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.

Thursday 28 December 2017

28th December 2017: Overton (mod)

Deep midwinter: sleet had fallen on frozen ground overnight. It was freezing and the roads were icy.  So it was in hope rather than expectation of a ride that I strapped my bike to the car and drove out to Cleopatra’s in Holt. Steve T, Dave H, Keith and Ken had all driven out with the same feeling. David M was also there but in civvies, ostensibly to lend moral support, but really to flog the new Chester and North Wales  CTC vests (discounted to a great value of £20 for a limited period only!).

We considered the options for the day: anything between just riding over the bridge to the café in Farndon and returning, to one of our more usual routes to Hanmer or Whitchurch. As the sun rose we determined to ride out towards Shocklach and decide then based on the condition of the surfaces.  We found that although some sections had been melted by the sun, others remained covered with crunchy frozen sleet.  We reasoned that the smaller less-used lanes would be unsafe, but that we could follow more major roads through Worthenbury, Bangor-on-Dee and into Overton. Cycling gingerly we made slow yet safe progress and eventually arrived outside The White Horse just before opening time having covered only 12 ½ miles.

We were grateful when the doors were unlocked and we met Stuart from Orkney, the temporary landlord. We received a cantankerously friendly welcome.  Five steak pie and chips were ordered and we settled down to wait, having been told that Stuart was on his own and it would take a while. Our conversation was a typical mix of the idiosyncratic. Dave proudly brought a twig out of his bag and claimed it was a specialist twig used to remove mud from under mudguards; Steve told us that his name was shortened to “Ste” by Scousers; and Dave, Steve and Keith revealed yet more insights into the strange world of Runcorn. We were just becoming absorbed in the finer details of 1:50k and 1:25k downloadable maps, when thankfully, five plates of substantial food arrived, the talking ended and the eating began.  Some time later we said our farewells to Stuart and hit the road again.

Photo by Ken P

We hoped that sunshine and the slight rise in temperatures would allow us to take a different route back. And so it seemed after repeating our outward route to Worthenbury, we gained the confidence to head into Malpas, then Tilston.  At Stretton we stopped outside Stretton Hall for a photo and decided to return via Wetreins Lane.  This turned out to the iciest ride of our day, but without mishap we made it back to Cleos having covered just over 30 miles. Except for the road surfaces, it had been a beautiful day and we all were grateful to have made the effort: a suitable finale as the last CER ride of the year.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Thursday 21 December 2017

21st December 2017: Ravensmoor (mod)

The shortest day of the year required a relatively short ride. From Rose Farm we have favourite nearby destinations such as the Bhurtpore at Aston or the Crown at Goostrey, but I felt in need of a change.  I’d often cycled past The Farmers Arms at Ravensmoor without stopping, although I was told this had been popular with Easy Riders some years ago. The prospect of 35 or so miles seemed popular, and so six of us set off: Dave H, Keith, Jim, Trevor, Ken and myself.

We didn’t get very far, in fact we didn’t make it out of the car park, before someone from the shop asked us to move our cars out of the main car park to make room for shoppers.  Dave and Trevor duly obliged before we could hit the open road.  Then it was out on familiar lanes through Cotebrook, Wettenhall and Nantwich, to then make a loop around our destination so as not to arrive too early. The morning had been pleasant with generally no wind, mild temperatures, even a little sunshine, though with some filthy lanes.

So it was that with 20 miles covered, we arrived at The Farmers. In spite of a large Christmas lunch party being booked, we received a friendly welcome and before long were tucking into substantial meals.

The return was along similarly familiar lanes, though we diverted to avoid the usually messy lanes north of Brindley, and passed through the village of Haughton and an appealing looking pub, The Nag’s Head, which Dave identified as part of the Ribble pub chain (though a long way from the Ribble Valley). This really is a better alternative lane to the one we usually take, and for the sake of a few hundred meters of main road is worth it. We then passed on through Bunbury, by Beeston Castle and over the steep humpback canal bridge beside the Shady Oak.  Here Ken revealed that he had learnt to swim in that canal. Corkscrew Lane took us into Clotton and so back to our start.  Overall we covered almost 38 miles for the day, and enjoyed a pleasant ride as our last outing before Christmas.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Friday 15 December 2017

14th December 2017: Christmas Special Ride to Christleton (mod)

A pleasant enough day for December saw 8 riders heading off from The Gallery at Hawarden bound for the CER Christmas lunch.  While Dave H had ably organised again all the arrangements for the meal.... and thank you for doing that so well......Trevor had a circular route avoiding entirely the city of Chester.  Dave H, Trevor, Chris, Mike, Jim, Keith, Steve T and me initially went SW to give us a good 2+ hour ride to the lunch; our route was Burton, Rossett, Holt, Aldford and then NE up the only incline of note on the day at Saighton College and thence to Waverton and Christleton.

