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 30 November 2015

26th November 2015: Bunbury (brisk)

This is my first attempt of writing up a CER ride and I haven’t got a clue what I’m doing but then that summed up the day as far as route planning was concerned!
There was a good turnout at the Ice Cream Farm despite the damp, overcast day. The moderate group, by far the larger group, headed off to Audlem. That left myself, Jim and John to make up the brisk group. We had no particular route in mind but nonetheless we went off in the direction of Nantwich, turning right out of the cafe gates towards Tarporley, to the rear of Beeston Castle, past the Shady Oak pub (on a section of lovely smooth tarmac) and up Birch Heath Lane into Tarporley village. Here we continued on towards Eaton where we turned off, by the old blacksmiths, in the direction of Wettenhall. So far so good. No rain and the sky now seemed to be getting a little brighter. 
On reaching Cholmondeston, we had a short stop for a chat regarding our route and then headed towards the Rees Heath College, ignoring the way to Church Minshull. At Rees Heath College we had a further stop for a route discussion before heading off in the direction of Nantwich where we followed the road towards Acton. However, before we reached Acton, Jim picked up a puncture, by the canal basin on the A51, which required input from all three of us. Finally we reached Acton continuing through Burland where we turned off into Burland Hall Lane, passing through Spurstow and then reaching Bunbury. Here we stopped for our lunch at Tilly’s. 
Once replenished with food and drink we decided our return route would be Tattenhall, via Peckforton/Beeston, and into Chester before going our separate ways. This we managed without any further incident.
Despite our lack of route planning, it was an enjoyable 100km ride mainly on quiet Cheshire lanes which provided nice the views across Cheshire thanks to the brightening skies. A good day out. 

26th November 2015: Audlem (mod)

Of the 13 riders who turned up at the Ice Cream Farm on an overcast November morning, 10 decided that a ‘moderate’ ride was for them. A rumoured ride to be led by Dave Pipe never materialised (like Dave himself), so a quick re-think was called for. Andy kindly offered a ’40 miler’ to Audlem and he and Dave M offered to lead as long as someone else wrote it up.
So off we set down Tattenhall Lane and around Beeston Castle into Beeston village. Thence south to Bunbury Heath after which there was a short ½ mile section on the A49 before hanging a left into Spurstow. After this we took Long Lane and Capper Lane into Brindley, where we crossed the A534 going on through Gradeley Green and over the Shropshire Union Canal (Llangollen Branch) at Swanley. South again through Ravensmoor and Sound, crossing the A530 at Newton, threading our way down Healey Lane and Holly Green Lane before picking up Coole Lane for the run into Audlem and The Old Priest House café. 
Doubts were expressed that all ten of us could be accommodated by this tiny café, especially since we could see there were already two bikes outside. Andy went on a recce and came back declaring that there was room – just. So we all squeezed in (literally) and placed our orders. Whilst tea and coffees came quickly, the food was a little slower as we’d overwhelmed the kitchen. Nevertheless all were eventually satisfied – especially Dave Heath who played ‘super-sub’ for Dave Pipe by indulging in a pudding.

Photographs by Steve Tan

Outside the café, we took the group photo next to the Buttermarket. Brian ‘Macca’ took the time to explain that the ‘Bear Stone’ standing there, was a ‘glacial erratic’. Erratics (a description sometimes used about Easy Riders) are actually pieces of rock which differ from the size and type of rock native to the area in which they rest. "Erratics" take their name from the Latin word errare, and are carried by glacial ice, often over distances of hundreds of kilometres. According to the plaque, this one could have come from Cumberland or the Mountains of Mourne! 
Andy decided to put in an extra loop after lunch, so we set off on the Newcastle road before looping around to run through Swanbach and Burley Dam. Then north through Aston where we hooked left through Wrenbury, crossing the canal again at the Dusty Miller. Fortunately the bridge was down, unlike my last visit here in September. Once over the canal we picked up the Cheshire Cycle Way heading towards Malpas and crossed the A49 at Bickley Moss. Here we left the CCW, to take the small lanes going to Cholmondeley Gardens. It’s worth pointing out that many of the small lanes during the ride were quite wet and/or muddy, so everyone got ‘splattered’ and mudguards got ‘clagged up’ on a regular basis.
Heading into Bickerton, Dave M peeled off for home, leaving the rest of us to face the climb over Harthill. On the positive side (this bit is especially for Dave H!), you get the reward of a long run down the other side, leaving only a few zigzags before taking Newton Lane back to the Ice Cream Farm.
A rain-free run of 45 miles at an average speed of 14.0 mph – not bad for the ‘moderates’.

