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 26 January 2018

25th January 2018: Pickmere (mod)

Have you ever travelled past an interesting-looking or attractive place and thought “I wonder what that’s like”?  I’ve cycled many times past the destination of this ride. It’s often on our routes to the Peovers, Chelford or Wincham, but really too close to our ride starts to be an obvious choice.  So it was that I devised a route for a short winter’s day that involved a long outward ride leaving less than a third of the miles for our return.

Quite a large turnout at Delamere Station Café, resulted in only 4 members joining the moderate ride: Andy B, Dave H, Keith and myself. The forecast was for a dry often sunny morning, but a high risk of heavy rain in the afternoon.  With this in mind I thought it best to ride moderately briskly before lunch in hope of arriving dry.

We took the longer route out to Acton Bridge, passing three “No Through Road” signs to come close to the River Weaver and then ascend Cliff Lane.  We crossed, re-crossed and re-crossed again the A49, before travelling through Higher Whitley. From here it was north-westwards, passing over the old concrete perimeter of Royal Naval Air Station Stretton, south of Warrington. This facility, known as HMS Blackcap was operational from 1942 to 1958, flying Fairey Barracudas, Fireflies and Supermarine aircraft amongst others.

Next we crossed some more modern transport infrastructure, the M6/M62 junction, before starting to loop south beside Swineyard Hall, a moated partly 16th century country house. Continuing our wide circuit of Arley Hall, we entered the village of Pickmere, and swung into the carpark of the Red Lion, before a drop of rain had fallen.

The Red Lion is a Robinsons’ pub with an open fire, a friendly welcome and tasty food.  I settled down with an excellent pint of Unicorn, and three of us opted for baguette and chips at around £7.  A series of historical photos adorn the walls, many of Pickmere Lake in its Edwardian heyday, complete with landing stage, rowing boats and cruiser. Dave remembered this as well as the travelling fair, but it all later fell into decay.  I am told that the cruiser, the Princess Irene, can still be found underwater in the middle of the lake. Despite this and later housing developments, you can still enjoy a walk around the lake.

We left the pub as the rain started and before long it was heavy with a very blustery wind making progress difficult.  But we weren’t going to be under a deluge, because although a lot of water had fallen, we were not under it at the time.  The skies brightened and we then only faced intermittent rain. The route back was direct through Great Budworth, Little Leigh and Norley, the only interest being the indefinite closure to motors of Westage Lane into Great Budworth due to badger earths undermining the carriageway. Keith left us for Runcorn and the remaining three headed back towards Delamere: Dave to his car, myself slightly further on to Kelsall and Andy much further on to Mold.

Overall a very good ride of about 40 miles in generally reasonable weather with a new find in the Red Lion for lunch stops.

Route now loaded on plotaroute.com due to bikeroutetoaster.com remaining down:
See route map and/or gpx file download


25th January 2018 : Knutsford (brisk)

Ten club members gathered at Delamere Station Café on a dry and sunny, if chilly morning. Dave M and Ken were there only for coffee, as they had commitments later in the day, so that left eight riders. These split into two fours, the moderates heading for the Red Lion at Pickmere and the briskers (John M, Ivan, Nick and Steve T) for “The Angel@ King Street” in Knutsford (96 King St, Knutsford WA16 6HQ. Tel. 01565 651165).

Initially we all set off together, but our routes parted at Hatchmere. From there we took one of the normal routes to Norley , Crowton and Acton Bridge. The climb out of the Weaver Valley took us up to Little Leigh from where we headed for Knutsford via Frandley, Antrobus and Bates Heath. Crossing the A556 at Tabley we zoomed into Knutsford, helped in no small way by the following wind, arriving at the Angel at 11:45.

To our surprise, they were already open and serving both food and ale. It’s a Joseph Holts hostelry that has recently had a makeover and it’s now a comfortable, well-appointed place. Ivan and John tried their ‘Two Hoots’ ale and seemed satisfied with it. The food was also of a good quality and at a reasonable price. A place to think about revisiting? Over lunch we discussed knee and back surgery (a subject relevant to several of our members); hearing aids, their limitations and technical developments and, weirdly, tides and why it takes half the time for the tide to come in at Widnes as it does to go out. I still haven’t found out why, but it seems to be peculiar to Widnes (why am I not surprised?).

