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 28 July 2018

17th July 2018 : Southport (brisk)

None of the brisk riders could make Thursday, but the two Johns W and M readily agreed to accept Ivan’s offering of a Tuesday ride with the novelty of taking a train to Southport and riding home. 

Having left Chester not long after 8 a.m., we were soon transported by Mersey Rail to our seaside departure point. However, we were already in need of sustenance so Ivan treated John and I to a full English at the conveniently situated Wetherspoons. Appetites satisfied we were soon cruising along the promenade stopping to admire the starting point of the Trans Pennine Trail (photo). 

After initially heading north with views of the Morecambe Bay and the distant Blackpool Tower we soon turned inland, passing through the distinctive, rural flatlands of Hesketh Bank, Tarleton, Bretherton and eventually reached Moss Side. Turning south along the B5250 and near Eccleston came upon a most unfortunate cyclist who we managed to rescue. (photo). 

Good deed done, we motored on for a a few more miles before arriving at our planned lunch destination in Up Holland which is not as attractive as its name may suggest! Having gone to a lot of trouble to secure our bikes, we entered the pub only to find lunch was not being served and there weren’t any alternatives close by. So we continued on our way and having got some advice from a passing cyclist were soon entering the Colliers Arms in King’s Moss. It was fairly busy which was a good sign and we enjoyed substantial steak baguettes and decent beer.

We were soon back in the saddle pressing on south, bisecting Grange Park Golf Club via a trail. Reaching Rainhill, Ivan reminded us of its historic links with the railway. It was the site for the 1829 Rainhill Trials of locomotives to decide a suitable design for use on the new Liverpool Manchester Railway. The winner, of course, was the Rocket, designed by George Stephenson.

Soon we approaching the industrial and suburban sprawl of Widnes and Ivan guided us unerringly to the approach road to the old bridge to Runcorn which we all assumed would be open to us, even though currently closed to cars. However, the road was blocked and guarded by a worker who resolutely insisted we would not be able to pass until 4:30, an hour or so away. Ivan and John began planning a most unwelcome diversion via Warrington while I tried to coax a bit of cooperation from the guard who eventually went off to phone his boss. Before his return, I spotted a queue of local people up the road and enquired how the pedestrians and cyclists of Widnes and Runcorn crossed the Mersey while the old bridge was undergoing refurbishment only to be told that they were waiting for the shuttle bus that would transport us and our bikes over the new Mersey Gateway Bridge. Minutes later we boarded said bus and were whisked free of charge across the river to be deposited bang back on route on the other side! 

Ivan had no problem navigating through Runcorn and we were soon passing Sutton Weaver and on to Frodsham were we stopped for cake and coffee before completing the ride back to Chester. An enjoyable day out by train, bus and bike! The bike bit was 64 miles

Photos JM  and JW

Friday 27 July 2018

26th July 2018: Norton in Hales (mod)

This was forecast to be the hottest day of the year, with temperatures in the mid 30’s in the south and east, while our local forecast was predicting highs of 28 degrees.  Not that this deterred the moderates who again were out in force, but no brisk riders were to be seen.  We sat on the wasp-plagued terrace of the Ice Cream Farm as riders assembled: Bryan and David M were only out for the café; Andy W was only going part way with us because of another commitment; the rest were up for the ride: Ian trying us out for the first time, Neil, Andy B, Dave H, Mike G, Clive, Dave P and myself.

Our destination was the Hinds Head in Norton in Hales.  After some delay due to binding mudguards on Clive’s bike, we set out through Beeston, Bunbury, Haughton and Ravensmoor, to skirt Audlem via Kingsley Heath.  The route so far had been very flat allowing a good speed to provide the wind chill needed to keep us from over-heating.  As we approach out destination the land became more undulating and it was a relief to arrive at the pub. 

We thought about sitting outside, but with tables and chairs bolted to the floor we couldn’t sit together.  Indoors was comfortable and we were quickly fed with most choosing the baguette or wrap options at £7-8 each.  Dave H’s attempt to call a plumber led to a discussion of planned obsolescence and the non-repairability of so many household items. Before setting off on our return, multiple water bottles were replenished, and the all-important group photo taken, with Dave H revealing his artistic temperament.
Photo by Dave H

We travelled west through Adderley and around Shavington Park, before passing through Aston and stopping at the village shop in Wrenbury.  We sat outside consuming coffees, ice creams and other refreshments, while Dave H got into discussion with a local character. Finally extricating himself, our route continued, sometimes at ‘brisk rider’ speed, past Cholmondley and Bickerton.  We took the less demanding climb past Bolesworth Castle, where the 2018 Carfest of the North (www.carfest.org/welcome/welcome-to-carfest-north-2018) was gearing up for the coming weekend, and it certainly looked a massive event. 
Photo by Mike G

From there is was a short ride back to the Ice Cream Farm.  No-one suggested stopping: it was the first week of the school holidays and the place was teeming. On what is my last ride for quite a few weeks, we had covered 50 miles, in fairly demanding weather conditions, but on lovely lanes with good company.  Ian will be back for more.


