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 31 October 2016

27th October 2016: Whitchurch (mod)

It was a pleasant autumn day as I rode out to the Ice Cream Farm for this week's ride. No sunshine but not too cold and not much wind either so a good day for cycling. I expected a good turnout but was surprised to find that there were only 7 of us enjoying pre-ride refreshments. The 3 brisk riders were busily planning a route down to Audlem while the other 4 of us sat and waited for one of the others to announce that he had a ride. None was forthcoming and it soon became clear that Jim and David M had other things that they needed to do and that the moderate group would consist of just Brian Macca and me. Without a map between us we decided that we would head down towards Whitchurch with only the small screen of my sat-nav to guide us.

The four of us set out together turning right along Newton Lane and heading east through Beeston and across the A49 into Bunbury. It was here that Jim and David left us and Brian and I turned south through Faddily, Chorley, Wrenbury and Aston. We could have headed for Audlem ourselves at this point but we didn’t know where the brisk group were lunching so we decided to stick to our own plan. It was just after crossing the A525 at Royal’s Green when the only noteworthy incident of the day occurred. We turned a corner just in time to see a cyclist a few hundred yards in front lose her balance and fall off, forgetting to unclip her feet in the process. We cycled up to lend a hand but by the time we reached her, her riding partner had turned back and a lady had come out of her house to help. Our assistance was not required so we headed down to Ightfield and there turned right through Ash Magna to approach Whitchurch from the east.

There are a number of good eating establishments in Whitchurch but Brian suggested the Black Bear and since it wasn’t one that I had ever been to I asked him to lead us there. Brian had been right. The food was very good and we both enjoyed our lunch choices.
Photo by Macca
After lunch we headed out of Whitchurch along Smallbrook Road and made our way on to the canal towpath which also happens to be the southern end of the Sandstone Trail. We followed this as far as Grindley Brook where we had a short dash along the A41 before turning off towards Malpas. Our return to the Ice Cream Farm was a more direct route going straight through Malpas to Tilston and right along familiar roads through Carden, Chowley and finally Tattenhall. At the Newton Lane crossroads I left Brian to complete the last half mile back to the start and I headed for home. We had completed a pleasant 45 miles which the rest of the moderate riders can enjoy next time I’m at the Ice Cream Farm.


Friday 28 October 2016

27th October 2016: Audlem (brisk)

With mild and dry weather forecast, it was perhaps surprising that only a handful of Easyriders appeared at the Ice Cream Farm. Dave M was returning home for grandchild minding and the remaining 6 divided equally between Moderates and Brisk. The latter were Andy B, Ray and me.  Fortunately, given the absence of our usual leaders, both Ray and I had downloaded routes to our garmins and coincidentally had both elected for Audlem as the destination. Andy did not demur and off we went.

After a while, Ray mentioned he didn’t do blogs and as Andy sprinted off into the distance, it fell to yours truly to take on the task for the first time. Oh well I suppose it had to happen sometime.  One difficulty was that we were using a route that Ray had downloaded from this site but we hadn’t studied the detail so had no overview of where we were heading. Now I can hear readers shouting well why not stop and have a proper look. This brings me to my second problem.  Much to my surprise, and indeed to that of Ray, Andy was on a mission to break some land speed records.  So much so that I began to suspect he has a large battery / motor in the sizeable rucksack he carries on all rides.

Anyway, stopping did not seem to be an option as we sped up to Harthill and to No Mans Heath. Somewhere around here, with signs indicating the A41 ahead, we all began to wonder if we had the right route and whether by some happenstance we were shortly to arrive back at the ICF.  So a short pit stop was permitted during which we confirmed we were indeed on our way to Audlem, albeit not from the direction we were expecting.  On we zoomed through more familiar territory of Wrenbury and Aston. At one point we had a close call being forced to brake heavily and take evasive action on a bend to avoid a mother (on the Phone) strolling in the middle of the road accompanied by small children and a couple of dogs.   

