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.

Friday 22 August 2014

21st August 2014: Ellesmere

A select band of Bryan, Andy, George, Clive, Steve T, Dave & Liz P and Dave M gathered at Hildegard’s in Holt. Missing were Dave Heath (en vacance a Provence) and Keith (waiting for a shed in Runcorn). Andy offered to take us to Ellesmere using a 6th May 2010 route starting ‘by the usual route’ to Bangor on Dee.  Thus suitably refreshed, we set out along Wrexham Road. The only thing missing was a bit of sunshine….and Dave M, who ducked out of the ride, citing ‘grandchildren and a bad back’ as the reason for not joining us. We meandered down through Bangor-on-Dee and were soon in the country lanes of Shropshire, which are delightfully free of the traffic often found in the similar lanes of Cheshire. Crossing the A495 and then the Llangollen branch of the Shropshire and Union Canal at Lower Frankton, we crested the memorable hump back bridge and looped through Hordley and Tetchill to arrive in Ellesmere in good time for lunch. A discussion about which pub to go to ended when Clive suggested the Red Lion. This turned out to be an excellent choice, as their ‘over 60s’ two-course lunch for £5.45 proved to be of good quality and even better value for money.

Photograph by Clive Albany (with apologies to Andy)

After lunch, Clive suggested that we try an alternative route back via Colemere and Tarts Hill. With Clive leading we left Ellesmere on the A 495 alongside The Mere, but soon turned off on to the lanes towards Colemere.  From here we followed Clive north on a collection of lovely lanes unfamiliar to many of us, through Welshampton, Breaden Heath and Tarts Hill.  We then continued north eventually passing through Worthenbury and the usual route back to Holt. At Crewe-by-Farndon Clive headed off to Chester while the remaining six, led by the tandem, took the “short cut” into Farndon by the back way past the Church.  Andy and George disappeared while the tandem, Steve T and Bryan made it back to Hildegard’s for coffee.
A great day out, enjoyed by all, with Clive’s return route further enhancing Andy’s choice of outward route.  Cool and dry all day with 46 miles done or 60+ for those heading back to Chester.

Sunday 17 August 2014

14th August 2014: The Lanes and Fells of Lancashire

You know those days when the forecast is 'iffy', but once you are out on your bike it's perfectly fine?  Well this wasn't one of those days!  Rain showers were plentiful and heavy, and the best sunshine was on the M6 return drive.  Ivan was full of praise for the food and service at No. 61 King Street.  The route down to the River Ribble was soon rural, and easy, and green.  On reaching Roman Ribchester I tried to show the group the ancient bathhouse, but the great unwashed were sneeringly dismissive, asserting that Chester's were bigger and better!  The cafe at Ribchester was friendly and cosy, and we were soon tead, teacaked and toiletted ready for our first climb in the direction of Hurst Green.  A short diversion took in the well-preserved and pretty almshouses at Stydd.

Photographs by Clive Albany and Brian Mac

Stonyhurst College is a stunning vision as you turn the corner and see this impressive baroque building for the first time.  It was from here that my devious plan was to operate.  The faster riders could take off and ride alongside Longridge Fell's northern edge, eventually circumnavigating Beacon Fell, and meeting the less ambitious back at Chipping for lunch.  They seemed a bit reluctant to clear off!  Mike and Brian tried to be helpful with regard to taking my marked map.  Mike's excellent local knowledge would be invaluable.  The advantages would be a quiet, scenic extra 10 mile for some, while the tandem group could cope with the climb to Chlpplng at a slower pace.  This arrangement would also slightly stagger lunch, and get the tandem out ahead of the game for the afternoon.  Like most of my inspired ideas the plan never really got off the ground.  Heavy rain and a farmer scattering thorns meant that the fast group abandoned Beacon Fell, and we all arrived at The Sun simultaneously.  Well, not quite, Dave broke the chain on his tandem in a last effort to reach a menu card first.  He expertly fixed the tandem in the backyard of the pub, with support from Keith, and the use of a puddings board acting as an incentive to work quickly.  The food was fine and the service friendly at The Sun, but despite my pre- booking we were there a little while with eleven orders and probably one chef.  However, the upside was everyone chatting and getting on so well together.
We took the Quiet Lane out of Chipping and headed for the Wild Boar Park.  I was grateful to Mike for leading the faster group, and to Brian, Keith and the two Steves for supporting the tandem.  Before the exhilarating swoop down to Burholme Bridge there was a wonderful, panoramic view of Bowland and beyond.  The road to Dunsop Bridge was alongside the river and true easy riding for a while.  Steve H and Brian were advised of a short route on foot past the road closure at Newton, while the tandem and co. climbed up the fell and came down again at Slaidburn.  Slaidburn is an attractive, stone- housed village, but once across the burbling water there is a steep climb.  Steve and Brian had waited for us, and the fast group was well ahead at this stage.  The rain started lashing down as we approached the lovely sweep down toward Sawley Abbey on the Lancashire Cycleway route.  You can normally clearly see the peaks in the Yorkshire Dales here.  Because of the weather Dave and Liz had done more costume changes than Kellie Maloney!  As we came down it looked as if the road had been dry all day.  Grindleton and Downham were by-passed in order to reach our ordered cream teas at The Calf's Head in Worston.  We just made it, gratefully tucking in to jam, cream and scones and hot drinks.
Our few miles back were flat and leafy, and we met Clive and Ivan at The Eagle in Barrow.  Despite the weather the camaraderie had been excellent.  Everyone had been helpful and tolerant, and this made the day enjoyable and worthwhile.  That Keith has to bust a gut to arrange shift swops to cycle with us in the rain, and loved it, says it all!  Attendees: Dave H, Dave & Liz P, Keith, Clive, Ivan, Brian Mac, Petar, Mike G, Steve H and Steve T. 

