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.

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Sunday 30 September 2018

27th September 2018: Peover Heath (mod)

The Station House Cafe at Delamere was closed, so we eventually cycled down to Delamere Cafe at The Visitor Centre.  Jim, Mike Evans, Trevor, George, Dave Matthews, Dave Pipe, Keith, Clive and myself  were soon ensconced outside in the sun supping tea. I made the mistake of talking chain lengths with Dave, who, of course, could write a PhD on the subject. To be fair, like Dave Pipe and Ray Hardman, Dave is very knowledgable when it comes to the technicalities of bikes. He also often uses his skills to sort out members' machines, Clive being the  latest beneficiary of help from Cheshire's version of Richard Hallett.  When Dave started linking gear tables and penny farthings, however, I began to wonder if he was auditioning for the BBC 'Would I Lie to You?' programme! As you might expect, after one thing or another, we started our ride late. I felt that Bryan would not have been impressed!  Those able to ride with us for the day went with my suggestion of The Dog as our destination. Clive agreed to lead out, and I would take over for a return route.

We eased our way to Norley, as so often, but then turned up the narrow, attractive Gallowsclough Lane. I remember riding along here with Jim, I think, when a breathtakingly beautiful woman on a lovely horse stopped and engaged us in a very pleasant, if short, chat. She was very posh, perhaps the Lady of the Manor trying to show kindness to a couple of poor, old commoners in their sad mix of cheap Muddy Fox and Aldi clothing? It remains my longest contact with a authentic member of the Cheshire Set. Perhaps I just imagined it? I must check with Jim! Then we passed Gary Barlow's former pad at Delamere Manor. Clive continued  through Cuddington and Whitegate. We were soon crossing the Weaver, and pedalling the perilous rocky path up to Moulton. Pretty Davenham was next, and just over the M6  and before Swan Green, Clive led us down Baker's Lane in a south westerly loop to Goostrey, and then north on small lanes to lunch.  The route had been attractive, and the blue sky cloudless. The food and service at The Dog was spot on, as usual.

Our way home took us past a polo club, reaching the A50 at Radbroke Hall. A young female driver then shouted at us and sounded her horn as we turned right. Yet another driver unreasonably aggravated by having to sometimes share tarmac with cyclists. I did have more adventurous options for the route home, but settled for the familiar Plumley Moor Road. Previous experience told me that it was essential to cross the dangerous A556 Roman road as pedestrians at the lights. We then rode to Linnards Lane on the footpath. From here onwards the roads would be quieter as we headed  west through Pickmere, Great Budworth, Comberbach and Little Leigh. At the A49 we cycled beside the glimmering Weaver to the picnic area at Dutton Lock. Here we took a break, chatting to an elderly couple, as we sat on rustic benches in the rays of the still warm, but slipping sun.

Photos by CA

There remained some steep banks ahead, as we headed for Cooksongreen. Just before Norley village we turned up a small  lane with lovely buildings including The Paddocks and Norley Hall. At Delamere Clive headed home, but George, Keith, Dave Pipe and myself enjoyed cake and coffee back at The Visitor Centre. I had the last big piece of proper cake with icing and a cherry. I offered half of it to the others for 70% of the price, but they all said they would rather have No Deal than a bad deal. So, they all munched lesser cakes in cellophane! Another thoroughly enjoyable day in the sunny Cheshire countryside with good friends. About 48 miles covered. Thanks to Clive for the morning route and the photographs.

See route map and/or gpx file download


20th September 2018: Lower Hordley (mod)

I rang Keith about travelling to Chirk despite the forecast of heavy rain for the day. He was determined to go, so I decided that I really ought to accompany him. He had not seen the forecast, but I thought that it was odds on that no moderate rider would be so immoderate as to chance it. And so it was, but a number of the fast guys had used their initiative, and had ridden out to Chirk with the idea of flying back to Chester in front of the inevitable deluge.  An excellent plan, punctuated by a Full English, which they were tucking into as Keith and I arrived.

My plan was to complete a circular route taking in Ellesmere and heading south, originally to Knockin for lunch, and then around Oswestry via Morda and Selattyn back up to Chirk. Some of the return route would be hilly and new to me, and as Nick was convinced heavy rain was already fast approaching, I decided that this was too ambitious, and could even be dangerous in this terrain. Plan B was to ride without a lunch break for about thirty miles and eat back at Chirk at the end.

