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 28 July 2019

25th July 2019 : Nantwich (brisk)

Over the previous 48 hrs ‘Whats App’ chats confirmed that the brisk group would be low on numbers for Thursday’s ride from Rose Farm. So a decision was made that the remaining trio (myself, Ivan and John W) would start from Meadow Lea. For several days the Met Office had forecast Thursday to be the hottest day of the year, in the region of 30c, so our discussion over coffee determined our best option would be a moderate paced ride towards Nantwich.

We left at 11:00hrs and headed out towards Guilden Sutton. Here, a buzzard swooped low over our heads, glided down to the road  directly in front of us and picked up a mouse that was hiding in the roadside grass. It was an impressive sight from one of our most common raptors but it was a shame that we couldn’t capture it on photo.

After crossing the busy A51, we rode at reasonably brisk rate through Brown Heath and Christleton. Riding past Eaton Golf Club, we saw Bryan Wade then a few minutes later Andy Barber both, presumably, returning early from Rose Farm. Heading on through Greenlooms, we  joined Cycle Route 70 and followed it to Tiverton  before passing the very empty and sad looking Wild Boar Hotel. We continued the brisk pace through Bunbury  to Burland where we  turned left along the main A534 into Nantwich.

The lunch venue was The Bowling Green pub, a venue not previously visited by the CER .We elected to eat inside to keep cool, the heat outside was now oppressive and around the 30 degrees. The Bowling Green is more of a drinker's pub with a limited choice of food, but they had two draught beers on tap and the  food was reasonably priced and  served promptly. Over lunch we deliberated over our return route, the options being via Wettenhall or  Wrenbury/Tattenhall. We chose the latter.

Unlocking our bikes, the soaring heat felt as though it was burning everything and we were keen to get going but John managed to become entangled in a climbing rose! I know the saying is a rose between two thorns but in this case he was ‘a thorn between two roses’ (Sorry John ,but the roses were really lovely!) which you can see in the  photo.

Leaving Nantwich we followed the cycleway alongside the river to join Cycle Route 74 through  to Ravensmoor and Wrenbury. The canal bridge by the Dusty Miller was up allowing time for another photo. Leaving the canal behind, we were all now taking a turns on the front enabling each of us to benefit from the draught  while maintaining the speed. Tattenhall arrived in quicktime and after a brief chat Ivan and John decided that they would accompany me through to Rossett before making their way back to Chester.

Of course, it would have been unforgiveable to pass Cleopatra's without stopping for drink and cake but as soon as our orders were placed the thunder and seriously heavy rain started. Unable to wait around any longer, we set off on the last leg along heavily flooded roads with zero visibility in pelting rain. 

Arriving home totally soaked but actually still quite warm I had completed 104km at an average of 26kmh. Ivan and John will have recorded similar figures. Thanks guys for a hot , wet, and  very good day out.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Photos ID

Friday 26 July 2019

25th July 2019: Audlem (mod)

Ten of us turned up at Rose Farm for today’s meet. Jim and Bryan were out for a short ride, Andy B was in for a short fifty, Steve H in civvies was unfortunately still suffering from sciatic nerve issues (Get well soon). The remainers containing Andy W, Dave H, Steve T, Dave P, Bob, and myself set out for a hot, sweaty ride with thunderstorms predicted for the afternoon return.

Where are we going? What was the rallying cry. Ravensmoor and Norton in Hales were mentioned and I suggested Audlem. Audlem it is, you can lead, that means writing the report and logging the route.

Of we went going via Oulton Park following the sun at a pace so the ’Chatter Box Club’ could have a full discussion on the meaning of life, cycle equipment and other issues. Near Calveley, Andy W decided to return home. At Nantwich we had a tour of the water park before heading south via the A530 and Hack Green where a warm southerly head wind was experienced. Copious amounts of water were consumed.

Our arrival at The Lord Combermere coincided with a number of others all wishing to eat. A long wait was had for the food, and whilst enjoying a drink our discussions ventured onto the demise of the Royal Navy and as we were gentlemen of mature years ’Our Ailments’. The food arrived and was excellent as was the Shropshire Gold.

I planned the route back a few minutes before we departed. It was to head almost due north running parallel with the predicted thunderstorms (I hoped). As we passed through Sound a storm was ahead of us but farther west. The roads were wet and with the heat and evaporation, it became extremely humid. On through Brindley, at Bunbury, Bob departed from us whilst the remaining four returned via Tarporley, stopping for a coffee at the Fire Station café before returning to Rose Farm. Overall about 45 miles covered in dry weather, for those cycling from Chester area 60 miles plus.


