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 25 August 2018

23rd August 2018: Whitchurch (mod)

Leaving Utkinton, four moderates were joined by the return of the bionic Macca after an absence of 8 months - Clive, Dave H, Jim and Keith.  The usual mods route by committee with Clive’s Garmin, Dave’s OS maps and Macca’s Google maps saw us do a large circle to the east, in order to cove more than the 17 straight miles to lunch at Whitchurch.  Jim peeled off after 10 miles for other duties whilst the 4 of us meandered through flat, quiet country through Aston juxta Mondrum (there’s a mouthful for you), Rees Heath, Nantwich and Ightfield.

Lunch was at The Wheatsheaf in the High St of Whitchurch where we were pleasantly served from the light menu.  Discussion varied from emigrating to N Z and how to navigate from Wales to Dublin.

On the shorter return journey, we stopped at the newly re-opened Swan pub in Marbury which Clive checked out; it turns out to be a Brunning pub, a breakaway from the well known Brunning & Price group.  On it’s website it says, ‘The pub is an institution unique to England, and there is nothing more English. It is not an American bar, darkened still by the long shadow or Prohibition; not a French cafe, where people sunnily drink aperitifs on the pavement; not a Bavarian beer-hall, full of swaying and noise” ..........Michael Jackson (the famous beer writer not the slightly well-known singer).

We rode back through Chorley, Bunbury and Tilston hoping to beat the rain forecast for 3pm ish.  Sheltering in The Old Fire Station at Tarporley with cake, we missed one shower before returning to Rose Farm.  Macca was glad to report no ill effects on his new knee (not sure about the rear end) having covered 53 miles at 12.6 average


Photo by Macca
See route map and/or gpx file download

23rd August 2018 : Norton-in-Hales (brisk)

Despite the unusual cooler weather conditions, there was good turnout at Utkinton with representatives of both moderate and brisk riders.  Clive was back from his travels in France and decided he had not recovered sufficiently to do the 65 miles to Norton in Hales; he joined the moderate riders on their trip to Whitchurch.  John W was on grandad duty and was having to make to do with coffee and  ride home. 

The net result being the brisk group comprised of John M, Nick,  myself and Dave Pipe - who was wavering due to  his uncertainty of being able to maintain a higher pace  but wanting to test his level of fitness. Having sorted a number of contingency plans with Dave, the group headed off towards Tarporley. 

The journey there was was uneventful but Tarporley was besieged by road maintenance engineers, 2 sets of traffic lights and a lot of ‘Chelsea tractors’. This slowed our progress but eventually we sped up passing through Beeston, Bunbury and Faddiley,  on route towards Audlem. The plan was to miss Audlem, but lack of concentration and a missed turning meant a short detour - anyway, Audlem is a nice village to visit. 

We arrived at the Hinds Head pub having completed 2 hours of riding. Lunch was chosen off the light bites menu although the portions were more substantial than light. The lunch chatter  covered football managers, crowd free stadiums and, of course, Brexit. Once lunch was over and photoshoot completed we set off towards home. 

Fuelled up and ready to go

The wind had increased throughout the morning  and became  a head wind which remained throughout the return journey. Fortunately Nick and John led the charge on the flat roads through to Wrenbury occasionally pulling away from Dave and myself. It appeared that Nick was using this as a bit of training for his upcoming triathlon event either that or his lunch was super-powered.

Once we reached  Bickerton, we decided to take more direct routes home so John continued on to Chester and the remainder of us headed for Tilston and Farndon. The original GPX route for the day is 57m with 634 meters of ascent but I think all of us probably rode closer to 80m .

Thanks to everybody for another good day out and very well done to Dave for testing your fitness and not having to revert to any of the contingencies.
See route map and/or gpx file download


Photo by NH

Sunday 19 August 2018

16th August 2018: Special Ride - Bowland & Wyre District

There were some frantic last minute arrangements with regard to transport, but on the day it worked out just dandy! Ken gave Ian a lift, Mike and Dave Pipe met on my drive, Keith came in my Berlingo, and Nick was staying in Clapham, so he was arriving solo. Everybody arrived at Longridge early or on time, including Dave Pipe, who collected witness statements to prove that he had, indeed, achieved his punctuality goal after ten years of striving. We started at The Potting Shed cafe where the staff kindly opened early for us. The entrance is easily missed, so I had tied two yellow dusters on an iron rod at the entrance to catch the eye!

