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 28 February 2016

25th February 2016: Bangor-on-Dee (mod)

It was a cold and frosty morning as I met up with Jim and Dave H for the ride out to the Ice Cream Farm for this week's ride. We carefully made our way out of the village along icy roads before deciding against our usual route down via Martins Lane, opting for the safer Long Lane route instead.
There were 15 riders at the Ice Cream Farm and it was soon decided that there would be 2 groups. The moderate riders were happy to follow me on a 40 mile ride that would take us to lunch at the Buck Hotel at Bangor-on-Dee. Bryan announced that he was only on a short ride out and cited a new excuse that no one had heard before. He had 'been on holiday too long'!
We all set out together turning right along Newton Lane. When we reached the T-junction Bryan turned left on his solo ride home and the brisk group, who had managed to keep up with us until then (well done lads!), also turned left. That left 10 of us - Steve T, Steve H, Mike G, Mike McC, Dave H, David M, Jim, George, Chris and myself. I tried to lead our group to the right but as I turned out I hit a patch of ice and went down. Fortunately there was no damage to either the bike or me so we were soon on our way. I quickly had to rethink the early part of my route to avoid roads that would still be icy and in doing so inadvertently ended up leading us up Harthill. A climb usually avoided from the Tattenhall side.
We all made it to the top and from there we headed over the A534 and into (another) Long Lane. Passing Bickerton we eventually turned left into Old Coach Road and back on to my intended route. At No Man's Heath we crossed the A41 and turned up towards Malpas where we joined cycle route 70 and headed down Mastiff Lane. We soon turned left heading towards Lower Wych. Just before Tallarn Green we turned sharp left and headed towards Holly Bush before turning back towards Bangor-on-Dee.
The Buck Hotel has recently changed hands and has undergone a refurbishment. The black telephone box still stands in the rear foyer but the teapots that used to hang from the ceiling have gone. The whole place looks brighter though but the only criticism was that the new air-blade hand dryer in the men's toilets seems to have been installed by a 7ft giant. Ordinary sized mortals such as us could have done with a stool to stand on. The service however was excellent, as was the food, and the conversation flowed. The highlight of our lunch break was undoubtedly a rendition of Cilla Black's 'You're My World' by Dave H. The voice was so good you could almost believe Cilla was in the room. What a shame that 'Stars In Their Eyes' is not still on TV.
Our return route was less hilly than the morning's ride out. We retraced our route for about a mile before swinging left to Worthenbury and then on to Tilston and Stretton. We crossed back over the A534 at Barton and passed through Coddington and Chowley Oak before crossing back over the A41. A short run through Tattenhall brought us back to the Ice Cream Farm. The icy roads had disappeared after lunch. So too, unfortunately, had the sun but it had stayed dry for a very pleasant 40 mile round trip.
See route map and/or gpx file download.

25th February 2016: Minshull Vernon (brisk)

Leaving home today was the first really severe frost with Belle Vue lane like an ice rink so extra time and care allowed.
I cut through Christleton and passed the Church along Long Lane where I joined up with Dave H Jim D and Trevor. The Ice Cream Farm was our venue for morning coffee and we arrived without incident.
A route had been planned afore hand but when offered to Tom and John for a brisk ride it was met with disapproval, for the pair had ridden an Audax on Tuesday over a similar course and were not keen on doing it again. A quick revue for route was looked at and off we set with a welcome addition of Dave P on a solo ride and Ken.
It was now warming up as all riders set off from the Ice Cream Farm together.  At the crossroads we split from the moderate riders and headed towards Beeston, I did not have a route on the Garmin for a ride so made it up on the bike and rode along Stonehouse lane passing Peckforton to Bulkeley ending up on the moderately busy A534. We headed left to Ridley without too much traffic passing. We were soon on the quiet lanes heading out of Bunbury and I decided to stick to our normal route to Nantwich and was considering where to go for lunch.  
As we had recently visited the hostelries around here the Badger Inn at Minshull Vernon came to thought. It is one pub we often pass but never visit so after arriving in Nantwich we took the cycleway following the little river to arrive at Rees Heath round-about taking the B5074 road to Minshull Vernon arriving at the Badger for 12:15.
It is a very smart inn with good beer and cheap soda drinks but meals a little pricey but very good quality. Chicken pie and faggots enjoyed and after plates cleared we set off in still blue skies. Arriving at the little bridge after passing the Shady Oak pub we stopped for a photo shoot with the castle as a backdrop. Not something we often do.