Saturday 21 July 2018

19th July 2018: New Brighton (mod)

Arriving at Ness Gardens in lovely warm weather, I was quickly joined by Keith, Bryan W had just returned from a Scandinavian holiday, George, Trevor, Andy W, Andy B and Neil.

Enquiring on whether anybody had a planned ride, Andy W said he was only out for a meet, Trevor like Andy W was out for a morning ride and those remaining had ideas for lunch but couldn’t recommend a pub. We were missing ‘Wirral Travel Guide’ Brian Mac, and so we settled on a fish and chip emporium at New Brighton that Bryan W and George knew. A route was then agreed to our lunch stop via the Wirral Way, Hoylake and the coast. Bryan led us through Neston to the Wirral Way where Trevor left us to return home. At West Kirby, George took us to Hoylake and the coast where we were able to observe the contrasting architectural delights of the offshore windfarms and Victorian water features.
Photos by Mike G

We arrived at New Brighton with George very confident on the location of our lunchtime eatery. Having almost passed through New Brighton via Marine Lake we turned around retracing our route until the correct fish and chip shop was found, The Seaside Café. We were able to sit outside in the warm sunshine and enjoy a wonderful fare. Certainly, a holiday feel to the place. As Andy B said ‘Where could you find a ‘place’ where lunch is £6:50 and such value’. Others had chips and tomato sauce, beef burger, steak pie and a calorie filling big breakfast. There was certainly a leisurely feel to the ride.

After lunch we set off for Egremont Promenade following the Wirral Circular Trail. We stopped quite frequently taking in the views of the Mersey Estuary and Liverpool Waterfront. The Trail signage in places could be improved on this section, but with each of us using our memories we found our way to the submarine museum, Birkenhead Priory, Cammell Laird through Bromborough and onto Eastham via the Country Park. A circuitous route through the housing estates of Eastham followed, returning via Raby and Neston on quiet roads, arriving at Ness Gardens in time for refreshments. Overall about 40 miles at a leisurely pace, with plenty of sunshine and lovely company.


Friday 13 July 2018

12th July 2018: Coton (mod)

A good number of Easy Riders gathered at Cleopatra’s in Holt. The moderates were out in force: David M, Clive, Neil, Dave H, Dave P, Mike G, Andy B, George, Trevor and myself. The start of the day questioned whether the long hot dry spell was over: there was a very light drizzle on my ride to Holt, and Andy told us it had rained steadily in Mold the previous night. However we set off in dry and improving conditions with the Dog and Bull in Coton as our destination.

We crossed the bridge into Farndon, noting that it is due to be closed to traffic for 14 weeks from 16th July, and for some days in that period also to cyclists and pedestrians.  Then we headed to Stretton (where David M left us), Tilston and the Cholmondley Estate, before turning south through Bickley and Marbury, and then joining cycle route 45.  Here the more observant riders admired the Mercian Way statue. We entered Whitchurch on Black Park Road, which is closed to vehicles until 02/19 a sign said, possibly due to badgers undermining the carriageway, though we could squeeze through the barrier fencing.  From Whitchurch we took the road to Alkington, then through Hollingwood to arrive at our destination just before 1 o’clock, with 26 miles completed.
Photos by Mike G

We sat outside seeking shade from the sun at a number of wobbly tables, but the food and drink were fine as usual: we had last been here in May. Clive left early to make his own way back for an afternoon appointment, while the rest of us gathered for a photo.

Our return led us north and westwards to Tallarn Green where a scarecrow festival was obviously underway. We dropped down to Sarn Bridge and turned left to avoid the bank, and made our way on a lovely quiet lane into Worthenbury.  Then it was the usual route back, with half the party pushing on ahead in the traditional(?) race to the finish, this being at Lewis’ café.  We sat on the terrace, enjoying coffee, cakes and the afternoon sunshine, when Ivan stopped on his way home after completing the brisk riders’ route.

Our total distance was 48 miles, covering many lovely gentle lanes in improving weather.  The rain did eventually come, but later that night.


12th July 2018 : Burlton (brisk)

A change from the recent weather meant it was overcast and wet as I made my way to Cleopatra’s where around a dozen CER’s were gathered. There were two routes on offer, Steve planning to visit Coton and mine to the Burlton Inn at Burlton. Everyone with the exception Ivan opted for the moderate option so at 10:30 prompt we set off leaving Steve to round up his group. 