Friday 19 July 2019

18th July 2019: Kinnerton (leisure)

‘Unusual incident on cycle ride’

No it wasn’t Dave setting off without forgetting something, but more of that later!  The three of us, Dave H, Trevor and myself for various reasons were only up for a short ride on Thursday and decided to take the back lanes round Lower Mountain and Golley down to Rossett and then back to Chester, which would be about 30 miles from Guilden Sutton.

All appeared to be going well as we started dropping down past Shordley when we came across a chap in the middle of the road waving us down. He was carrying a petrol powered blower, and proceeded to ask us to carry our bikes as he hadn’t finished blowing the thorns off the road from the cutter up ahead. Naturally we were pleasantly surprised, even astonished at such consideration for ourselves, especially as we had had a couple of occasions to remonstrate with fellow road users earlier. A considerate farmer - now that is unusual. It was about this time that Dave realised that he had left his drink bottle in the café, which was now a considerable distance away, uphill. Fortunately drinks bottles are cheap so we agreed to continue downwards.

We took the old main road back towards town then swung back towards Kinnerton for lunch. Arriving at the pub, Dave realised that his car keys were also with the bottle, which we confirmed with a quick phone call. Plan B was put into action and after lunch, which was decidedly un-appealing, we set off up Kinnerton Old Road and back to Hawarden. Arriving back at the café we had reached our planned 30 miles, but at least the return was mainly downhill. With a pleasant tail wind we soon returned to Guilden Sutton having done 42 miles - we could have gone with the moderates but it wouldn’t have been as much fun!


18th July 2019: Caerwys (mod)

By 10:15, The Gallery coffee shop was packed out. In addition to the 15 (yes, 15!) Easy Riders, there was also another large group (walkers?), so you could barely hear yourself think, let alone hear what anyone was saying to you. We split into Brisk (5), Moderate (7) and Leisure (3) groups, the ‘Mods’ consisting of yours truly, Andy B, ‘the e-bikers’ (Bryan and Graeme) Dave Pipe and Neil, who had brought with him a guest rider, Fiona, who normally rides with Marford Gresford Velo Club.

After some discussion about possible destinations, steepness of hills and distances, it was agreed to ride out to The Piccadilly at Caerwys, one of our favourite pubs. So we set out by our usual route, climbing up through Buckley and Sychdyn, which got everyone nicely warmed up in the morning sunshine. On reaching the narrow lanes around Mynachlog, we deviated half way up the very steep climb, going left along the lane to reach the B5123 at Tyddyn-y-gwynt. This lane is less steep, but you still have to climb the same amount in the end! We paused to re-group near Rhosesmor (re-grouping was quite a thing today), only to find that Dave P was ahead of us and not behind as I had thought!

Climbing further through Rhes-y-cae and Pen-Ucha’r Plwyf we had finally gained enough altitude to give us a nice downhill run across the B5121 and then up the little short-cut lane to Babell, where we re-grouped once more. At Pant we go straight on to avoid the steep hill near Caerwys Hall and approach Caerwys from the north. Incidentally, Andy asks how steep that road really is; perhaps we’ll go that way next time.

For once it was warm enough for us to sit outside at The Piccadilly – see photo taken by a friendly waiter. As usual the food was good and the ‘light bites’ substantial. 
Photo Steve T

Suitably replenished, we head north-west from Caerwys, crossing the A55 at Pen-y-cefn by zig-zagging through several layers of Armco barrier as we do so. This has to be one of the most awkward road crossings that we use. Passing through Chwitfford and Gorsedd, we pressed on through Brynford to begin the climb up the Halkyn Mountain. Reaching Windmill, we pause to admire the views over the Dee estuary and the Cheshire Plain. We start our descent down Middle Mill Road, passing the now-famous location of my ‘off’ 16 months ago. Another minor diversion from the usual route takes us over Wat’s Dyke and on to the minor road leading into Northop.

From here we take the road past Northop Hall and down to Ewloe. In the process, we lose Fiona, as she gets stuck behind some traffic coming around a mini-roundabout. Re-grouping at a bus stop, Neil and Fiona head for home and the rest of us decide to go for a cuppa at The Hawarden Estate Farm Shop.

‘Only’ 40 miles, but with 3000 feet of climb and at an average (moving) speed of 12.5 mph, this was quite a strenuous ride for the ‘mods’.  The batteries of the e-bikes still had charge left in them, even if the legs of the rest of us did not. Thanks to Neil for introducing us to Fiona; we hope that she enjoyed the ride and that she’ll come along again soon for a ride with ‘the OAPs’!


