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 June 2014

26th June 2014: Wheelock (mod)

A good turnout at the Rose Farm café, and three alternative routes provided plenty of choice.  Bryan, Petar, Dave H, Steve T, Steve H and Darren, on his second outing, chose a 50+ miler that circled yet avoided Crewe. 
We set out to cross the A49 at Cotebrook and follow the quick route through Wettenhall to Nantwich.  From here we took the road through Wybunbury, and then largely kept to village roads and lanes, through Hough and Weston, and then through Gravel Wood.  This should have been a warning because by the time we got to Haslington we came across a recently resurfaced road with mountains of gravel in the gutters.  

Photograph by Steve Haywood

We persevered and eventually came to our intended stop, the Hydes’ Cheshire Cheese Inn at Wheelock.  This was a new discovery and we were pleased to hear they were serving food – in fact good CER-value food, with steak pie, chips, peas and gravy at only £4.75. We sat in the garden and discussed how best to penalise Luis Suarez for biting - a muzzle or full extraction being suggested.
On our way again, turning east at Ettiley Heath, where Darren left us. From here we touched the edge of Leighton before crossing the A530 at Bradford Green where we had lunched at the Coach & Horses only a few weeks before. Through Church Minshull, and we crossed our outward journey at Wettenhall. Then, with a few spits of rain beginning, we made for afternoon refreshments at Tilly’s in Bunbury.
Finally back by Beeston Castle, Huxley and Clotton to the final climb up the hill back into Utkinton.  In total around 53 miles in generally dry pleasant conditions over new ground for many.

26th June 2014: Delamere Forest (short)

With a good turnout at Rose Farm Café I decided to take a short scenic ride round the local area. The group consisted of myself, Dave and Liz on the tandem and guest rider Mike. We set off in the direction of Oulton Mill pool, past Oulton Park racing circuit, and on to the pretty village of Little Budworth. Then downhill towards the Whitegate Way, past the ‘road closed’ signs, and turned left towards the Cheshire Polo Club field. Crossing the A556 we headed towards Delamere Park, past the former residence of Gary Barlow, and then downhill through Acton Bridge to the River weaver. Here we took the riverside lane to Dutton’s Lock, where we crossed the river onto a short path under the Weaver Viaduct, before the steady climb up towards Kingsley. We turned west back towards Delamere Forest and lunch at the Forest Café. Well fortified with an excellent lunch, we took the track straight through the forest towards Eddisbury Lodge fruit farm. Here the tandem chose the undulating route towards Kelsall and back to Utkinton, while we headed for Ashton and the well-signed ‘Motor Museum’. A gentle lane then brought us back home through Morley Bridge and Bridge Trafford. A very pleasant 42 miles door to door.

26th June 2014: Jodrell Bank (brisk)

The Tuesday ride was a very brisk, 89 miler lead by Paul at a cracking 16.5 mph pace; so I was looking for a bit of relief today but I didn’t get any. Five of us (Ray, Ivan, Tom, Alex and myself) set off bound for Jodrell Bank. Alex joined us for the first time today and hopefully he will return in the future. The ride has been done before, but I felt sure I could tweak it on the fly. So we were soon out flying through Eaton on our way to Winsford. Despite shimmying around the town, we still had to deal with the big roundabout over the Weaver, but there is a way to miss it by using the cycleway underneath it! This brought us out at the Bottom Flash section of the NCR 5. An upward path came into view, which quickly turned in a 25% so we all ground to a halt in the wrong gear. Onwards out through Clive Green, we circumnavigate Middlewich through the unending housing estates exiting on NCR 71 to Brereton Green. Ignoring the next section of cycleway (which is a poor track) we end up ambling down the private road to a certain person’s ancestral home (aka Davenport Hall).
This is a lovely route over the Dane river valley exiting into Swettenham village. We take Sandy Lane, and over the ford, before circling around to Lower Withington and on to Jodrell Bank visitor centre itself at 27 miles ridden.

Photograph by Clive Albany

The cafe was not serving hot food today due to a kitchen upgrade, but, as ever, the food was of excellent quality. The return route beckoned, so we set off for Goostrey then Rudheath Woods and down the eponymously named Sandy Lane to bypass a little of the main road; then heading for Lach Dennis and Davenham. Crossing the main A556 at the Hartford turn, we take the counter direction footpath, and, at the railway bridge, take the cut through to Hartford Station. Littledales Lane leads to Hodge Lane and eventually Norley Bank. A short burst then finds us at Delamere Station cafe. 
The route back to Rose Farm is now due south and rounds off at 52 miles. As none of us need to go there, we grind up the Eddisbury Hill bypass, speed down the old Kelsall main road, though Hollowmore Heath to Guilden Sutton and the Greenway. Only 80+ miles today!

