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 29 September 2013

26th September 2013: Wybunbury

On arrival at the Ice Cream Farm Clive and I were greeted by Mike M holding open the gate for us to pass and join the group already waiting for coffee.  Mike was himself joining us for coffee and promising to get the bike out!
Already gathered were Dave M and Andy, both out on their bikes but also only joining for coffee.  Well-done Dave (wife and friends) on his contribution for the MacMillan fund raising cake morning and raising £230.00.  Andy back from his epic 1,500 mile cycle ride but sadly not joining the group today.  Harder ride looming Saturday.
Two routes were proposed for today by Dave H and Ivan, and the saunter to Wybunbury won the vote!  Ready for a prompt start were Dave H, Steve T (out for his second ride), Kevin, Dave & Liz on the tandem, Clive, Dave Raynor and Ivan.  So with a turn right on the road we say farewell to the coffee hoppers and set off towards Beeston.
It was a lovely autumnal morning and the Tandem was cracking the pace on the front.  Passing Beeston Castle and heading towards Bunbury and doing a loop round Dob lane we join Cappers lane to Brindley, Baddiley and passing the secret bunker (French lane), into Nantwich and on to Wybunbury.
Arriving at the Swan at 12:30 and ready for lunch.
As a new venue for CER the pub offered good food although half the menu was not available.
As the group had sprinted the outward leg of 23 miles in good time it was agreed that Clive would increase the return route back to the ICF so after lunch we set off again towards Wrinehill.  Thursdays would not be the same if we only encountered country lanes so before long we were bumping along the grassy verge of Gonsley Green lane to Chorlton.  On through Hough, Shavington and Nantwich and taking a right hand diversion along Welshman’s Lane and the well cycled route through Wettenhall, Eaton and afternoon tea at the Old Fire Station at Tarporley.
After the welcome tea and cake stop we happily set off for the final miles home.  At the junction of Brassey Green we split with some riders going back to the ICF and Clive, Ivan and Dave sprinting back to Waverton and Chester.
The round trip from and to the ICF was 53 miles and for the Chester riders 72miles.  An enjoyable good days riding with the bonus of lovely autumn weather.

Sunday 22 September 2013

19th September 2013: Irby Hill

I’d been looking forward to today for quite some time: my first day back cycling with CER after an enforced five months out of the saddle.  A start from Ness gardens promised an easy first ride, so even though the wet weather didn’t put me off, it did confirm the decision to drive to the start!  By 10:00 I was the only one there although Steve turned up a few minutes later, to be followed by Dave H in his civvies.  Given his extended tale of woe and jobs to be done, including his new post of kennel master, we were honoured that he made the time to join us for coffee.  Steve and I agreed a route: Eastham Ferry, Port Sunlight, Storeton, Barnston and Irby for lunch at Irby Mill or the Farmers Arms.  At half past the hour Ivan arrived to make a riding group of three.
From Ness Gardens we head up to Ness and turn right towards Willaston to join the Wirral Way for a couple of miles.  Then it’s the back roads to Childer Thornton and on to Eastham Ferry where we stop to admire the hazy view across the Mersey where it’s just possible to make out the grey mass of the Anglican Cathedral through the drizzle.  Oh the joys of cycling!

