N Wales hills and taking a flat route to Ellesmere.  One drawback of heading in this direction is that there is an initial ride through Wrexham which is rather busy and tedious.  Eventually we emerged into the countryside and followed extremely muddy lanes towards Overton, Dudleston and then into Ellesmere.  Dave M left an early stage for an appointment in Malpas.  Lunch was taken at the Black Lion pub which proved perfectly satisfactory.  The return route was to Penley, Bangor on Dee and Erdigg where a visit to the cafe there was suggested.  We entered through the back gate only to be later chastised (politely, no racial abuse) by a NT official for not using the official entrance and paying the entrance fee or showing a membership card.  We than rode through the heavy school pickup traffic of Wrexham to Gwersyllt where Ray and Tony continued to Chester, Mike G having left earlier to return to the railway station.  About 40 miles round trip from the cafe.

Great pictures from Brian MacDonald.

Friday 26 October 2012

Alternatives to Gwersyllt

A number of members have commented on the unsatisfactory nature of Gwersyllt as one of our regular meeting places.  Members will recall that Gwersyllt was chosen as the least unsatisfactory option when the café in Caergwrle closed.  Since then dissatisfaction has been voiced on a number of occasions.  David M has previously suggested Chirk as a possible alternative and more recently he has suggested Malpas.  Mold has also been mentioned.
To move the debate forward perhaps members would like to consider the options, suggest new alternatives or comment on the suggestions already made.  Please leave your comments below so that everyone can share your views and allow us to focus in on the most favoured/best alternative.
Issues that come to mind include the distance to the meeting place, the quality of the journey there, the range of rides accessible from the meeting place and the quality of the café.  You will no doubt have other considerations so let’s start the debate and see where it leads.

Monday 22 October 2012

18th October 2012: Aston

Brian Mac, Dave H, Andy, Ray, Clive, Mike M, Lizzie and Martin met at the Ice Cream Farm (ICF).  Dave and Liz Pipe arrived later but without cycling shoes so were unable to join the ride!  I like the ICF at this time when it’s free of the crowds.  Martin proposed an unadventurous route the principal purpose of which was to arrive at the Bhurtpore Inn for lunch.  This is one of my favourite pubs with an unbeatable combination of real ales, curries and open fire.  The usual route was taken over Harthill, Hampton Heath, Marbury and into Aston.  The weather was dry but the lanes remained wet and mucky from the recent rains.  

Photograph by Martin Donaldson

Vegetarian curry (medium heat) was the most popular lunch choice and went down very well with one of the 8 or so cask ales on offer.  We then continued the anticlockwise circuit back to the ICF via Ravensmoor, Bunbury and Beeston.  The pace picked up towards the end as rain threatened.  Some of us took tea/coffee and cakes in the ICF before wending our separate ways home.  Only 36 miles to and from the café; no mechanicals or lost riders; just a pleasant ride with a good lunch and company.

Monday 15 October 2012

11th October 2012: Central Lakeland

Sunshine, blue skies and some of the best scenery in the country! ... well that was the idea anyway as Clive, Ivan, Ray, Dave P, Dave Heath, Brian Mac and Andy met at the ferry car park in Bowness.  Actually Brian and Clive were still in Booths supermarket cafe having seen some signs that the ferry was out of action.  A quick check found that not to be the case and that it had been running for the last 500 years (believe that if you will)!
The forecast for the day was less than promising, with light rain to 12:00 hrs followed by heavy in the afternoon … and we all know what that means in Cumbria!

Photographs by Brian MacDonald

At this point Andy thoughtlessly offered the incentive of a free beer to any rider who managed the two big hills with no foot down ... a pretty stupid offer as it turned out!
With typical Easy Riders optimism we buried our heads in the sand crossed the lake then followed a nice well surfaced track for a couple of miles along the west shore ... good riding and a few gentle hills leading past High Wray and on towards Ambleside.  The Under Loughrigg Road allowed us to bypass the town on a pretty car free route then a short fast main road to Grassmere village. 
Replenishing caffeine levels in Grassmere was tempting but the day’s plan was to separate the two major climbs of the day by a break in Chapel Style in Langdale.  So ... up the 25% Red Bank it was ... tough but not too long with Dave P, Ivan and Ray unsurprisingly leading the pack.  A fast mile across the fells above Elterwater brought us to our deserved break at Brambles Cafe in the Cooperative shop.  So far so good and not too wet.

Heading west along Langdale the heavy rain came just as forecast obscuring the outstanding views of the Pikes.  Up the 25% hairpins to Blea Tarn along a road now turned to river ... and guess which three arrived first with a pale Andy trailing behind at the thought of that promise of free beer!

A lovely fast decent to Little Langdale had us recalling Ivan as he was drawn to the Three Shires.  Our route was a track through Tilberthwaite Woods then on to Coniston and the Black Bull that brews the famous Bluebird Bitter out back.  Good food, warm fire and Andy with a lighter wallet (even Ray forced a beer down at my expense) and we mounted up for the final stretch with resolve quickly diminishing in the wet gloom.  A quick conference agreed a revised route over Hawkshead Hill, then straight to the ferry via Far Sawrey.
A companionable and memorable day ... not all for the right reasons of course.  Only 38 miles but a couple of challenging ascents.
Perhaps we will try again next summer?