We went out of Chirk the back way, past the Leisure Centre, and were soon on  the scenic lane to Pont y blew. We then had to climb out of the steeply wooded valley to reach St.Martin's. The damaging winds of Tuesday were thankfully absent, and tree debris wasn't as bad as anticipated. The lanes were dry and peaceful, and as there were only two of us, there was no pressure as we fettled an easy route via Crickett, crossing and recrossing the long disused railway line. We joined the B5068 into Ellesmere as the rain started. We wound our way through the town past the marina and stopped under a tree. Any lingering ambition of trying The Bradford Arms at Knockin was dismissed, but we were game to ride further south to Lee and Lower Hordley.

From Lower Hordley we started to head back north west to Lower Frankton, Welsh Frankton, New Marton and St.Martin's. On reaching the dangerous A5 we were nearly taken out by a Volvo undertaking us on the roundabout, just as we were about to signal and exit for Chirk. I yelled something at him, and he stopped and wound his window down to address us 200 yards on. I was still expecting him to follow and swerve at us, or something, as we climbed up to the church at Chirk. I was weighing up was it worth using my recently learnt boxing combinations on him, if it came to a showdown. However, just as when chatting to a nice young woman, you sometimes have to take a reality check when your my age! Realistically, I don't think that I have the pulling power of David Beckham or the punching power of Anthony Joshua! Blood, snot and rain wouldn't have been an attractive combination. Fortunately, it didn't come to that, and we were soon drying off and munching lunch in Castle Bistro. We agreed that we enjoyed the whole ride, even the wet bits. We had avoided the really heavy rain, which came on our careful drive home. We were glad that the fast lads turned up. Turning up (if you can) is a key ingredient in making our club work! I bet that most of us can't recall even a handful of times over the years, that we wished we hadn't bothered.                                                                         

Friday 28 September 2018

27th September 2018 : Marple (brisk)

The brisk riders, John W, Nick and myself, were out on Tuesday and theThursday ride was discussed during lunch. John suggested an Audax ride he wanted to do starting at Marple and was 60+ miles and 7500ft of ascent. Sounds easy 60 miles and the ascent should be ok, so it was decided a car assist would be required. Nick was unable to ride although expressed disappointment at not being available!! (I think he knew the route). So the Thursday ride would consist of John W, Ken and myself.

What hills?
We arrived at Marple at 09:15 and the journey from Chester outwards was reasonably good considering the morning commute for a lot of day workers. Tea and toast was first on the agenda and by 10:00 we were heading out of town on a glorious autumn morning. Judging your wardrobe at this time of year is not always straight forward as the first few miles is a 7-10% gradient just getting out of the town!! Warmed up jackets off, and it is a comfortable ride along the A626 passing through Marple Bridge and Chisworth where we stop for the first photo shoot of the day.

We continue this road until Glossop and join the A57 to wind up and with a good wind the Snake Pass. Up and up we ride and it is getting warmer, but traffic is light but there are couple of road works with traffic lights. Mr Green lights as we pass through both. Hitting the summit, it is then the hurtle down and, with a good wind, we are 40+ mph before John brakes to a stop as he's lost his audax card. Ken and I wait at the Snake Pass inn but unfortunately it is closed for refurbishment. John rejoins us and we again continue our descent down to the Lady Bower reservoir.The water levels are quite low but as winter approaches no doubt they'll soon raise.

We have ridden approx. 27 miles and lunch is looming at 34 miles at the Barrel Inn at Bretton. We pass through Hathersage before taking a right turning heading up hill. I stop to query the route, but John is correct and our Garmin routes are slightly out of date!! Up and up still, but we pull up as John has a front flat. New tube replaced and were off along very pleasant lanes and the scenery is well worth the effort of continually riding uphill on such a sunny day.

We arrive at our lunch stop and again the views are awesome at 1300ft. The Barrel is noted in the Doomsday book and a stop-over for transporters delivering Cheshire salt. The inn was very busy but we enjoy the opportunity to relax and chat.

A photo call outside and a diner asked to take a photo, she must have enjoyed the wine as on both photos taken her finger covered the screen. Ah well, off we go and enjoy a down hill free wheel to get the legs moving again. We are in the heart of the Peak District passing the known locations of Ashford in the Water, Sheldon Quarry and Peak Quarry where a couple of class 37's trains belonging to DRS from Cumbria, were loading stone and Dove Dale (stn).

We cycle into Moyash for John to get his audax card stamped in the local shop; an offer of ice cream was made but rejected as we still have 2000 ft of climbing to do. We're now on a single track lane called the Jarnett and the temperature has started to fall and it is getting quite chilly. Millers Dale and Worm Hill - a moan of oh no not another! as I am just about done in. We drop down to Whaley Bridge in time for the rush hour traffic and have to cycle along the pavement. Just a couple more bumps and we are back into Marple and back in the café where we started our ride.

