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 26 July 2013

25th July 2013: Maesbury Marsh

Mixed bag of weather predicted for the day as eleven of us congregated at Hildegard’s for the ride; Liz & Martin, Liz and Dave P (tandem), Jan, Brian Mac, Petar, Ray, Steve, Trevor and Mike G.  Bryan came out to survey his ‘clan’ and enjoy a morning coffee. He is not yet up to riding with us but I suggest when he does we have a ‘special ride’ to celebrate his return to the saddle.
Brian Mac enquired whether I had any suggestions for a lunch stop, I knew of a reasonable pub next to the Montgomery canal at Maesbury Marsh (Navigation Inn) a round trip of about 55 miles and this was accepted.
With a south westerly breeze against us we took the minor roads to Sutton Green, on through Bangor on Dee passing to the east of Overton via Cloy Hall and Adrafelin; then on through Dudleston Heath, Perthy and Welsh Frankton taking in the panoramic views to be found. We joined the A495 for a short length before turning left to Babbinswood, crossing the A5 near Aston Hall. The tandem duo were having difficulty keeping up with the main group of largely ‘brisk riders’ and decided they would proceed at a more leisurely pace to our lunch stop. As we were not far away I showed Dave P the intended route we were taking and agreed to meet up later. On to Maesbury Marsh with the remainder of the group or so I thought until when ordering lunch ‘Where’s Trevor & Petar?’ Mutterings of Bryan having me publicly flogged for losing two members of the group particularly after what happened earlier in the year were raised. Telephone calls were made to respective mobiles but no answer. Then out of the ‘blue’ they arrived about twenty minutes later having had a little tour of Maesbury and remembering the pub is next to the canal. 

Photographs by Mike Gilbert

After pleasant lunch and some nice ‘Stonehouse Station Bitter’ bitter we set off passing through Woolston, with a ‘tail wind’ taking us through West Felton and Grimpo. We bypassed Ellesmere by turning right at Tetchill and on through Lee and Colemere taking in some of the ‘Meres’ crossing the A495 at Welshampton. The sun was out and the cycling conditions were good.
Return to Hildegard’s was via Breaden Heath, Penley, Threapwood and Shocklach the group arriving back just after four thirty having covered 56 miles. Those from Chester and beyond will have cycled in excess of 75 plus miles.
Overall a very pleasant cycle ride. 

Friday 19 July 2013

18th July 2013: Goostrey

My recent e-mail suggestion for a volunteer to write the weekly CER Report was met with deathly silence, as was Bryan’s request to the group when we met up in Rose Farm; so, I thought that I’d start the ball rolling as the Pipe Duo were leading this ride out to Goostrey.   It was good to see both Bryan and Mike M for coffee before the start, where Bryan reminded us to sign up for the Special Rides coming-up soon.  

Photographs by Brian MacDonald

Andy, Brian, Dave M, Dave P, Dominic, Lizzie, Paul, Ray, Roy, Steve and Trevor all assembled for a disjointed group photo outside (pic 1).  Dave M initially led us at a smart pace out past the Race Track to the start of the Whitegate Way, where he peeled off home. A meander along the shaded former rail line (pics 2 & 3) brought us out near the canal in Winsford.  We continued east via Davenham (pron: Dave – n – ham, I was told), crossing the old Roman road that is now the A530.  Ten of us arrived at The Red Lion at Goostrey without a booking, but the manager didn’t mind, as they had served 50+ cyclists “much older than us” the previous day, with no problem.  
Our resident chemist Andy gave us good news when he announced that beer at 3.6% hydrates in this hot weather, but at > 4%, it doesn’t.  Question:  Can I have a skinful then at 3.4%?  I thought that the beer at the pub was better than the food, but it was good value, considering that the place is in the Manchester commuter belt.  
We took a southerly route back, led by our newest and youngest member, Dominic. After skirting Holmes Chapel, we passed to the south of Middlewich; for those who studied Latin, it was named “Salinae”, as the town was their largest supplier of that precious commodity, salt. A helmet-cam would have been useful here, when a plonker driver of a skip-lorry blasted his air-horn right next to us, causing Dave P to take to the hedge, fortunately without injury.  Unfortunately, it all happened so quickly, no one took his reggo or business name.
Passing through Church Minshull, we were all gasping in the very high temperatures by the time we reached The Shire Horse Centre at Cotebrook for a cuppa.  Continuing on the final leg, Liz and Trevor peeled off to their cars at Utkinton, after a very hot 50 miles, whilst the remainder went downhill to Chester, clocking about 75 miles.

Some lessons learned today for future leaders and writers of these Reports:
1 Make a note of who is riding before you set off, as you won’t remember a few days later.
2 Ask the leader where we have been, BEFORE you go home
3 Write it up asap, when details are still fresh
4 It doesn’t take long to scribble something down; this took < an hour
5 Bring an OS 1:50,000 map and a pencil.  It worked for Dave P & Dominic today.  Garmins are not compulsory
6 Leading by committee actually can work.  Most members have some local knowledge of an area, and don’t even need a map; just ask 


Friday 12 July 2013

11th July 2013: Horseshoe Pass

For Hawarden there were a lot of riders today viz; Brian Mac, Ivan, Ray, Steve, Roy, Paul, Dave P and his son, Dominic, and myself. Dave M was there in civvies nursing "you know what". It was going to be a hot one - weather-wise, hill-wise and rider-wise. "Where are we going then Clive? Up and over the Horseshoe Pass with lunch at the Abbey Grange Hotel complete with its "Llangollen" brewery attachment". No dissenting voices as we head out and over Buckley bound for Nercwys and Eryrys hills. After Llong, Roy breaks a link and quickly repairs it. Off again, we meet the local sheep farmer and his flock.  

