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 March 2015

26th March 2015: Audlem (mod)

With the majority of the brisk group basking in sunny Spain, the remaining group of 9 decided on a single ride to the Shroppie Fly by the canal at Audlem. 
We were met at the Ice Cream Farm by signs of extensive building work to produce “a new 180 seat parlour, a sand and water park, quad bike track, shopping street, and adventure golf course,” according to the local papers. No cyclists petting area though!  Perhaps that’s in the next phase. 
Dave M led the way followed by Dave H, Clive, Paul, Steve T, Keith, George, Trevor, and Jim.
The route took us out past Beeston Castle, Bunbury, Stoneley Green, Ravensmoor and Sound before dropping onto the A525 for the last mile into Audlem.  The journey was interrupted a couple of times by calls on Dave H’s phone but it wasn’t the Top Gear producers despite Dave being eminently suitable to replace someone who rants on about cars. Instead it was Dave’s mechanic ringing to tell him that his wife’s head needed taking off! (Perhaps he’s been watching too many episodes of Wolf Hall!)
The early rain had petered out to be replaced by a stiff breeze making the run south quite speedy, arriving at the pub a little after 12:00. Service was good and the group were fed and watered within the hour and we were soon back in the saddle again. We had hoped that the wind strength would have dropped after lunch, but no such luck. It was bordering on gale force and head on. We tried to plot a route involving the most sheltered lanes but we still had 20 miles to cover into the teeth of the wind. Progress was quite noticeably slower as we proceeded through Aston and past Cholmondeley castle. The lane down the east side of the ridge gave us some shelter but it was a relief to return to the Ice Cream farm for afternoon tea.
Suitably rested, we set off again into the wind for the last few miles home. A total of 42 stiff miles, or about 65 for the Chester riders.

Tuesday 24 March 2015

19th March 2015: Pant yr Ochain (mod)

A good-sized group assembled at the Roodee café, no doubt encouraged by recent forecasts of warmer weather at last. Dave H even broke out the shorts!

The moderate riders were Dave and Liz on the tandem, Trevor, Keith, Dave H, George, Liz D, Brian Mac, Dave M and Jim.  Dave H had to adjust his back brake before we set off, which appeared to be catching on the rim. Closer inspection revealed a slight warp on the rim. No problem as long as he didn’t use the back brake, and we were heading up into Wales!  Undeterred, we set off over the Old Dee Bridge towards Handbridge and then took the lane to Higher Kinnerton and then Hope. We crossed the Alyn valley here, and after a short distance along the Mold Road, turned up unto the lane that took us up over the shoulder of Hope Mountain. Coming down the other side into Treuddyn Dave made another inspection of his rim to find a small crack about an inch long. As Dave P hadn’t put his welding kit in his bag this week we pressed on cautiously westwards as far as the B5101 towards Ffrith. We then crossed over The Steps into Windy Hill and then down to Alyn Waters Country Park. We continued through the park and into the Wrexham suburbs of Bradley and Gwersyllt before crossing the footbridges over the A483 and a short run down the lane to the Pant yr Ochain. A more detailed inspection of Dave’s rim led to the conclusion that it was not safe to be ridden any further and he would have to stay at the pub until we came back with the van. Life is full of little inconveniences!

Photographs by Brian MacDonald

The restaurant was very busy, but we were soon sitting down at a table for 12 where we had our Xmas lunch a few years ago. The food was good quality if a little pricey and plans were drawn up for the afternoon. Trevor, George and Dave M were to continue with the original ride down to Holt returning past the Ice Cream Farm, while the rest of us set off for the shorter ride down Gresford Hill and along the Pulford Road to Chester. Brian Mac and Liz left us here for the bridge at Queensferry, while Dave and Liz P peeled off at Queens Park leaving myself and Keith of the original 10.
We picked up the van and set off back towards the pub along the Eccleston Road just in case Dave had managed to fabricate some sort of temporary repair. We had just reached the Old Dee Bridge when he appeared pedalling towards us, having managed to strengthen the rim with some garden zip ties! Quite an interesting afternoon of about 37 miles or 42 miles or 47 miles depending on which route was selected for the journey back. 

Sunday 22 March 2015

19th March 2015: Marbury (brisk)