Saturday 28 June 2014

19th June 2014: Holt (mod)

The Gallery Café in Hawarden means Welsh hills. But among the members assembling on a fine morning, George had allowed a rebel thought to enter his head – wouldn’t it be a good idea to head into the Cheshire plain instead.  Convincing Dave H and Steve to follow him, the trio slipped away from the pack, and headed through Dodleston to reach Pulford and the lanes to Farndon and Worthenbury.  The furthest objective reached was Lower Wych, with a return through Malpas for a planned lunch at the Carden Arms in Tilston, which was reputed to have a good name.
After some delightful miles speeding through the lanes and up the odd hill, we arrived at an ominously quiet pub, lights off and doors locked. After a quick re-evaluation we decided that Farndon was a sure alternative, a busy village with two pubs to choose from.  “The Farndon” looked promising with its fare described on boards outside, but alas, was closed for the day. Across the road stood The Greyhound, and it was open.  We cycled round the back and met the landlady. She was more than happy to serve us – with drinks, but she didn’t do food!  Reluctant to cross the Dee when our intended route stayed in England, we followed this triple disappointment with a fruitless search for a reputed Farndon café.  Hunger and thirst getting the better of us, we then made what should have been the obvious choice: cross the Dee and make for the always open and always reliable Hildegard’s in Holt. We were not disappointed with good food and a warm welcome.  

Photograph by Steve Haywood

The rest of the route took us through Churton, Tattenhall, Hargrave and Waverton, before a final stop at the Meadow Lea Café at the end of the Greenway after a little over 50 pleasant miles from Hawarden.  From here George and Dave headed back to our start and Steve peeled off to Kelsall.  

19th June 2014: Dyserth (brisk)

Meeting at the Gallery Café in Hawarden Ray and I rode out from Chester and arrived to find several cycles already there at 10:00. Enjoying their coffee and tea cakes were Tom, new rider Darren Burlington from Hoole Chester, Mike G, Dave H, George and Steve.
Knowing Clive was away I had looked at a previous ride from Hawarden to Dyserth and the waterfalls and offered this ride to the group. The moderate group decided to have a quiet ride out to Holt so the brisk group consisting of Tom, Darren (who has not ridden over 45 miles and not sure what Brisk meant), Mike, Ray and I set off through the warming up streets heading for Northop. My Garmin or the user is hopeless at the start of rides (see the last Chirk ride) and we end up at the end of Pinfold lane with only the A55 as a route to Pentre Halkyn. With Mike in the lead we set off at a brisk trip in the metre wide strip of tarmac along the A55 to join the route into Northop and cycling along the route towards our regular and expected A55 experience. Dave H advised us to be careful on this road and I had only expected to be on it once!!
We left the tarmac and headed up Pen Lan lane towards Pentre Halkyn and up onto the tops with lovely views of the estuary and the Wirral.
Passing through Brynford we passed police and assume they were speed checking, fortunately they did not pull us over but probably near the road max speed.
Passing through Pantasph and the beautiful Church and building we roll along very quiet lanes. The NCR5 leads us through Whiteford and Llanasa where we take the left turning passing through Talfryn Woods (via the road) with a lovely smell of the garlic flower. We head down a tight little lane and emerge into Dyserth at 12:20 covering 24 hilly miles at a good average.

Photograph by Ivan Davenport

We take a photo shoot at the waterfalls and witness the photo expertise of Mike who offers to take snaps for other snappers and gets really close to the ground for some shots of the magnificent waterfall. I hope they enjoyed the pic's.
We have lunch at the New Inn and opt for the small lunch deal and sat out side in sunshine. When the food arrived which was very prompt it was a good size meal and lucky we did not opt for the main menu.
Lunch consumed and pint we set off up hill again to the Cwm road and this is a fantastic viewing gallery of Snowdonia. At the end of the road turning left to go under the A55 for a change again uphill (Newydd) and the right hand lane half way up for relief only it too goes up and up.
We experience very quiet lanes and continue passing Babell and skirting Lixwn before arriving on top of Pentre Halkyn and the grand decent into Northop.
We arrive back at the café for 15:30 and enjoy tea and well-earned cake.
The ride was 48 miles with 4,367 feet of ascent.
Last week Tom celebrated his first 100+ ride (126) and today Darren broke his ride max and considered the brisk pedlards a good ride out and will join us next week from Rose Farm.
Ray and I continued onto Chester and Tom went his way and clocked up 68miles for the day making it another fantastic CER ride.

