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.

Friday 29 March 2019

28th March 2019 : Harmer Hill (mod)

Ken had just returned from nearly two months in Japan and New Zealand and was keen for a non-taxing route on his first ride. I offered him a flat 50 miler from Chirk to Harmer Hill and he offered me a car-assist from Rossett to Chirk thus negating a boring 30 mile ride out to Chirk from Chester.

Already at the Castle Bistro were Dave H, Steve T, George, Trevor, Andy B and Mike G. As ever, Chirk seems to be a popular starting point, so I was surprised and pleased when these six accepted my ride to Harmer Hill. We have been there a few times before, the most recent being a brisk ride last August. Today’s ride was almost like that August ride, except in reverse.

I promised a downhill start followed by a flat section, aka the canal path to Weston Rhyn. Here we took an unfamiliar diversion towards Gobowen. Passing Derwen College, we are now into the tiny lanes around Hindford for the climb up to Welsh Frankton Hill at all of 153 metres. Rushing down the lane we are soon at Tetchill and circle White Mere, then Colemere Hill, onwards to English Frankton. At Lee, I pick up a nasty thorn in the rear tyre. Ken works wonders replacing my tube and we are off again. 
Welsh Frankton hill

The rear puncture is repaired. Thanks Ken!
Once through Loppington, we skirt Sleap airfield to arrive in Myddle just two miles from Harmer Hill and the Bridgewater Arms pub. Although the pub was busy, our fare comes quite quickly. Once our thirst and hunger had been sated, we plunge down the back lane to Myddle. Here we pass by the impressive Red Sandstone bluffs which are the southerly extent of Cheshire Sandstone. I recall that we also passed through this lane on the Battlefield ride in October last year.

We are back in the lanes again onwards to West Felton. The countryside is magnificent in the spring sunshine. There is wild garlic to savour and fields of blossoming rapeseed, along with a few yellow butterflies.  Elsewhere fields have been ploughed awaiting arable crop seeding. Taking the pedestrian shortcut bridge over the A5, we 
are almost ready for the dash through Maesbury to the outskirts of Oswestry.

The approach to Oswestry from the south is boring being through industrial estates and thence into the centre of town. However by taking Weston lane, we shadow Wat’s Dyke path to arrive in the town centre. Here though we skirt Cae Glas park to miss the one way system exiting close to Morrisons and thence up suburban Llwyn Road. There is a short steep section here after which we are instantly back in the countryside  passing the Iron Age hill fort of Old Oswestry. 

At the outskirts of West Rhyn, we take an unfamiliar route back into Chirk enjoying the short steepish hill of the Glyn Ceiriog road to arrive back at the Castle Bistro after almost 50 miles. A great day out in spring sunshine, a dry day with dusty lanes and that "it's good to be alive" feeling that such a ride as this gives you.

Magnolia and daffodils in the spring sunshine

Ken and I eschew a coffee and head back to Chester whilst a few take a coffee ( and cake perhaps) in the Castle Bistro and others also take their cars.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Photos MG

Tuesday 26 March 2019

21st March 2019: Whitchurch (mod)

Mike, Neil, Keith, George, Andy B and myself were the moderate group for the day. I had a vague plan to head for the 17th.century Black Bear at Whitchurch, because the service and food is consistently good, and it was sure to be open. My chosen route was via Brown Knowl to No Mans Heath. In order to extend the mileage leading to lunch, we then meandered north-east of Whitchurch through Gaunton Bank, Wrenbury, Pinsley Green and alongside Black Park, before dropping into Whitchurch itself. 

Lunch was as enjoyable as expected. It was decided to ride a longer afternoon by sweeping south-west along some of our favourite Shropshire lanes. Mike and his GPS were invaluable in finding the little lane out to Alkington. Good progress was made via Platt Lane, Dobson's Bridge, Northwood, Lyneal and Colemere. We crossed the main road to Shrewsbury and were soon passing the attractive White Mere, leased to Shropshire Sailing Club by Grosvenor Estates. The mere is one of nine glacial meres in the area. It covers 65 acres, and together with two adjacent woodlands, it has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The black and white cottage at this end of the lake, on the little lane up to Lee, looks an idyllic place to live.

As we turn right over the canal near the marina on the edge of Ellesmere, Beech House can be glimpsed left and ahead. Thomas Telford lived and worked here when overseeing the construction of the original Ellesmere Canal, which terminated at Netherpool on the Mersey (now part of Ellesmere Port). It was hard to ignore the pull of coffee and cake at Ellesmere, but we had decided to make Holt or Farndon our only stop after lunch.

Turning left!

A Mercian and a Harry Hall

My route out was by way of the little road at the north-west end of The Mere, and then left on a pleasant lane over the former Wrexham and Whitchurch railway line, which closed in 1965. We were soon climbing out the steep dip into Penley, and heading for Holly Bush and Worthenbury. On passing Glandeg Farm, the riders in front of George and myself had already started winding up the pace for the sprint through Shocklach to Farndon. Once the gap had appeared, there was no catching them.