We were soon climbing up the south west ridge of Longridge Fell with excellent views all around, and then diving down Jeffrey Hill heading for the lovely village of Chipping. We left the village on a designated “Quiet Lane” wondering what this actually meant. Did we have to talk more quietly? Could one of those giant tractors still roar round the next corner with impunity? Our route took us on the side of the fell above the Hodder Valley, with some steep banks passing the Wild Boar Farm, an isolated old red phone box and Knot End. Before the plunge down to Burholme Bridge the view is spectacular, particularly ahead to the peaks of the Yorkshire Dales.

At Dunsop Bridge we headed north-west for the challenging climb through the Trough of Bowland. It turned just a little wet at this stage, and I apologised to Ian for my unguarded back wheel spray. If I had been on CTC ride I would have certainly failed their mudguard and long mudflap protocol, and probably been confined to the car park at the start! My only bike with guards didn't have the gear ratios to get me up this climb to the Lancashire/Yorkshire border stone (see photo).

The weather improved as predicted on our next leg to lunch at Scorton Barn which had some faster downhill stretches, but also a lot of strong headwind miles. We could clearly see Heysham nuclear power station, and across Morecambe Bay to the southern Lake District. Riding on these largely unpopulated fellside roads encapsulated that feeling of real freedom when cycling in wild country. We swooped into Scorton like a Skytrain, and dead on schedule. Mike had originally suggested Scorton Barn for lunch and we had recced this the week before. It was an excellent lunch stop, and we had a very convivial break.

Mike tried to begin the afternoon session with his helmet back-to-front. I suppose this was preferable to last week, when he didn't realise that he had left it at Dutton Locks! I wasn't too enamoured with hearing the M6 for a number of miles when heading back south last week on our recce.  I had asked Mike if we could ride a loop in the northern Fylde area instead, and he came up with an ideal rural route, initially heading out west past Winmarleigh Hall towards the coast. It was quite hard work, as this flat plain gave limited protection from the strong westerly wind. We came across a stationary huddle of ducks and ducklings on the road close to the hedge. There was a buzzard overhead, and they may have been hiding from it (see photo).

Photos by Mike G
We eventually headed south at Moss Edge to Ratten Row, and then, thankfully, with a strong tailwind toward St.Michael's on Wyre, and Bilsborrow. We were soon crossing the A6 and M6 and heading in the direction of Longridge. We stopped at Inglewhite, where there was a possibility of a picturesque route extension around Beacon Fell, but as one of those who doesn't do enough miles to be a contender, I had done enough, and fancied the cafe and a reasonably timed start for the drive home. As it happened, everyone was in agreement, although we still had a few miles to cover. I have absolute confidence in Mike's local knowledge and navigational abilities, so I'll swear he did some deliberate Clivesque extra miles before we got back to The Potting Shed!

The cafe gave us a warm and friendly welcome once again, and we had a selection of two blackboards of cakes with our coffees. Keith thanked the guy with the tree service at the front of the site, who had agreed to only lock the gate when the last car had gone if we had returned late. We had ridden nearly 54 varied miles, with one big challenge and some lovely scenery.  It was, as ever, a pleasure to share the company of both faster and moderate riders as one sociable club, as we still make the effort to do from time to time. I was grateful for the support, with many being unavailable in this holiday season - it made it all worthwhile. I am particularly grateful to Mike for co-leading and planning the day.
See route map and/or gpx file download


Saturday 11 August 2018

9th August 2018: Little Bollington (mod)

I arrived last minute at Delamere due to having to go to the Post Office at Kingsley, and then having my path blocked by a lorry delivering a skip excruciatingly slowly! Steve Tan had surprised us by driving himself to the cafe in his recently restored Z3. The car looked great, and it would be smashing if Steve could continue his determined progress and eventually join us on two wheels. Steve told me that his near-death experience had changed his outlook on life; if he was thinking of doing something he was more likely to just go for it. So is he going to Amsterdam to smoke pot and enjoy the company of luscious ladies? No, he is splashing out and having his drive done!