Arriving at the Roodee café it was overflowing with keen riders even though the morning was chilly and with a fog.  Hopefully the weatherman will be proven right and a glorious days riding should be enjoyable.
With Clive returned from Norfolk the brisk group consisted of Clive, John, Tom, new rider Lee Scragg (Tom’s neighbour) and Ivan.  I had a route covering 35 miles for lunch at the Swan Inn at Marbury followed by 45 in the afternoon.
Leaving the Roodee we cycled along the riverbank heading for Boughton following the river Dee to Alford. We diverted via Saighton as the B5130 direct to Alford was covered in fog so took the quieter lane. Reaching Churton we took the left route bypassing Farndon and on to Shocklach. The lanes were dry and quiet and by 11:30 the sun was out and the fog lifted. We were pacing along passing through Wrenbury and Aston and skirting Whitchurch before heading to the Swan Inn.
I had contacted the pub previously to enquire if they were open and available for food and advised yes but we have a funeral party in from 11:00.  Our expected time of arrival was 12:30 - 13:00 so not a problem.  On arrival and ordering a pint of station ale the landlady advised they could only cater for sandwiches - OMG we have to leave!!!!  
Fortunately the partner saw £s and rushed to the kitchen to see what can be rustled up - we were provided with reasonable food and the beer was good as was tea and juice for others.
After lunch we returned to our bikes in warm sunshine and were soon heading out via Wirsall to arrive into Whitchurch from the south then out via Ash Magna, Ighfield and Royals Green.
The season is progressing and already the hedges are showing green and with lambs bleating it is great to cycle through the seasons although we don't enjoy the wet and cold days. 
We pass through Aston again and head towards Ravensmoor but had a little diversion from here out via Burland and Long Lane to Bunbury where we stopped at Tilleys for milk shakes and cakes (Dave take note!! all wanting to partake).
We then took the usual route home to Chester via Beeston, the Ice Cream Farm and Waverton.
The ride was minimum 78 miles for me but 80+ for the other riders with an incredible 3,192 ft of ascent - we did notice a couple of rolls but surprised at the elevation.
An enjoyable day at 16.9 mph average. 

Tuesday 17 March 2015

12th March 2015: Ellesmere (mod)

There was a good turnout at Hildegard's. Jim had a route, but he also had a pain if he breathed deeply. My Green Party propaganda must have influenced him, because he had injured his torso by passionately hugging a tree. John appeared to have the flu, and Steve was still cautiously rehabilitating his back. Dave Matthews thought that he had a hundred day cold, but enjoyed a few miles with us. 
Those doing the full route were: Paul, Bryan W, Andy, Ray, Steve Tan, Martin, Trevor, Dave H, and Dave & Liz P. A quick glance at Jim's proposed route, and we were soon heading across the river to Farndon.
It was very pleasant and sociable, and it was nice to have a whole group ride. Andy was doing a bit of stirring, trying to be a wit, but I reckon he was only 50% there! We made steady progress south, sometimes into a steady headwind.
Basically, we headed for Hanmer via Shocklach, Threapwood and Three Fingers. This meant we avoided the muddy lane that follows if you cross the A525 at Eglwys Cross. Still heading due south, we managed to navigate to the edge of Northwood without the need for much map-checking. It is always reassuring to have Bryan around, when you are trying to lead on a route that you haven't prepared for. It was a bit intricate now. I wasn't sure if Jim had favoured climbing to Lea, west of Colemere or to just head up the main road. Expediency took over as the lunch break beckoned, so we headed directly northwest to Ellesmere from Lyneal, still on a quiet back lane for the most part. We managed to confuse ourselves over the pub of choice, as some pushed ahead, but we all ended up in The Red Lion which couldn't be faulted.
The brisker riders took their leave for a pacier ride back, whilst the rest of us headed up a narrow lane at the north end of The Mere toward Penley. Our route back was via Holly Bush and Bangor on Dee. We were soon on familiar back lanes from Sutton Green north to Holt. On reaching Hildegard's, Steve Tan was waiting after his ninth cup of coffee! Once again we had enjoyed a satisfying day out in good company, managing our fitness differences with mutual respect and common sense.  Distance: 40 miles.
See route map and/or gpx file download.

Friday 6 March 2015

5th March 2015: Whitchurch (mod)

It was well before 10:00, on a cloudy, coldish day when I arrived at Rose Farm to find one or two fellow CER waiting for the cafe to open its doors.  By 10:30, 16 cyclists were poised but two went home early, leaving five to embark on a brisk ride and nine of us to ride leisurely anti-clockwise to Whitchurch.  Our group was composed of many with “excuses” needing to keep the pace down to a leisurely 12-13mph average.  The reasons were either medical (not surprising considering our age) or because at least two had recently returned from NZ and were well out of practise.  Andy, Brian, Bryan, Dave H, Jim, Keith, Paul, Petar and Trevor set off south while the speedsters headed east.
A rather uneventful pleasant ride took us through Clotton and Clutton to Tilston, where the old pub was now a row of luxury detached houses with ornate filigree woodwork.  My original plan was to loop further west but as time was pressing we simply headed south up the long drag to Malpas.  Forking right we flew down through Higher Wych passing Iscoed Park which had been requisitioned, like many stately homes during WW ll, for use as a US Military hospital and POW camp.  We soon found ourselves in Whitchurch, which like many settlements in England, was founded by the Romans as a half-way point between the major camps of Chester and Wroxeter (near Shrewsbury).
This market town has a few decent CER pubs already but Jim suggested a recently renovated one by the parish church.  I’ll try anything once and The Cock & Greyhound (SY13 1LL) did not disappoint.  Not sure about the name though: it’s one of a chain of 10 pubs in the “Atwillpubs” group of Chester that have “Cock” in the pub-name.  As we were the only folk for lunch between 1 – 2pm, they are going to have to trade a long time before the investors recoup their expensive outlay.  The food and blond was excellent, as was the beer of that name.

