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 30 December 2012

27th December 2012: A 2nd Beating of The Bounds (or the Ice Cream Farm)

I had volunteered to lead a ride from The Gallery Tea Rooms and had a number of uneasy feelings beforehand.  No 1, would it be open two days after Christmas?  I arrived at 09:45 to find it still closed for Xmas, so parked my car outside to act as a refuge from the cold for those early CER birds.  Andy, Dave M and Paul arrived at 09:50 and we decided to cycle to Hildegard’s for coffee, which we knew never closes.  Uneasy No 2 was would anyone turn up at all?  That was soon dispelled when five others arrived, all feeling equally bloated after over-indulging: Dave H, Jim, Ray, Martin, Andy and myself.  I thought “Golly”, this is a good turnout, just as we cycled through that appropriate named hamlet.  It was a straight and uneventful ride southeast past Hope through Rossett to Holt.  
Hildegards had even opened on the 25th to serve 28 covers for Christmas Dinner; so serving eight cyclists was nothing.  Dave H, Jim & Dave M all peeled off then as the rest of us decided to head SE to see if we could find food in Malpas.  My spy in Malpas phoned me with news that all the pubs there were only serving drinks and she even phoned Bellis’ in Holt, who were serving food.  I didn’t have the heart to tell her that we had just left Holt.  Stopping on the edge of the Malpas metropolis, the lunch committee decided that we’d head for The Ice Cream Farm on spec.  Turning north, we passed Broxton and Beeston.  As we neared the ICF, I have never been happier to see the car park so packed.  Food at last!
After lunch, we all headed back for Chester, via Christleton, but here it all went downhill for Martin, who picked up the first of three punctures, just as dusk was falling.  As my car was parked at Hawarden, I stayed with him to help, to save all 5 of us catching frostbite.  The two of us returned via the Greenway and Sealand and arrived back at the start in the dark, having completed 54 miles.
It was good to see 1 or 2 younger people taking their holiday leave to cycle with us (I believe that they are called workers, but it all seemed so long ago)
One lesson learned today for the CER ride on Thurs 26 Dec 2013 is that the only places that seem to serve food are Hildegard’s, Bellis’ and The ICF.  You have been warned.

Sunday 23 December 2012

21st December 2012: Café circuit

Thursday's weather was forecasted to be "heavy rain all day"; and so it was; and this was the reason that the penultimate ride of 2012 was exceptionally moved to a forecasted "dry" Friday.  At Manley aka Café #1, the message had got through to everyone and Dave M confirmed that no one had turned up on the Thursday.  So my proposal of a Café to Café "beating the bounds** " ride was accepted, as was the lunch venue of Hildegard's café.  We six, (David M, Dave P, Ray, Andy, Martin and I) set off on time up Sugar Lane bound for Mouldsworth and the back lane into Kelsall.  The weather was dry but annoying heavy drizzle could be seen sweeping across the plain as we exited Kelsall bound for Café #2 in Utkinton.  No time to stop, so onwards to Tarporley, where waterproofs were donned, then Huxley bound for Café #3, Ice Cream Farm.  David M decides to peel off, so we five motor through Tattenhall.  On the Clutton road out, there is a sizeable flood at the top of the hill and we roll down towards the A41 testing our brakes.  Safely across, we turn right down Dog Lane, Chowley, into Aldersey Lane and thence to Coddington.  The weather improves.  Across the A534 and passed the Cock o' Barton, we turn right down Wetreins Lane bound for Farndon and Holt.  The Dee is in full flood as we arrive at Hildegard's Café #4 by 12:45.  Hildegard looks after us royally well and we tuck in to a hot meal and a free glass of red wine and extra tea/coffee.
Photographs by Clive Albany

An hour later we set off, but with Andy nursing the beginnings of a cold, and Martin deciding to get back to his car in the light, they leave us bound for Chester.  So Ray, Dave P and I roll along the straight road into a head wind bound for Borras.  Crossing the Wrexham bypass, we arrive in Bradley and take the back way into Alyn Waters Park Café #5.  In doing so we get close to the Expresso (former café #5).  Along the main road we go northwards to Caergwrle and take the lane across the river valley passing close by the now closed Tudor café (also former Café #5).  Safely on Lower Mountain Road, we slowly ascend to Bilberry Wood genuflecting towards Hawarden and Café #6.  Taking the usual return route, we decide to stay on the south side of the River Dee at Saltney Ferry and arrive at the Wrexham Roundabout via Curzon Park.  Here Ray and Dave P go straight across making their way home.  I turn left and pass by the Little Roodee Café #7.  I cut down by the river back to Mollington with 60 miles on the clock and part way towards Café #8 at Ness.  If you had gone back to Café #1, you would have cycled 58m and got there by 16:00 and in the light.  I was home and had washed the bike by 16:00!  So as the old saying goes, "CTC" really stands for "Café-to-Café".  As I write this, the Mayan End of the World forecast is happily incorrect as was the Met Office's forecast for the day! 
Best Seasonal Wishes to all CER riders, and I hope Santa brings you those cycling goodies you’ve been hinting at all year.
Note ** 
According to Wikipedia: Beating the bounds is an ancient custom still observed in some English and Welsh parishes.  Under the name of the Gangdays the custom of going a-ganging was kept before the Norman Conquest.  A group of old and young members of the community would walk the boundaries of the parish, usually led by the parish priest and church officials, to share the knowledge of where they lay, and to pray for protection and blessings for the lands.