Dave Matthews had ridden out for coffee, but was bike tweaking, and not on board for our ride today.

The moderates had already decided to go to the default destination of The Swan with Two Nicks. So it was that George, Ian, Mike, Neil and myself set off for Acton Bridge via Norley. Keith kept us company for a while, but was on night shifts so soon left us for a local spin only. The route was standard, but I thought that Ian, and certainly Neil, had probably not cycled around the back of Arley Hall. This detour passes the cricket pitch and the picturesque green and pond, before we headed out for Hoo Green and Booth Bank on our way to lunch. Lunch was good as we sat outside in the warmth and chatted.

Photos by Mike G
Our return was by way of the Trans- Pennine Trail, and then through Lymm. A labyrinth of quiet, narrow lanes off Swineyard Lane transported us past Garland Hall, Antrobus Hall, Cogshall Hall and on to Little Leigh. It was a nice day to return alongside the River Weaver, and we stopped at Dutton Locks just to relax and soak in the summer scene. Mike took some photographs, and left his helmet behind! Only George noticed after we had climbed up to the 'B' road. Mike successfully retrieved his helmet, as we continued to Delamere via the back lane west of Norley village, passing some lovely properties including Norley Hall. Ian and myself returned to the Station Cafe at Delamere. We had a cup of tea, and I learnt a little more about cycling activities in the Chester area from Ian. If you are reading this Ian, and still interested in riding the Trough of Bowland on Thursday please ring me on 01928 710308 there is a choice of a shared lift available.


See route map and/or gpx file download

Friday 10 August 2018

9th August 2018 : Marbury( brisk)

Delamere Station cafe was the venue for the gathering of 8 Easy riders today. We were all outside enjoying the  warm morning sunshine and had a lovely surprise when  Steve arrived, looking well -without his neck brace, and being free to chauffeur himself around on 4 wheels. It is good to see that you are still improving Steve.

With Clive and Ivan absent today and John M unsure whether he would be released from Grandad duties, I presumed it would be Nick and myself as the representatives for the brisk group. We had previously agreed we would cycle from our respective homes to Delamere in order that we could increase our bike mileage and allow me to get back home in time to fulfil other commitments.

We departed the cafe with Nick using his TT bike, which is not really comfortable for longer distances, because his usual road bike is  awaiting  repair.

From Delamere we headed out through Cotebrook and Rushton, where we were shadowed by  two, non- communicative, mountain bikers for a couple of miles, and then to Wettenhall. When we reached Reaseheath College we took a short detour through the  College grounds. I think this was possibly the first time Nick’s TT bike has been off road and he did not seem impressed with the harsh ride. Unfortunately for Nick once we crossed the A350 into Nantwich we took a  second off road section ,this cycleway followed alongside the River Weaver. Fortunately for Nicks derriere this was only a mile or so and we were back on the road leaving Nantwich. Passing the not so secretive ‘Secret Bunker’, through Sound and Wrenbury before arriving at the lunch stop-The Swan. Nick appeared relieved to be able to swop his TT bike for something a little more comfortable.

The Swan has had a major refit and a large conservatory extension, it offers a good selection of beer and food . We both ordered off the light bites menu- chicken caesar salad and fish fingers bap. The lunchtime chat was mainly about pubs, food, and long term survival of rural pubs.

The Swan at Marbury

Local timber-framed property

For those who do not know Marbury it is a lovely little village, 5 miles north of Whitchurch, complete with timber framed houses dating back to the 16/17 century and is well worth a visit and exploring.

Back on the bikes we went out of the village through Bickley to Cholmondeley where we left the  planned return to Delamere and headed towards our respective  homes.

The original route returning to Delamere via Tattenhall and Utkinton is 49 miles but I think we both clocked up 60-70 miles today in perfect weather conditions. Thanks for the company Nick- hope your road bike is back with you soon.


Photos by KP

Friday 3 August 2018

2nd August 2018: Llanymynech (mod)

Good turnout at the Chirk Tea Rooms for CER from Brisk and Mod riders.  The Mods group consisted of Keith, Dave H, Dave P, Andy B (who had cycled out from Mold using various diversionary routes) plus oneself.  We set of for Glyn Ceiriog (B4500) in fine weather with an occasionally ‘light light shower’. We climbed and climbed and were able to observe Chester Easy Riders overtaken by ‘Easy Coach’. 

