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.

Saturday 24 March 2018

22nd March 2018: Holt (mod)

A combination of holidays and the recent Siberian weather meant that I hadn’t ridden for four weeks so the prospect of a ride up into the Welsh hills was not an inviting one. When I left home for the Gallery Coffee Shop in Hawarden I only intended to cycle up to the start then wend my way gradually back home through the Cheshire countryside. Indeed I had already arranged to meet Jim for lunch at Cleopatra’s in Holt. I arrived at the café to find Dave H and Keith surrounded by brisk riders and facing the prospect of a moderate ride featuring just the two of them. The arrival of Bryan didn’t help them either as he was out to do his own thing too. So I suggested that they could join me and they readily agreed. Bryan was also persuaded to join us with the promise of a slow-paced, mostly downhill ride.

We set off down the Wrexham Road before turning left onto the small road that would take us up the back of Bilberry Wood to the footbridge across the A55. The first section is quite steep so I stopped to wait for the others to catch up, expecting Dave & Keith to come round the corner first. But it was Bryan who appeared first. What had happened to Dave and Keith? Apparently Dave had left his hat at the café and they had gone back to get it. (Dave leaving things behind? Surely not!!!!) After crossing the A55 we turned right then left into Chester Road and continued into Lower Mountain Road by-passing the village of Pen-y-Mynydd. Then a left and right into Sandy Lane.

From there we turned into Shordley Road and dropped down Cobblers Lane, passing over A483 and the railway to emerge in Rossett. We turned onto the main road and then left into Darland Lane joining the Holt road. A long straight road (boring but unavoidable) and a left turn brought us into Holt where Jim had conspired to arrive at exactly the same time having ridden from home.

Cleopatra’s is normally one of our starting venues but today served as our lunch stop. Over lunch our conversation covered such topics as the delights (or otherwise) of cycling through Malpas and our first cars. How things have changed since the days when you could lift the bonnet and understand what was going on under there.

After lunch we crossed the River Dee into England. We turned left towards Churton then right to Coddington and left again towards Handley. Then it was up to Chowley Oak and across the A41 to Tattenhall. At Tattenhall Bryan opted to take the shortest route back to Chester, taking Dave & Keith with him. They headed off towards Bruera and Saighton and on into Chester where Bryan promised he would point Dave and Keith back in the direction of Hawarden. Living outside of Chester, Jim and I made our own direct way home via Hargrave, Waverton and Christleton. Jim had had a fairly short ride while I had managed 44 miles, the other three slightly less.


22th March 2018 : Dyserth (brisk)

It is with a lot of sadness that I write this blog and a ride I would rather forget. I will however give some details to record the ride.

Today the ride starts from the Gallery Tea Rooms at Hawarden and the forecast was warm and dry. There were more riders out for coffee than taking part. Clive, Ken, Trevor, Bryan and John W were doing their own thing. Clive is up to 10K per session on a turbo trainer, and has ridden his road bike around Mollington, so well done and keep up the progress.

A ride to Dyserth and the waterfalls was proposed and three brisk riders – John M, Steve T and myself set off from the café. We rode out via Wood Lane to crossing the A494 Mold road and up Pioneer Rd. As we neared the top John shouted "flat". We stopped and replaced tube then carried on. We continued over the Halkyns via Rhes-y-cae and Lixwm.

The ride onwards to Dyserth was uneventful, and we arrived at the Waterfalls for a photo shoot.Lunch was at the New Inn and it was very busy. The landlord and lady are from Rossett so a return trip with Ken might be arranged.
We rode back to Chester going around the back of the town and up Alit y Graig which had 20% gradient but we achieved the ride over and on to Llanasa. It is then the usual route back via Whitford and Pantasaph and again over the Halkyns.

When proceeding down Middle Hill lane passing over the cattle grid, Steve was leading when a red landrover pulling a trailer drove passed us. In the next instance Steve had tumbled off his bike and was lying on the floor. John took charge and we were surrounded by the local community of farmers who called for an ambulance.

Steve was unconscious, but John new what to do and within 30 to 120 seconds he had given vital resuscitation to Steve who was able to tell us where he hurt. An ambulance did not arrive, but the Air Rescue Helicopter, dispatched from Welshpool, came to the rescue with three doctors on board. They soon had Steve wired up to monitors and a decision to take him to Stoke on Trent hospital was agreed between the HQ and the doctors.

We do not know what happened as it was all too quick. I am not blaming the car driver, although he didn’t give us much consideration on a very narrow lane. He wouldn’t have known that a rider had fallen. The road surface is as per rural road condition with loose gravel but no serious pot holes which are more prevalent on main roads. After the rescue chopper took off, John and I continued our journey to Chester.

