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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Friday 22 February 2019

21st February 2019: Caerwys (mod)

The weather forecasters had been predicting warm sunshine for several days now, but everyone gathering at The Gallery said that it had been really cold over recent days, so there was some doubt that we’d put on the right clothes for today’s ride. Would we be warm enough? We were eleven at the café, but Jim, Trevor and Macca were doing a ‘leisure’ ride, so that left Dave H, Steve H, Keith, Neil (back for the first ride since illness over Christmas), Nick (the lone ‘brisker’), Andy B, Ray and myself for the Moderate ride.

For selfish reasons, I had planned a route out to The Piccadilly at Caerwys, even though the Moderates had last gone to Caerwys only last November (although not to The Piccadilly). This was because the return route, over the Halkyn mountain, would take us down the lane where I had my accident last March and I wanted to see if I could meet up with some of the locals who helped me in my hour of need and who also gave comfort and cups of tea to John and Ivan that fateful afternoon. A kind of redemption ride, if you like.

We set off out of Hawarden by the usual climb through Buckley and on to Sychdyn, which got everyone nicely warmed up in the morning sunshine. Then on by the narrow lanes at Myachlog and the very steep climb to Rhosesmor. By this time, layers were being stripped off and breath being gasped for, as several of us have not attempted serious hills for many months. Ray left us near Brynford, as he had an appointment to attend.

We went on via Babell and Pant to avoid the steep hill and to approach Caerwys from the north. The Piccadilly was almost empty when we arrived at about 12.15, so we were quickly served with drinks and food. Everyone agreed that this was excellent, once again cementing this as one of our favoured lunch stops.

Suitably refreshed, we headed north-west from Caerwys to cross the busy A55 by negotiating several layers of Armco barrier. We passed through Chwitffordd and Gorsedd, then south through Bryndford and over Halkyn Mountain. The views from here were stunning (see photo) with both Liverpool cathedrals and Beeston Castle clearly visible.

Photo by Steve T

The descent took us through Halkyn village and then on to the track by The Bluebell Inn which leads to Middle Mill Road where the accident took place. Whilst at The Piccadilly, I had called John Sigsworth (thanks to John M for the number) and arranged to call to see him at his home at Midlist Farm. So I was able to thank him for his help that day. Unfortunately, his neighbour, Ian, was not in, but we did speak to the lady who lives in a house at his farm and who had also been present that day.
Redemption achieved, we carried on down to Northop and the busy roundabout at Ewloe before reaching the car park at Hawarden. Along the way, Keith had peeled off for Guilden Sutton, where he had left his car. It seems that the 40 miles and 2264 feet of climb that the rest of us had done was not enough for him!

See route map and/or gpx file download


Friday 15 February 2019

14th February 2019: Little Bollington (mod)

I arrived first at Delamere but was soon joined by droves of Easy Riders on what promised to be the best day of 2019 so far as weather was concerned.  The early cold mist soon cleared to leave a glorious blue sky and sunny 13C all day.  It was my first CER ride for 6 months, so it was good to catch up with the gossip and see Steve T back in the saddle. (More of him later)  Steve H kindly offered to lead a ride from his Garmin to Little Bollington, which I notice was visited as recently as last August.  It must be good I thought, not having been there.  Our route out took Dave H, George, Andy, Keith, Steve H, Steve T and me out via Acton Bridge, Arley Hall, Knutsford to Tatton Park.  The good weather had brought out trippers in their droves.  Soon after we passed the Bridgewater Canal, which I was surprised to read is still privately owned with its own website.  Two articles made reference to it NOT being the oldest canal in England, but both left me dangling to know which one was.

Photos by Macca
Our destination for lunch was “The Swan with two Nicks,” NOT necks as I heard. It’s in Park Lane, WA14 4TJ 0161 928 2914.  On its website homepage, it shows a photo of ITV’s free advertising for the current drama “Cold Feet” with Pete on a bike ride.  Though busy with diners, we were soon served an ample sufficiency for £7-8.

Our return took us first via Lymn, then through the disused WW ll RAF Stretton, originally built to protect both Liverpool and Manchester from enemy aircraft.  It ended the War as a R N A S, supplying carriers with anti-submarine aircraft.  Cycling onwards through Whitley, Little Leigh and Acton Bridge, Tanny deservedly won KoM.  We dropped various riders off, leaving just Steve H and me to return to the Station cafe.  The least I could do after this enjoyable ride was buy him a well deserved coffee, having covered 48 miles at 12.5 mph average.  Thanks Steve

See route map and/or gpx file download


14th February 2019 : Rixton (brisk)

Clive, John W and myself arranged to meet up at the Mickle Trafford end of the Greenway for our cafe start at Delamere station and were joined by Andy B making his way out from Mold. The weather outlook for this Valentine's Day was the prospect of a really warm day but at 09:15 it felt quite chilly. By the time we arrived at the station café at Delamere, we were suitably warmed up.

The brisk riders today were Clive, John W, Nick and myself and a route to Rixton and a pub called the Black Swan was proposed. The only location I have seen another Black Swan is Dawlish town (Devon) but this pub had a good menu and several beers on offer.

Leaving the Moderate riders, we head out back to Hatchmere and Norley via Pytchley Hollow and for the first time met here an opposing car; we got out of the way!! Passing the Tigers Head inn, it is down hill to Acton Bridge and over the Weaver and uphill to Little Leigh. The lanes today are relatively dry and quiet. The low mist has been burnt away and we were enjoying warm sunshine and blueish skies.

