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 28 August 2015

27th August 2015: Montford Bridge (mod)

I was first to arrive at the Chirk Tea Rooms soon followed by Brian Miller on his second outing with CER. Later Paul, Tom, Steve T, Trevor, Liz & Dave P turned up, as well as John fresh from his Paris-Brest-Paris success. I say fresh; which was remarkable seeing that he told us he’d only managed one hour’s sleep a night through the whole four days.
Trevor intended to ride directly back home, which left the rest of us. I’d planned a ride based on Clive’s brisk group outing to Shrewsbury last month because it sounded an interesting route. However, instead of the full distance I intended to avoid the town itself by lunching at Montford Bridge. Reversing the route and making some other minor changes completed the plan.
Having promised a flattish ride, I felt a little guilty as we struggled up a single chevron gradient climbing from the River Ceiriog to reach Rhyn, although this was the exception. From then it was through Gobowen and Whittington, crossing the A5 to Maesbury, past the radio telescope at Knockin. The route was showing the effects of heavy rain in the week with some large patches of gravel and mud. So we initially missed Clive’s track leading down towards the River Severn because it just looked a muddy mess.  On closer inspection, it was a muddy mess, one that even he might have avoided.  So we continued by a more sensible road to the riverside, where we logged an appealing looking pub for future use, the Royal Hill near Pentre.
Continuing through Shrawardine to Montford Bridge where we stopped at the Wingfield Arms. A friendly welcome led to a very long wait for food, though when it came it was substantial, well received by many but not by all.
Refreshed, we headed back through Little Ness, Ruyton XI Towns and on to Queens Head. From here we chose to avoid the A5 making for Oswestry along minor roads. We soon heard the wail of emergency sirens, and a little later began to meet many vehicles and heavy lorries on our route – Oswestry itself was clogged with traffic – the A5 had been closed.  We eventually broke away from the congestion, headed north past Old Oswestry Fort, into Western Rhyn and finally over the canal viaduct into Chirk in time for tea and cakes in the café.
In all about 48 miles in generally fine sunny weather, though somewhat longer for John, Paul and myself who had cycled from our homes
See route map and/or gpx file download.

Wednesday 26 August 2015

20th August 2015: Audlem (mod)

Awaiting ride report.

Teddy Bear Café
Photograph by Bryan Wade

Saturday 22 August 2015

20th August 2015: Market Drayton (mod plus aka brisk)

Arriving at the Ice Cream Farm with Trevor and Tom I found there was quite a turnout for today’s rides.
I had prepared an outline route to visit the Red Lion in Market Drayton, a first for me. It was a sort of ‘moderates plus’ ride, that could be varied depending on the group, how people felt, time and the weather conditions. I had the flexibility of my manual GPS (printed extracts from OS maps) to make any changes.
Following Dave M’s announcement on John Wilkie’s success in the PBP (see posting below) and excusing himself from the rides as he had to look after the grandchildren, we duly split into two groups, mine containing Ken, Paul (with new bike), Steve T and Tom. The other group contained Liz & Dave P, Andy, Bryan, Steve H and Trevor who were off to Audlem. I had one request from Steve T, could I make our ride at least 60 miles.
At 10:30 sharp with a slight south-westerly breeze against us we set of in the direction of Malpas. It was a fairly direct route via Bolesworth Castle, Brown Knowl and Ashtons-cross; crossing the A41 at Hampton Heath. Left in Malpas, and followed the B5395 for a short distance then on through Higher Wych, crossing the A525 and taking the A495 as far as Bronnington. A left turn ensued and we were cycling steadily through Whixall, Coton, and onto Prees. After Prees we took in Darliston, Fauls where we observed the local council collecting from the roadside verge a lorry load of dumped tyres. The weather was beginning to threaten and it started to rain as we cycled on the A53 to Market Drayton. They have a wonderful one-way system in the town, and to get to the Red Lion/Joules Brewery we cycled almost all of it. We arrived at about 12:50 having covered just over 32 miles. It was a delight, lovely food and the Joules Pale Ale well; I could have stayed there all afternoon, but I would have had difficulty getting on my bike again.