A 68 mile round trip, unforgettable scenery but the best was the company. How John continues to do these audax rides is unfathomable. It was hard and high on the energy scales. A total of 7549 feet of ascent in a shortish ride. I'll take a rain check on his next idea.A good Brisk ride but at a pace of 13mph.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Photo JW and KP

Thursday 20 September 2018

20th September 2018: Chirk (brisk)

The weather forecast was dire - wall-to-wall rain from about 1100 in Chirk. What to do?  I messaged the brisk group to see if there was any interest in an early ride out and back from Chester to Chirk. So three of us met at the Old Dee Bridge at 0815 in the dry, to ride the shortest route directly to Chirk and a cooked breakfast!

Ivan led John W and myself out via Eccleston and through to Rossett, where we picked up Ken. We motored up Marford Hill and, at the A 483 roundabout, we shimmy around Wrexham heading for Sainsbury's and the Hospital. 

Out down the lanes, Ruabon arrives quite quickly and we are soon heading down the Cefn Mawr road.   The drag up and out was surprisingly fast and I put this down to the breakfast smells emanating from the Ruabon cafes giving extra impetus.

We arrive at the Castle tea rooms after 24 miles at 15.5 mph. There is a warm welcome from the waitress, and we generally opt for the smaller breakfast option except Ivan, who requires more fuel with the large breakfast. 

Nick appears as advertised, at just after 1000, having cycled cross-country from Tilston. We wonder if there will be any other CER riders today? Keith arrives announcing that Dave H is just behind him. So we all sit around discussing the weather and where the Moderate Duo will ride to today. The Brisk group is very clear on our route  - we are going straight back to ameliorate getting too wet.

We leave about 1045 and opt to go through Johnstown on the return loop, otherwise the route back is the route out. At the Cefn Mawr bridge, I have a chain disfunction as I change down for the hill out. The chain is stuck fast between the chain rings. The solution was to loosen the chain ring retaining bolts and all was then fine. 

Ken to the rescue as my chain is jammed.
Ken splits off with Nick on the outskirts of Gresford to help Nick negotiate suburban Wrexham. We remaining three pile it on as the rain starts to pick up. By the time we are nearing Chester it is a steady downpour.  

So we get back after 47 miles at 16.5 mph on the return journey making it a 16 mph average speed. We are glad we bothered to make the effort and wonder how Keith and Dave are doing in the heavy rain which is now inevitably engulfing them.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Photo ID

Saturday 15 September 2018

13th September 2018: Welshampton (mod)

The weather was typically autumnal - a mite chilly when leaving home for the Ice Cream Farm, and warming up just enough throughout the day. Bryan was out just for a local ride, and Steve H was in civvies. Surprisingly we had three guest riders. John V and Mike E were from Watson’s Wanderers and Howard G got to know of us via Dave H and Steve T. So whilst the Brisk Riders (Ivan, John W and Nick) set off for Barthomley, I offered to cobble together a ride for the three visitors plus Keith and Neil.

I searched through old Viewranger routes and used one from Oct 2017 to the Sun Inn at Welshampton. Setting off via Brown Knowle and No Man’s Heath, we wiggle across the A41. Sliding down the quiet lanes to Bradley, and via Higher Wych, we end up at Eglwys Cross. I worry about the lane to Arowry which normally is knee deep in mud from the farm traffic but today the mud is slight. Turning south towards Bettisfield, I succumb to a rear wheel puncture. It takes a while to find the glass shard then realise I only have a 25mm inner tube for a 28mm tyre, but Keith comes to the rescue.

Having wasted quite a bit of time, I elect to take the main road straight to the Sun Inn in Welshampton. As ever, the welcome here is warm and we are soon seated away from the roaring fire. The conversation is varied as ever. The food is wholesome and plentiful as well. Looking at the route home, I can’t bring it upon myself to take three visitors back through the narrow and probably muddy lanes of the planned route, so I have a radical re-think.

Agreeing with the sentiment of my re-routing, the group heads for Ellesmere where the mere is looking pretty in the sunshine. I take a wrong turn towards St Martins, so, hoping no-one will realise that we should be on the Overton road, I re-route again to get us back to Trench and thence Lion Lane to the delights of Sandy Lane hill. We slide through Threapwood and wiggle back to Chorlton and Tilston. Here, we have just passed Nick’s house when he is seen motoring towards it!

By the time we get to Tattenhall, Neil and Mike have split for their homes nearby, whilst Howard is heading Runcorn bound. So as Keith and I ride the High Street, there is a shout from two cyclists sitting on a bench eating ice creams. It is Ivan and John W! We stop and chat and by this time John V, who had decided to take it a little easier, arrives as well.

We hope that the visitors enjoyed our club ride today, and hope to see them in the future.