Photograph by Ivan Davenport

Leaving Eastham ferry behind we take the off-road cycle path along the coast before turning off along the disused rail line path to Port Sunlight.  Port Sunlight is gearing up for it’s annual festival when we arrive.  We make do with a leisurely tourist circuit from the Heritage Centre to the Lady Lever Gallery and back, before leaving the town to climb through the suburbs to Storeton.  It is now decision time: Landican or Barnston?  Personally I prefer the more scenic Landican route but bearing in mind the weather we opt for Barnston and find ourselves heading straight into the wind.  Ivan kindly goes in front to give me some shelter but I just can’t stay with him and so struggle on to the main road where we at last get some shelter.
On the way through Pensby Steve notes that it’s already lunchtime and Ivan consults the Good Pub Guide on his smartphone and announces that we are only a few miles from a list of “good” pubs.  I was pleased to note that his list included the intended lunch stop of Irby Mill.  No change of plan needed, so it was only a few more minutes before we were flying through Irby and turning into Irby Mill pub off the roundabout.
Irby Mill proved to be much better than I remembered: a brilliant choice of ales including Tribute, Two Hoots and Autumn Red plus an excellent range of food.  Steve’s choice of fish and chips saw the arrival of the largest battered fish imaginable.  Another venue to add to the repeat visits list then.
14:00 hours saw us ready to leave the pub with the decision made to head back along the Wirral Way.  A left turn at Royden Park and we were heading downhill to the coast to join the Wirral Way in Caldy for a leisurely ride through to Parkgate.  From here on, we looked out for a link path down to the old docks and the Harp Inn but missing the link we came off the Wirral Way by the rail bridge and took the road to descend from the mini-roundabout to the Harp and onto the Burton Marshes link path.  The newly opened farm café, aka Net’s Coffee Shop, along here proved too much of a temptation and we stopped for coffee and cake where Steve admitted that he had eaten more cake since he started cycling than ever before! 
After a relaxing break Ivan headed back to Chester across Burton Marshes while Steve and I climbed back up to Ness Gardens to complete an enjoyable 33 mile ride.  Thanks go to Ivan and Steve for staying with me on my first ride back.

Sunday 15 September 2013

12th September 2013: Ellesmere

I had ridden out to Hildegard's with Ivan. His Garmin told him he was running his heart up to 166 beats/min - so that's why we got there so quickly! No one had prepared a route, so I offered to make one up "on the tyres" towards Ellesmere. So Steve, Dave H, Paul, Ivan and myself set off with the Tandem Two bound for Wetreins Lane (mercifully "repaired") and Tilston. Here the tandem sanctioned an early split by making their own way to the favoured Red Lion. We duck down to Chorlton bound for a reverse Dymock's Mill transit to cross Wych Brook. This transit is best made from south to north, but was OK today since it was dry under tyre. Out through Talland Green, we head for Little Arowry and Hanmer. We discover that the "Hanmer Arms" is closed and up for sale! Rejoining the A539 for a short while, we dive off left down a narrow grass-centred lane Welshampton way. Just off the main road in Welshampton I notice an even narrower and grass centred "lane" towards Colmere so up and down it we go. In the dip by the canal and the mere, we find a beautiful thatched cottage: the cue for a Lord Litchfield moment. 

Photograph by Clive Albany

Turning right on the outskirts of Colmere, we find another lovely lane taking us to Spunhill and the main drag into Ellesmere. As ever the Red Lion is welcoming and the food is plentiful, tasty and excellent value on the Pensioners Two Course special. Very soon the tandem appears to join us for lunch. Bizarrely they have covered a mile further than we did to get to the pub. The weather has improved as I guide the group back along my favourite lanes to Farndon. Only 40 miles round trip today with only one off-road lane, plus two grass centred lanes. On a day that started out with wet roads, but just got better as the day progressed, I shall nevertheless need to wash the bike - sometime soon.

Tuesday 10 September 2013

5th September 2013: Aston (mod)