We all wish Steve a speedy recovery and hope he is well soon.    


Thursday 15 March 2018

15th March 2018: Peover Heath (mod)

The fast lads were absent. I believe they had been to Macclesfield on Tuesday. Dave Matthews had turned up for coffee and a chat, but had workmen in, so wasn't riding. He is riding in Majorca soon with Andy; sounds a great idea. Keith had been embroiled in decorating, but had managed to tear himself away. Clive and Macca were still in recovery mode, and it was good that they had made the effort to turn up for coffee. Macca sounds as if he has “been through the wars”, but now appears well on the mend. George had returned, and Mike arrived having hot-wheeled it from Shotton. Steve H was preparing for more peak-conquering in Scotland, so wasn't riding for once.  Conversation with Steve revealed the unlikely fact that our spouses would be inside Styal Prison on successive days. Only one of them for abusing their partner.

We set off late for The Dog, which I had booked the night before. I took the back route past the attractive Norley Hall. Mike punctured at Crowton: something to do with a repaired tyre split and pumping it up too hard. Sounded like the Dave Pipe School of How to Fettle Your Old Cycle Gear Like a Yorkshireman. We headed for Acton Bridge, then north to Frandley, passing Cogshall Hall by the way of the quiet Hall Lane. I had intended to meander around the pretty, narrow lanes of Arley, but we were running late, so took the most direct route to Knutsford, via Antrobus, Bate Heath and Tabley Hill. The weather was better than had seemed likely, and reasonably warm, despite heading into an easterly breeze. Tatton Park was picturesque as ever as we headed north in the direction of Rostherne. We were now in untried territory, as we used the quiet Marsh Lane to reach Ashley and then headed south east for Knolls Green, and on to Marthall. It had been a long first leg to The Dog, thirty-three miles, and as we had been running late, it was close to two o'clock. We were well ready for a rest, a drink and a plate of decent grub! True to form, despite the pub initially being very busy, we all received a plate of very decent grub in short order. One of our quartet fell for the waitress. Can you guess which one?

Photo by Mike G

I calculated, correctly, as it turned out, that our slightly wind assisted return would be ten miles shorter, and reassuringly quicker than our outward journey. As we cruised through 'Cheshire Set' prime real estate, Keith wondered why there were no polo clubs in Runcorn. We were soon flying down Plumley Moor Road, and reached the difficult to negotiate A556. Although I had anticipated this, one way or another we finished up like ducklings trying to cross a motorway, as we tried to reach Linnard's Lane for Higher Wincham and Pickmere. Jose Mourinho is not the only leader that needs to reflect, learn and change their ways! Lessons: if you have not had chance to reconnoitre a dangerous area of your route, at least be physically in the lead so that your instant decisions for safety can be followed, rather than shouting to those in front over the noise of traffic; if it’s really bad, take the lead onto the pavement, and cross at the lights as a pedestrian. We passed the lane down to Pick Mere where we used to take the kids on the fair. It had a big cafe, a lake 'steamer', dodgems, a ghost train, and even a helter-skelter back in the day. We continued to Great Budworth down Westage Lane which was closed to traffic because it was undermined by badgers or moles. We reached Acton Bridge by way of Little Leigh; Onston and Norley Bank followed.  Keith, my fellow not so quite heavyweight, can be glad he missed these final climbs, having headed for home earlier along his favourite Marsh Lane. There was a final twist in the tail, as Mike had a second puncture at Delamere. I had a long- promised package to deliver to George (1967-1969 copies of Penthouse), so having checked that Mike was managing, and didn't require an extra inner tube, drove to where George was parked on Delamere Lane. On returning, Mike was up and running for Chester Station. 56 miles is further than I've been for some time. Agreeable company and a relaxed atmosphere made the day.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Wednesday 14 March 2018

13th March 2018 : Macclesfield (brisk)

As most of Brisk group would not be out on Thursday we decided we would have a ride out on Tuesday instead. Starting from Meadow Lea café, riders were John M, John W, Nick, Paul and myself. We enjoyed a coffee with Clive before the start, and he is making good progress and hopefully will be back in the saddle before too long.

Our ride today is to Macclesfield via Alderley Edge and we set off via the route to Manley and up Cobb Hill, then follow the Delamere "forest race" to Hatchmere. Such an undulating stretch and hard work. From the cross roads at Hatchmere, we head towards Norley and Sandiway. For CER rides this is the usual route and we are soon heading out via Lower Peover.