Much sooner than expected we observed a sign indicating “Audlem - 5 miles”. Great not far till we can stop and catch our breath. This was not to be as Garmin then instructed us to ignore the direct route taking us on a southerly loop crossing the A525 before eventually swinging east to take us close to Swanbach, and then north to take Audlem by a surprise attack from the South.

We arrived at the Old Priest House Cafe just after noon to be welcomed by the warmth of the wood burner and soon engaged in friendly conversation with two cyclists from the Newcastle’s Tyne and Lyme respectively.  Andy refuelled with an enormous serving of beans on toast - four slices and what looked like two cans of beans! Ray and I, more restrained with a choice of sausage and  fried egg sandwiches, speculated hopefully that Andy might need time to digest his “snack” during our return ride.   

Garmin was  commanding a more direct return to the ICF of only 20 miles via the 552 cycle way, Haughton, Bunbury and Beeston.  Contrary, to expectations Andy was still emulating Bradley Wiggins, claiming a TUE for his overdose of  beans on toast. But, with us all now taking turns to lead, we were still cracking along arriving at the ICF at 14:10 having averaged over 17 mph for the day. We decided not to stop for afternoon cake and rode on together to Saighton before saying goodbye to Andy as he headed on for Mold.  Ray and I were back home in the suburbs of  Chester by 15:00 having done close to 70 miles to and from home. Andy (Wiggo) rode a mere 101 miles from his outpost in North Wales.  All in all a good day out that literally whizzed by but regrettably did not allow time for photos.


Tuesday 25 October 2016

20th October 2016: Ness (mod)

A mixed group of ten Brisk and Mods were 1.5 hours late starting off after the Special Meeting at Bar 1539 at Roodee…………Andy B, Bryan, Dave H, John, John B, Martin, Petar, Steve T, Tom and me.  I had previously decided that as the start time was going to be uncertain, then so would the route to lunch.  An anti-clockwise route east through the city centre took us to Hoole, along The Greenway to Mickle Trafford, where we turned north.  Past Wervin, we skirted Cheshire Oaks only for Petar to puncture.  From there, memo to self:  don’t use the missing link after a day’s rain, but rather the parallel A41, unless you like cleaning congealed cow-poo off your bike.  On past Hooton station and Willaston took us to lunch.

Despite looking like an AGM for the W I with so many elderly ladies lunching together, The Wheatsheaf at Ness (GR: SJ 760 303, CH64 4AP, t: 0151 336 6336) should definitely be included on Egon Steve’s list.  A 2 course very varied meal for < £6 can’t be bad these days.  Thwaites beer there is always good but there were rumblings about the cost of L&S at £1-60. Considering the place had scores of customers when we arrived, we were all served quickly and pleasantly. 
Photo by Macca

Our return south was via Ness Gardens down past the ruins of St Andrew’s Hospice, a monastic hospital for travellers to Ireland that had given refuge while awaiting the sailing of the delayed 0915 packet boat to Dublin. Dissolved in 1496, all that remains are the bumps of the fallen walls behind our team photo.  Along the ever-popular Sustrans route 486, we past the pre-historic hill fort atop Burton Point before being disgorged into D I P.  From there we followed the Dee where it had been canalised in 1736 to (unsuccessfully) keep the port of Chester open.  The A380 barge was passed on its way upstream to collect another wing for Toulouse HQ.  Finally back at The Roodee, there was a bomb-burst of riders to all 4 quarters, having covered only 32 miles at 13 mph.


Thursday 20 October 2016

20th October 2016: CER Special Meeting

Notes of Special meeting of CER 20th October 2016
10:00 to 11:30 at 1539 Roof Lounge
Nunns Road, CH1 2LY


Chair: Bryan
Note taker: Steve Tan

The principles on which the original list of starting venues was chosen (from all points of the compass, within 8 – 12 miles of Chester centre, with adequate (free) parking)) were endorsed by the members present. Decisions were taken by a show of hands of the members present.

a Ness Gardens to Netts – Decision: stay at Ness Gardens
b Utkinton to Tarporley Fire Station Café – Decision: stay at Utkinton, Rose Farm
c Manley Mere to Meadow Lea Farm/Frodsham/Helsby/Delamere – Decision: change to Delamere Station Café.
d Little Roodee to Station Metro Bar/Meadow Lea Farm/Rubens/Waitrose - Decision: move to Meadow Lea Farm
e Chirk to Alwyn Waters – Decision: Change to Chirk for both summer and winter
f. Add Alison’s Country Kitchen, Tattenhall to the list – Decision: Not to be added as it is too close to the Ice Cream Farm.