From Appleton Thorn, we head down to Grappenhall and follow the Manchester Ship Canal passing an infamous landmark often referred to on road delay bulletins (see photos). 

Thelwall Viaduct on M6 from below

We could have ridden along the Trans Pennine track but today gave this trail a miss. Passing Lymm, we head towards one of the few crossing points on the canal at Warburton Bridge. You normally have to pay a 20p charge for road vehicles, but cycles are free. We have a photo shoot on the bridge before continuing the next few miles to our lunch stop at Rixton.

Warburton to Rixton Toll Bridge over Manchester Ship Canal

The Black Swan is actually in Hollins Green but the pub's website states Rixton, the village nearby. After a decent lunch, we have to return via the toll bridge to Warburton. There is actually a defunct rail crossing a little further along the canal, but due to vandalism and eroding structures, we decided to give this route a miss.

We pass over the Bridgewater canal and to High Legh crossing the busy A50 and on to Great Budworth. When passing the Anderton boat lift, I reflect on this ride that we have ridden over and along side a lot of water today. From Anderton we pass through Winnington before the long drag back up to Norley and Hatchmere crossroads. Clive, John and I say farewell to Nick who was cycling back to Delamere whilst we continue back into Chester

A short ride for a Brisk day out – from the Delamere café to Rixton it is 50 miles, but including our ride out and back home it is 70 miles for me and approx. 76 miles for Clive and John. Some new lanes ventured and a new venue for lunch concludes a glorious spring day out with friends.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Photos by CA and JW

Friday 8 February 2019

7th February 2019: Nesscliffe (mod)

Strong winds and heavy rain overnight were forecast to moderate during the day, and so four moderates arrived at the Castle Bistro in Chirk: Dave H, Steve T, George and myself. We debated a route, bearing in mind that a strong westerly wind was still blowing.  Suggestions for The Talbot at Ruyton XI Towns were put on hold after a previous visit found that they were closed for food Thursday lunchtime. (However, having just checked, although closed some lunchtimes, they are now open on Thursdays, and we should plan a visit at another time.)  Instead we settled on The Old Three Pidgeons at Nesscliffe, which I believe we have only visited once before in early 2018.

We started out on a familiar route through Hindford and the Franktons, and then followed a fast and generally smooth route from Hordley to Baschurch. It was then only a few miles through the Ness’s to our destination, though for the first time we were heading into the wind, and the going proved hard.

The Old Three Pidgeons is a free house which has been run by the same family over three generations. It’s a friendly establishment and serves excellent good value food and drink: well worth re-visiting.  The quality of the pub seemed to be matched by the quality of the weather when we came out: blue skies and sunshine, almost spring like.
Photos bt Steve T
Our route back took us north and west through lovely lanes and woodlands to West Felton. The weather for the moment continued fine, through the surface was less forgiving and I picked up a chunk of glass in my rear tyre. That’s the second puncture I have had in a few weeks and having been impressed last time by the use of Keith’s CO2 cylinder, I’d invested in my own and it proved its worth.  We were soon on the road again, through Maesbury Marsh, Oswestry and Weston Rhyn.  Steve T had left us behind as we climbed the hill back into Chirk, so we were surprised not to find him waiting in the café when we arrived. He soon turned up, having diverted to buy sausages – obviously something special.

We had a good ride of 40 miles with the muddiest wettest lanes nearest to Chirk.  We’d had a mix of light rain, sharp showers and welcome sunshine on an enjoyable day.  The sunshine unfortunately wasn’t an early sign of spring as winter storms are forecast for the weekend.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Saturday 2 February 2019

31st January 2019: Overton (mod)

A little belatedly winter arrived this week.  It had brought with it a fair covering of snow to my little corner of North East Wales.  I was, however keen to get out on my bike if I could.  I had missed the two previous club rides due to other commitments.  I therefore gambled that the loss of a couple of hundred feet from my home to the starting point at the Ice Cream Farm would have resulted in less snow.  My gamble paid off.  As I drove through Waverton the fields were more green than white.

I pulled into the car park followed by Dave H, also, I was pleased to see dressed in his cycling gear.  We were quickly joined by two further members, not in cycling attire, Steve H and Dave M.  Today, just there for the coffee.  As we amiably drank our hot beverages it became apparent that we were not going to be joined by any further members.

A consultation around the table determined that our wisest course was to head south keeping to the low ground of the Cheshire Plain and try to pick a route where there was a good chance that the roads had been treated with salt.  Overton was to be our destination.

Leaving the Ice Cream Farm, turning left and then right at the crossroads, Dave and I retraced our outward journey back to Waverton.  We then turned south, through Saighton, and Churton bypassing Farndon to cross the A534.  We were bowling along at a steady pace on treated roads and warming up nicely.  Through Shocklach and Worthenbury we stuck to the main B 5069 through Bangor on Dee and into Overton.

The White Horse was quite busy on this cold January day.  We both decided we had earned a full meal and ordered accordingly.  The food duly arrived, piping hot and the portions definitely “large”.  We tucked in with a will and our mothers would have been proud of us as we cleared our plates.  Back on the bikes we decided that the sensible plan was to retrace our steps.  We knew all the route was on treated roads and we had not encountered any of the feared black ice on our outward leg.

We arrived back at the Ice Cream Farm just before 4pm.  Fortunately, as the days are now lengthening in full daylight.  Circa 45 miles covered.  My thanks to Dave for his  company.