Friday 13 June 2014

12th June 2014: No Mans Heath (mod)

Bryan, Dave & Liz, George, Mike, Trevor were joined at Manley Mere by Brian Mac, recently back from the other Manly in NSW.  I had decided to lead a ride, as I could then set the pace and distance while some strong riders were doing their midsummer 100 miler. I had noticed that most rides from Manly went east towards Knutsford, but fancied a pub to the south that had good reports.  The route out took us without incident, south through Kelsall, Huxley, Tattenhall, to Broxton Hall, home of Mr Iceland himself, where we had a photo stop. Then onwards to The Wheatsheaf at No Mans Heath, 2 miles east of Malpas (tel 01948 820 337) Dave, Liz and Bryan had all peeled off before lunch, leaving just four doing an easy 13 mph average, in true leisurely CER fashion.
To my knowledge, CER had never been to This Wheatsheaf before, but what a find.  Capitals shouldn’t be used here, but LIME & SODA WAS 40p.  Beat that.  Then it got better.  See the picture of the Specials Board.

Photographs by Brian MacDonald

Yes, you read correctly, £3-50 for 2 courses!  Would anyone like to see on past CER reports, if that is an all-time bargain?  While portions were tasty but small, with limited choice, there was enough to eat for a hot summer ride.  I suspect we have overlooked this pub before, as it’s too close to the nearest Meeting Cafes of the ICF or Utkinton.  But I think the 4 of us would all recommend it again, maybe riding from the Little Roodee or Alwyn.
Having promised riders a 50 miler on a sunny day, we all felt short-changed arriving at the pub with only 21 miles covered and a shorter route home.  So with my very able deputy Trevor and assistant-deputy ride-leader George, we added more miles by returning north through Tilston, then west through Farndon, Churton, Tattenhall to the ICF, where Brian stopped for afternoon tea and the others returned to Chester.  Later on in Kelsall, I was map-checking when who should jump out in front of me, but Glennys.  Invited back for tea with John, we caught up on old rides and old riders; sadly some no longer with us.
Back at Manley Mere with 53 hot miles on the clock, I reflected on a classic Chester EASY ride...........average of 13mph, plenty of puff to chat, gloriously sunny day, light wind, capped by a £3-50 two-course lunch.  What more could you ask for?

12th June 2014: Long Ride to Tibberton

Seven of us (Colin, Tom, Steve, Dave R and H, Paul and myself) are ready for the off at 07:59 outside Chester Station. No Ivan yet: he arrives at 08:00 expecting coffee before the 08:30 start! So off we go up City Road and out of town via Pearl Lane to Christleton. Here we pick up the school run rush, but soon leave it behind as we pass through Tattenhall and down to the A41. A quick dash down the A41 and first left gets us to Brown Knowl and out to Hampton Post. The plan is to weave round the A41 before entering Whitchurch at 25 miles at 10:00. All goes to plan, and we arrive at the empty cafe in the High Street pedestrian area. Soon it fills up with locals and more cyclists appear (End to Enders). Worth a re-visit at some time. 
It’s now warming up as we exit Whitchurch the back way to Ash Magna via Edgeley. I can’t resist a deviation via Brown Moss nature reserve and we rejoin the route at Ash Parva. At the next village of Ightfield, we turn south for Prees Higher Heath to locate the NCR45. We follow the cycle route through the lanes to Marchamley climbing higher to its heady 168m summit. There is a lovely downhill section now, through the dapple shaded trees that hide the extensive Iron Age hill fort of “Bury Walls.” At Stanton upon Hine Heath, we are cycling so well that I decide to add in a loop to Ellerdine on the fly hoping the group will not notice. All goes well but I am undone when the short cut lane we want to take looks suspiciously agricultural, so deciding that we don’t need any incidents or accidents, we plough on along a slightly longer deviation via Osbaston. Rejoining the route at Little Bolas, we then pick up a group of manic contract silage tractor drivers who decide that the lane is theirs and no one else’s. Very intimidating and unnecessary behaviour, especially if you are caught up between them. The smell of beer is in the nostrils as we arrive in Tibberton at the "Sutherland Arms" with 57 miles completed. As in April, the pub does not disappoint, and we while away a pleasant hour or so outside in the sunshine.
Photographs by Ivan Davenport and Clive Albany

I promise no more loops on the return, and we head off down beautiful lanes towards Cheswardine. Here we take the bypass, and come across a curious mile marker obviously erected by a cyclist. The route via Chipnall to Market Drayton is one of my favourites down “Elephant Grass” valley. Outside the town, we have a steep climb up to the canal path to effect a bypass of the town. All goes well as we motor on to Norton in Hales and out and up over the hills to the outskirts of Audlem. It’s then a quick dash along NCR70 to Wrenbury. The village shop’s coffee machine is broken, and I detect a slight cheer as we go to the nearby Cotton Arms for “tea”. 
Dave H decides he wants to take it leisurely back to Chester, so we leave him bound for Cholmondeley via Bickley. The sun must have gone to our heads because as we get closer to Tattenhall the faster we are cycling. Post Tattenhall, Dave R and Steve split off home, and as we enter Guilden Sutton, the "Bird in Hand” beckons Ivan and me, whilst Tom and Paul go home with 100+ miles on the clock. Reflecting on the great day’s ride, the paraphrased lyrics of Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day” came to mind “Just a perfect day, Drink beer in the pub, And then later, when it get’s dark, We go home”. You can’t beat the English countryside in high summer. The official route clocks up at 108 miles, but most of us achieved more than that!

