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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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Thursday 27 December 2018

27th December 2018: Bunbury (mod)

Worries about attendance at Chirk meant that today’s meet was rearranged to start at Meadow Lea Café. This seems to have resolved the worry as nine Easy Riders turned up: Dave H, David M, John W, Jim, George, Keith, Andy B, Bob and myself. The last six made up the moderate group. John and David were each to do their own ride, while Dave as a non-combatant was looking forward to getting back on his bike soon.

I had thought about a ride to try out the Nag’s Head at Haughton, but Google revealed that it was not open until Jan 7th after a change of ownership and a refit, when it would offer “modern pub fare and real ales in a stylish, 17th-century inn with exposed beams and a lush garden” - and probably also more expensive food.  Instead I aimed for its namesake – the Nag’s Head in Bunbury, a little nearer but in the same direction.

We headed out towards Waverton and then crossed the A41 for Saighton and Bruera where we turned left to re-cross the A41 and enter Tattenhall. Next we had a pleasant run towards the imposing Beeston Castle on its steep sandstone crag, then Peckforton, before Spurstow and finally Bunbury, where we noticed that Tilly’s was not open.

The Nag’s Head is in the middle of Bunbury and offers far more reasonable fare than the nearby upmarket Yew Tree Inn and Dysert Arms. I don’t think that Easy Riders have visited before, but we were made welcome and I think the verdict was that it was worth re-visiting.  I enjoyed a filling pie, chips and veg plus a pint for £8.95. Over our food we discussed life in the services and Bob told us his experience of the Royal Navy.  Then we switched effortlessly onto cat stories!

Our return took us back to Beeston Castle, down past the Shady Oak and on to Huxley, then Hargrave and Greenlooms to join our outward route at Waverton. We said separate goodbyes to Bob, Jim and Andy, so that the remaining three made it back to Meadow Lea.  It was a shortish ride of 32 miles, but very pleasant on a relatively warm, dry, windless and overcast day. It was also the last Easy Riders outing of the year. 

A Happy New Year to everyone!

See route map and/or gpx file download

SH


Monday 24 December 2018

24th December 2018 : Ride Statistics

The old saying, attributed to Benjamin Disraeli by Mark Twain, goes “Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics” 

Well, here are some statistics.

I had a bit of time on my hands earlier in the year, so I went through all the blogs since the start in April 2008 to try to get some figures together for the 10thAnniversary Ride held on 26thApril 2018.


YearMileageBlogsAv Miles/Ride
20081,1372447
20092,8945355
20102,6405350
20113,4956157
20123,6157648
20133,0255753
20143,7087252
20154,2168152
20164,3258352
20173,8327452
20184,4408850




Totals37,32772252

I continued to log the ride data to the end of this year*. I don't claim the data is 100% accurate as some blogs didn't quote actual ride length so I took a guess. However, the numbers are impressive, especially as the mileage does not include riding out and back to the venue.

If you were to add say 20 miles per blog for the "out and back" leg, then another 14,400 miles need to be taken into account as the total distance ridden if one rider had ridden all of the rides. That person would have ridden 51,767 miles or almost 72 miles per outing.

However, just maybe this figure is in the “lies and damned lies” category!

Enjoy your Christmas Holidays

CA

PS : I believe Bryan W was or still is a professional statistician.

* It doesn't incude any miles that may be ridden on the Dec 27thride.

Thursday 20 December 2018

20th December 2018: Overton (mod)

Gathering at the Ice Cream Farm were a mix of brisk, moderate and “only out for a short ride” riders. In the last category were Trevor, Jim and David M.  That left Neil and myself out for a moderate ride. I had the White Horse at Overton in mind, as it was a while since I’d last visited and I knew that the landlord had changed.

The route out and back again was through Tilston and Worthenbury, though we followed different lanes each way wherever possible. We arrived shortly after 1200. The gate into the back yard was sealed, unlike previously, so we locked our bikes to a bus stop.  Within we found a warm fire and a good welcome.  The menu had changed from the previous landlord but still provided substantial good value food and the Joules ale was excellent as usual.

As we left Overton it was apparent from the roads that we had luckily missed a heavy shower. Returning into Tattenhall we met the brisk group coming down Bolesworth Road. Neil then left for his direct route home, while I returned to the ICF for a coffee (no cake!). It had been an excellent day’s December riding with a slight wind, no rain while we were out, cool but not cold. The total mileage was just under 40.