NOTE: date of implementation of the above changes to be advised.

2 REVISED SUBS  (Macca) – subs from next year will be £5/year. Payable 1st May 2017.

3 BLOG EDITORS (Bryan) – transfer of ride report posting to Clive (brisk) and Steve H (moderate) has been seamless, so thank go to Clive and Steve. Bryan asked for a volunteer to take over the remaining aspects of running/maintaining the blog within the next 6 months or so, as he expects to ‘move south’ permanently in the foreseeable future. Steve Tan volunteered and will liaise with Bryan.

4 A O B: Dave H is collecting monies for the Christmas Lunch at the Stamford Arms on December 8th. Two Courses £20.00, Three Courses £25.00, Deposit £10. Please give your money and menu choices to Dave H by November 17th.  Full details are given under the Special Rides tab.

Thanks to Steve T for taking notes during the meeting and preparing this report.

Friday 14 October 2016

13th October 2016: Special Ride - Longdon on Tern (mod)

The first chills of autumn were in the air when we met at Sainsbury’s Café in Whitchurch. In the café we discover that the town was a leading centre for clockmaking, having made the Eastgate Clock in Chester as well as clocks for Shangai Custom House and St Pauls Cathedral. The moderate riders were George, Bryan, Macca and me – Dave H had called off due to an attack of man flu. Clive had put together a brisk and a moderate route to Longdon on Tern near Telford.

We set off south-eastwards through Ash Magna and Calverhall, but before reaching Market Drayton turned south through Stoke upon Tern and Great Bolus. The initial chill of the morning had passed and at times we could feel the warm sun on our backs. We travelled at a ‘brisk’ pace delighting in the quiet lanes and the absence of hills. The only thing that interrupted our progress was a stop to clean some mud from beneath our mudguards. Our progress was such that we arrived at our destination at 12.05, almost half an hour early.

The Tayleur Arms had set aside tables for both groups, with the brisk riders arriving a little after ourselves. Our group sampled the three real ales on offer with much satisfaction, and were equally pleased with the fish and the steak pies. If the pub were nearer we would probably be coming here frequently.
Photos by Macca

Our return promised to be a shorter ride, but with one climb. The route passed through Stanton upon Hine Heath and then up the very steep Marchamley Hill, not made easier by a rough surface, neither of which appeared to stop George powering ahead. We avoided any rain from some dark clouds, though the chill of the morning returned. From Marchamley we detoured from Clive’s route into Prees to avoid the A49, and then through Tilstock back into Whitchurch.

Back in Sainsbury’s Café enjoying coffee and cake at only a little after 3pm, we reflect on an excellent ride with decent October weather, good company and a splendid route – thanks Clive!  In total we covered 50 miles.


13th October 2016: Special Ride to Longdon-upon-Tern (brisk)

With this being the last “Special” ride of the year, I wanted it to be a little special; and in my opinion, it didn’t disappoint. I’d planned the route based upon prior knowledge of about half of the route, with the rest being new territory. So there was a “cassette” of six Briskers (Ken,Ivan,Steve T,John M,Paul) that set off along the Nantwich Road. A right at Burley Dam soon gets us onto the long quiet lanes which will feature in today’s riding. 

Out passing Shavington Park, we go through Longslow, which is the crossing point on the return route. At the busy Tern Hill roundabout on the A41, we’re soon away from the traffic and onto Hodnet. We sidle around Marchamley Hill and onwards to Moreton Corbet. I can’t resist a stop to view the forlorn castle ruins that we visited on last October Special Ride. These were besieged by King John’s army in 1216; and Oct 19th is the 800th “deathday” of King John. No stopping at the “Elephant and Castle” today as we head through Shawbury looking for the River Roden valley. 