Photograph by Ivan Davenport

We were riding at a fair pace from the photo shoot to Tattenhall lane where the group decided to up the pace for the final romp over the line at the Ice Cream Farm – John clocked 50+k for the mile sprint with Dave P hanging on his wheels.
A deserved tea and cake was enjoyed although we must have put on weight today rather than lost any!
A pleasant 40 miles, plus the journey to and from home, in a good dry if somewhat chilly day especially after starting after the stops!!
Hope the brisk group has the company Dave and Ken again soon.

Friday 19 February 2016

18th February 2016: New Brighton (mod)

A lovely sunny crisp day - Jane volunteered to lead the ride with Tom, John, Trevor, Chris, Ken, Dave H, Charlie, Steve H, Keith, Dave & Liz P in tow.  A reasonable mix of country lanes, Wirral villages, seaside and local history - we went through Little Neston to Raby and the Lord Lever village of Thornton Hough. Passing by Brimstage Hall (built sometime between 1175 and 1350) we barrelled along Lever Causeway, with Jane giving Liz and Dave a run for their money with a sneaky turn onto the cycle path.  Past Birkenhead Priory, we made Woodside Ferry with a few guesses and unintended turns, only for Ken to have a puncture. But it was sunny with fantastic views of the Liverpool waterfront.

Photographs by Jane Marshall

 So on to New Brighton via 4 Bridges and Seacombe Ferry terminal to The Seaside Café tucking in to traditional and tasty fish, chips, mushy peas, bread and butter and a pot of tea (OK not everyone).  The usual mix of fantastic sea views and pesky sand and a head wind on the way to Meols.  We will have passed the site of the submerged forest off Dove Point, and the remains of a 1,000-year-old Viking longship under The Railway Pub.  A slight hiccup between Greasby and Irby, when Jane’s chain came off, we did some interesting wiggles on the way to Lower Heswall, giving the Wirral Way a wide birth because of half-term hazards of children and dogs, and on through Neston back to the start at Ness.  An enjoyable 35 miles.
See route map and/or gpx file download.

11th February 2016: Hanmer (mod)

Our winter weather seems to offer us two choices-wet and warm or cold and dry. Thursday presented us with the latter, so under an almost clear blue sky a good-sized group of riders met at Cleopatra’s in Holt. The moderate group consisted of Keith, Steve T, George, Mike G, Dave H, David M, Mike B, Steve H, Liz and Dave P, John M, Charlie, Jayne, and Jim.
We exchanged the cosy warmth of the café for the weak winter sun and set off south over the by-pass and onto the lanes on the west side of the Dee. Despite the relative dry weather of the last few days, the river was pretty near its peak and we all marvelled at the vast area of flooded fields between ourselves and the river channel: it was like cycling round the Zuyder Zee! Soon we came to the usual ‘road closed’ sign, which we decided to ignore, and 500 yards later found out why - the river had annexed the road as well as the fields and we had no volunteers brave (or daft!) enough to try the huge puddle for depth. Retracing our route to the last junction, David M guided us skilfully in the direction of Bangor-on Dee.
Continuing southwards, we followed the lanes to Penley, Breadon Heath and Bettisfield. Turning sharply northwards, we crossed the A495 and arrived at the Hanmer Arms after a very pleasant 20.5 miles. Most took advantage of the very reasonable two-course menu for £5 and the beer drinkers had a pleasing choice of beers too.