Saturday 15 December 2012

13th December 2012: Pontcysyllite

Leaving home with the temperature gauge on -6˚ C I was feeling decidedly un-enthusiastic about a ride round the Welsh mountains.  I needn't have worried: most of the Easy Riders had clearly opted for a lie in as the only ones at the cafe at Alyn Waters were myself, Dave H, and Dave & Liz P on the tandem.  I proposed a short ride down to the aqueduct at Pontcysyllite: only about 13 miles but with the option to extend down to Chirk if the weather improved.  As it happened it didn't and we set off uphill through Windy Hill and onto the Steps' passing gingerly through several sections of ice before reaching Minera.  From here on we followed the B5426 southwards towards Rhosllanerchrugog and Acrefair.  A little confusion within half a mile of the aqueduct caused by the water board parking a van on the pavement blocking the sign was soon sorted and we gladly reached the pub, at this point all agreeing that 13 miles was quite far enough, as we were all chilled to the bone and the temperature had not yet gone above freezing.
Some hearty liver and onions, and famous home made steak pie went down really well and we set off at 2 o'clock for the return.  Round the back streets of Ruabon, we picked up the old main road and headed north to the outskirts of Wrexham.  Here things got a little confused, despite having the use of the GPS, but we managed to keep mainly off the main roads and threaded our way round the back of the council offices and the hospital.  Crossing the A483 we took the lane up to Summerhill and finally back to Alyn Waters.  The temp by now had leaped up to -1˚ C: positively toasty!!  An interesting ride for all concerned followed by a well-earned coffee at the centre.
Total distance a very chilly 26 miles - but at least we were out there! 

Friday 7 December 2012

6th December 2012: Christmas Lunch Ride to Higher Burwardsley

Very cold, icy and rain forecast for late afternoon: just what we needed for the Club’s Christmas Lunch Ride!  David M rang to say he was going by car, as it was too icy.  I decided to cycle out to the meet at the Ice Cream Farm using the main roads as much as possible.  The BBC had shown their “documentary” ‘The War on Britain’s Roads’ the night before, portraying a war between motorists and cyclists.  This seemed to have been taken to heart by Chester’s drivers as I was cut up three times within the first mile and then shouted out for making use of an advanced stop line!

Once in the country, things calmed down and I was caught by Clive, Ivan and Ray taking the same route out.  At the Ice Cream Farm Colin was already demolishing a toasted teacake when we arrived.  Before long there were 14 of us present although one wasn’t riding.  While the rest of us chatted Jim did a fantastic job of painlessly extracting the monetary balance due from everyone for lunch.  Though how he managed to do the ride with pockets bulging with cash is another matter.

Photographs by Bryan Wade

By 10:30 it was time to leave with a short circuit of the Peckforton/Bickerton hills planned to get us to The Pheasant by just after 12 noon.  I led out round Beeston and on to Bunbury before cutting across to Peckforton.  By this time we had all warmed up, the weather was more favourable and by and large the roads were clear with just a few isolated patches of ice turning slushy.  Nearing Bickerton it was clear that we wouldn’t make the pub by noon if we stuck to the planned route so I cut out most of the Bickerton circuit to head straight for the old Copper Mine pub now renamed the Sandstone.  Then it was over Harthill before taking a sharp right and the climb up to Burwardsley and the Pheasant at Higher Burwardsley.
The Pheasant had reserved a window table for the 15 of us: Mike G, Colin, Dave B, David M, Clive, Ivan, Trevor, Dave P, Jim, George, Ray, Liz P, Mike M, Dave H and myself.  Once seated and refreshed with a pint, dinner was served.  Food was excellent although a complaint about the turkey was conveyed to the kitchen.  To be fair to the pub the menu described the turkey as saltimbocca style.  It would therefore be churlish not to expect some form of rolled turkey although in this case it was more of an industrial roll rather than the more traditional rolled and skewered pieces.
From The Pheasant the way back was a fast downhill descent through the lanes to the Ice Cream Farm where those with cars loaded up leaving the rest of us to make our way back to Chester.
Only 18 miles today (38 for those Chester bound) but a great day nevertheless.