Two Runcorn guys were joining us for the first time:  Karl Ashton and Steve Tan.   I knew they were both strong and fit, but were only just getting into cycling, so a moderate ride led by Jim had been planned.  It was great to see Mike Morley looking and feeling relatively well, and learning later that he had been inspired to take a short ride that afternoon.  
The aspirational group led by Clive took off as agreed, including George on temporary loan.  The newcomers and myself then headed downhill behind Jim.   Jim promptly fell off due to gravel as he attempted to turn left into Smithy Lane.  Fortunately, his accident was at low speed so although badly winded and a bit damaged around the edges, we didn’t need to call the air ambulance for him.  Once we had walked back to Rose Farm Garden Centre with Jim we set off again, unfortunately without him, and only myself having any knowledge off possible routes.  We didn’t even have a Chester and Wrexham OS map.  We headed for Nantwich at a steady pace via Heath Green, Eaton and Wettenhall.  We tried to cycle through the grounds of Reaseheath College, but retreated having been confronted with large tar rolling vehicles, and not wanting to invite any further accidents. On reaching the edge of Nantwich we turned west passing the marina, where you can enjoy a snack sitting in the sun on the boardwalk, next to the narrow boats and glittering waters of Basin End.  On our left was Dorfold Hall, a Grade1 listed Jacobean building.  We passed The Star pub that has recently won a good food award, but it is too early for eating.  Left at St. Mary’ Church, Acton with its fine C13th. Tower.  We decide to give the Farmer’s Arms a miss at Ravensmoor, and eventually cross the River Weaver by footpath down the delightful track past Woodcotthill Farm direct to the Bhurtpore Inn.  Three curries and three lime and sodas; for the record there are lots of interesting beers on offer, and a pretty barmaid.  Mike Morley would be purring like the Cheshire Cat if he was with us today.
Our route back is via Wrenbury, and a combination of my sketchy memory and a map app on Steve’s phone got us back through Chorley before crossing the A534 at Brindley.  On reaching Tilly’s at Bunbury we met Petar and Steve who had lost touch with their brisk brethren.  Cake and coffee arrived at the same time as Clive and the rest of his merry men.  It was a pleasant surprise for us all to be together again, before we went our different ways back on the last leg.  Our hilly route back to the cars, particularly the steep climb at Tilstone Bank, showed our newcomers that even easy riders on a moderate ride have to put their back into it occasionally!  My two new guests thoroughly enjoyed their ride and I fully expect to see them again. They coped admirably, and although we deliberately went at a modest pace it was obvious that they are easily capable of going further and faster if required.   Cappuccino and cake-curry-to cappuccino and cake was about 2,000 calories. Distance just short of 38 miles. 

Saturday 7 September 2013

5th September 2013: Swettenham (brisk)

The "last day" of the long run of summery weather found us at Rose Farm with two rides in prospect. Dave H had arrived with two friends and was going to be riding with Jim. My ride to Swettenham was an easy sell to Petar, Dave R, Steve and George. As it happened, both the rides went out towards the Whitegate Way and then across the canal and railway into Davenham albeit by slightly different routes. Dave M was out for a local ride round, so accompanied us to Cotebrook. The ride out was unremarkable except that the roads were largely deserted and we were speedy. Arriving at the Swettenham Arms just after 12:00, we were sitting in the sun discussing literary historical writing styles and munching our somewhat expensive repast. However there was a wide range of good ales.

Photograph by Clive Albany
We were soon setting out again at 13:00 and took the rideable bridle path through the Davenport Estate in the lovely river Dane valley. The lonely long lanes through Brereton soon found us on the outskirts of Middlewich. There is no pretty way round this town, so after a lot of housing estate, we exit on the Nantwich road bound for Winsford. Ditto here, to enable us to out onto the Wettenhall Road. It was still early, so I proposed a deviation to Tilley’s, which was seconded and approved. Towards the end of Long Lane, the leading trio turn right and as I can see Steve and Petar not too far behind, I assume they have seen us turn. The trio dawdles along the lane then waits at the Tollemarche Arms for the duo to appear but appear they do not. As they know where we all going, we set off bound for Bunbury. Guess who is sitting down at Tilley's then - the dynamic duo plus Dave H plus two friends but minus Jim. Jim had taken a fall but was OK, though he had gone home. The circular return would have been via Tarporley for a 54 mile circuit. However as George had his car at Duddon, Steve was going to Kelsall, and Dave R to Waverton, the four of us set off via Beeston and Burton bound for our respective homes. As I arrive home with 80 miles under the tyres, I can't remember when I needed to wash the bike over recent weeks - no doubt this is about to change!
PS: It was really an unexpected pleasure to see Mike Morley at Rose Farm café this morning. It was good to catch up on events. He was looking very well and upbeat. He hasn't been out on his bike yet but doesn’t rule it out. Hopefully we shall see him for coffee again when we are meeting not too far from Delamere.