Friday 5 October 2012

4th October 2012: Whitchurch

While riding out to Hildegard’s this morning I was suddenly struck by the thought that the ride I had downloaded for today was based on starting from the Ice Cream Farm rather than Holt.  A quick check on arrival proved this to be correct.  Oh well, you can’t win them all and someone is bound to have something else prepared!  With ten of us present you would think so.  Mike M, Trevor, Clive, Dave H, David M, Ray, Andy, Dave & Liz P plus me and no one had a route.  I volunteered my route from the Ice Cream Farm to Coton suitably modified to take us from Hildegard’s, but Mike thought the Dog and Bull had closed.  Clive then confirmed that my alternative of the Waggoners at Platt Lane had burnt down in 2010.  Well it should have been rebuilt by now then.  With that optimistic thought in mind seven of us were ready to depart leaving Andy, Ray and David M with varying excuses for not riding.
The weather was perfect, a beautiful early autumn day, with just a nip in the air and the sun overhead.  What could go wrong? A delayed start while Clive repaired a rear wheel puncture.  Once away everything was fine.  An easy start took us down to Shocklach with little traffic in evidence then onto the back lanes to Chorlton Lane to join the original route down to Dymock’s Mill.  The idyllic scene at the bottom provided a photo opportunity before the climb up the rough track provided the first surprise of the day with the two oldest club members being the only ones to make it. 

Photographs by Bryan Wade

From here it was southeast through Drury Lane and down to Fenn’s Bank before a left turn over the canal brought us to a burnt out Waggoners: no joy here then.  Our next option was to try Tilstock just up the road where ten minutes or so later we discovered the Horseshoes was temporarily closed with new landlords in the process of moving in.  Next stop Whitchurch!
It’s only a short ride north to Whitchurch and with the superb weather to cheer us we enjoyed the lanes as we made our way through Alkington to the centre of Whitchurch where we found the White Bear open and welcoming.  Excellent food plus Doombar and the Rev James ales made for a great lunchtime venue.

The afternoon started with a post-lunch climb up Wirswall hill where we stopped outside Wicksted Hall to take in the views over Marbury.  Then it was north to Bickley followed by a devious route to Duckington, Tilston and finally Holt but not before another rear wheel puncture this time on the tandem.  Arriving back at Hildegard’s at about 16:15 gave us plenty of time for coffee and cake before the final leg home.
Another great day out with friends covering some 42 miles in almost perfect cycling weather with those heading back to Chester clocking 60 plus miles.

Monday 1 October 2012

27th September 2012: Ravensmoor

There was a decent turnout at Utkinton: Alan, Andy, Mike M, Ray, George, Liz and Martin, Trevor, Brian Mac, myself, Dave M in civvies, and usually last but never least - Liz and Dave.
I had promised to lead a moderate ride, and the fitter guys chose to go along with this. We took off in the direction of Tarporley, then turned left up Heath Green on the old route to Eaton crossing the A49. Shortly after Eaton most of the bunch suffered a drenching from a passing Audi hitting a very large puddle.  We were soon bowling past Wettenhall towards Nantwich. It was good to hear people chatting away in a relaxed manner.  I was aware that we tend to totally trust the leader, but that my chosen route was unfamiliar to me for many stretches ahead. Well, at least if I felt like the Lone Ranger, Mike “Tonto” Morley was there to help. We were a little ahead of schedule, so Mike suggested the cycle route through Reaseheath College grounds (photo). At the edge of Nantwich town we turned under the canal, and then past the marina that has a pleasant waterside café. We turned left at St. Mary’s church, Acton that has the oldest church tower in Cheshire and some Norman carved stones inside.  Tonto had already identified a suitable lunchtime hostelry using his renowned hop-seeking senses. We arrived at opening time at the Farmer’s Arms in Ravensmoor.  Dave and Liz were a little late, as they had been hunting for duck eggs.

Photographs by Alan Jeffs

Lunch was excellent, and Mike fell in love with the waitress. We set off again, heading south towards Wrenbury.  Martin thought that the pace “was even slower” after eating, but I had eaten poached salmon and drunk no ale.  Anyway, I took the hint and turned the wick up slightly as we undulated our way in a loop taking in Wrenbury Heath, Wrenbury itself, Chorley, Larden Green and Gradeley Green.  We had to hold our nerve through a number of flooded sections of road, but otherwise, it was all quiet and pleasant. It was quite hard work for the tandem at this stage because of the slightly increased pace, number of small hills and the amount of pudding Dave had eaten. I overcame my lack of knowledge of these roads by permanently perching my reading glasses on my nose and plotting ahead whilst riding, using my handlebar map holder. We were soon heading north through Brindley and towards Tilley’s cake and coffee shop (photo).  The Chester section then headed for Beeston, and the rest were riding back to Utkinton. Unfortunately, we somehow missed the left turn for Tilstone Fearnhall and Tarporley and finished up on a longer route via Alpraham and Eaton.  Still, the rain held off and we had all clocked a very sociable 44 miles at least.