See route map and/or gpx file download

SH

20th December 2018 : Whitchurch (brisk)

Another fine day in prospect today. Ivan and I had ridden to The Vine Inn near Dunham Massey the day before to exorcise his Helsby Road accident. The weather had been very sunny and the pub was very cheap – two pints of ale for under £4!. Today Ivan had prepared a route to the Black Bear in Whitchurch.

As Steve's report indicates, there was a paucity of riders out today; maybe the rest of the club were at the shops frantically trying to find that final Christmas present. So Ivan led out John W and myself on surprising wet roads around Beeston Castle towards Peckforton village. We edge around Bunbury onwards to Brindley at a brisk pace. There is then the big loop around to Ashton via Wrenbury. Thankfully the roads are very quiet as we barrel down Sheppenhall Lane trying to avoid the potholes cunningly concealed as puddles.

Crossing the A525, we are on our way to Ightfield and thence the ups-and-downs via Ash Parva and Ash Magna. The Edgeley Road transfer is employed to enter Whitchurch and into the warm arms of The Black Bear pub. It is very busy as the car park attests, yet we get a table and settle down for a well-earned rest after 30 miles. Despite the general busyness, the drinks and hot food come quickly enough. The rest of the punters seem to be locals in various Christmas lunch parties.

On leaving the pub, we notice that there has been a shower of rain and now have wet saddles. The pub landlord offers a tea towel to dry the saddles off. Very decent of him. Conscious that darkness arrives just after 1530 around the Winter Solstice, we set off  just after 1300 up Wirswall Hill passing Hill Valley golf club. At the top, before the rapid descent to Marbury, there is a magnificent view over the Cheshire plain all the way to the Pennines. Jodrell Bank is sunlit in the far distance.


The lane down is hazardous with all the agricultural mud and debris of winter on the surface, and thankfully we exit Marbury without any mishap. The way back to the start is now predictable via Bickerton and Harthill. As we enter Tattenhall, Neil and Steve H come into view. What exquisite timing! Neil shoots home while we three shoot passed Steve and, eschewing the prospect of cake, pedal for home.

So thanks to Ivan, with 46 muddy miles covered along with our bikes well covered with Cheshire mud, this rounds off the last ride for me for the year. There is now one more scheduled ride on the 27that a relocated venue ( see the web site)

See route map and/or gpx file download

CA

Photo by John W


Sunday 16 December 2018

13th December 2018: Gresford - Christmas Lunch Ride (mod)

You know it’s getting near Christmas when someone mentions the annual Christmas lunch ride. Dave H got the ball rolling by booking us into the Pant-yr-Ochain at Gresford – a popular choice of venue that we have visited several times before for Christmas lunches. Still recovering from his op, he wasn’t able to cycle himself so I volunteered to lead the moderate group. Twenty members were booked in for the lunch and about a dozen of us assembled at Meadow Lea for the ride out. After the brisk riders had set off seven of us (Andy B, Bryan, Jim, George, Mike, Steve H and I) were left for the moderate ride. It was a bright day, which in winter also means that it was a cold day and a strong, biting wind was blowing in our faces as we set off towards Guilden Sutton.

We saved the shortest route for the return journey which only left one option that would get us to the Pant-yr-Ochain in time. Crossing the A51 we cycled through Waverton and then crossed the A41 to take us through Saighton and Bruera. At Aldford we avoided a section of the main road by taking the back road and would have done the same at Churton except that two riders at the front missed the turning. We carried on along the main road to Farndon and dropped down to the bridge over to Holt, reopened now after its recent refurbishment.

In Holt we turned right to pass Cleopatra’s and followed the road straight through Commonwood to Borras. From here we were following the road signs to Gresford and when we reached the village we turned left, passing The Flash to arrive at the Pant-yr-Ochain in good time. We had got there before the brisk riders but to be fair they had gone the long way round.

We met up with several members who, for various reasons, had chosen to arrive on four wheels instead of two. Soon the brisk riders arrived and finally Dave & Liz on their tandem. We all settled down to our meal. Dave had chosen ‘The Pant’ as it had always provided us with good food and this year was no exception. The only disappointing aspect was the standard of jokes in the crackers but isn’t that the nature of cracker jokes?