The sun was still shining as we retraced our route out of Knutsford, but there were some dark clouds to the west, suggesting that we might encounter inclement weather before the end of the day. At Tabley Brook Farm, we stayed on the B5391, passing the Red Lion at Pickmere (were the mods still lunching?) and on into Higher Wincham. Here we swung right to pick up the A559 through Higher Marston before turning left up the short, but steep incline that took us to Comberbach. Steve had a minor mechanical here (chain off), but this was soon fixed and we cycled along Cogshall Lane to Dones Green where we crossed the A49 into Marsh Lane. This has to be one of the worst lanes in Cheshire. The top coat has been worn away in a random manner, leaving a rough and surface which makes it difficult to find any kind of smooth surface. It’s also slightly uphill which adds to the difficulty.

Turning left at the top of Marsh Lane, the skies darkened even more and the first spots of rain started. At Dutton, we stopped so that John could put on his waterproof. Steve chose not to do likewise, a decision he’d regret later. At Whitehouse Industrial Estate, we took a left turn down Aston Lane. Part of this has now been re-surfaced, so many of the potholes have disappeared and it’s now a nice lane to ride on. By now, the rain was coming down in buckets, with little prospect of a let up. So, rather than going on down into Frodsham, Steve opted to head for home as we reached Sutton Weaver, leaving the others to take refuge in Costa Coffee. From there, Nick headed back to Delamere and his car, and Ivan and John headed for home. As it happened, the rain stopped as soon a Steve left, so the others completed the ride in the dry.

The round trip from Delamere to Knutsford and back was about 44 miles and our average speed was 15 mph. A good ride with excellent company.

See route map and/or gpx file download ( on "plotaroute" as Bikeroutetoaster unavailable at present)


Friday 19 January 2018

18th January 2018 : Chester (brisk)

It's CER's January Sale - so two blogs for the price of one!

Ivan's Tale

The long-range weather forecast for today's ride was pretty rubbish. Switching on the BBC news to listen to weather forecast this morning to view national and local conditions enabled  me to decide if I want to travel to Chirk and ride. It was not a good view with continual showers and wind all day. WhatsApp was used to consult brisk riders revealed all systems go and meet at Chirk.

I met Steve T at Chester station where there was no train service to Wrexham due line blocked - fallen tree or crossing failure. However, a good friendly coach driver was happy to put our bikes in the storage hold and we set off for Wrexham at normal train time 09:26 arriving Wrexham 10:00 with a train expected at 09:12. All went well and we arrived at Chirk ready to ride.Ken had ridden out to Chirk from home and was already finishing his coffee and ready to ride. A brief hello to the mod riders gathered we set off with a ride returning back to Holt and Chester.

The weather was blue skies and sunny so let's get cracking but unfortunately my Garmin had received an update and my route was direct over the fields! Never mind I had a reasonable idea which direction I was heading and we set off. Turning right onto Colliery Rd heading towards Ifton and the old coal mine. The roads were littered with debris ; we arrived at the only climb of the ride leaving Ifton Heath up to the Plough Inn at the Cross lane (B5068). I remembered this route as Clive led a ride several years back whilst en-route to the Plough and parts of it must be 25% gradients and were muddy and very slippy but we three got up to the top very grateful that the remainder of the ride is "all downhill"!!!

I was without Garmin route navigation and a couple of detours led us passed Dodleston Heath and Threapwood before arriving at Holt where Ken was leaving us to return home to Rossett. Steve and myself decided jointly that lunch at the White Horse might be preferable to Cleopatras.We were the only customers but the food was ok. Whilst getting ready to leave on looking out of the window to the side, it was now raining yet the front of the pub was very dry!! Is that localised weather?

We set off for Chester with blue skies passing Alford to Huntington then Guilden Sutton and joining the A56 for Frodsham and Runcorn to get Steve home. I carried on to the traffic lights near the Helsby Arms and said farewell to Steve. On arrival home with 29.5 miles recorded on Strava but an actual of 38 miles it had turned out to be a fine day to be out cycling although it will take the same amount of time cycling to clean the bikes. Very wet and dirty roads but a nice ride was achieved. Thanks to Ken and Steve who had more confidence in their own predictions than I had.


Steve's Tale

A WhatsApp check on Tuesday suggested that the only brisk riders likely to be out this week were Ken, Ivan and myself. Ken said he was just riding out for coffee. Ivan said he was going to catch the train there and ride back (with Ken) and he further suggested that I do the same.