Sunday 22 November 2015

19th November 2015: Rock Ferry (mod)

After the excellent turnout of the last four weeks and with reasonable weather in store, I was amazed and pleased to see a dozen riding from Ness Gardens, especially as I’d promised hills. 
You can see them all lined up outside my house in a posed photo reminiscent of a very early CER ride.  Shortly after this was taken in Heswall, the tandem left us, probably a wise move as we then tackled 6 steep hills in West Wirral.  My intention was to hill-climb for two hours until lunch beckoned.  We managed this around Little Neston, Lower Heswall and then across the peninsula to climb Storeton Hill, before Ivan put a stop to proceedings with a puncture.  Fortunately it was only two miles straight down to the recently re-opened Refreshment Rooms, Rock Ferry.  The former hotel served the passengers using one of the six ferries from Wirral to Pier Head and can be found at Bedford Road East, Rock Ferry, CH42 1LS, tel: 0151 644 5893.  A poster inside advertised ferries on the half-hour, EVEN on Christmas Day 1916.
Photographs by Brian MacDonald

Having heard good reports about this place, I had been keen to bring CER here since it reopened two years ago.  I had provisionally booked us in from the previous day and noticed they offered an Over 60’s two courses for £7-50.  On asking if we could have it, the lovely Millie and her sister Olivia agreed.  We all thought that we should use this place whenever we depart from Ness.  It was a gem, and even if service was slightly slow, we didn’t mind.  
The gods were doubly kind to us after such an excellent meal and Conway Bitter, we came out to find it had rained when we were at lunch.  By now it was 14:20 and wintery, so we pressed on back down the eastern shoreline to Bromborough, before crossing The Wirral via Hargraves, Willaston and Ness.  Arriving back at the Botanical Gardens by 15:30 still gave the Chester riders time to cycle home while four of us enjoyed afternoon tea in the warmth.  Thanks to Clive and Steve for the .gpx that recorded an amazing 1400 feet of ascent on a short 30 mile route around Wirral.  I received an email afterwards; “I don’t know how you manage to find more different routes around the Wirral but thank you for making it interesting today”.  

Saturday 14 November 2015

12th November 2015: Erbistock (mod)

After the excellent turnout of the last three weeks and with reasonable weather in store, another large group assembled at Cleopatra’s in Holt.  As I’ve been out of the country for months, I did not recognise a number of new faces but with so many riders, it was easy to split into two groups.  Trevor also had another moderate route on his Garmin but as I was still using pen & paper, it was easy for him to save it for another day; thanks Trevor.  My plan was for an easy flat sausage-shaped route out via Malpas, into the wind to Erbistock for lunch.  We started with 14 but Dave Hill left us early on and the Pipe tandem soon decided on their own route, leaving Andy, two Daves, Charlie and Jane, George, Keith, Mike, Steve, Trevor and me to battle into the beginning of Storm Abigail.  The photo at Malpas Cross belies this and shows how unseasonably sunny  it was for mid-November.

Steve kindly provided the gpx file, but after Malpas we turned SW heading past Overton to Erbistock.  My intention was to try to catch one of nature’s autumnal mysteries on the two weirs there over the R Dee.  The first weir was inaccessible down a Private Drive and the 2nd was across muddy fields, clearly unsuitable for our cycle shoes.  You can see what we missed on this U-tube video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jzg0wg_vuZo

Photographs by Brian MacDonald

Lunch was at The Boat, Erbistock tel: 01978 780666 down on the riverside.  I didn’t want to leave as it had a cosy log fire roaring away and in summer, I could see the pub being a magnet with the benches out on the riverside.  An excellent lunch was had by all, but the non-beer table looked very serious except for George showing that he uses Colgate to achieve that extra sparkle.

With the wind behind us after lunch, we soon past Bangor on Dee, to arrive back at Holt for afternoon tea at 15:15pm, giving some daylight to those who still had to ride home.  Four new members paid me cash for their subs without much persuasion, bringing CER membership to 30+ for the first time.  Riders’ feedback was very positive and appreciated after an easy 38-mile autumnal ride.  Next week, I have an interesting lunchtime pub lined up for the first ever visit of CER.