After lunch Andy B, Mike and Steve H went their own ways home leaving four of us to take the direct return route. We left before the brisk riders, heading through Rossett, and made it to Pulford before they came charging past. Bryan left us here too leaving three of us to return to Meadow Lea via Eccleston, Handbridge and Hoole Lane. We managed to make it back before darkness fell having ridden 32 miles.

Thanks to Dave H for organising the lunch, which I know from experience is not an easy task, and a Merry Christmas to all.

TC

See route map and/or gpx file download

Photos below by Mike G
















Friday 14 December 2018

13th December 2018 : Gresford - Christmas Lunch Ride (brisk)

Given there were likely to be quite a few riders today at Meadow Lea Farm cafe, I decided to offer a short brisk ride. This started out as being 37 miles long to lunch, but it was pointed out that we had to get to the Pant y Ochain by 1230, so I shortened it to 33 miles. It then transpired we had to be there by 1215, so more trimming on the fly was necessary.

Ray, Ivan, John M and Nick joined me on a route round the back of Barrow to Ashton Hayes. A shimmy across the A51 found us heading for Kelsall Hill where I took the lower road towards Willington, curiously named Flat Lane, thence via Green Lane, and up a short incline to run down to Willington.

Crossing the A51 and now down Corkscrew Lane, we are heading rapidly towards Tattenhall. Now up Rocky Lane we cross the A41 thence down Dog Lane. By now my bike and I needed a little maintenance, so Ray stopped to wait with me whilst the Frantic Three zoomed on. We had agreed to take stock in Coddington to decide if we had time to take Beachin Lane for the Churton to Holt loop. So by the time Ray and I got to this decision point, there was no one in sight! As Ray and I had lost about 10 minutes, I made an executive decision to head for Barton and then via Wetreins Lane to enter Holt.

Ray and I ploughed on through Holt and out via Borras Road - a long and boring stretch into the wind. There is a short hill at the end and, just before this, I noticed that the Borras Anti-Fracking camp had been disbanded at last. It was now just a short sprint down Vicarage Lane and the Old Wrexham Road to get to the pub where we found the Frantic Three just locking up their steeds. Their official route was the same length as my diversion at 30 Miles.

We were all in time for dinner, magnificently organised by Dave H who enjoyed reverting to his former school master role in reminding all what they had ordered. The Pant staff were excellent as was the food. The few pints of Titanic Plum Porter really put me in the Christmas mood!

The route back was even more frantic as we sped down Marford Hill and then into the back of Chester via Eccleston. Going back to Meadow Lea would have been 44 miles as the sun went down.

See route map and/or gpx file download

CA

Saturday 1 December 2018

29th November 2018: Marbury


Everyone riding to Rose Farm had had a struggle against the wind and rain. Maybe that’s why relatively few cyclists turned up: Clive, John W, Ivan and myself, plus David M who was only out for a short ride.  We were joined for coffee by Steve T who had some weak excuse for not coming out. I had a route in mind to the Bhurtpore at Aston, and so it was that three brisk riders and one moderate set out – giving me the chance to practice leading from behind!

The start of our ride was foul: very strong gusty winds and heavy horizontal rain.  After ten minutes this moderated to the simply unpleasant. We pressed on buffeted by a south-westerly wind, passing through Cotebrook, Wettenhall and Nantwich. We passed through Ravensmoor and Wrenbury, before pulling into the Bhurtpore car park.  Eagle-eyed Clive had noticed something wrong – no lights on. He popped into the pub to discover the whole of Aston had suffered a power cut, and we could only have cold food.  A quick conference came up with the alternative of The Swan at Marbury, which we could reach with only a short detour.

Photo by ID/JW
We rolled into Marbury and posed for a photo outside The Swan.  This has recently undergone a major refurbishment overseen by Jeremy Brunning, one of the founders of the Brunning and Price pub chain. I think we were all pleased with the place, the welcome, the beer and the food. We talked about the LLandegla mountain biking centre and about Ivan’s new jacket – very warm, very windproof, very waterproof and very expensive.

Leaving the pub we took School Lane to Gaunton’s Bank, a filthy muddy potholed road. Thence headed north to Chorley Bank, where Ivan’s impetuosity in the front led to him missing the turn and head for Cholmondley.  John chased after but, by the time he was caught, they had gone so far that they decided to head directly for home. Clive and I continued through Bunbury and past the Shady Oak.  Here Clive headed home, while I passed through Tarporley to reach our starting point with 42 miles covered.


SH