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.

Monday 28 July 2014

24th July 2014: Pistyll Rhaeadr (mod)

The moderate group consisting of Dave and Liz on tandem, Dave H, Steve and Trevor set off to repeat Mike Morley’s route of 2010 to Pistyll Rhaeadr: a splendid route over the Berwyn mountains down to the Rhaeadr Valley and up to its start at the magnificent waterfall (Pistyll Rhaeadr) with its quaint tearooms at its foot.

Photograph by Steve Haywood

The return route descended further down the Rhaeadr Valley to turn north at Abercynllaith to take a lower but still very hilly return route over the Berwyn’s back to Chirk.
A little bit of walking on the 1 in 6 sections but the views and sense of achievement of cycling in the high mountains makes for a splendid day out at a pace suited to all of the party.  Distance 43 miles. A steady ride averaging just over 10 miles an hour including the walking. 
Pistyll Rhaeadr Café rating:  good selection of food at moderate price.  Open all year. No beer.  Seats outside but beautifully cool inside on a scorching day.
Getting to Chirk: several riders took the train from Chester to Chirk, we took the tandem in the car as usual (25 minutes from South Chester). Steve cycled from Kelsall to the start and back making a round trip of about 110 miles.

Saturday 26 July 2014

24th July 2014: Llanymynech (brisk)

As I had been to the waterfalls a few times, I offered Ray and Tom an alternative in a re-hashed June 2013 ride to the Bradford Arms Hotel on the English side of the border in Llanymynech. We set off round the back of Chirk heading for the castle at a “briskish” pace which slowed considerably as the heat and the hills took its toll. We maxed out at 1000 ft, all within the first three miles. Back now on the main road up the valley, we were able to motor along to Tregeiriog and just catch the tail end of the moderate group who had taken the main road from Chirk. We then took an innocent left turn that concealed a vicious climb up from 850 to 1200 ft. I was struggling after 2 weeks off the bike, but Ray and Tom managed to get up in one go. From the top, we swoop up and down the lanes on our way to Llansilin, and out the other side before skirting the next big hill. At Pen-y-Bont we take a planned route diversion on our way to the pub. 
The last time we were here was last June when it really rained hard. The landlord allowed us to shelter the bikes in a storeroom, and as then, he was happy to see us and to promptly rustle up some very nice food. Strangely the lads both had a rather hot chilli dish! 

Photograph by Clive Albany

With 26 hilly miles done, the remaining 16 miles were flat as we made our way back parallel to the A483, which we then crossed to quickly run through Oswestry exiting towards the Iron Age hill fort (3500 years old - started on a Monday about 0800). The run back through Weston Rhyn allowed us to access the canal aqueduct route back into Chirk. After 42 miles, we were enjoying an ice cream at 15:15, in readiness for Ray and I to catch the busy 15:48 train. Ray was on his new self-built TDi bike today (titanium frame with Shimano Di2 group set) - i.e. electric powered transmission. I had expected Tom and Ray to be well tired out after their Tuesday's 90 mile ride to Mop Cop (which included cycling the final ascent twice - ask Ivan why!), but they didn’t show it. Incidentally, the moderate ride today was slightly longer and a lot hillier than the brisk version!

Tuesday 22 July 2014

17th July 2014: Ellesmere

Ten of us met at the ice cream farm on what promised to be a glorious summers day. By consensus the Black Lion at Ellesmere was selected as the lunch destination and the group consisting of Bryan, Steve, Dave H, Tom, Petar, George, and Trevor set off with Dave & Liz on tandem leading. The initial route followed the lanes used by the Vets Hundred via Tilston, Threapwood and Tallarn Green to pick the A539 for a short distance past the turning for the Hanmer Arms which proved too much of a temptation for Bryan who had ridden to the start in the morning and had enough miles in his legs to satisfy him for the day. Very shortly after the group dived into the lanes again to head south for Ellesmere with one or two sharp climbs on the way.
The Black Lion in the centre of Ellesmere (not to be confused with the red lion another good pub on the outskirts of Ellesmere) lived up to its reputation for substantial good quality food at a reasonable price and good ales that we enjoyed under the sunshades out in the fresh air.
The route back took a short ride north on the A528 before turning right at the 1st junction heading for Penley via beautiful lanes and another steep climb. Keeping to the lanes we headed north via Hollybush, Worthenbury and Shocklach where those not wishing to stop for afternoon coffee at Hildegard’s pushed on directly to home, leaving six of us to enjoy the usual hospitality and banter at Hildegard’s in the hot afternoon sunshine.
The tandem pair and Dave H meandered back to The Ice Cream Farm to pick up their cars leaving those who had ridden to the start to head directly for home.
A glorious day for sunshine and scenery and good company. Black Lion rating – very good. Price is a reasonable £8 full size mains – half size meals available at reduced price. The steak and kidney pie lived up to its promise of being big enough for 2 but I did manage it all with a struggle.
Total distance 49 miles to and from the Ice Cream Farm.

