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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, 4 April 2019

4th April 2019: Comberbach (mod)

Having witnessed a car having been broken into on our previous visit, I decided to give the little free car park across from Delamere station a miss, and pay the six pound fee for the day at the forest centre. At the station cafe we enjoyed a bit of banter with Ivan and John, before trying to decide the route of the day from a moderate riders' menu. We were pleased to have a new guest rider joining us, Malcolm Emsley. It was good to see Steve Haywood back from an Italian holiday.  I had envisaged heading for The Wizard at Alderley Edge, and had checked the menu and telephone number. However, the weather forecasts over the last twelve hours indicated bad weather arriving earlier than originally estimated. Steve Haywood can always be relied upon to provide a route, and duly suggested Chelford or Goostrey as possible destinations. Normally, I am always happy to follow Steve, often on great routes, and to pubs not previously sampled.  Notwithstanding, we have had some very wet afternoons returning from The Swan with Two Nicks in recent memory, so I wasn't too keen to reprise the role of a drowned rat for two hours or more with such a dire afternoon forecast. My “Plan B” was a more circular route, with a short, direct return if the Heavens opened. I am not sure that the decision was unanimous, but the troops, in their usual easy going manner, gave their consent. I suspect that Steve Tan would have preferred a longer route, because he is commendably so positive, and even if his glass had been half full only because of the rainwater in it, at the end of the day he would still have been soaking happy! So it was, that Malcolm, George, Steve T, Steve H and myself set off for a vague destination by an unresolved route, that would be amended at a whim (more favourably viewed as 'intuitively') by a leader with a wrecked paper map and no GPS.

Our route took us down to the River Weaver by cycling 'the back way' past Norley Hall, into Crowton, down  Ainsworth Lane and past Mick the Coalman's house. We then headed alongside the river to Dutton Lock. I thought that this route would be a novelty to Malcolm, but it turned out to be familiar to him! We were soon heading through Little Leigh and Great Budworth. As we passed  Pick Mere on our right, I realised that we could be soon en route to Steve's original destination suggestions. When we set out, The Ring o'Bells at Daresbury had been my suggested lunch stop, but now I felt that the Spinner and Bergamot at Comberbach would keep the wind behind us and provide an even more expedient return to Delamere. After a brief consultation, we stuck to Plan B. We turned north-west up the quiet Frog Lane, turned west to Moss End and then north up into Arley Park. I well remember being helped at the equestrian centre down here after an accident  caused by my looking too long at four birds in a field whilst travelling fast! The rain was starting as we exited Arley by Arley Road, then turned left opposite Garland Hall, riding south past The Pole, an impressive c.1840 Grade 2 listed building, which was for sale. When we arrived at the C18th. Spinner and Bergamot we had managed twenty-two miles, and had largely beat the rain to lunch. Steve T. was, nevertheless, having a fit of the shivers, no doubt having a lower amount of body fat than the average person's little finger was a contributory factor. Over lunch, we learnt that Malcolm was originally from Denton, but had spent some time in the Isle of Wight. He now lived in Winsford and was recovering from a serious back problem by getting out on his bike for as many days as possible. The food was very good and the service friendly, but the pub gutters were overflowing with rainwater, as the predicted heavy rain properly arrived.

Our return was a brisk, wind assisted flight on water covered lanes by the shortest possible route: Cogshall Lane, Ash Tree Lane, Willow Green Lane, climbing to Acton Bridge, tearing along to Crowton, and then whacking up Marsh Lane to the last grind at Norley Bank. The rain stopped as we reached Delamere for a final coffee. Barely 32 miles covered, but another enjoyable day.  I reflected on how we manage to consistently agree on a decent route within minutes, despite not knowing who is going to turn up and initially having differing suggestions, or none at all. We must write a paper for Theresa: “Flexible, Collective Decision Making, subject to frictionless review, resulting in the best outcome for all”. The trouble is, that it is the qualities of those who you choose to travel with that determines a successful journey. We have CER members, she has the ERG and DUP!                                                                                                                                     

See route map and/or gpx file download

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