We were out this way recently when en-route to Knutsford but we are today continuing on to Ollerton and Lindow End. Here we are joining a little track heading to Alderley Edge and due to using the “little man on ride” with GPS app, I was confident it was a road and not a track. Thanks John M!!

We join the B5087 which is the road into Alderley Edge and it was very busy. Passing through the lovely town, we take a left and head up Wizard Hill; a good 12+ % hill. Not a race to the summit, but there were a couple in the group who thought it was, and they must have waited at the Wizard Inn and could have enjoyed a pint while waiting for me to catch them up!! From the pub, it is down hill to Macclesfield and the Wetherspoons pub where we are having lunch.

As usual it was excellent service and within 30 minutes we had enjoyed a good lunch and refreshments and ready for the return 45 miles back to Chester. We are on new lanes back from Macclesfield to Middlewich and, with the exception of the town area, roads were pretty good but there seem more potholes this Spring and more lanes blocked. We encountered three, but were able to pass through all.

At Middlewich, we decided to stop at the café “Stop Drinks at 35” which is run by Sally and Holly and was a good call. Drinks and cakes were the fuel we needed to complete the remaining 20 miles. Out via Warmingham and Church Minshull and Eaton to Huxley, we were motoring as a group. 

It is good now that dusk is getting later. We arrive back into Chester for 17:10 still in bright daylight. Paul has ridden 109 miles with John and John completing 90+ and Nick who peeled off at Huxley to return home to Tilston, will have completed 90+ miles too (a first for him and well done). A good day out with no incidents, no rain just happy pedal power.

Thanks to all the group for an enjoyable day out.


Friday 9 March 2018

8th March 2018 : Wem (brisk)

Today's ride is meeting at The Tea Rooms Café in Chirk so for me it was train assist. Setting off from home it was heavy snow, although too wet to stick but the forecast was to be a fine dry day after rush hour traffic!! Nonetheless I had donned additional clothing!! Mistake.

Gathering at the café were an equal number of riders for the Mods and Brisk groups. I had circulated a route to Tilley and visit to The Raven Inn. Four brisk riders, John, Nick, Steve and myself set of down Chirk Bank taking the right turn over the canal and to Western Ryn. The road side along this stretch was covered in snow, so it is lucky we are here this week. Up and onwards towards Hengoed and then the top of the hill, before the downhill stretch into Oswestry.

We skirt the town via numerous streets to join B5069 passing through Morda and crossing the A483 and continuing along the B4396. The route along this narrow lane suffered heavy snow recently (see photo). Passing through Ruyton X1 Towns then towards Baschurch, we pass through the small but pretty village of Burlton where Nick has a click from the wheel and stops to inspect it; meanwhile we continue UP hill before realising we had a tailer! Back down the hill then to find Nick getting ready to call home. Up again and onwards to Loppington taking the route towards Tilley and Wem.

Arriving in Tilly and the Raven Inn, we are met with a closed pub!! Oh well, we continue to Wem where we are advised to try the Castle Inn, a Joules house. Seating in the best and softest pews in the house, we are soon served with drink and lunch. The Yorkshire pud and sausage was very tasty and reasonably priced at £7.00.

We leave Wem via the usual route the B5063 towards Northwood and Welshampton and Dudleston Heath. While approaching a right-hand fork, we have a peloton cock-up culminating with Steve hitting a pot hole, curb and finally landing on the deck. This results in a front wheel flat. All the tools are out, and we are soon performing a precision pit stop repair stripping the wheel and inner tube out only to find Steve’s replacement as holey as the original.

A new replacement was donated and tyre refitted. Due to John's meticulous fitting of the tyre to the wheel, the fit was exactly as it came off. Once the inner tube inflated, we noticed the tube popping out of the side wall!! Off again, and emergency boot patch fitted. Thank heavens for these easy fit solutions.

Ready to roll onwards again through St Martins, we then negotiate the very busy Lord Morton roundabout to head towards Chirk. Passing the Poacher inn, we take the canal route passing over the viaduct into Chirk. We are beaten back to the café as the Mods are all sitting in the window seat awaiting our return.

A distance of 49 miles round trip with a 2087 ft of ascent at an average of 15.2 mph. A very enjoyable route covering some new lanes and revisit of old territory with good companions to ride with; plus a new lunch stop at Wem.


Photographs by John M

8th March 2018: Nesscliffe (mod)

Waking this morning and looking out of the window revealed driving snow – not very encouraging for a ride.  Still the forecast promised improvement and as I drove down to Chirk the temperature gradually rose and on arrival the skies cleared. Seven riders gathered in the Tea Rooms, three opting for a moderate ride to a new destination - the Old Three Pigeons at Nesscliffe.

