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 30 November 2012

29th November 2012: New Brighton

Cold, crisp and even was the day's weather with the sun out all day and no wind to speak of. There were eight of us at Ness Gardens café  (Bryan, Ray, George, Liz and Dave P, Dave H, Jim and me) and the group were easily satisfied with the promise of the flattest ride ever, so much so that no one asked the distance!  I fancied an anti-clockwise Wirral periphery ride, viz keep the water on your right hand side as much as possible.  So we set off on time to access the Wirral Way via the half a mile railway cutting on the edge of Neston on our way to Childer Thornton.  Here we have to negotiate a deeply flooded road on the way to Eastham Ferry where we pause to watch a small tanker vessel slowly motor past.
Photographs by Bryan Wade

Then we access the start of the newly sign-posted Wirral Circular Way. This part of the route is the reverse of what we took on our way back from the Beatles Tour ride. Today it was well signposted as we wiggled left and right through housing estates and along the river side. We have to use the pavement at Bromborough Pool to avoid the A41 itself.  Eventually we arrive at Birkenhead Priory close by Woodside ferry. Weaving around the ferry station, we keep close to the water with wonderful views across the Mersey to Liverpool, before emerging by the swing bridge and onto the prom at Seacombe Ferry.  It was then a pleasant ride to New Brighton itself. I did not have a pre-planned lunch stop but the Sea View Café did us proud and most of us enjoyed inexpensive good wholesome food served quickly and with a smile. It must be a good place because it was very busy. No ale today, so Ivan would have been disappointed. 
The route back is familiar to all as we spin along the maritime cycle path towards Hoylake. Here turning into the main drag we lose the tandem who we assume we will shall see at the roundabout. No sign of them so we assume they are ploughing on to access the Wirral Way in West Kirby. We take the rail side cycleway and when at Grange Road phone the missing duo. A puncture - will be with you in "four minutes" - obviously time runs differently for the Pipe family. Eventually they arrive and we wend our way past dogs and their owners towards Parkgate and Neston. Dave H had decided to go ahead and we meet up at Ness gardens. The sun is setting and the temperature is falling to near zero.  Bryan, Ray and I head for Chester via Burton and Puddington and the others get into their warm cars. About 39 circular miles (60 plus for those Chester bound) and 1,395 ft. of climbing - even a flat ride is hillier than you might expect.

Friday 23 November 2012

22nd November 2012: Aston

Meeting at Hildegards on Thursday were Dave M, Dave H, Brian Mac, Ray and Jim.
The absence of any of our usual leaders threw us into the usual panic regarding destination and leadership, but with the wind blowing strongly from the south and even worse weather forecast for later, Dave M suggested the relatively short trip down to the Shroppie Fly at Audlem. This seemed to be a good idea, then Dave informed us that he wasn't coming anyway as he had done a couple of long rides already this week and was setting off home with the wind!
We decided to navigate by committee and chose the direct route down to Tilston, Duckington, Cholmondely, and Wrenbury. The going was tough at times when we rounded a corner and got the full force of the wind, but we struggled on manfully. At Wrenbury we re-assessed the situation and decided to head for the Bhurtpore Inn at Aston as we all fancied a curry and it was nearer anyway.
Suitably refreshed we set off for the return journey at 13:30, and with the wind mainly behind us we made good time cutting back through Bickley, No Man's Heath and Malpas until we passed through Tilston again. Here Ray decided to remove a clump of mud from his tyre that was irritating him only to find the mud masking a gift from a friendly farmer, at which point his tyre promptly deflated. Brian and Jim meanwhile were sheltering in the entrance to Lower Carden Hall, much to the discomfort of the owner who waited to ensure that his electric gates had closed before he set off for the golf club - after all one can't have riff-raff prowling around the outbuildings can one?
By now the gloom was closing in despite the relatively early time of 3pm and we got back to Farndon about 30 minutes later with the rain clearly intent on giving us a good soaking. Unfortunately Ray still had to ride back to Chester and would have caught the full force of the front.
The rest of us just about got our bikes on the cars without too much discomfort and set off home for an early bath.
35 fairly strenuous miles or nearer 60 for Ray.