Photographs by Steve Tan

After lunch we headed in a north-easterly direction towards Norton in Hales. We turned left at Betton to Adderley, left again onto the A529, then right to Aston passing Shavington Park on our left. The wind was generally in our favour but distant rain clouds were observed, fortunately we were following so didn’t get wet. At Aston we met the other mods group and cycled with them as far as Wrenbury, where they went on their way whilst I reconfigured my GPS for the final run back. At Chorley Bank we parted with Ken (our expert on telephone exchanges) who was to make his way home to Rossett, whilst the remainder of us turned right passing through Brindley, Bunbury and Beeston returning to the Ice Cream Farm just before 16:00 for afternoon tea. We covered 63 plus miles at a steady average speed of 14.3 mph (according to Steve T). Those who cycled in from beyond Chester will have covered in excess of ninety miles.
Overall, a lovely ride in pleasant company taking in some new lanes.

Friday 21 August 2015

CER congratulates John Wilkie

CER member John Wilkie completed the 1,200 km Paris-Brest-Paris Randonnée in 77 hours and 45 minutes on Wednesday evening having started the gruelling event on Sunday.  This, a truly great achievement in itself, is made even more remarkable when one considers that John rode his first 50 km audax in September 2014: from virtually nothing to full PBP in 11 months!
Paris-Brest Paris (PBP) from Paris to Brest on the west coast of France and back to Paris has become one of the most prestigious events on the global randonneuring calendar and is run once every four years.  For more information go to the official site.

John's official ride stats are given in the table below:

Suivi de la plaque / Track the frame number:  

ContrôleKmTempsPassageMoyenne tronçonMoyenne Totale
START 016/08 17:31
VILLAINES 22108:5317/08 02:2424.8 km/h24.8 km/h
FOUGERES 31013:1017/08 06:4120.7 km/h23.5 km/h
TINTENIAC 36416:0917/08 09:4018.1 km/h22.5 km/h
LOUDEAC 44920:1717/08 13:4820.5 km/h22.1 km/h
CARHAIX 52525:0917/08 18:4015.6 km/h20.8 km/h
BREST 61830:1117/08 23:4218.4 km/h20.4 km/h
CARHAIX 70340:1918/08 09:508.3 km/h17.4 km/h
LOUDEAC 78246:5818/08 16:2911.8 km/h16.6 km/h
TINTENIAC 86752:0818/08 21:3916.4 km/h16.6 km/h
FOUGERES 92155:1119/08 00:4217.7 km/h16.6 km/h
VILLAINES 100961:3219/08 07:0313.8 km/h16.3 km/h
MORTAGNE 109067:4119/08 13:1213.1 km/h16.1 km/h
DREUX 116573:3719/08 19:0812.6 km/h15.8 km/h
FINISH 123077:4519/08 23:1615.7 km/h15.8 km/h

Tuesday 18 August 2015

13th August 2015: New Brighton (mod)

You can always rely on Brian Mac to come up with a route for a ride from his local starting point at Ness Gardens. Despite the fact that he wasn’t there, today was no exception as I had downloaded a ride he had led back in 2011. It wasn’t a particularly long ride but with heavy rain forecast for the evening we didn’t want to be out too late.
As I cycled up to Ness I wasn’t expecting a large turnout. The more strenuous riders were off on the annual 100-mile special and a number of riders were off on holiday. However 5 regulars turned up. These were Bryan, Dave H, Steve H, Steve T and myself. We were joined be a new rider, another Brian, who I had met while cycling across the marshes. He said he had heard of our group and had thought about joining us sometime so I persuaded him to join us today.
The six of us set off northwards heading into Neston where we turned right to cross the A540 and on to the village of Raby. A left here took us on through the pretty village of Thornton Hough. Brian’s route was a figure-of-eight and just beyond the village we came to the crossover point. Instead of carrying straight on we turned right so that we were now following Brian’s route in reverse. This brought us to Brimstage where we turned left and headed up to Storeton. Beyond Storeton we were on to the Lever Causeway before dropping down towards Rock Ferry where we hit the Wirral Circular Trail. This would take us around the North Wirral Coast.
Mersey Ferry