Saturday 9 August 2014

7th August 2014: Caerwys (mod)

Enjoying the hills and the splendid views of the Welsh mountains but not be able to keep up with the brisk group in this sort of terrain on the tandem we came prepared to lead an easy ride. With the other “easy” riders away on holiday or otherwise committed we set off at our own pace towards Northop and up into the Halkyn Mountains via Rhosesmor, Moel y Crio and Rhes y Cae. Here the map showed a narrow tarred road to the left that looked interesting and which certainly was. Quite rideable but very narrow and rapidly grassing over: an ideal diversion on a summer’s day. A return to higher ground and more open views and a quick look at the time confirmed we should head for the nearest pub that was the Piccadilly Inn at Caerwys.
After lunch we found a new narrow track (road) up to Babell and then a similar beauty down to Brynford. From here a relatively gentle run with a slight tailwind along the side of the Halkyns and a climb over Windmill Hill with its splendid views and open moorland before dropping back down to Northop and tracing the route to Hawarden.
35 enjoyable miles at just over 10 miles an hour which seems to be our pace in the mountains these days.
Pub Review
The Piccadilly Inn, Caerwys on the main street at north end of the village Tel 01352 720284 Open 12 noon – midnight all week. 
Recently fully refurbished and is now a busy modern eating-place with a good range of draught beers. Food from the lower price menu looked good and the Faggots and mash at £7.95 did not disappoint; nor did the Old Speckled Hen. 

Friday 8 August 2014

7th August 2014: Rhuddlan (brisk)

Brian (back from his travels), Clive, Ivan, Ray, Tom and the Tandem Duo met on a perfect summer’s cycling day at The Gallery.  The Duo decided not to join us on a hilly ride over Halkyn Mountain to Rhuddlan with Clive leading, as he said he wanted to be home smartish. After passing Lixwm and Caerwys, Ivan suffered a broken spoke from a hilly newly tarred and stoned road; this required much pushing & pulling of bits from his hub, but soon we were on our slightly slower way.  Down the steep Rhuallt hill on the old A-road and onto the coastal flood-plain, we stopped at the first pub in Rhuddlan, but were denied entry as there was a funeral taking place. Whether the coffin was still there, I know not.  We soon found another hostelry, The New Inn Hotel, High Street, LL18 2TY, tel: 01745 592027.  The two meals for £8 were good, the lack of real ale, not so.

Photographs by Clive Albany

After lunch, we had the obligatory photo stop at Rhuddlan Castle, one of 14 giant fortifications that Edward I had constructed after he overran N Wales in 1282. From the castle ramparts, we headed north along the tidal River Clwyd estuary that was full of wading birds seemingly unperturbed by the megopolis of the surrounding caravan parks. We then headed east along the coast past the hordes of sun-worshippers on the golden sands of Rhyl, Prestatyn and Talacre.  Heading back on the coastal A548, the pace hotted up as Ivan had been watching too much time-trialling at the recent Commonwealth Games. A steady 23mph cruise took us quickly down to Flint for afternoon tea.  Replenished, but slightly weary from the pace, miles and sun, we bimbled back through Connah’s Quay, crossing the Dee at Hawarden rail bridge.  Here Brian swung off while the other four carried on to complete 71 miles back to Chester.  Round trip from Hawarden 55 miles.

Saturday 2 August 2014

31st July 2014: Over Peover

Gathered at Manley Mere were Brian Mac & Dave Matthews, who had just joined us for coffee, and the rest: Dave H, Keith, Clive, Ray, Tom, Trevor, Steve T, Dave & Liz Pipe and Steve H.  Dave H took the initiative to organise us, and I asked whether we’d ever ridden out to The Dog at Over Peover.  That was enough to be elected as leader for the day; not that I’d ever been to The Dog, but it looked OK on the web.
We laboured up the hills over the New Pale, before enjoying the fast descent to Kingsley. We crossed the Weaver at Acton Bridge, then on to Great Budworth, Plumley and Lower Peover that gave us a misleading sense of closeness to our destination. The two Peovers are about 4 km apart, but wishing to avoid main roads and have a decent morning ride, we took a loop through Ollerton and Marthall to reach what the map said was Over Peover’s pub.  But it wasn’t The Dog. The Dog is actually in Peover Heath, less than half a mile away.

The Dog was bustling with activity – there appeared to be a barbeque and a beer festival.  Unfortunately the barbeque was a private party and the beer festival starting the next day.  Still, we found a good range of real ales and food, which turned out to be of very good quality - a place to return to.
The return route took us through Goostrey and Lach Dennis, where Dave H bid us farewell. We then sped on to Davenham and Moulton to descend the rough track that allows the Vale Royal Cut of the Weaver Navigation to be crossed.  Through Whitegate, after which we said goodbye to Tom, Clive and Ray who headed towards Chester.  Then to Sandiway where Steve H left, allowing the others to make their way back to Manley.  Overall 59 miles and just under 1,000m of climbing on a mild dry day which was much better for cycling than the hot weather of recent weeks.