Friday 16 November 2012

15th November 2012: Swan Green

It was real struggle to ride the 14 miles out to Rose Farm; it was cold, foggy and my legs were already gone after two weeks decorating leave!  There were eight of us in all (Ray, Mike M, Mike G, Dave H, Dave M, George, Paul and myself) although a phone call from Dave P advising a delayed departure, meant there would be 10 of us at the chosen lunch venue, the Crown at Swan Green. Dave M had suggested this as a good lunch venue earlier in the week, so I came prepared with a shortish 41 miler. 
The route out to Winsford was via Whitegate Way, which was bestrewn with Mother and Baby Club walkers and the usual dogs and their unaware owners.  Minimising the architectural delights of Winsford, we exit via the eponymously name Clive Green Lane on our way to the further architectural delights of Middlewich.  Over the M6, we have no real alternative but to take the quiet A50 north out of Holmes Chapel towards Cranage.  Thence over the M6 twice more as the sun shines and the Crown comes into view.  A decent pub this; George recalls we have visited it before but it's a first time for me.  The lunch discussion is varied, but the straw poll on those who intend to vote for the local Police Commissioner is only one in eight of us; this turns out to be about the national average as well!  As we finish our main course, Liz and Dave arrive and order an uncharacteristically small repast. 
As we set off to return with the winter sun in our eyes, half the group shoot off in the opposite direction to the leading group.  Not sure why, but the planned route home is only 17 miles!  We five (Ray, Paul, Mike G and Dave M) cross the M6 for the last time bound for Lach Dennis and Davenham.  Here we utilise the "Dave M Golf Course" manoeuvre to access Foxtwist Green via Vale Royal golf course from Davenham.  As we approach Little Budworth I decided not to go the same way back as out, since I can't remember ever riding through this pretty village.  Dave M decides he wants to go another way here, not sure why really since our route is back via Eaton and the bifurcated Heath Green Lane. The circular route is 41 miles although the remaining four riders returning to Chester will have clocked 65+ on the day.

Saturday 10 November 2012

8th November 2012: Cwm

Although overcast and a little windy on the ride out to Hawarden the omens for the day were favourable.  I had come with a route to The Blue Lion Inn at Cwm, having checked the previous evening that they would be open and serving food.  By 10:30 a small band of seven were ready to leave and with no other suggestions the default destination of Cwm was agreed even though no one knew were it was!
With the group comprising Martin, Liz D, Dave H, Ivan and Dave & Liz P, I led out along the B road taking the direct route to Northop.  Within a few minutes Ivan was alongside.  “I’ve left my reading glasses at the café” he says. “I’m going back to get them and I’ll catch you up.  Are you going along the A55?”  “No” I reply, “We’re going straight over the Halkyns”.  “Brave choice” is the comment from someone behind and Ivan decides to collect the glasses on the way back.
In Northop we take the left at The Green and start the climb up to the Blue Bell.  At the top the views across the Wirral to Liverpool are magnificent and I get to wondering what it must have been like for the kids watching their home city being bombed while billeted out to families up here during the war.  Then we continue west across the moorland through Windmill and Brynford to Gorsedd where, aware of the time and the need to get back in daylight, I shorten the route by taking in a short section of the A5151.  The best bit starts as we turn off the main road to take the narrow lane past Llyn Helyg and on to Cwm where on the final descent we are rewarded with a spectacular view across the Vale of Clwyd to Snowdonia.
The Blue Lion proves to be the pub ‘find of the year’.  A warming open fire and an even warmer landlady to greet us.  Marston’s bitter on tap and an excellent choice of food from light snacks to a three course lunch for £10.  This is definitely one for future visits.  A very well run pub that deserves to succeed.

Photograph by Martin Donaldson

All too soon it was 14:00 and time for us to leave.  We dropped down to the Dyserth to Rhuallt road and contoured along the side of the Vale of Clywd stopping to take in the views: not forgetting a photo.  The back lane out of Rhuallt started steeply up to the A55 footbridge and continued upwards thereafter.  Halfway up Dave P gets a call.  It’s from the Landlady of The Blue Lion to say they have found his wallet.  The thought of going back and doing the hills again is just too much, so Dave wisely decides to drive back in his car later in the day after returning home.  We continue on to Babell where I surprise the group by taking the narrow undulating track to Lixwm.  At Pentre the notorious entrance to the farm track is even muddier than the last time I did this section so we take the alternative route to Rhes-y-cae instead, before the climb over Moel-y-crio.  With the hills behind us now we descend quickly to Rhosemor and Northop where with darkness coming on we hurry on towards Hawarden to make it back by 16:30.
What a wonderful day: 43 miles done or 58 for those cycling from Chester.

Friday 2 November 2012

1st November 2012: Grappenhall

CERs turning out for battle on a cold, bright day were Brian Mac, Ray, Dave H, Bryan W, Mike M, Dave M, Andy, Jim (gratefully returning into the world of retirement), Liz and Martin D.  Bryan, Brian Mac and Dave M indicated that they intended only to do a truncated ride but in fact got caught up with the joy of it all and completed almost the whole ride.  The Good Pub Guide having being consulted the chosen destination was Grappenhall.  The usual Cheshire Cycleway route was taken through Delamere, Norley, Acton Bridge and Antrobus.

Photographs by Brian MacDonald.

The final stretch to the pub was pave, good training for next years early season Classics.  The hardest decision of was the choice between the two adjacent pubs.  Locals having been consulted the Parr Arms was selected and an acceptable lunch was had although coffee was "orf"!  To avoid retracing our steps and in view of the limited crossing points over the Weaver the route back to base was a northerly route in parallel to the M56.  This lacked scenic qualities and in part was main road with busy traffic.  Eventually Frodsham was reached at which point Bryan, Brian and Jim took the direct route back to Chester whilst the remainder toiled up the considerable hill behind Frodsham and then down towards the setting sun and Manley.  Ray and Andy were the last men standing to complete the ride back Chester.  38 miles or 62km, 600m of ascent and 2200 calories consumed.  A satisfactory day.