Photos by Macca

We were joined by 10 other members at The Ring o Bells for an excellent lunch but only 3 seasonal hats and one Christmas jumper were in evidence – more effort needed next year says Santa.  A couple of hours later, well replenished, it saw us departing before more snow and ice came in.  Back at Hawarden I had 63 kms on the clock in the dark.

A very special thanks must surely go here to Bryan Wade for all he has done for chestereasyriders, not only over the last 12 months but for the last 9 years since he founded the club.  We all hope the next 12 months bring him and Erla good health and happiness, wherever they are. 


Sunday 10 December 2017

7th December 2017 : Bickerton (brisk)

Eight riders  assembled at Delamere Station cafe and were joined by Bryan, Dave and Liz, for coffee. Dave M also arrived on his bike and was buying a Christmas Tree - good luck getting that home in one piece Dave!

Three of the eight riders were keen for a brisk ride despite the threat of Storm Caroline heading our way. So taking account of the prospect of strong north westerly winds I decided on a route that would take us west as far as Alford and then south to Tilston before turning north east after lunch.

From the cafe Steve T ,Paul and myself headed out to Hatchmere then left through Ashton before crossing A54 into Oscroft- no sign of Dave and his Christmas tree.

Our good pace on familiar roads meant the journey from Oscroft through Waverton and Alford was soon covered , it was surprisingly pleasant given  the wind and cold forecast had not yet materialised. In Churton we turned left down Pump Lane into Coddington , at the junction of Mill Lane and Broxton Road, we decided to see if there was route through Carden Park Golf Resort as this would provide a nice shortcut into Tilston. The  Hotel and golf course all appeared very quiet and the way through the estate was easy to navigate providing the  short cut we had hoped for. Still enjoying fine weather and dry roads we made easy work of the lanes through Duckington and Bickerton before  arriving at our lunch venue.

The Bickerton Poacher has had a facelift since I was last here and seemed all the better for it. The staff were very welcoming, we were quickly seated with both drink and food orders taken at the table, the food arrived promptly and was excellent. Lunch topics included Christmas travel plans and Paul’s new Tifosi  cycling glasses bought from Evans cycles for £16:00, including three interchangeable lens -bargain!

Back on the road our route through Peckforton and Bunbury passed quickly but it was here that a brief senior moment meant I missed the turning to Bunbury common so we had a small detour through Alpraham and Long Lane. Fortunately it went unnoticed by both Paul and Steve and only added  a little more mileage. 

With a little help from ‘Caroline’ the ride back through Eaton to Delamere passed without incident. Here we all parted company, Paul and Steve both cycling home while I had an easy drive home. 

Although today’s route was on roads familiar to CER riders we had a pleasant 44 mile ride, in part due to the absence of the threatened weather. However, in our haste to beat ‘Caroline’ we didn’t stop for a photoshoot.


Saturday 9 December 2017

7th December 2017: Lymm (mod)