Another history lesson at Moreton Corbet Castle 

We pass through Roden and Rodington before looping north to the “Tayleur Arms” in Longdon-upon-Tern at 32 miles The Mods had recently arrived, so we order up from the Specials menu. The fare is good as we re-fuel for the 30 mile return. It’s definitely cooler as we head into the wind in a loop to Water Upton via Higher Ercall. 

It is now a long lane north up the River Tern valley via Great Bolas and Stoke on Tern to quietly enter Market Drayton via Salisbury Hill road. We are soon out of the metropolis and crossing through Longslow again taking the long and always uphill road to Calverhall. Coffee is within sight as Ightfield, Ash Parva and Ash Magna seem to fly by as we slide through the centre of Whitchurch and into the Sainsbury’s cafe where the Mods have recently arrived. This for me was a quintessentially CER ride down quiet long lanes in the early autumn countryside. Nothing better in my opinion. So 62 miles at 16mph. Oh, I nearly forgot to say that Paul had ridden out and back to Whitchurch today, so he'll have more than a 100 miles on the clock.

Photograph by Clive Albany

PS: This ride was almost on the 7th anniversary of my first ride with CER. Now after 238 rides covering 15,100 miles, I’m a little better informed of the lanes we ride - but there are still new ones to find, as witnessed by today’s ride.

PPS: Thanks to Sainsbury’s Whitchurch store for allowing us to park at the store.

Wednesday 12 October 2016

6th October 2016: Pipe Gate (brisk)

Today’s ride was from Rose Farm and Brisk riders were few. Paul and Steve T were up for a ride and Ray was joining for the start as had to depart early.
We set off and headed into Tarporley and met John W cruising on his new super Boardman bike. John joined us and we turned right at the pub taking the lane down to Brassey Green and round Beeston Castle where John bade us farewell so soon. Passing Tilley's at Bunbury. we were heading for the outskirts of Nantwich and on to Audlem.
This is the time of the year when inconsiderate farmers are again chopping down the hedges scattering clipping and thorns in our path. We were heading up Brindley Lea Lane when Paul got a thorn in his tyre.
It was here that Ray set off to head back to Chester and Paul got his tools to repair the flat. He didn’t change inner tube but used the very efficient Park tool patch to repair and within 10 minutes we were pedalling again. It must be noted that Paul’s bike is so clean he completed the task with clean hands at the finish!
We arrived Audlem at 11:50 but this was not our destination although the Mod’s were considering a similar route here. Dropping into the town, we turn right into Mill Lane and out towards Kinsey Heath.The Brisk group were in this area a couple of weeks ago with lunch at Norton in Hales. Our ride continued on to Bearstone, Knighton and our lunch destination at the Chetwode Arms at Pipe Gate.
The ride had been pretty fast and flat with the exception of a Strava segment of route which was after Norton and two riders were spotted doing the same Strava route. The three of us gave chase for two miles up hill at 19.5 mph. We passed one and nearly caught the other, and yet we were still way off the KOM slot! And, they were a lot younger than two thirds of us.
After lunch, we had an unplanned diversion to my route. We had spoken to a lady who advised that the continuation of a road we were on was rough and not tarmac. We reverse the route ending up on the main A51 with the wind behind us. We took a right turn after a few miles and back on track and heading towards Wybunbury. The route was then through Shavington, Wistaston, Wybunbury and Bradfield Green taking the left turn at the lights for Minshull Vernon.  Today we have seen two of our past hostelry stops knocked down to make way for houses. The first at Betley and the other Boot and Slipper at Wettenhall. Gone! “Use or lose” as these were two nice pubs.
We called in at the Old Fire Station in Tarporley for afternoon tea and cake and met the Mods who were just leaving to head back to Rose Farm. Steve decided to join them as he was having a lift with Dave H back home so Paul and I enjoyed a quick coffee and headed back to Chester via Brassey Green and Huxley.
It was a  booked round trip of 57 miles from the café although with a couple of diversions we clocked 65 miles and the additional out and back from Chester gave Paul 90 and myself 84 miles ridden for the day. Another excellent day out in sunshine, wearing shorts and sunglasses. How much longer can this summer last? 