Photograph by Mike Gilbert

Soon we were back in the saddle again, heading north for Eglwys Cross. By the time we had crossed the A525, we had remembered where the filthy muddy lane that is imprinted on our memories was to be found. However, this time it wasn’t too bad and we were able to continue on our way without spending time scraping mud from under our mudguards. The lane down to Threapwood was a very nice few miles, mostly downhill, and after the stiff climb out of the Wyches Valley, we set off for the direct run through Shocklach and back to Farndon, arriving back at the café in good time for coffee and cake.
A lovely dry day throughout, with occasional sun, and quiet lanes giving us very enjoyable riding. A total of 35 miles or about 60 for those riding from Chester.

11th February 2016: Nantwich (brisk)

Today’s ride was starting from Cleopatra’s at Holt and due to family commitments I needed to be home for 14:30 to 15:00 so had looked at a flattish route that the brisk riders would enjoy and still manage their targets of 100k ride.
John and I met up at the Rake and Pikel (Huntington) and rode together to Holt. It was a chilly ride at 3 degrees but we were relatively warm at the pace we were riding!! There was a group of 15-20 riders today at the café, so a popular venue for a ride. The Brisk riders were Tom, John, Ray and Ivan. My route was agreed and we were first off from the café.
Heading back down the hill and over the old bridge and through Farndon turning right for Shocklach. Turning left at Crewe-by-Farndon to Malpas then through the town and turning left onto Bickley lane and on to No Mans Heath. Crossing the A49 and continuing through Chorley and Larden Green and Acton. I took the scenic route through Nantwich and joined the cycleway that runs from Nantwich to Crewe along side Middlewich road.
We arrive at the Rising Sun at 11:55 (Crewe West End) and enjoy a pensioners special lunch £4.50 and a pint at £2.79. Recommended stop.
We left the inn and the sky was still blue but had to wait for a convoy of new Bentleys out on test runs before heading towards Bradfield Green. Turning left at the traffic lights and on to Minshull Vernon. Passing Wettenhall and up hill to Eaton, Tarporley and on to Brassey Green and Christleton and home. 
A round trip Holt back to Holt of 52 miles or 62 miles for me but further for the other riders at an average speed of 16 mph. It was a relative flat ride and I was home for 14:30. A good ride with no incidents.

Wednesday 17 February 2016

4th February 2916: (brisk) destination unknown

Awaiting ride report

4th February 2016: Hanmer (mod)

A small group of us met at Rose farm: Andy, George, Mike, Dave & Liz P on Tandem, John W, Tom and David M.  John proudly showed us his well-earned PBP medal before he and Tom whizzed off at high speed to points unknown.
The strong west wind determined that we strike out west so we could eventually be blown back home.  Consequently David M led the rest of us to Malpas (where we could decided on further progress, if any) using a lumpy route over Brown Knoll and through No Man's Heath.  The tandem was finding it a bit of a struggle to keep up through the lumps and into the wind, so elected to stay back near the "Copper Mines" (as was) and ride serenely on to lunch at Malpas.
Near Malpas the solo team decision was made to carry on to the deli at Overton for lunch, but due to David M's personal sat nav being incorrectly calibrated, we diverted through more lumpy bits to the pub at Hanmer (highly recommended with excellent 2 course lunch for £5).
After lunch we headed north into yet more wind, but then veered east to Tilston with some assistance.  Here we split with Andy and Mike heading back to Chester whilst David M and George continued through the failing light to Oscroft and Rose Farm respectively.
Probably the best day out this year for weather (so far) with approx 50 miles covered.