So it was that Andy B, Dave H and myself set off on familiar lanes through Hindford and Lower Frankton.  Though the lanes were muddy and the snowy remnants of last week’s ‘Beast from the East’ were banked up on the verges, our spirits were lifted by blue skies, sunshine and fresh snow glistening on the distant Welsh hills. Soon we headed into new territory and joined a lovely long clear quiet and well surfaced lane running from Hordley to Baschurch. We continued through Little Ness until we came to our destination.

Nesscliffe used to sit across the A5 but has now been by-passed.  You may know it for Nesscliffe Country Park with its sandstone caves and outcrops, or you may have seen the signs for the military base and ammunition dump.  My memory of it comes from escaping Birmingham to investigate climbing on the sheer walls of its sandstone quarries and on nearby Pontesbury Hill. The Old Three Pigeons Inn dates back to the 15th Century. Seats beside the open fire were taken, and we ended up sitting near to a group of fellow cyclists from Shrewsbury.  The pub offered us real ales and a range of food, though we chose the snack menu at £5.50 a portion.

Refreshed, but not looking forward to the return headwind, we left heading over more fresh territory towards West Felton and then into Oswestry. After passing Old Oswestry Hill Fort we made for Western Rhyn, which we left via the High Street and down a steep hill to the Ceiriog Valley, and then back to the start – a much better alternative than climbing Chirk Road hill.

We were relaxing after our 40 mile ride in the Tea Rooms as the brisk group arrived.  Overall a very good ride over some new territory through very pleasant countryside, interesting villages and buildings.  In spite of the early morning snow, there had been a clear promise of spring in the air.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Thursday 1 March 2018

1st March 2018: Tattenhall (mod/"mad")

The forecast was poor – snow showers and blustery cold winds. Some of the back lanes still had a covering of snow/ice as I made my way to the Ice Cream Farm at Tattenhall, but others were clear and dry. To ride or not to ride?  That was the question on my mind as I turned into the car park. This was empty, apart from Keith’s bright red Suzuki. Well, I thought it’s early yet (ten to ten); others may turn up. Keith was in two minds about riding as well, so we decided to go inside and see who arrived.  But how to get in? The cyclists entrance was locked and barred and the chairs inside were still stacked up. Fortunately, a young lady arriving at work allowed us to follow her through the side gate and into the (relative) warmth of the café.  The staff were amazed to see us; they were not expecting to see any customers for the café today and certainly not any cyclists.
"A CER ultra"
Photo by Steve T
Shortly afterwards, Steve H arrived in civvies, followed by Ivan, also in civvies. Both had to find their way in through the ‘kiddies’ entrance. Both thought that Keith and I were mad to be even considering a ride, given the biting cold wind outside and the promise of worse to come. After a warming coffee and a chat, Steve and Ivan made to leave (the latter to pick up his new car!) and Keith and I put on several more layers before going out to get our bikes from our cars. Ivan had suggested a ride to Tarporley and the Fire Station café, giving a round trip of about 10 miles as being a sensible objective.

So that’s what we set out to do. But as we rode towards Huxley, Keith was falling a long way behind me. He was having a problem with his bike ‘wobbling’, which was causing him concern and sapping his confidence. So we decided to turn round and head back. As we rode down the hill from the bridge over the Shropshire Union canal, he said that it was alright now and that the ‘wobble, must have been due to the strong cross-wind we had been experiencing. ‘Why don’t we go a bit further?’ he said. So we went straight past the turning to the ICF and on into Tattenhall village. There we turned left towards Beeston and then took the next two lefts to bring us back to the ICF. By now, Keith was feeling a lot more confident. ‘Why don’t we go round again?’ he said. So we did, but by the time we were approaching Tattenhall again, all feeling had left the toes of my left foot and my fingers no longer felt attached to my hands. So this time, as we entered the village, we turned right and headed for Alison’s Country Kitchen. Once more, they were astonished to see any cyclists, proclaiming that we ‘must be mad’.

A cup of tea and a bacon, mushroom and cheese omelette eventually put warmth back into our extremities and so we headed back outside.  As the photo shows, the roads were not too bad, it was just the intense cold wind which limited what we could do. So, this time, when we reached the ICF, we called it quits, having covered the massive distance of 10.6 miles.

But at least we had tried; it takes more than ‘the beast from the east’ to stop the ‘ultras’ of CER from riding out on what, meteorologically speaking, was the first day of Spring!