I don't know how Andy manages to accelerate so well on his super tank tourer, with hub gears, 55 spoke (approx!) rear wheel and humming rubber drive belt. Many of the fields on our left were totally flooded from the River Dee. The fast last five and a half miles ensured that we had plenty of time for a well-earned coffee and cake at Lewis's before their 4.30p.m. closing time.

Cars had been left in different places, and Andy and Neil were cycling home. Andy was expecting to complete 100mls. or more. George and myself were parked at The Ice Cream Farm and covered about 60mls. from start to finish. The weather had been ideal, and it had been satisfying to cover a decent mileage in lovely country.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Photos MG

Sunday 24 March 2019

21st March 2019: Calverhall (brisk)

Meeting up at the ICF, there was a reasonable turnout of riders and today I was showing my legs for the second time this year!!

I had a ride to The Old Jacke in Calverhall, so Nick, John W and myself set off via Beeston and Bunbury, then opted to ride along Long Lane crossing the A534 and on to Ravensmoor. This route is preferable than venturing down Cappers Lane as there are a couple of farms that enjoy making very dirty (muddy) roads.

From Ravensmoor we head towards Wrenbury and Aston passing the Bhurtpore Inn. At the crossroad we continue onwards and enjoy quiet lanes and a very brisk pace to our lunch stop at Calverhall covering 27 miles in 86 minutes! We would have arrived before opening time but I suggested we slow to 18mph and use it as a slow/cool down 3 miles out.

After lunch, we continue in the same tradition of BRISK and are again whizzing along some lovely lanes until we approach Prees where we have a halt as Nick has broken his Carbon water bottle holder. No problem as the bottle fitted in his shirt pocket, and the holder was correctly discarded in a local’s grey bin and off we go again.
Now where do we go!
Through Prees it is up the bank along Steel Road to Tilstock passing over the Shropshire Union Canal and just before the bridge was raised, then Malpas where you join all the new traffic and on to Carden where we say farewell to Nick but not before enjoying a pint in the Carden Arms. The duo continues en-route back to Tattenhall but gladly at a more sedate pace. The ride was 56 miles back to ICF.

We didn’t call in at the ICF but headed home to Chester with John pushing and maintaining an average mph of 18+ over 74 miles. I was really happy to get home today. A good spring sunshine ride day with little wind and no incidents.


Photo ID

Thursday 14 March 2019

14th March 2019 : Rock Ferry (mod)

I’ll call this ride “Wirral Old and New”. As so often happens, the forecast does not match reality on the day. As Storm Gareth was expected to bring 45 mph winds to The Wirral, only four riders appeared on a sunny morning at Ness Gardens. Steve T came to check on our well-being, but only for coffee today

Andy, Clive, and George were led north by me who promised them quiet, traffic free roads and cycle tracks, just to minimise any risk from the wind. After Little Neston, we rode north on The Wirral Way to Gayton, sheltered from the westerlies. On a recce a few weeks ago, I had discovered Wittering Lane and Pipers Lane in Lower Heswall that paralleled the Wirral Way taking us to the first of three climbs of the day, Oldfield Drive. Yes, there are some steep and rough gradients on the peninsula.

At the top, the Thurstaton cycle way took us to Irby and the first of the “Old” settlements, Thingwall, which takes its name from the Norse “ting vellir” or meeting place. It begs the question, was this a very important place in the 10thCentury, similar to other European Viking capitals like Tynwald, Thingvellir or Tingwall the old capital of Shetland. 

North on Sustrans 56 through Woodchurch, then east over the M53 that took us to our 2ndclimb onto the sandstone ridge at Noctorum, followed by a fast descent into Birkenhead Park. Designed by Paxton in 1847, it is the world’s oldest public park and has the UK’s only covered wooden footbridge (a la Suisse) where the other three riders posed for a photo.

Swiss Bridge - Birkenhead Park
Despite the headwinds, we were only five minutes late for our lunch stop at the ever-popular Refreshment Rooms. As usual there, everyone had a good lunch. Suitably fed and watered, we headed with the wind along the beach at Rock Ferry.

A monochrome study of Rock Ferry beach
At Port Sunlight, the other three had never ascended the Alpe de River Park, the newest park on Merseyside. Opened in 2014, it sits atop the old council rubbish tip, emitting methane that is converted on site into electricity. At the summit we only admired the views for a while as the wind was fairly fierce and chilly.

Continuing south along the banks of the Mersey, we passed through Eastham Country Park before traversing the Wirral back to Ness Gardens. A very enjoyable 35 miles but with three steep hills, it dropped our average speed to a pleasant 11mph.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Photos by Macca

Wednesday 13 March 2019

7th March 2019:

Assumed No Ride this week

Friday 1 March 2019

28th February 2019: Audlem (mod)

The weather had been exceptionally fine and warm recently, but this was Thursday! I think that Carol Kirkwood had heard me banging on about her daily hot front, and had decided that a cold shower was an appropriate response. The moderates today were Steve Tan, Steve Haywood, George, Trevor, Jim, Mike, Bob and myself. Neil had a problematic slipping seat post, so was returning home.