Monday 1 February 2016

28th January 2016: Loggerheads (mod)

There was a good turnout at Hawarden, considering the terrain, weather forecast, time of the year, etc. Ivan and Tom were flying to Ruthin, Mike Gilbert was sloping off for the lanes around Chester. The remaining pack was a mix of amenable animals with some pedigree, and a few fat mongrels: George, Jim, Mike McCormick, Trevor, Liz D and myself. George and Jim agreed a route that was largely to be downhill, wind assisted and expediently short after lunch.
George led us out at an ideal pace to Northop, past the horticultural college and on to Halkyn and Pentre Halkyn. This includes that small, wince inducing stretch of the A55, where you are half expecting a smack from behind from a wide load. George's expert knowledge of the area persuaded us to stretch as far as Babell, before heading south to Lixwm. This was all very pleasant, with an easy pace, and the weather holding up, so far.
On hitting the A541 at Nannerch we had less than a couple of miles, before we were back on lovely back lanes, tootling south to Cilcain. We were not sure if the landlord would be in a good mood at Cilcain, or be able to serve us quickly, so we ploughed on to Cafe Florence at Loggerheads. It was becoming a little damp, but not enough to warrant a costume change if you weren't a Pipe. I am told that relatives of Clive had owned the cafe. Anyway it was busy, friendly and the soup seemed particularly lip-smackingly tasty.
The bad weather looked like it had arrived; it probably had a name like "Storm Dia"! Jim had been away, and was not up for too much meandering or many more hills. Route one for home was fast as we hoped, with Trevor describing the swoop down the Mold by-pass as "exhilarating!" The rain wasn't too bad, and we soon reached Buckley. I turned left at the lights, but had nobody behind me. I turned right for Knowl Hill, and guessed a route past Drury that brought me out on the A550, about a mile from the car park at Hawarden. I believe the others had not got the lights, but had gone straight down to Ewloe, and then right to Hawarden. I think the rain had stopped on the last stretch. Whatever, we were not cold or soaked, and we were back in good time.
A thoroughly enjoyable ride in relaxing company. One of those days when you think, "Is it worth it?" the night before, and finish up being really glad you made the effort. The basic ride was about 35 miles.
See route map and/or gpx file download.

28th January 2016: Ruthin (brisk)

Riding from home to the Gallery tea shop was all against a strong wind and the weather forecast was not good after 11:30 ish!!
At the Gallery tea café George was locking his bike up as I arrived and we were soon followed by other keen CER riders braving the elements. Jim had a ride and shared with other mods in the café so being one of only two brisks I asked Pink Tom if he would enjoy a 50 mile round trip to Ruthin. Thankfully he agreed so at 10:30 we set off through Hawarden and down Wood Lane to Buckley. Then through dry lanes to Mynyddisa to the cross roads at New Brighton. Over the road to Soughton and through Gwernymynydd (what names!) then started the uphill ride via Maeshafn where we chanced upon a damsel in distress with a flat. Tom immediately offered his services to assist in a repair job of her front tyre but the lady’s husband was en-route to pick her up. So much for green slime in your tyres.
The route between Gwern and Maeshafn found us biking up the only muddy lane (+10%) of the ride, which forced Tom to walk up the hill, not something he has done of late.  A little down hill roll through the village of Llanarmon-byn-Ial (Raven Inn) heading towards Llandegla taking a right turn at a cross lane had us heading towards Ruthin. With the exception of a slight drizzle we arrived at the Castle Hotel (Wetherspoons) for a welcome lunch.
Enjoying the luxury of good company, ale and food we were forced to leave in a down pour. We had covered nearly 30 miles and 2853 feet of ascent to Ruthin so we decided to cut short the ride and join the A494 and head straight home, rather than the intended ride along the Clwydian Range. This was the roll Tom was not looking forward to but the sun came out with a little blue sky that spurred us on towards Ewloe. The road was light in traffic and road surface good so this improved our average speed for today, which wasn’t normal for us.
We went our separate ways at the roundabout at Ewloe to cycle back home. The round trip to the Gallery was 43 miles with over 3921 feet of ascent covered at an average of 14.6mph. The weather again was not as bad as expected – wish they would get better at forecasting!!