So it was that I found myself riding down the A56 into Frodsham at some ungodly hour in half light and driving rain – not an ideal start to the day and the BBC forecast was pretty dire. Why do I do this? When my train arrived in Chester, I heard an announcement saying that the 09.26 to Shrewsbury had been cancelled due to a crossing problem between Chester and Wrexham and that there would be a ‘replacement bus service’. On checking with Customer Services, they told me that the driver ‘might’ allow bikes on the coach – things seem to be going from bad to worse! When Ivan arrived at the station we asked the driver who happily loaded the bikes into the luggage space beneath the coach. On reaching Wrexham, our luck was in. The train to Shrewsbury was also running late so we were soon on it and arrived at Chirk station only 30 minutes later than we would have done had our train from Chester not been cancelled

We arrived in bright sunshine just in time to see the ‘mods’ leaving the café. We found Ken inside the Tea Rooms waiting for us. He needed to be home by 12 to 12.30, so we set off straight away, heading east from Chirk towards Pon’t-y-Blew. Ivan’s Garmin was playing up, so we had a wrong turn here and there along the way, but eventually he took us down into the Dee valley at Ddôl and up the other side. The climb up must have been 20% (there are two chevrons showing on the OS map. The lane was littered with branches and twigs that had been blown off in the previous night’s high winds and was quite muddy, making the ascent even harder.

The wind had dropped by now and we continued to cycle in bright sunshine – really lovely conditions. After a brief spell on the B5068, we dropped down to Dudleston Heath from where we struck north-east to Holly Bush. Here, we crossed the A525 and pressed on to Worthenbury (via Mulsford). Then on to Shocklach and Farndon, where Ken left for home – I hope he made his deadline. This left Ivan and I to push on to Churton, where we stopped for lunch at The White Horse. 

This isn’t one of our usual lunch stops as it’s too close to Holt and not on the normal routes we take from other starting points. Whilst the food and service were OK, I don’t think we’ll be adding The White Horse to Steve Haywood’s list. 

The afternoon ride, still in dry, sunny conditions, was straightforward, taking us via Aldford, Boughton Heath and the delights of the cycle path next to the A41 to Piper’s Ash and Guilden Sutton. Passing the end of Ivan’s road he said he’d go a bit further to show me the premises of an upholsterer in Mickle Trafford that he knew about (we’d discussed re-upholstering a suite over lunch). So he came along and actually carried on with me until we reached The Hornsmill (a.k.a . The Brown Cow) at Helsby. This left me with the short, but boring leg along the A56 through Helsby and Frodsham to ‘the edge of’ Runcorn and home. I’d clocked 45 miles at an average of 15.7 mph on a day when the BBC weather forecast was again wrong…. until 10 minutes after I got in and then it p***ed it down!

Thanks to Ivan for the brilliant idea of the linear ride and for the route and to both Ken and Ivan for their excellent company.


Thursday 18 January 2018

18th January 2018: Llanymynech (mod)

At just gone 10am, I was the only one sitting in the Chirk Tea Rooms, and contemplating a solitary ride.  A little later Bob arrived, and then Ken, who told us Steve T and Ivan were en route. However Ken, Steve and Ivan were going to be cycling back into Chester.  That just left me and Bob.  We saddled up and we had just mounted our bikes when Keith drove up, having been delayed in traffic. We returned to the Tea Rooms and shortly Keith appeared, and off the three of us headed – but not for long.  Keith’s front wheel didn’t feel stable, and after some investigation we discovered a broken component in his headset, which meant he had to abort the ride – a real shame especially after he had made it out all the way to Chirk.

So it was that six CER riders reduced to two – just me and Bob, heading south to Llanymynech. I had plotted a relatively short route to take account of a strong westerly and a forecast of heavy showers interrupted by heavier rain. We crossed the A5 and headed out through Hindford, Welsh Frankton and West Felton, appreciating some great views of the Welsh hills.  At first the lanes were muddy, full of debris and several times totally flooded, the longest stretch being about 20m of water. Gradually things improved as we headed south, though as we neared our destination an ominous black cloud appeared and the first drops of heavy rain began to fall.  Our speed increased with our determination to avoid a soaking before lunch.  We were lucky and just made it to the pub. 