Photos by Mike G

On through Llanarmon and the first of the steep climbs. At the top we decided to continue on to another summit eventually dropping down to Llanrhaeadr on damp roads occasionally covered in small stones. Andy advised the road was rough in places so we singled out to make sure if anyone did fall they wouldn’t take another cyclist.

Dropping down into the Tanat valley, I made a navigational error and we followed the B4580 adding about an extra 300ft of climbing. Instead of bagging three OS chevrons, another one was added making it a proper Mods ride rather than a leisure experience. Oh, the moans, but we managed it, our English contingent were also able to observe some more ‘badly maintained’ Welsh roads.

We eventually dropped down to the B4396 and with wind assistance were quickly at Pen-y-bont. A short climb over to Llansantffraidd and then onto Llanymynech. As our intended road crossing of the River Vyrnwy was closed, we used the Montgomery Canal towpath and aqueduct to get to our lunch stop, the Bradford Arms.

At lunchtime some of us discussed the nuclear industry and Chernobyl, whilst others enjoyed an ‘Aussie Summer’, a delightful beer.

In the afternoon, we had a following south westerly wind. West Felton soon arrived and we returned via Rednal, Welsh Frankton and Hindford; returning to Chirk about 4:20pm, with sufficient time for afternoon tea and catching the train home. Overall, a pleasant cycle ride covering 53 miles and just over 3,000ft climbing. For Andy B with his return home, he would have covered in excess of 100 miles.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Thursday 2 August 2018

2nd August 2018 : Harmer Hill (brisk)

I didn't relish the idea of cycling out the 30+miles to Chirk but Ken offered to car-assist from Rossett  so this cut down the miles out and back. We were the first at the Castle Tea Rooms but soon there were quite a few more. Nick and John M were up for my 51 miler to Harmer Hill along with Ken and myself. The Mods were heading for the dark,cloud laden hills.

We set off by a different route for me to Weston Rhyn and hence along a recently refurbished road into Oswestry. There is the odd spot of rain in the air as well. A minor diversion via the town centre to avoid the one-way system, found us bowling down Weston Lane and across the A483 at the new junction. A straight run through Maesbury and it's marsh found us at Wooslton Bank and the tiny lanes towards Weirbrook.

Onwards through Eardiston, we arrive at the back of the PGL Holiday camp at Stanwardine. There are a couple of stiffish hills and Nick stops at the top to investigate what he thinks is a stone problem with his tyre or wheel. Unfortunately for him its a broken spoke and a slightly wonky rear wheel. He is wary of riding much further, and elected to follow us towards Shrewsbury.  We turn off at Walford Heath as he trundles the few miles to Shrewsbury station to take the train back to Chirk.

Route statistics ex PlotaRoute

It is not far for us now to Harmer Hill as we enjoy the tiny lanes and gorgeous sunshine and countryside. The Bridgewater Arms beckons and we are soon ensconced around our table with a pint of Wainrights in our hands. The luncheon fare comes quickly and is substantial, tasty and reasonably priced. We discuss the Brexit mess, and decide that we don't have a solution either!

It's time to go, and it has warmed up somewhat. I miss out the back way Myddle, as we run at high speed on the A528 towards Burlton with the wind with us. The road to Loppington is smooth and fast. As we turn westwards through Cockshutt towards Lower Hordley, we have the keen westerly wind in our faces all the way.

Each cut cornfield sends up a blast of very hot air as we speed down the lanes. North towards Tetchill, we go west again up the long climbing lane to Frankton Hill. We wiggle our way to St Martins and thence via the canal into the back of Chirk at just after 1500.

So 51 miles ridden and we all elect to miss out on a coffee to get home promptly. Ken kindly drops me off at the top of Lache Lane so halving my ride home. So thanks to Ken and John for they companionship today, and we all hope that Nick made it home OK as we didn't receive a text from him telling us he was able to get the train back. Hopefully he did!

See route map and/or gpx file download