Photographs by Brian MacDonald

Suitably refreshed, we set off NE to Wrenbury, then tacked north past the three prominent castles and the Shady Oak for a well-earned afternoon tea at The Old Fire Station in Tarporley.  As my earlier photos of the group were rubbish, I took a picture of this flowery VW outside the cafe.  After negotiating round the Bentleys and Range Rovers, we returned to Utkinton, while Paul and I headed for Chester.  An enjoyable CER day with a bonus mile ridden above the original 45 promised.

5th March 2015: Marston (brisk)

The ride out from home to Rose Farm was with Tom and it was a pleasant meander on a chilly morning.
Arriving at the cafe there was already a good turn out and by 10:15 too many riders for one group so a hasty brisk ride was considered and I was voted to lead to the Salt Barge at Marston.  Clive, Tom, John, Mike G and Ivan set off heading into Tarporley taking the left turn up Forest Road and round Eaton Golf course. Within the Brisk group a mentality of racing against Strava times is emerging and Clive came roaring past me followed by Tom at +27mph to record the Sappling Lane descent, quick push on the pedals to catch up and hope it does not go on like this all day!!!
Round Oulton Park (not racing now) to Little Budworth towards Whitegate where we get excited again for the Cinder Hill dash. Passing through Whitegate and heading for Weaver taking the sharp Left / Right turn we ride along Little Dales lane, turning left at the T junction Tom collides with Clive but thankfully no scratches on his bike or himself.  Along Wallescote Road passing Winnington and the Northwich town centre we head out to Wincham and Marston.

Photographs by Ivan Davenport

We arrive at the Salt Barge inn at 11:35 and a little too early for lunch so continue doing a loop to Higher Marston, Bate Heath and back to the pub for 12:10 and it is getting busy!!  Service was very good along with a selection of cask ales and a reasonable menu. 
Ready for the off, we go along the loop again up and down higher Marston and towards Great Budworth passing the recent venue of the George and Dragon.  Continuing with the usual route home from Budworth we choose to ride along the Weaver. The surface was hard and dry and a pleasure as it has been a few years since last ridden by me.  We took the route after passing Kingsley heading for Manley with the last two assaults of hills to climb for the day.
A coffee at Meadow Lane cafe was needed and the final Strava dash along Station lane from the Methodist chapel to the Greenway.  A good record of 25mph and a 60th placing!!!  All in all a reasonable 62 miles to and from Chester but another 20+ for Mike who had parked up at Northop and ridden to Rose farm for the additional mileage.
See route map and/or gpx file download.

Sunday 1 March 2015

26th February 2015: Llanasa (leisurely)

It was 10:00 when I arrived at The Gallery Coffee Shop in the rain to find John busily repairing a puncture at the back of the café.  Next to arrive was Brian Mac still suffering from a virus and planning an easy day with the idea of a downhill ride to Chester.  Next up was Dave H with the news that although Jim had planned a ride to Llanasa other commitments meant he was unlikely to make it today.  Notwithstanding that, Llanasa sounded a good choice.  Dave confirmed that the Red Lion was under new management with good reports, and we could ride out without venturing over the tops and come back with the wind behind us.  By this time Clive and Ivan had appeared and decided to join us.  John meanwhile was still out the back struggling with his third inner tube of the day; after which he gave up muttering something about the tyre bead!
So with only four of us riding today we set off into the wind heading directly for Northop and the short section of the A55 by the Motel.  At this point Clive and Ivan decided they had had enough of my snail pace and decided to head off on their own with the intention that we would meet up for lunch.  Dave and I continued on past the Britannia Inn until the turn off to Pentre Halkyn, which Dave insisted, was better than going straight ahead on the flat.  Half way up Dave stopped and announced that he didn’t think this was the right way.  Too true, but having climbed so far we continued further upwards to the next turning (as it turned out our highest point of the morning) and then descended a narrow lane to where we should have been.  By now the rain had stopped and the weather was improving as we made our way steadily through Brynford, Pantasaph and Whitford to Lanasa.
The Red Lion didn’t look too busy but there were two familiar bikes outside and a warm welcome inside from Clive, Ivan and the relief manager who charmed us all.  Only one cask ale available but a wide choice of main meals plus free puddings on a Thursday.  No complaints on the food side then and we all chose bread and butter pudding to finish.  Dave and Liz please note.
For the return journey the plan was to head south through Trelawnyd, crossing the A55 and then onto the Babell road to return via Windmill and Northop.  Clive and Ivan agreed to stay with us until the A55 pointing out the best crossing (not clear on the map) and then doing their own thing.  With the wind behind us, as predicted, the return journey was much easier than the outward leg.  By 15:00 the sun was out and the views across the Dee and the Cheshire plain were stunning causing us to stop and take in the vista.  Before long we were over Windmill and dropping down through the winding lanes to Northop and back to Hawarden.
In all we had clocked 40 miles and 3,727 ft of ascent for a great day out albeit at a leisurely pace.