Saturday 7 June 2014

5th June 2014: Oswestry (mod)

At last, a dry day forecast, after a series of somewhat damp Thursdays, to enhance our departure from Chirk.
The new café proved to be a surprise, with white tablecloths and smiling, efficient waitresses - not what we are used to at all! A  reasonable sized group of eight met at 10 o’clock sharp to discuss destinations. The brisk group decided to head for Llangollen, while the moderate group of Mike G, Petar, George and myself set off for my circumnavigation of Oswestry. 
The route was something of an experiment as it had been chosen straight from the map without any prior recce, so it could have been a disaster. As it happened, it worked out very well, with a fairly hilly morning followed by an undulating afternoon. The route took us south to Weston Rhyn and up to Offa's Dyke past the Old Racecourse. The views were impressive along the ridge and we stopped several times to enjoy the panorama and to try to identify the hills to the south. A detour through  Creosau Bach took us in a loop round Trefonen and through a ford to give Petar’s new bike a good work out.

Photographs by Mike Gilbert

Eastwards to Morda took us to the south of Oswestry and on to lunch at the Navigation Inn at Maesbury Marsh. The local brew, Shropshire Lass, proved popular with some, and the food was very good quality. Definitely a recommended stop. 
Mike could remember much of the return route from one of the CTC longer rides, so we set off still eastwards for Stanwardine in the Fields. Turning north in the village we swept through pleasant lanes up to Lower Frankton and Welsh Frankton, before crossing the A5 at a busy traffic island and then taking the old main road back to Chirk.
Nearly 43 miles, and not a drop of rain in sight. Perhaps Chirk isn’t too bad a starting point after all! 

5th June 2014: Llandderfel (brisk)

Ivan suggested a 40+ miler to Cynwyd, and as this was close to my suggestion of Melin Rug, Tom and I were happy to take Ivan’s route. So after a quick orientation ride around Chirk to get the Garmin acclimatised, we set off up the Ceiriog valley in sunshine and a brisk westerly wind, which we would come to rue later on in the ride. At Castle Mill, where Edward II was beaten by the locals in the 12C, we turn sharp left and up, and then up and up again! We climb a 1,000ft in 4 miles to magnificent mountain and valley views all around. The lanes are getting smaller and rougher and then at a sharp bend, the Garmin says straight ahead across a wide mountain track. We consult to the OS map and decide tiny lanes are better than farmer’s tracks so we head on down towards Llansilin via some exhilarating smooth descents. The Garmin still insists we should go straight over the Berwyns but we ignore it and head westwards along the Tannat Valley and Llangynog. Here we enjoy the second 1,000ft climb over 4 miles of the day with stiff westerlies cooling us down. We top out near 1,600ft ready to enjoy the fast downhill towards Bala.

Photographs by Ivan Davenport

At 35 miles near to Llandderfel, the Bryn Tynion pub comes into view, and, as its way past lunchtime, we decide to take lunch anyway. The pints were welcome as was the promptly served food. It’s now about 15:00 and we take the B4401 towards Corwen skirting the Dee valley. Passing through Cynwyd, we notice that both of the pubs are closed and we have cycled 41 miles already! “Only 20 to go now” says Ivan. We take the easy option along the A5 back to Llangollen and then the bone-dry towpath virtually to the Pontcysyllite aqueduct. As we get very near the end of the towpath there are barriers barring our way, so we have to take the footpath down onto the road by the aqueduct. Here Tom admits to being a little acrophobic, so we give the walk across the aqueduct a miss and get back on the towpath via the road. We motor on all the way back to Chirk on the tow path having completed 62 of Ivan’s 40+ miler ride with nearly 5,000ft of climb and quite a few 20% gradients - but it was all worth it; new lanes and roads and magnificent vistas. As Ivan and I enjoy and ice cream at Chirk station waiting for the 17:48 Arriva train, our legs remind us of the 13.5 mph average speed.


Tuesday 3 June 2014

29th May 2014: Destination unknown

Awaiting ride report.  Would any member out on this ride submit a ride report for inclusion on the blog.