12th November 2015: Loppington (brisk)

A grand day’s weather in prospect with high winds forecast, and they were right for once. We four, Ken, John, Tom, and myself, set off on a straight up-and-down route that was designed to get most of the climbs and 60% of the miles over by lunch and then enjoy the wind-assist 20 miles run back to Holt before the promised rain arrived. So, out the normal way to Bangor-on-Dee and then off passed the racecourse dodging left through to Cloy. Always into the wind, we press on through Dudleston Heath, through Crickett and Perthy bound for Tetchill.  Now we make an anti-clockwise loop through these tiny lanes to Hordley bound for Cockshutt. 
We arrive at the Dickin Arms in Loppington with 30 miles spent. The pub could do with a make-over, but the staff are welcoming and the fare quickly presented. The run back via Lyneal is at rocket speed as the wind is with us all the way back now. The game birds spread before us, and buzzards flap off their lookouts, and mushrooms abound in the leaf filled lanes; a proper November landscape. At Welshampton, I go off piste slightly to arrive at Tarts Hill and then onto Pigeon and Peartrees Lanes. These have to be the poorest surfaced lanes in the area as we bone-shake our way towards Sarn. It’s a short motor now along through Shocklach back to Holt where, after 50 miles, we arrive at 15:00. 
The sky looks threatening and so Ken peels off towards Rossett and we three head for Chester. Arriving in Chester, the light rain starts and the gloom descends. So 75+ miles, glorious morning sunshine, deserted Shropshire lanes and good company. No one could ask for more out of ride.

Saturday 7 November 2015

5th November 2015: Marston

The weather forecast was for heavy rain for the afternoon, so I was surprised to see a small crowd at Rose Farm.  It soon became clear that only three of those present were riding out today. The others were “just out for coffee” - like we really believed it!  So Bryan, Dave P and myself set off in the dry bound for the Salt Barge pub at Marston.
I’d been out on Tuesday with Ivan and Tom and we had arrived at the Salt Barge too early, so I fancied a return ride to sample its fare.  We weaved out through Cotebrook via an unconventional route to access Whitegate Way all the way into Winsford.  Out via Wharton, we were riding the main roads a bit before sliding through Bostock Green bound for Davenham.  Out past Davenham Church all was going well until Dave P had a puncture.  By this time it was clear that we were going to arrive 30 minutes behind schedule at the Salt Barge; the schedule being to be in the pub before the rain started. So, on the fly, I re-route to Lostock Green.
As we hit the A556 dual carriage crossing, Bryan spent a few greasy minutes sorting out his chain, cassette and front chain ring. Off across the dual carriage we slide through Lostock Graham noticing the first signs of its industrial heritage i.e. brine fields.  At the lights I shoot off down the hill, being just a couple of miles from the first pint, that is, until Dave P on his fixie, pedals furiously past me to say Bryan has another transmission malfunction.  Back up the hill, Bryan demonstrates a masterclass in removing the chain split link to re-thread the chain through the rear hanger.  The rear hanger looks decidedly dodgy, so Bryan elects to minimise gear changes from henceforth.
We arrive at the Salt Barge just as the rain starts around 13:00. The pub is very quiet, and soon three pints of Tatton Brewery’s “Yeti” ale are pulled in double quick time.  Mein Hostess takes our orders, and soon we are tucking into wholesome fare.  Having put the world to rights and re-sampled the Yeti, we set off on a hill-avoiding modified return track.  We take the track through Marbury Park, which is quite delightful in the late autumn rain.  Cogshall Lane brings into Little Leigh.  At Acton Bridge, it’s up through Weaverham to Gorstage.  Here disaster strikes once again for Bryan, as the rear hanger breaks away completely and Bryan comes to an abrupt halt.  Quick as a flash, there is another masterclass from Bryan in converting a 30 geared bike into a free-wheeling fixie! So delayed again, we start off even more gingerly through Sandiway.  Bryan’s car is at Rose Farm, but he quickly realises that gradient and time is against him to retrieve it, so we progress at a leisurely pace along the main road to Old Kelsall Hill road.  A diversion to Tarvin takes us back to town via Waverton and Pearl Lane.
By this time its proper dark, but we are all back into Chester safely.  So we end up with three bikes returning; one original fixie, one free-wheeling fixie and 22 speed compact. Oh, I need to mention that the rain was not torrential, and only lasted a couple of hours.  Mindful of the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt, and with due apologies to Shakespeare lovers, those in the warm and dry at home this Bonfire’s Night day might like to enjoy the following verse which has been freely adapted from Henry V’s rousing battlefield speech.  I’m sure Bryan felt like it was a battle today!

(Cue rousing music)
We few, we happy few, we band of riders
For he today that gets his boots wet with me
Shall be my co-rider; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall improve his fitness level;
And CER riders then at home in the warm and dry
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here
And hold their saddles cheap while any speaks
That rode out with Bryan, Dave P and Clive
To Marston upon that Bonfire Night’s day.

See route map and/or gpx file download.