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 November 2013

21st November 2013: Maeshafn

Clive, Dave & Liz P, Liz & Martin D, Ray, Steve and 3rd week-in-a-row Paul all met at Alyn Waters Country Park café.  I also went to Alyn Waters C P for the first time, only to discover no café; there are two parks on opposite sides of the valley and I was in the other one.  Ah well, they wouldn’t go without me as I had said that I would lead a ride.  Having found a useful 1:100,000 road map that shows every white road & chevron, I thought I would lead on what turned out to be a bright, sunny winter’s day.  I again re-cycled one of Bryan’s rides from two years ago, only this time going in the opposite direction.  
Using the clock-face analogy for the route, we went anti-clockwise from 5 o’clock, through Llay, Ffrith & Nercwys, round to 2 o’clock at Gwernyminydd; here we cycled The 2013 Tour of Britain, stage 4; well, all 200 metres uphill, as the photo shows. 

Photographs by Brian MacDonald

Here Dave & Liz took a short cut to the pub, while we continued past 12 noon (literally & metaphorically) to the ford at Gwernaffield.  The current here was too strong to cycle through this time, but the ford did afford a photo stop.
Continuing backwards round the clock, we stopped at “10:00” at The Miners Arms, in the old lead village of Maeshafn, where once again we had excellent beer & food.  Suitably refreshed, we headed south down a very steep winding hill into Llanarmon at “08:00”, past Four Crosses and then to Bwlchgwyn at “18:00”.  The village name translates to English as “white hill”, as snow falls first and last hereabouts; at 1,090ft, it’s reputedly the highest village in Wales, along with Torfaen.  
Continuing down the Steps, we finished back at Alyn, having completed a total of 3,171ft climbing and a very enjoyable 32 miles.

14th November 2013: Winterley Pool (brisk)

Riding out to the Ice Cream Farm (ICF) I joined up with our leader along Red Lane and we continued together to our venue.  There were already a few riders having tea and coffee.  I had looked at a ride to Winterley Pool and a new pub stop for lunch with a 52 mile round trip.  After consideration of the alternative route (see mod ride below) I decided I would continue with my ride.
Christleton Dave and Wirral Paul joined me and we set off heading from the ICF towards Bunbury with dark skies looming but a tail wind giving us a good pace.  Passing St Boniface Church and the war memorial, which was decorated with poppies and wreaths, the sun was now providing a welcome warmth.
We crossed the A51 and turned left onto Hilbre Bank Lane then a left onto Alpraham Green. 
With the wind assistance the three of us were enjoying a really good pace and were soon passing through Minshall Vernon village crossing over the pretty bridge over the Shropshire canal.
Turning right at the end of Cross Lane we were heading towards Crewe and Leighton Hospital.  Then skirting Crewe via Bradfield Road and Remer St. we got back into the country lanes of Maw Green.
The trio arrived at Winterley in blue skies to enjoy a view of the lake and feeding swans and geese.  It was only 12:05 and I was not sure if the Foresters Arms was open yet!! 
The question was asked shall we continue or have an early lunch, fortunately the verdict was lunch and the pub was open for business.  They offered a OAP 2 Course dinner for £6.00 and a very good selection of north and south ales so good choice. Mine host was very pleasant and our lunch arrived and before long we were ready to start our return trip.
Dave set off at a pre lunch pace leaving Paul and I getting on our bikes.  When he arrived at Wheelock and we were not behind him he sped back to us waiting to turn left near the pub into Elton Lane.  We were now into a head wind that slowed the pace somewhat but after a spotted dick pudding I was glad of the slower pace.
We carried on passing all the flashes around Elworth and Warmingham along Forge Mill Lane and Chapel Lane where we were flagged down by a damsel on her bike looking for company back towards Crewe. As soon as we advised we were headed for Chester she got back on the saddle bidding us farewell.
We then had a short ride along the A530 or Middlewich Road and one I was keen to get off.
Turning right along Brookhouse Lane we headed towards Minshall Vernon where we turned right heading towards Darnhall and the hill.
Continuing on and heading for Wettenhall we took Hickhurst Lane and on route to Tarporley.
At Tarporley we decided to continue on to the ICF instead of stopping for afternoon tea here and took the usual route back to Brassey where Dave continued on to Christleton and Paul and I to the Ice Cream Farm.
Arrived at 15:00 and with no other bikes evident we said farewell and I carried on back to Chester.
I covered 67 miles and the route covered by the group a very enjoyable 52 miles in reasonable autumn weather.