Photographs by Brian MacDonald

The slog up to Eryrys is rewarded with a long swoop down to Llanarmon-yn-Lal. Here we briefly view the remains of a Welsh motte and bailey castle as we head out bound for the top of the Nant-y-Garth Pass. The slog up to the Ponderosa is rewarded by panoramic views of the hinterland. A text from Brian Mac confirms that he is not feeling too good, so he takes the Llandegla road back presumably to the Penyffordd railway station. We all enjoy the 3 mile helter-skelter ride down the new Horseshoe Pass, and passing the Britannia Inn, we stop at
Abbey Grange Hotel. The in-house brewed ale is judged to be good and the meals appear one at a time as we sit in the sun outside. I cannot elicit a serious discussion about blog writers (ref Brian Mac's email), so I settle for a generously provided second pint, and hence know I shall be writing the blog tonight!

Photographs by Dave Pipe

At 14:00, we set off for what turns out to a 29 mile return against the 22 mile outward journey. We take Old Coach road for a while, then up onto the A5 for a 100yds, then back down on a parallel lane with a very steep turn back to the A5. The original idea was to go back via the Llantysilio mountain road, but I judge the ascent to be too steep and terrain too exposed in the hot afternoon sun. So we motor along to

Carrog where some of us top up on fluids. We then take a long climb out and back up to the A5140 at Bryneglwys. Nipping off to the left we run parallel to the main road with fine views over the Vale of Clwyd. The route back was straightforward from here on the A5104 via Penyffordd to take on more fluids. We have ridden 51 glorious miles and "bikeroutetoaster" calculates 3560ft (1085m) of ascents. Not quite up to the Alpine lads sojourn, but exceptional on a very hot summer's day (at last!). With five of us returning to Chester, we will have cycled 70 hot miles, with Roy probably notching over a 100!

Monday 8 July 2013

4th July 2013: Dunham Massey

It was promising to be a rare warm day as we rolled up to Manley Mere.  It was great to see Mike Morley who had driven down to meet us (and took our photo).  Mike Gilbert arrived glistening having ridden from Shotton. The riding group consisted of Steve, Paul, Mike G, Trevor, Andy, myself and Ivan ‘Choo Choo’ Davenport. I had a route to Dunham and hot Mike had planned something similar. We settled on The Swan with Two Nicks at Little Bollington for lunch.  I shared Andy’s fondness for the Lavender Barn, but its setting is more attractive than its food and service. Ivan was desperate to go to the pub.

Photograph by Mike Morley/Ivan Davenport

We took the New Pale, Waterloo and Dark Lane route into Kingsley, and Roddy Lane out. We reached Acton Bridge via Actoncliff. The strong wind soon had us bowling along to Great Budworth, the habitual feasting place for our missing tandemists. After passing south of Arley Park we headed north up Cann Lane and over the M6 briefly stopping at Booth Bank under the M56 at the site of a former Wesleyan chapel.  A few minutes on we were sitting outside in the sun, enjoying good food and friendly service, at our chosen lunch venue.
Following lunch we crossed the exceedingly slim bridge over the River Bollin and climbed over the wall into Dunham Park, passing deer by the Hall.  We then headed out of Dunham Town by Back Lane, crossing the Bridgewater Canal and joined the Trans-Pennine Trail. Ivan wanted to know what I was up to, as I headed down a short stretch of overgrown bridlepath toward the centre of Lymm. He seemed to grow a little apoplectic and then fell over!  Fortunately, he hadn’t injured himself, and seemed to think it was a good thing to get used to falling over again as long as ambulances weren’t involved. Strange fellah!  We cycled south out of Lymm and via a myriad of quiet little lanes and the old airfield at Stretton, were soon passing Garland Hall and heading for the duck pond at Higher Whitley.  Mike Gilbert’s map-reading skills and support were much appreciated here. The last stretch took in Aston, and then a designated cycle route to circumnavigate the first hill into Frodsham. Andy and Trevor weren’t too keen on the Frodsham route, because of the busy main road and steep climbs back.  I totally understand this perspective, but it is always hard work from the Weaver back to Manley whichever way you choose, and once up the Ridgeway, the last nearly three miles are 95% downhill. The headwind didn’t turn out to be an issue on the way home, because of the lush summer hedges and sheltered route. Actually, some breeze was welcome on a warm afternoon heralding a fine week ahead. Thanks to Steve for his support work at the back of the peloton, this is always appreciated. 54 miles, Manley to Manley, and considerably more for Mike the Map. We all rubbed along very well, and I thoroughly enjoyed everybody’s company.