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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Friday 22 February 2013

21st February 2013: Wrinehill

It was going to be a cold and windy day and the weather didn’t disappoint. There was a whole crowd at Rose Farm including Petar for his second week, and a new rider, Dave R, who wanted to savour one of our rides. Just as we were about to leave "Hop a Long" Davenport arrived by stagecoach with clipboard and sample shirts. He was there to "put the shirts on our backs", which was duly accomplished - well-done Ivan - a thankless task. 
Jim and I discussed routes as he had one to Goostrey but agreed that, with a strong SE wind, the Wrinehill option was more sensible. So Ray, Paul, Liz D, Dave H, Jim, Andy, Petar and Dave R and I set off for Tarporley. Dave M was in "big ride prep mode" so went his own way, and Trevor accompanied us to Bunbury before turning for home. After Bunbury, we took the Haughton Moss option towards Acton on dry roads. Nantwich was bypassed by taking the river park diversion but then there was no avoiding short sections of the A529 and the A51 to get us to Wybunbury. Missing the obviously named Wrinehill Road, we turn back down the hill to admire the big sandstone church by the correct turn. Here it was just a matter of following this long lane over the West Coast railway line to the Crown in Wrinehill. 
The car park was reassuring quite full for a small pub as we gratefully rushed inside for the warmth therein. The landlord was welcoming, and soon the order was taken. After a short wait, the whole order arrives in more or less in one go. Most of us had the fish and chips main meal and expressed our satisfaction with quality and quantity. We ready for the return ride knowing the cold wind is going to be behind us. 
Dave H, Jim and Petar opt for a leisurely return, so the rest of us head up the main road through pretty Betley for a mile or so before finding the little lane to Chorlton. Here we "admire" the large housing estate with enormous houses at the lane's edge enjoying panoramic views of the main West Coast railway line. More A road takes us back to Wybunbury, just kissing where we rode through this pretty village a few hours earlier. Cutting through Nantwich, we take the Wettenhall lane north to Eaton. On the way we pass the Metropolitan Machine Knitting centre and inquisitiveness and the cold encourage to stop for an inexpensive hot drink with cakes. Up through Eaton, and the hill out finds us transecting the A49 back to Rose Farm. A dry, cold day with a 45 mile circuit to places and lanes anew. Andy, Liz, and Dave R head for their cars as Ray, Paul and I head back Chester clocking up 70 miles under the tyres.

Wednesday 20 February 2013

14th February 2013: Gwaenysgor

After yesterday’s snow and rain the weather today was greatly improved with a forecast for a sunny day.  Ray, Roy, Paul, Dave P, Martin, Bryan and a new rider, Petar, turned up at the Gallery Cafe, Hawarden.  Bryan had a sick note and was planning to do only a short ride and when Petar heard of the proposal for a hilly, 40-50 mile ride he decided to join Bryan.
The remaining five chose to follow a route that had been led by Bryan Wade a year or two ago.  We headed off to Northop and up onto the Halkyns, passing through Whitford, Llanasa and eventually Gwaenysgor.  There was a headwind the entire way make the going quite hard but this was tempered by the usual fine views across the Dee Estuary.  As we were slightly early for lunch we visited the viewpoint above Prestatyn at the top of the 33% hill from the coastal plain. Lunch was taken in the Eagle and Child and was perfectly satisfactory.
After lunch we descended the rough, steep, narrow lane to Dyserth and then along the splendid road through Cwm to Rhuallt with views across to Snowdonia.  After the hard climb up Rhuallt hill we rolled along the tops with the wind at our backs through Babel, down into Rhys y Cae and then up the hill to Moel y Crio, Rhosemor, Alltami, Buckley and eventually Hawarden.  We were hoping to grab a cup of tea at the Gallery Cafe but he was in the process of closing.  Ray and Paul continued on to Chester and Roy to Runcorn (!).
It had been an enjoyable hilly ride at a faster than normal pace on a sunny winter day with great scenery throughout.  One of my favourite routes. Total mileage from the cafe was 49 miles with 1210 metres of ascent.  Probably 65 from Chester and 90 from Runcorn.

Monday 11 February 2013

7th February 2013: Lower Peover

It felt a bit bleak at Manley Mere, but once inside the fire was toasty and the staff friendly. Bryan, Paul, Ray, Jim and myself were soon snugly installed with hot drinks. Andy, back from the sun, and David M were there for a chat but not riding.  Dave and Liz Pipe arrived later, and then Mike G made a welcome appearance. Ivan’s positive progress was discussed, and we look forward to his return.
Jim had a route, and I offered to lead until lunch (and add a few twists). We were soon climbing toward the hairpin on Sugar Lane, past David Yeo working on a sandstone wall. The fast lads had been asked to rein in initially, as we had unintentionally split in different directions here in the past. We turned right at the top of Pingot Lane, and wound up New Pale Road up to the old Kingswood Hospital site. The views were panoramic on these lofty heights before we burrowed down Dark Lane into Kingsley village. The tandem had already had a testing workout with only a few miles covered. Roddy Lane was quiet, but had an unnerving surprise of sheet ice around a corner. I was convinced I was going to ‘do an Ivan’, but finished upright on the grass after some fishtailing. We avoided the B-road by reaching Acton Bridge via The Cliff. 
We had spent some time winding, climbing and waiting without getting very far. We now could make more effective progress on a straightforward route to Comberbach and Great Budworth. The steep bank to Willow Green was the only cause for some delay. It was raining, and the known delights of The George and Dragon were very tempting.  Indeed for Dave and Liz ‘Rhubarb and Custard’ Pipe, the temptation was unsurprisingly too much. In fact none of us can remember the last time the tandem managed to pass this particular hostelry!   Those who have ridden tandems will understand, that a return ride with rain and more steep slopes to face, made their decision a no-brainer.  As it happened, the remainder of our ride to lunch was flat and largely dry.
Pick Mere appeared deserted down on our right. For many decades this was a very popular destination for day-trippers. There were boats for hire, a lively fairground and a large café well capable of handling charabanc loads of people. During the Second World War many evacuees were housed in hundreds of chalets around the lake and in the local area. We turned left in Higher Wincham, navigated the busy A556 and made steady progress down Plumley Moor Road. We were persuaded that The Crown would provide a warmer welcome and better value than The Bells of Peover. This snug C17th. Pub was indeed just what we needed, and we stayed for an extra coffee.
The shorter return route had us heading for Lach Dennis and then through the attractive village of Davenham. Jim’s faultless navigation and Paul’s memory successfully found the Weaver crossing at Moulton.  The steep left in Whitegate was avoided, and we crossed the A556 just west of Hartford, and the A49 at Bryn, passing the site of the old Eden Vale yogurt factory at the edge of Cuddington.  At Ruloe the last climbs back to Manley began, up through Norley and Delamere Forest. We tried two different ways after Spy Hill, but neither Dark Ark Lane, or Delamere Lane and the steep bank by the Goshawk, avoided the usual demanding, grinding last effort for tired legs. As I was strapping my bike on the car at Manley Mere it was nice to be joined by Bryan and Jim for coffee and cake. 44miles in the usual excellent company or 60 plus miles for those riding from Chester.