Saturday 12 July 2014

10th July 2014: New Brighton

We arrived at Ness on another lovely summer morning. Many had ridden the Greenway, and up the steep climb from The Marshes. We were well ready for a cuppa. Seeing that it was my birthday I treated myself to a large sausage sarnie. Jim was doing a Dave Matthews again, although his excuse was domestic chores not exotic foreign cycling adventures. He was soon off to France and Diane likes the inside of the windows to gleam so that any possible burglars won't be complaining on Trip Advisor. The free men for the day were: Dave P, Dave H, George, Keith, the two Steves, Ray, Clive, Trevor, Tom, Ivan and, of course, Liz. We were hoping that the Wirral Wizard, Brian Mac would appear in order to take care of the route, but we were grateful to Clive, as so often, for being willing to lead.
The route took us into Neston and through the sandstone cutting of the Wirral Way. It was a pleasure to cruise along the scenic sun-dappled path, although a bottle of wine and extra time and penalties, watching Holland and Argentina the night before, meant that my body was hankering for sub-Clive pace. Ivan's considerate waiting for the moderate mob was much appreciated.  We passed through the hidden gem of Eastham village, and Clive led us expertly through Bromborough and New Ferry. Here again, a collection of beautiful old buildings, this time mansions with stunning views across the Mersey, but very close to oil terminals and busy roads. All was quiet as we passed Woodside Ferry and the remains of a submarine. A national public workers' strike had given an unusual feel to the day. We continued along the prom, past the site of the 'one o'clock gun', past Seacombe and towards Egremont. We were pleased that the wooden galleon on the shore had been replaced or restored, after being wrecked in December's storms and high tide floods.
We sat out for lunch at The Seaside Cafe: great grub, fast, fun service and good value. There was a real old-fashioned, sunny seaside holiday feel at New Brighton. Families had been liberated by the strike.

Photograph by Clive Albany

After lunch, the smell of sand and sea, and the views from the end of the Wirral Peninsula were terrific. The headwind was very strong, however, and it was quite a slog to Hoylake. Our normal cycle path was closed, probably due to The Open golf preparations that were well under way. At West Kirby we were struggling to find the passage to The Wirral Way when a fragrant lady opened her window to help. She seemed quite taken with Ivan, but had probably been drinking. A Numpty crashed into George near Parkgate, and by the time we had helped him to sort things out we knew many of the others would be halfway to the farm café below Ness Gardens. For medical reasons we decided that George would require a large amount of ice cream as soon as possible. We (Liz, Dave P, Trevor, Dave H, Keith, Steve T and George) headed down to the two rival ice-cream specialists on the front. Whilst we monitored George's recovery we decide to sample some ice-cream ourselves. The weather and view of The Dee and Welsh hills was magnificent. If we could have hired deck chairs we wouldn't have got home before dark. We met the others on Burton Marshes after their coffee and cake. Everyone was happy as we cycled our various ways. The incline to Guilden Sutton felt a long drag at the end of a hot day, but we gave it a bit of welly, finally clocking 66mls.The Ness to Ness distance approximately 42mls.                    

Wednesday 9 July 2014

3rd July 2014: Hanmer

A good mix turned up at Hildegard's: Ivan, Paul, Ray, Tom, Steve H, George, Dave and Liz P, and the Runcorn clan of Dave H, Steve Tan and Keith. Dave Matthews had cycled out for a chat, but was again in recovery mode, having worn down his perineum skin as thin as Graphene cycling in France. Initially the weather was disconcertingly cold with drizzle, but gradually improved to ideal. We had gratefully accepted Ray's initiative in leading, as he had Clive's outline route to Hanmer on his screen. We were soon twiddling down our favourite quiet lanes through Ridleywood and Sutton Green to Bangor on Dee. Ray was doing well following Clive's intricate and hummocky route. We took in Penley, Hampton Wood and Bettisfield before reaching the Hanmer Arms, one of our favourites. 
My food was really good, but Keith and the Pipes were grumbly about the quality or absence of bread. Also, the waitress initially wanted us to pay as a group, threatening that if we paid as individuals the last person would have to cover any cash shortfall. Dave Pipe was thankfully assertive. After all, the Pipe's pudding penchant meant they could well have been last to pay.  Ivan had turned back before lunch, as he had initially said that he would have to return early to Chester. Something about cycling without electrical assistance not floating his boat anymore. Incidentally, his next bike is to be a carbon Willier with electric gear change. Tasty!
Our return was via Eglwys Cross and Higher and Lower Wych: hard work for the valiant tandem two. The remainder of our route took us to Cuddington Heath and Chorlton Lane towards Shocklach and Farndon. George put the pedal to the metal as we headed north to the A534. We presented an unwitting lead-out to Paul 'Kittel' Rose who rocketed past. Ray and Tom soon appeared in his wake. Despite missing the break, the indefatigable Steve Tan was registering 24 m.p.h. just trying to catch up on his semi-mountain bike. No podium place for me today after all! This bit of a burn-up is becoming a fun optional tradition of ours when finishing at Holt. Hildegard was our wonderful host at the end. Luscious plum cake and extra coffee - who needs a medal? About 38 miles without the mud of March. Great company and a great day out.