On reaching Cotebrook, I was told that Steve Haywood had abandoned, because of a broken gear cable. I thought a bit later, that we could have worked a fix on his rear derailleur, and he could have coped with the flat route using just his front changer. We took our familiar route to Reaseheath via Wettenhall. Instead of working a way through Nantwich we headed past Dorfold Hall toward the fine old church at Acton. The Star public house used to be on the left in a lovely timbered building, now converted to a private residence. The swinging sign had the magic of a traditional Christmas card: a distinctive, bright white star on a cool blue background. It reminded me of playing Joseph in the Nativity play in primary school circa 1957. Mike remembers visiting The Star. I always wanted to work it in as a lunchtime stop with Chester Easy Riders, but it was not quite faraway enough from home. Now, I'll always wonder how it was inside. Opportunities pass, as time moves on. If you haven't visited it, the cafe on the side of the marina is very good. Sitting outside in summer sun, overlooking the tethered narrow boats, with a tea, a panini and a paper to read, is wonderful. As long as it's not the Daily Mail! I remember being there with Jim, when we found a soft tyre as we were about to return. The tyre change went smoothly, but a lot of sweat was wasted on inflation, before I discovered that I had put the old, punctured inner tube back on, in mistake for the unused spare! Always tie the punctured tube up before proceeding (as laid down in the Dave Pipe Ten Commandments of Cycle Repair). 

Down the quiet Raven's Lane, we passed Madam's Farm and continued onto Tally-ho Lane. The farmhouse at Madam's Farm is grade II listed, and was formerly the dower house for Dorfold Hall, so this may explain the unusual name. We turned left at Ravensmoor and headed for Sound Heath where, if you haven't got a Mike Gilbert orienteering head on, it can be like the Bermuda Triangle. I remember being out here with Dave and Liz. I was 'off my map', and Dave had a part-time clockwork GPS. Although we eventually made the correct choice, we fell for the other trap of avoiding going down the main road by crossing to Broomhall Green, heading south, and then realising that there were no nearby right turns back to Aston for lunch. Today, however, passing Hall o'Coole was not a diversion as we headed directly for The Lord Combermere at Audlem.

The food was good and the staff friendly, as ever. The rain had been a pain, and looked as if it had become a little heavier as we set out on a familiar return route via Aston, Wrenbury, Brindley and Bunbury. The rain, thankfully, eventually stopped, but for one reason or another we didn't partake at Tilly's, and we went our different ways home. Steve and I were left with the stiff climbs around Tilstone Bank, and then out of a busy Tarporley up to Rose Farm. I fished a waterproof seat cover out of the back of the car before driving home. Despite the rain, the exercise, change of scenery and friendship made it worthwhile. It was good to have Bob, Jim, Trevor and Mike back out on a moderate's ride. We covered about 46 miles. Today, I have had surgery to my hand, and I am away next week, so I hope to join you next on March 21st.

See route map and/or gpx file download


28th February 2019 : Barthomley (brisk)

The forecast was for a showery day and the first droplets of rain were falling as four brisk riders set off for the White Lion at Barthomley. As it happens all four of us, Clive, Nick, John W and myself, had chosen Gore Shake Dry rain jackets as our protection from the elements. It proved to be a good decision as the rain was persistently heavy rather than showery. 

The route took us east via Wettenhall and Church Minshull before swinging south to cross the A53east of Crewe. After a further wet 5 miles we were happy to arrive at the 17th century White Lion.

Our jackets had proved their worth keeping our torsos dry without the usual boil in the bag effect. Unfortunately, gloves and overshoes had not proved as effective and were laid out to dry in front of the welcoming log fire. There was a cheery atmosphere in the pub and the food lived up to previous reports. Sausage and Mash, Steak and Guinness Pie and Steak Baguettes were enjoyed with beer and coffee as we lingered hoping the rain would ease. 

No such luck and eventually we forced ourselves out with the promise of coffee and cake at Tillys in Bunbury “only” 22 miles away. Despite the weather we remained in good humour and with good speed and plenty of chat we headed towards Nantwich via Hough and Wybunbury. I think it was at the A534 that Nick left us to head directly for Tilston and home. 

It was only a few more miles until the remaining three arrived at Tillys in Bunbury where we took another short break from the rain. We didn’t need to return to Rose Farm so our final leg back to Chester was along familiar lanes via Beeston, Hargrave and Waverton.

Including our ride to the start we completed over 70 miles and can now thoroughly recommend our rain jackets! We have not been paid for this commercial!

See route map and/or gpx file download