14th November 2013: Grindley Brook (mod)

Following a damp, gusty ride to the Ice Cream Farm the four of us, Bryan, Dave H, Clive and Jim, were not very enthused by Ivan’s suggestion of a speedy 52 mile thrash to the environs of the Potteries, preferring instead a more sedate trot of about 35 miles to Grindley Brook, just north of Whitchurch.
I had chosen a route sweeping to the west of Malpas, through the Wyches to the Horse and Jockey on the A41 at Grindley Brook.  With strong winds forecast for the afternoon, I had planned a shorter ride for the return north through Cholmondely and Brown Knowl: only about 15 miles but far enough in a strong head wind.
As things transpired, the morning threw a few heavyish showers at us but we arrived at the pub reasonably dry. The wind did pick up after lunch but for the most part we were well protected by the hedges.
We returned to the ICF just after 15:00, where Bryan opted for a short re-fuelling stop. Clive, Dave and Jim kept going and just about got back to base before it went dark.
A heartening 55 miles - good going for a cold wet windy day that just shows it's generally worth making the effort.
See route map and/or gpx file download.

Friday 8 November 2013

7th November 2013: Overton

With the promise of a fine day ahead I decided on a 13 mile loop via the Greenway and back along the river cycle path to the Little Roodee to warm the legs up.  Upon arrival new rider Paul White was already there and keen for the day ahead. Thirteen riders assembled at the café: Bryan, Clive, Ray, Roy, Stephen, Dave H, Trevor, George, Ivan, new rider Paul W, Dave M, Dave R and myself. I put forward a ride to Overton and the White Lion pub, which was accepted by Bryan, and was happy for me to lead my first ride. Dave M and Dave R were only out for coffee.
So eleven of us set off over the Old Dee Bridge via Handbridge for Eccleston, we pick up the old Wrexham road bound for Marford hill and left past Gresford flash and across the foot bridge and down into Wrexham. We then make our way along Cefn Road to Bedwll Road left at Cross Lanes heading for Bangor-on-Dee, where we stop on the cobble bridge for Bryan to wipe his nose [sorry Bryan] we take the Overton Road out of Bangor onto Cloy Lane and into Overton for about 12:30pm, food was promptly served from the two for £9.95 menu.

Photograph by Paul Rose

We set back out at 13:45 returning down Cloy Lane but keep on this road for Hollybush and Theapwood out onto the B5069 and left through the lanes to Tilston left at the Carden Arms left again along Wetreins Lane and into Holt for afternoon coffee at Hildegard’s. Ivan, Stephen, Trevor, and George head back to Chester via Aldford the rest head back along the Rossett Road to Pulford onto Dodleston turning right along Lache Lane and back to the Little Roodee café completing the 49 miles or closer to 60 miles for those cycling home.  Yet again another great Easy Riders day with good company and friends.
See route map and/or gpx file download.

Tuesday 5 November 2013

31st October 2013: Ellesmere

Seven of us assembled at Hildegard’s with the prospect of indifferent weather ahead. Both Trevor and Brian Mac had only come for the café, leaving Ray, Andy, Petar, Tish and Steve for the day. Tish is new: she joined last Thursday’s group for part of the ride and obviously liked what she found, for today she was back for a full ride.  Andy suggested Ellesmere as our destination, and so everyone else nominated him as our leader for the day.
We had a delightful journey out with reasonable weather and a modest headwind, passing through Shochlach, Worthenbury, Holly Bush and Duddleston, to approach Ellesmere unusually from the NW. This is where things started to go wrong.  First the weather changed, with an initial shower turning to heavy rain, then Petar was nearly wiped out by a lorry, and then Steve got separated from the group by traffic.  Eventually we reassembled in the warming atmosphere of the Red Lion, where sustained by the over-60s menu, we refreshed ourselves and dried off. 

Photograph by Stephen Haywood

When we emerged from the pub, the rain had stopped and we plotted a return via Penley and Threapwood, before rejoining our outward route for the final few miles. Andy warned us of a few steep hills on the return, but a fine afternoon and an encouraging tailwind helped us on our way.  We paused at Sarn Bridge, near Threapwood, for our photo and noticed the Queen Head Hotel as a possible future pub stop, until we saw it was closed.
A relatively short 35 miles in total brought us back into Holt for a final stop at Hildegard’s by 3pm, in plenty of time before an early dusk following the clocks changing at the weekend. Tish and Petar drove back and the rest of us cycled back towards Chester.