As usual The Bradford Arms provided a friendly welcome, a warm bar and plentiful good value food and drink – we should visit more often.  While we had sheltered, there had been a real cloudburst.  It was dry again as we left, but as we initially rode back over the same route, the roads had become awash with large areas of surface water. We then passed through Maesbury and Oswestry feeling grateful and lucky to have so far stayed dry.  Then only three miles from journey’s end, Bob uttered the ominous word “puncture”.  Fate was conspiring to give us a drenching, because as soon as the puncture was fixed, it started to rain: heavily and with some hail.  We dropped down through Western Rhyn steadily feeling the dampness spreading through us.

We were thankful to get back to the Tea Rooms and have warm drinks and some food.  We were also grateful for what we both felt had been a really good ride: fine lanes once we were clear of the initial mud, some excellent views, good luck with the weather in spite of the last few miles and Bob’s new jacket had proved to be properly waterproof!  About 35 miles in total.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Sunday 14 January 2018

11th January 2018 : Church Minshull (brisk)

A very decent turnout today at the ICF with 11 riders turning up plus the tandem. Dave H had a ride planned that headed out towards Whitchurch which seemed to suit almost everybody. As the number of people were on the high side for a single group, I proposed a ride towards Nantwich.  Tom seemed interested so after coffee we turned right heading off in the direction of Beeston whilst the ‘moderates’ turned left.

We soon warmed ourselves up in the weak sunshine and with no cooling wind it felt quite pleasant for early January. Weaving our way through Beeston and Peckforton, we joined the A49 at Spurstow for a brief spell before turning off down Badcock Lane, a big mistake! Flooded potholes and mud made this road feel more like a bridleway than a  modern sealed road. At the end of this road we  crossed the main road at Faddiley and headed towards Ravensmoor and thankfully the roads here were a lot cleaner. 

My initial idea was to stop in Nantwich for lunch, but we arrived far too early as it was still only 11:30. So with a quick look at the map, a new venue, The Badger Inn at Church Minshull, was chosen. The journey from Nantwich was via Reaseheath and Worleston and we were soon sitting in front of the open fire waiting for our food to arrive.

This venue is not new to us and although prices are higher than other venues, it seems to remain good with tasty food, prompt service, and appears to have  regular clientele. With lunch over and our chat over bikes and Christmas concluded, we were back on the road by 13.15hrs.

For the  return journey, we followed a well-cycled route back through Wettenhall to Eaton, climbing Sapling Lane to drop down into Utkinton, onward to Duddon and then crossing the A51. Here we stayed on Rycroft Lane rather than returning to ICF and made our way back home via Chester.

The weather today was quite warm and benign for January on mainly dry roads with both of us commenting on how good it was to be out enjoying the quite lanes of Cheshire. Today's route returning back to ICF was 41 miles, but both Tom and myself probably cycled  another 40 to get back home. A very good ride for Tom who is still struggling with a back problem, hopefully today's ride wasn’t detrimental to his recovery. Thanks for your company Tom.


Friday 12 January 2018

11th January 2018: Whitchurch (mod)

Despite forecasts of widespread fog, there was a strong turnout by the intrepid Chester Easy Riders membership. It was good to see Tom back on board for a second week. Jim was on a recovery ride, and the tandem was also with us, so a proper pressure-less moderate ride appeared to be the inclusive option. Ken had a separate plan for the fast lads. Dave Matthews, George, Bob, Trevor, Jim, Steve Haywood, Mike Gilbert, Andy Barber, Dave and Liz, and myself constituted the moderate group.

We headed for Whitchurch via Tattenhall, Clutton and Tilston. Crossing the A41 before Chowley was a bit messy with a large group, a car behind us, and two lorries temporarily parked either side of us at the busy junction. At Lower Carden, Dave M. suggested that he could lead those riders who would like to go a little quicker, with the benefit of making two smaller, more manageable groups. So it became one of those rare occasions when we had three groups out simultaneously. I'm not keen on Malpas, or a fan of the climbs up to it, so I intended to explore a new (to me, anyway!) route to avoid it. We were now five: the tandem, Jim, George and myself. Coming out of Tilston we turned left and climbed to Edge Grange on a quiet lane. Before reaching Hampton Post, Jim decided that it was time to turn for home on his recovery ride. We re-crossed the A41 at No Mans Heath. The tandem prudently decide to have lunch here, so the ride leader was left with a group of George! Anyway, George and I had an interesting chat, as we semi-circled down to Whitchurch through Bickley Town, Gauntons Bank, Marbury and past Fox Hall.