Travelling across the Dee bridge and down towards Shocklach was fine until a lapse in concentration meant I had led us towards the homebound leg of the route instead of the outbound leg! This was soon remedied by turning left at ‘The Bull’ heading to Tilston where, as we passed the church, we saw Nick Holmes. He was  out for a run ,at least we think it was Nick he waved, we waved, it looked like Nick and it was in his locale.

Heading out of  Tilston  towards the A41, we briefly  joined  the moderate group who were probably a bit confused as to how they had managed to get ahead of us. Leaving their route, we  went through Larkton Hill, No Mans Heath and Malpas, and here we crossed the A525 at Iscoyd Park. Onwards through Fenns Bank and Whixall, we picked up a lovely smooth road, thanks to new tarmac, that took us all the way into Loppington before passing to the west of Sleap airfield and finally our lunch stop ‘The Burlton Inn’.

This pub was a first for us both and has a nicely decorated interior. There were  only a handful of customers and our food and drink order was quickly served. My main meal of Steak pie, chips and vegetables, was a large tasty portion and was consumed whilst chatting about family life and forthcoming holidays. Once fed and watered we headed back to Holt  by following a mainly straight northerly route linking Lyneal, Welshampton and Threapwood.

Ivan took over the lead  in Theapwood and set a fierce pace (obviously wanting to burn off the bangors and mash) through to Crewe by Farndon. Here we turned and took an alternative route via a back road into Farndon arriving back at  Cleopatra’s for coffee and cake at about 3:30.

Thanks for the company Ivan,  a good day out covering 57 miles.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Monday 9 July 2018

5th July 2018: Aston (mod)

Steve had been chauffeured to Rose Farm by Lynne (my wife), and it was great to have him in the mix again. Lynne was favourably impressed by the company I keep. Perhaps, I had painted too much of an 'old lags in Lycra' picture at home, when describing our Thursday interactions! In a year when their changed circumstances had meant some individuals not renewing their membership, it was great to welcome Colin and Neil as fully paid up new members.

Route-wise, the moderate riders were without a clue, so chose our favourite default destination:   The Bhurtpore. Mike, Keith, Andy, Neil, Dave Pipe and myself formed the moderate group. We took the route through Cotebrook and along the narrow lush lanes, next to the baking brick of Oulton Park boundary. At Oultonlowe Cottage we turned right and took a quiet lane favoured by Ivan and Clive. Andy wasn't keen, having remembered a rough section of tarmac from a few weeks back. As he was on his tank-tough heavyweight steed, no harm was likely. From Wettenhall we made swift progress down Welshmen's Lane, and turned off through the park just before Nantwich centre. The paths were dry and the greenery relaxing as we passed  the ox-bow lakes of the River Weaver, and joined the A530 for only yards before heading south down Coole Lane. We then had a bit of an 85% thrash with the wind in our spinnakers, before turning north-west up Back Coole Lane. We crossed the Whitchurch Road into Aston to a very hoppy aroma. The surprisingly large grain mill in this small village was the source of the heady scent. We, of course were very at home in The Bhurtpore. We sat outside under canvas, and had a good selection of ales and curries to choose from.

Photo by Mike G

The route home took a turn left down Pinsley Green Road, for a change, and so by-passed Wrenbury. At Marbury the revamped Swan looked worth trying for a future lunch break. Ray Hardman used to have a drink and snack on the south side of the church with a lovely view over the    Big Mere, which you can't even see from the road we are on. We should stop and try 'Ray's View' next time. We headed north to Chorley Bank via Norbury and Gaunton's Bank. We crossed the A534 at Brindley, passed Tilly's in Bunbury with difficulty, climbed Tilstone Bank, and headed for The Old Fire Station at Tarporley. We took our bikes through the cafe to the back, and sat at a shaded table. We had our usual friendly reception, and were supplied with jugs of water with slices of lemon. Dave Pipe and I enjoyed ice cream cornets as well as cake and coffee. It had been a hot day, but as I made the final ascent to Rose Farm, I was alone. Everyone had ridden their separate ways home, even Keith to Runcorn. About 43 relaxing miles for me, closer to 90 for Andy, and somewhere in between for the rest of the gang.       


Friday 6 July 2018

5th July 2018 : Dunham Massey (brisk)

Arriving at Rose Farm café it was great to see Steve T and Mrs Lynda Heath out for a coffee. Great to see you both and very glad to see Steve so buoyant, you’ll soon be back on the bike.

Today's adventure is not about the bike and speed, it’s much to sunny for heads down and bums up so a meander around sun drenched lanes, good price lunch stop and ice cream were factored for our pleasure today.

