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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Tuesday, 27 January 2015

22nd January 2015: Hanmer (mod)

The bridge was closed between Farndon and Holt, and there were significant delays at the junction of the A55 and A483, but everyone made it on time to Hildegard's. Well, I say everyone, but obviously not our tandemists, yet. Dave and 'Liz duly arrived at 10:26, and Dave ordered porridge, a kipper, toast and marmalade and continuous coffee top-ups. (O.K., I am ever so slightly exaggerating!). We were very happy to welcome Martin and Sarah, a friendly and athletic looking couple who appeared to be proper cyclists, so inevitably went with the brisk group of Ivan, John and Ray.
Jim, George, Liz Donaldson, Dave & Liz P, Steve Tan, Brian Mac and myself set out north, mainly on the pavement as the road was up. At Churton we tuned east for Coddington and headed south for Tilston via Barton and Stretton.  We turned right at Tilston and then worked an intricate web of small lanes in order to avoid Malpas and enjoy some peace in typical easy rider terrain. Horton Green, Chorlton Lane, Cuddington Heath, Oldcastle Heath, then left along Bishop Bennet Way, right at Manor Farm to the usual hilly challenge of the area around Lower Wych. On reaching Eglwys Cross we headed down what was the grottiest surface of the day. It started to dawn on me as we approached the sea of mud at Hanmer Hill Farm that this was part of a previous Clive route in reverse. No surprise there! Never mind; we were soon racing down the hill with pretty Hanmer Mere on the left, before turning up to the Hanmer Arms with 20.5 miles recorded. 
The service and food at the Hanmer Arms was really good, as ever, at one of our favourite pubs. Liz and George instigated an interesting discussion ranging around books and films, with Wolf Hall and the character of Cromwell at the fore. I then overheard Dave Pipe interrogating the waitress about portion sizes; after my comments about eating last week, you couldn't make it up! 
Dave H's wish comes true a week late
The route back was intended to be relatively direct and speedy. We returned via Three Fingers, Tallarn Green, Threapwood and Shocklach. Some of us started to wind up the pace towards Farndon, as is now the tradition. It was only 8/10ths stuff, but it at least it raised our heart rates for a sustained few miles. Between my map and reading glasses tied around my neck with shoelaces, and Jim's GPS a hundred yards back, we had navigated without any hitches or delays.

Photograph By Brian MacDonald

It had been a very enjoyable ride, and back at Hildegard's we had a good laugh with our excellent hostess, and plenty of tea and cake, of course. Conversation covered the pros and cons of dog ownership, and the hokey cokey of the Sun's page three. Actually, I've just realised that you can't mix the images on page three with the lyrics of the hokey cokey and expect to go to Heaven!
Our ride back was once again shorter than our fitness levels required in order to improve. We probably need to stretch ourselves a little further now as the days become lighter. A lovely day with friends, nevertheless and 32 miles done.

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