Shortly after arriving at the Black Bear, and whilst trying to find out where they were, the others arrived. They had cycled a more westerly route encompassing Tallarn Green and Hanmer. The Black Bear is a consistent favourite with its warm welcome, good service and nice food.
Photo by Steve H

We returned by way of Wirswall, Hadley Hall, Steer Bridge, Swanwick Green, Bickley and Cholmondeley Castle. The climb to Wirswall was more challenging than I remember, particularly on a full stomach! Just after Egerton Green, Dave Matthews headed north up his “secret lane,” (which we all know about!). I wanted to avoid the predictable grind of Harthill, so tried the agreeable little lane at the end of Bickerton Hill leading to Brown Knoll, and then headed north, past Bolesworth Castle. We were soon passing Owler Hall and some of us had a last coffee at the Ice Cream Farm.

The lady running the cafe made sure, once again, that we knew that we were welcome. She stated that she would not be here now only for the custom of cyclists in the early days. We still get a cyclist's discount of course. We thought that Steve and Andy had gone their own ways near the end, but in fact Andy had had a puncture, which Steve had messaged me about, but which I had missed. Just before lunch, I had tried to contact the other group to find their whereabouts, but I didn't get a response. It reminded me of the day, when two of us stopped  to help with a puncture on the way to Whitchurch, and then the three of us failed to find the main group for the rest of the day, despite visiting three pubs that we had previously frequented in the town. In fact, I think it was the first time the group, led by Jim, had used the Black Bear. We probably need to consider sharpening up our mobile communication procedures! Anyway, the weather was great; bright with no wind, with some of us riding over 41 miles, and others about 38. Trevor must have covered a useful 60+ miles, and Mike and Andy more. It was a real pleasure to be out with such pleasant company on such quiet, sunlit lanes, even in mid-January, when so many can only contemplate a shuffle to Costa as the height of their winter outdoor exertions.

For the route of the sub-group led by Mike G & Dave M:
See route map and/or gpx file download

Friday 5 January 2018

4th January 2018: Rock Ferry (mod)

Our first CER ride of the New Year saw 8 members meeting at Ness Gardens with Clive, Bob and Steve H coming just for coffee and N Y-well wishing.  Macca had promised a Wirral ride covering some previously un-ridden “roads” by CER and in anticipation, Ivan, Mike G, Steve T, Tom and Macca set off north to Parkgate.  This ride should have been billed as “Edwardians at leisure” as we soon arrived at the site of the outdoor swim baths; today it was packed, not with human “bird watchers” but with RSPB members all staring out onto the Estuary, hoping to see for raptors hunting vermin escaping the very high tide. (see photo)

Photos by Macca

Onwards and eastwards brought us flying past Raby Mere, the site of Edwardian pleasure gardens, boating lake and tea-rooms up until the late 1960s, if my childhood memory serves me correctly.  Continuing through Mill Park, followed by Carlett Park, we arrived on the banks of the very high Mersey at our 3rd Edwardian playground – the long gone zoo, bear-pit and pleasure gardens at Eastham Ferry.  In bright winter sun, we headed north to the 21st century equivalent at Port Sunlight River Park, built on a 15 year old landfill dump and opened in 2014 (see photo 2).

Hearing stomachs rumbling I called 15 minutes to the pub, at which the speed increased noticeably.  We cycled for the first time ever along the old Edwardian sandstone promenade at Rock Ferry, which usually has a 6 foot drop to the “beach”, where thousands came from Liverpool to sunbathe and swim.  Today, as you see from photo 3, we nearly had to swim ourselves.

The Refreshment Rooms looked after us as well as ever.  Only open 5 years, it has gained from early-on a deserved reputation for serving excellent food as well as local beer, both locally sourced.  Its “Mission Statement” posted in the Gents, even declares that staff are locally sourced.
Though I had previously promised by e-mail a ride of 70 odd kms, the accurate BBC weather app I always use showed we were due 80 kms westerlies from 2pm.  After a hurried lunch, I elected for the shortest route back to Ness as we set off straight into that headwind. Bebington Station, Sunlight village, Clatterbridge, Brimstage, Raby, Willaston, then up and over Mill Lane took us back to Ness; we still covered an enjoyable 58 kms. (Well I still think of myself as European) at an average 18 kph.

See route map and/or gpx file download