Leaving the café were, John M, Nick, Ken, Colin and myself. We headed for Cotebrook and along Oulton Mill Lane and took the first left and right to head us in the direction of Whitegate. Heading into Hartford up Cinder Hill was our first encounter with impatient female car drivers. On overtaking us on a blind right-hand bend there was a screech of rubber as she nearly went head on with approaching motorist then gave us a blast of disgruntlement on her horn!!

Through Hartford and towards Anderton, passing the boat lift dock visited in April but not today, we continue to Comberbach and passing Antrobus Golf Club. The lanes are very quiet and we are enjoying the meander and head down to Grappenhall where we are joining the Trans-Pennine cycle route 62 which we ride until Dunham Massey. The track is very hard and dry but little use by walkers but one elderly cyclist who wanted to run us down in his haste to improve his Strava segments (ha ha).

A well earned pint (or two)

Leaving the trail, we head for the Vine Pub where we enjoy a quality pint in the luxurious garden for £2.00 a pint and BLT buns and chips to follow. Hospitality was good with the chef coming out to ensure our lunch was alright and to advise us that there were alternatives on the menu. It’s too hot to eat a meal and ride was our excuse.

We regretfully depart and go via the little track along side Dunham Masset NT Hall and over the little bridge. There was a call for refreshment stop at the "Swan with Two Nicks" but ruled off-side. Onwards then to Little Bollington and to Gt Budworth where we are stopping for ice cream. Another very popular location but plenty of staff on hand to serve. Fully refreshed we continue our ride homeward bound passing through Comberbach again and to Higher Leigh and the Weaver Bridge. 

Going off road again we saunter along side the river to the locks and have time for another photo shoot for rogue’s gallery and continue through the fields to the lane which takes us up hill towards Crowton. This is a much easier route than tackling the hill up to Acton Bridge!

The Weaver bridge 
We continue to get over Norley Hill and arrive at Hatchmere where we are spitting up. Three heading through Delamere and Nick and Ken riding back to Rose Farm. Another great day out with like minded riders for company with 75 miles covered as a round trip H-H or 55 miles to and from the cafe. Next weeks ride from Cleopatra’s – time for a summer ride to Mow Cop?


Photos by John M and Ivan D

Monday 2 July 2018

1st July 2018: Chester and N Wales CTC Vets 100

A few Easy Riders took part in the 53rd annual Bert Bailey Memorial Veterans' 100 mile ride on Sunday. You have to be over 55 but this seemed to be a loose specification. These were George, Mike G and myself. Dave P was on carpark meet-and-greet duty at Duddon village hall from before 0800 as well. In addition, there was one tandem entry, that being former CER riders Graham and Vicky Payne. There were a few Watson's Wanders riders also taking part.

Despite Dave M recommending to Laurie Mason (the organiser) that I do not lead a group, I found myself leading out Group 3 at 0830!  There were twelve of us including Graham and Vicki. The other riders were from all over and I knew none of them. My first task a week ago, had been to decipher the the route sheet which was more like a knitting pattern instruction with lots of hieroglyphics. I seemed to have got it about right as we headed for Overton village hall via Holt and Threapwood.

Stamina is needed on this ride not only for the distance but for the mountains of food at each stop. So we all tucked in to cakes after 90 mins riding in the cool morning air. Off again the route was straightforward going via Ellesmere to Queen's Head. Thence into the lovely border lands in South Shropshire.

Lunch was at the village hall in Four Crosses and we arrive just as Group 1 (who had started at 0800) were entering the hall for lunch. On the way down we had also overtaken Group 2 (who had started at 0815). Lunch was substantial, but soon my group were keen to get back on the road again. So off to back to Overton via Crewgreen and Rednal airfield and Ellesmere. Here, all the group fancied an ice-cream so went down to The Boat House by the mere. I decided to make for Overton village hall  for a longer rest. I was the first to arrive of all riders, and had remarkable restraint in not attacking the piles of sandwiches and cake before the others finally arrive.

So the final leg is back to Duddon and it's high 20C and it's hot! We decide to call the Carden Arms to see if they are open - and they were. So we all pile in for a welcome pint. Arriving back at Duddon with just a 100 miles under the tyres, we find yet again we are the first group back.

We collect our certificates and many decide they would like to go home for a shower rather than wait for the other three groups to turn up for the certificate ceremony!

Proof positive!
So, not a challenging 100 miler route-wise but as ever, the Cheshire and Shropshire countryside with a soupçon of Welsh borderlands, makes for a very pretty ride. I had an enthusiastic group behind me who kept as a group throughout the day as evidenced by the 14.8 mph average speed on what was yet another very hot and windless day.

See route map and/or gpx file download