Photographs by Bryan Wade

We now followed the trail past the Woodside and Seacombe ferry terminals and up the coast past the Egerton Ferry pub. This had been our lunch stop on the original ride but it was not yet noon so we carried on to New Brighton. Here we decided on Wetherspoons as our lunch stop. Probably not the best choice but the company and the conversation were good.
After lunch we carried on along the coastal path, ploughing our way through the sand drifts in places, until we got back onto tarmacked roads at Meols. Here we turned inland and cycled through the villages of Greasby, Irby and Pensby and back to the crossover point at Thornton Hough. We turned right here and headed back across the A540 and down towards Parkgate. Before we reached it Bryan spotted a road off to the left (Wood Lane) that was signed as a cycle route to Neston. We hadn’t been along it before so we took the opportunity now. Unmade for the most part, but passable, it eventually brought us back into Neston.
From here it was back the way we had come towards Ness Gardens but before we got there we dropped down to the coast again and along to Net’s Café. After a well-earned cup of tea (and a cake, of course) we all went our separate ways although for four of us it was back across the marshes towards Chester. A round trip of 37 miles from Ness or around 60 from Chester.
See route map and/or gpx file download.

13th August 2015: Cheshire Cycleway Special Ride (brisk)

Originally advertised as 130 miles including the loop around Wildboarclough following the Cheshire Cycleway, had me wondering whether I was up for a full “200k hilly Audax”. However the rumour was that Colin had recce’d the route and found the Wildboarclough loop would take at least 2½ hrs and a shorter 104 ml relatively flat route would be more manageable.
With rain threatened and a no big climbs I opted for the fixed bike set up for winter with good tyres and guards. This was to be a mixed blessing on the ride!
Colin, Tom, Clive and Dave P met at the Station in Chester for an 8:30 start. I was defiantly the slowest, so with Tom well prepared after LEJOG doing 100 miles every day for 10 days and Clive and Colin regular brisk riders I was put at the front to set a pace comfortable for me. A steady ride out via Delamere where the descent and climb saw me catching up on the flat and finding a wheel to follow was the best option now the group knew my pace. With a slight tailwind we continued on to Acton Bridge, Great Budworth and High Legh Garden Centre for elevenses.
From here we were in “new” territory providing a splendid ride for the middle 50 miles in leafy undulating countryside on lanes not seen on our regular Thursday rides.
The second leg to lunch took us to Bucklow Hill, Ashley, Mobberley Station and Nether Alderley and up onto Alderley Edge where the 1 mile climb rising 300ft up Artists Lane to the Wizard where the geared riders left me wishing for a lower gear. After we regrouped at the top we were rewarded by flat roads then slight descent to the Blacksmiths Arms at Henbury to sample the local ale and pub grub.
After lunch the rain threatened with black clouds and a few spots of rain. As we dropped back onto the Cheshire Plane the group made good time and the weather outlook improved. The route now took us south to skirt Congleton and then bear west towards the motorway. Here an interesting choice of route for the Cheshire Cycleway saw us cross the M6 three times in 3 miles presumably so that the stony track over the second crossing could be included. (It can be avoided by an equidistant but less adventurous route omitting the first two crossings.) I shouldn’t complain though as this was the only section where I had to wait for the others to catch up (The benefit of good tyres and no bouncing chain – not my fitness).  We were soon heading back into familiar territory with the afternoon stop at the Pillory Cafe in Nantwich where we got our usual warm welcome.
The last leg of the route followed the often ridden section of the Cheshire Cycleway via Wettenhall, Eaton, and up to the “Secret Path” over the A49 to Utkinton. I was now struggling on the hills but Colin true to his word would not push on without me in spite of me telling them to do so. Colin came back to find me and the group waited and escorted me back through Waverton to return to Chester Station at 17:30 after a thoroughly enjoyable ride and no rain in spite of very ominous black clouds .
Thanks to Colin for organising the ride.
See route map and/or gpx file download.