Steve Tan and I arrived together by car at Delamere.  I cursed under my breath as a rich pensioner in a posh Mercedes got in our way as we tried to cross the bridge on our bikes. Keith had ridden from “not quite 'Upper'” Runcorn. At the station, Dave Matthews was operating a Christmas tree-trusser. I acknowledged some of our fast lads, but I'm not sure I caught them all as they moved like rapid wraiths to cafe tables bereft of calorific temptations. It was good to see Paul again, his super- slim form ghosting past our chairs on his way to the toilet. It was a reminder to the likes of Keith and myself of how you could move in a cafe without bumping into things, if you didn't possess the bulk of Big Daddy! The rich, Mercedes-driving pensioner entered the cafe in a classy coat and scarf, and announced that he couldn't be persuaded to ride. It was Bryan. I was in the dog house with Keith, as I had arranged to bring my bike rack to save him from a dangerous, dark ride home at the end of the day. I had left it in the garage, and he would just have to “go whistle”! I was having trouble fitting overshoes, having already given up on new Boardman XL items, that even Lynne couldn't zip up on me at home. Dave Matthews wouldn't touch them as they lacked graphene, pure silk or high modulus carbon fibre content, and their aerodynamics had not been refined in McLaren's wind tunnel. To be fair, he did recommend his BBB shoe covers which are just pull-on, and I later investigated their website. George and Bob had travelled together by car, parking at Mouldsworth in order to clock up an extra seven miles for the day. It's all about “small margins” as Dave Brailsford would say!  Dave and Liz then appeared in civvies having been holidaying in Cyprus. They thought that the strong winds would be a risk on the tandem, particularly if Dave had found it necessary to wear his vintage oilskin cape. You could do without a big yellow spinnaker when cycling in high winds! Steve took his chance with the fast lads, and Dave Matthews road to the first cross roads with us, but still had Christmas tree business to complete.

I had a rough idea of a route to Lymm and back, and I had booked The Spread Eagle Hotel in the centre for 12.30. I had in mind to find the odd new lane, and avoid any rural rat-runs. We were just four: George, Bob, Keith and myself. On our way out we went down a little lane to the west of Norley village, passing the attractive Norley Hall, before heading down to Crowton. We then cycled down Ainsworth Lane past some delightful properties, including that of Mick the master sweep. Our first stiff climb was under the main line to London, and past The Cliff, to Acton Bridge. Bartington was followed by the quiet Hall Lane with Cogshall Hall on our right, crossing Northwich Road at Frandley. We meandered to Arley Hall by the smallest lanes that I could find, and gingerly conquered the wet cobbles before the postcard pretty pond, and black and white properties at Arley Green. We cruised on along the narrow, tree-lined estate road, before reaching Cann Lane. We were soon over the M6 and then turned off, into the wind, on virgin lanes for Chester Easy Riders. On reaching Swineyard Hall we were on a more familiar back route into Lymm. We reached our destination almost bang on time, and were able to take our bikes to the private space at the back. We had a choice of where to sit and chose the snug, small room next to the bar with a roaring open fire. I had a skillet of seared chicken breast with a nice sauce, red peppers, onions, and rice and chips. The service was friendly and prompt, and we had our usual convivial conversation. Bob did include a disquieting story or two of an evil Welsh policeman in his village! As we unlocked our bikes, Bob announced that his lunch had been the worst he had eaten since joining the club! Keith wasn't too impressed either. I don't know if George was being diplomatic or throwing up in the corner! I must admit that I felt a bit deflated. 

We set off for Grappenhall, and our second set of cobbles for the day. We were sometimes alongside the Bridgewater Canal, before turning up toward Appleton Thorn. Bob was unfortunate to have yet another puncture despite his Specialized Thornsucker Puncture-Prone Mk.2 tyres being quite new.   
Steve Tan rang to let me know that he had returned to Delamere early, so was going to ride back to Runcorn. We passed the Young Offenders Institute and headed down Arley Road. Turning right at Barber's Lane, I decided that it would now have to be straight back in order to return in daylight, and beat the forecast wintry showers. We headed for Little Leigh, via Antrobus and Frandley, then Acton Bridge, and through my favourite hamlet at Onston. At Crumleyheath Farm, Keith had taken his leave for Dutton and 'not really Higher' Runcorn. He would have to pay penance by riding along rough surfaced Marsh Lane. The sun was slipping away below the tree tops as we climbed up Norley Bank. A wintry shower just caught us before Hatchmere, and I turned my back light to its 'Blackpool illuminations' setting. George and Bob carried straight on through for Mouldsworth.  I covered nearly 44miles, the others must have managed around 50 or more. The distance was just about the limit for a moderate ride on a short winter's day given our starting time, and the possibility of a puncture. As usual I enjoyed the company, and the lovely, quiet Cheshire lanes. I did, however, make a note to ring Jay Rayner, asking him to make at least two visits before I suggest a lunchtime venue in future!