13th September 2018: Barthomley (brisk)

The ride out from the ICF for brisk riders consisted of John W, Nick and myself.  The forecast was for a fine day with south westerly wind; so we decide to ride to Barthomley and the White Lion, a favourite lunch stop.

We set of out via Beeston and Bunbury. Over the past few weeks, cycle racing has figured greatly on our tv's and this style of riding taken on board today. The pace is pretty fast and heading towards Brindley it is a chain gang formation and probably around 20+mph average. Out to Ravensmoor, and continuing on to Broomhall Green, we have an altercation with a fraught car driver who waits for us to approach then pulls out from the right and cuts in front to turn left; what a plonker and a good job John couldn't catch him

We are cycling -very fast!
I make an error here and, instead of continuing to Audlem, I head towards Nantwich. Arriving in the town, we divert towards Wybunbury and Wrinehill, then pick up the route towards Betley. It's a nice uphill climb from Betley along Church Road and along Knowbank Road from where you get fantastic views of the Cheshire plain. You can almost touch Jodrell Bank it appears so close.

The riding pace hadn't slackened any, but as we are passing under tree-covered lanes, there is a call to halt. Nick had been stung on his eye brow. The sting still evident as a spear protruding the fleshy part of his eyelid. John was able to extricate the venomous spike but Nick's eye was already getting angry red and swollen. We're fortunately not too far from our lunch stop and on arrival at the inn the landlady provided an eye pack.

Avant-garde cycling helmet 

By the time we had enjoyed our lunch, the medicine provided and ice pack had worked sufficiently to continue our ride back. As a precaution a call home had been made, and assistance from Crewe can be made if needed. Due to high energy resources, we continue apace, and we are soon passing Crewe railway station and turning left to pass Gresty Road football ground and out to Shavington. A call home is made to confirm a stand down. We are heading towards Wrenbury and Cholmondeley and take a left and head for Old Coach Road Climb. After nearly 80miles from home, I wished I wasn't here!!

Over the top and rolling down we say farewell to Nick as he rides to home, and John and I continue to Tattenhall. We stop at the shop in the village to enjoy a Magnum ice cream and top up with water. 

Enjoying the sunshine, we are joined by the remains of the moderate group led by Clive. We all continue together to Hargrave and Christleton and back into Chester. An eventful day with 68 circular miles ridden and 18mph average, including 2565 ft of ascent, and, nearly 90 miles form home

Thanks to John and Nick for a hard day's riding, I'm out with the mods next week!.

see route map and/or gpx file download


Photos ID and JW

Saturday 8 September 2018

6th September 2018 : Dunham Massey (brisk)

After riding solo for the last 6 weeks, I was looking forward to having company today. Meeting at Meadow Lea cafe on a wet and drizzly morning, there were not many riders braving the elements. There were a few out for coffee, but the group today consisted of Nick, John W, Ray and myself. No one had a route planned, so we decided to ride and head towards the blue sky direction.

Heading out towards Frodsham the rain was now heavier. The forecast was showers! How long do these predictions last?

We pass through the town getting ready with the market stalls and over the blue bridge and turn right to go via Aston. Our ride is heading out towards Budworth and High Lea and round to Dunham Massey and the Vine inn. Here I enjoy my first beer for ages and at £2.50 just right. We all have hot comfort food as we are soaked. Socks and boots off and placed on or near the hot radiators, we chat about the good weather and rides we've enjoyed this year. Getting ready to leave it is still raining, no one holding us back so we have to go.

We ride out to Dunham Massey grounds and join the track to pass over the river and the inn, Swan with Two Nicks. The rain has now stopped and patches of blue sky evident. We follow the usual route towards Great Budworth but keep a left route in error and ride round the extremes of the village and, instead of going up the hill towards High Lea, we continue towards Northwich. This plan was to divert from Acton Bridge climb but we still had to climb up to Marbury Road bank and pass the Anderton boat lift. Left at the lights and on Winnington Road before taking the "Clive route" through the flashes. This detour made our bikes super dirty.

Once out on the main road again, we pass Weaverham and on the Crowton, Kingsley road and return into Frodsham and the welcome stop of Costa Coffee, soon to be Coca Cola!! After our snack, it is along the main road and back to Meadow Lea Cafe.

A circular ride of 64+ miles at an average 16mph so a great ride. Well done Nick and glad you joined us.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Thursday 6 September 2018

6th September 2018: no mod ride

Quite a number of mod and brisk members turned up at Meadow Lea cafe, and it was especially good to see Steve T and his wife.  The weather was cool and wet. Most people were just out for coffee, and as I left it looked as though there would be no club ride.


Monday 3 September 2018

30th August 2018: no ride

I'm told that only three members turned up at Cleopatra's in Holt and there was no club ride.