Saturday 8 August 2015

6th August 2015: Sleap (brisk)

The TV weather forecast promised “improvement throughout the day” as I set off with rain threatening bound for Cleopatra’s bistro. The sooner the Met Office gets their £99 million computer upgrade the better! 
Anyway, the coffee at Cleopatra’s is an improvement on Hildegard’s and the service is just as good. There were nine of us but, apart from Steve T and John, the rest were on personal local rides. So we three set off bound for The Raven in Tilley near Wem. Ivan had been there in Jan 2015, but the last time for me was in late 2011. As soon as we set off the rain came and was on and off all the way to Whitchurch. The route out was via Tilston, Duckington, Norbury and Marbury. 
Around Whitchurch we take the cycleway out to Alkington, which, at a surprising 420ft above sea level, was the highest road for today. We enjoy a further 10 miles of tiny lanes to arrive in Wem from the north. Exiting Wem for Tilley, I suddenly had a brainwave: “Have either of you been to Sleap airfield?” “No” was the reply, “Shall we go?” “Yes, please”. So, not knowing about the treat that they are in for, we motor down the main road for the 4-mile loop into the airfield. 

Photograph by Clive Albany

The cafe doesn’t disappoint with excellent quality, and quantity of food at very reasonable prices, coupled with a control tower side view of the aerial operations. Now that the runaway exit shortcut to Loppington is forbidden, I plot a circular route, initially southwards back via the middle of Myddle. We now enjoy 17 miles of tiny Shropshire lanes working our way back via Welshampton and Penley to Bangor on Dee. The sun is out very briefly as we head northwestwards. Arriving back at Cleopatra’s after 62 miles at 16.4 mph, we provide a bike-purchasing consultancy to “mein host” as tea and cake are consumed. The only disappointment of the day was the unexpected rain and late arrival of the sun. With 87 miles completed to home, it was a useful warm up for the 100 miler next week!

Monday 3 August 2015

30th July 2015: Aston (mod)

There were only four of us available for a ride from Rose Farm, and we didn't know where to go. Aston, by my slightly longer route was chosen, as it was unlikely to tax our navigation skills, and we like the pub. Over the last twelve months, I think I have visited the Bhurtpore on my bike more times than I've driven to Asda Runcorn in my car. It is still an enjoyable, easy-rolling, relaxed route to look forward to, even if it is familiar.
Keith, Paul, John and myself were soon heading down to Cotebrook, careful of the gravel at 'Jim's corner', when turning left into Smithy Lane. We headed for Rushton on the quiet, narrow lanes below Oulton Park. Wettenhall, Venetian Marina and Reaseheath were cruised past before hitting the attractive Welsh Row. We turned off through parkland before the A534 avoiding traffic and coming out by 'The Big Lake'. A short stretch of main road, and then we turned left towards the not so secret Secret Nuclear Bunker. After a steady stretch in a southerly direction down Coole Lane we made the acute turn right at Brickwall Farm, and meandered the last few miles to our lunch stop.  The fish were big, and the curry hot and filling at the friendly Bhurtpore. I can't remember if Keith had his usual cheese and onion butty, but he had no complaints.  
We came back via Ravensmoor, Swanley and Brindley, and with an extra little loop from Paul, we were soon passing Tilly's and heading for Tilstone Bank. I am not in great cycling nick at the moment, mainly due to enforced slavery on a garden transformation project at home. I was grateful for the lads' patience and pacing. John's wheel was a welcome lead into the wind on our return to Tarporley. We received the familiar warm welcome at the Old Fire Station café, with offers to fill our bottles, and an invite to take our bikes through to the back. We sat in the sun, and had a laugh. It was good to get to know John as he is usually up the road with the fast riders. Paul is now a familiar friend with the relaxed group, and Keith is an addict when he can get off work. Unfortunately, I won't be riding this coming Thursday, as the missus' Wendy House is due to be installed in our garden! About 42 dry miles were covered from Rose Farm in excellent company.