6th October 2016: Aston (mod)

We were a little late starting off as I was leaving my car to be washed, but it was in the way of a large livestock lorry trying to turn. I am not sure if the pigs were coming or going, but they would soon be sausage and chops in the farm shop. The moderates were five in all: 'Taffy' Walker, Macca, Jim the Decorator, John the marketing man and myself. We headed down to Cotebrook, and past the growling and yowling of racing practise behind the brick boundary of Oulton Park. We reached Nantwich via  the easy, familiar Wettenhall and Rease Heath route. John was suitably impressed by the rich mix of arcitectural styles that makes up London Road. We avoided traffic by heading south through the park, and meandered along the Weaver passing lakes on our left.  The weather was ideal, and the riding very sociable. After a very short stretch of the A530 we were soon on the lane toward The Secret Bunker, and Audlem. We turned right toward Aston, rather than heading for Audlem as earlier planned. The call of curries and fine beers was just too strong. The Bhurtpore Inn has been a pub since 1778, and the story of how it acquired its name is certainly out of the ordinary. The food and drink was as good as ever, but the large fish and chips made me feel lazy for the return. It was tempting to order a delicious pudding followed by a taxi!         
Photos by Macca
Conversation with John on the way home ranged from the nightmare of Syria to the beauty of some of the British women’s hockey team. Although, I think we all sensibly avoid the passions around Brexit (unless we know the person we are talking to has a similar view to our own!). The route back was via Wrenbury, Chorley and the little sheltered lacework of lanes that reach up to Brindley. The wind was cool and from the north-east, but never a problem and the warm sun was particularly welcome on the way back via Bunbury and Tilston Bank. We sat in the sun with cake and coffee at the back of The Old Fire Station at Tarporley, when some of the Fast Lads turned up. As Steve Tan was sharing a lift home with me, it was handy timing. A last steady climb to Rose Farm, one cleaned car and a packet of sausages. I checked my data-rich environment and came up with the following: distance around 42miles; average speed: sublimely sufficient; elevation: not much at all really; company: 100% agreeable. Many thanks to Brian for the photographs.                                        


Saturday 1 October 2016

29th September 2016: Kelsall (Mod)

It was a good turnout (of fast riders) at Hawarden on a warm Indian summer’s day in late September but unusually only a few Mods were there.  Both Jim and David M were there for the coffee, and with other Moderate riders scattered round the globe from New York to Nepal, it was left to just Steve H and Macca to go out on the Moderate ride.  Steve needed to be home early doors so we rode a large circular route anti-clockwise with Chester as the centre.  We mainly had the strong wind beside or behind us as we climbed out to Kinnerton, then east via Holt where we turned NE for Corkscrew Lane, Utkinton and the lunch stop at Kelsall after 30 miles. 

An excellent lunch was had at The Greedy Pig, CW6 0RZ, tel:  01829 759399 (closed Sun + Mon), and for those who don’t know, owned and run by Raina a local cyclist.  A plug coming now.........the business is For Sale, so call Raina if you are interested. 

Steve dived off early, having already cycled out to Hawarden for the start, leaving moi to bimble back via Delamere, Helsby and onto The Greenway.  Passing through the edge of a park in Hoole, I stopped to chat to loads of disability cyclists at their centre next to Bren Bikes.  If you want a cheaper pre-owned steed as a runabout, then Bren Bikes is the place to go. See: https://www.facebook.com/brenproject/

It was hard going straight back into the wind funnelling along the old rail line, so spotting an advert on the edge of The Greenway, I had a coffee breather in the Fitness Gym cafe, before returning to Hawarden Bridge.  No selfies this week but an easy 51 miles with a windy 12.5 mph average.