Thursday 18 July 2019

18th July 2019 :Trevor (brisk)

A usual ride from The Gallery tea rooms at Hawarden would be out towards North Wales but today Clive suggested a ride to Trevor with lunch at the Sun public house.

So, the brisk riders today loaded up their Garmins with the route and, led out by Clive with Ivan, John W, Nick and Ken in tow, we head out of Hawarden for the rough ascent to Bilberry Wood. Navigating the non-cycle friendly stile, we cross over the A55 and pass through Penymndd.

Hope and Caergwle are soon behind us before the continuous climbing through Bryneg and up to Rhosllanorchrugog. The route is still upwards heading for the Panorama walk. The lanes are good riding and not busy and when we pass the Prospect café, the scenery is breath-taking today looking over the Vale of Llangollen with Dinas Bran looking down over Llangollen.

Nearly at the top
We take an exit off the walk and head back down into town and join the very busy tow path with pedestrians and the barges and make our way to our lunch stop. The Sun Inn was as accommodating as usual. It was Ken’s birthday today (one off that well known Beatles track) so a celebratory round and a good lunch was had. Happy Birthday from the Brisk group Ken, and cheers.

Back on our bikes and onto the canal path, its towards Cefn-Mawr and the usual route for Ruabon and Bersham. Whisked through Wrexham by Clive with all his knowledge of tracks, we haul our bikes across the pedestrian crossing bridge over the A5156 and pass the Pant-yr-Ochain. This was a coincidence as it was in a conversation with our club leader at the start of today’s ride from Hawarden.

At Gresford, we stop for a coffee at Alf Jones cycles cafe. We say farewell to our birthday boy in Rossett as us four head on to Dodleston. Nick peels off to head back for his car at Hawarden. Clive, John and I continue to Ferrymans Lane where we go our own way home.

An excellent route and company. The route as a round trip would be 50 miles to and from the café but riding out from Chester an average of 60+ miles covered and 3317ft of ascent but it all equals out with the descents!! - as we’re so often told.

A good day out for the Brisk group.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Photo by KP

Sunday 14 July 2019

11th July 2019: Dunham Woodhouses (mod)

Secure, inexpensive parking remains a problem at this venue. Steve Tan and I found  a suitable position alongside Hatch Mere. It was good to meet Graeme face to face at last. Trevor and Graeme had other commitments on the day, so the moderate riders were Bob, Keith, Steve T, Neil and myself.

We decided to try one of Ivan's favourite, cheap beer haunts: The Vine at Dunham Woodhouses. The route towards Knutsford, via Great Budworth, was familiar, but Steve had discovered a route under the new road which avoided the usual dangerous crossing of the A556 at Holehouses. At Knutford we headed north through the Deer Park at Tatton. Another route now was possible, because of the new by-pass, and we were able to swoop through the pretty village of Rostherne and head straight for Little Bollington. We were tempted by The Swan with Two Nicks, a familiar and trustworthy venue, but continued in order to try The Vine, and perhaps catch Ivan and John.

Ivan and John were a little soggy, having arrived before opening time and catching a heavy shower. Then Clive arrived, having made a fast, late run from home. It was very pleasant to be together, and the service was indeed very friendly, as promised by Ivan. I can't vouch for the cheap ale, as I didn't think it would help my recent gallstone issues!

The return route was via the Trans Pennine Trail, and a path through long grass to Lymm centre, of which Ray Hardman would not have approved. From Lymm it was my original back route via Sworton Heath, and the lacework of tiny lanes north-west of Arley Hall. Somewhere near Cogshall Hall there was the magnificent sound of a bird that Steve identified as a Song Thrush. Keith peeled off for Runcorn near Crumleyheath Farm. We headed for Acton Bridge via Little Leigh. The double slog: up from the river, and then up to Norley, this time via Cookson Green, is not an end-of-ride challenge that Bob relishes, which I can totally empathise with. Nevertheless, we had enjoyed some lovely, quiet Cheshire lanes, pretty villages, Tatton Park, and a new lunch stop. All at an easy pace for 47 miles in good company.                                                     

See route map and/or gpx file download


Saturday 13 July 2019

11th July 2019 : Dunham Woodhouses (brisk)

Today is a Delamere Café start and I meet John W at the Mickle Trafford end of the Greenway to ride out. Riding out via the A56 to Manley, it is a nice surprise to find Dark Ark Lane has been completely re-surfaced; a good start to our ride then along the undulations of Delamere road to Hatchmere and the station café.

The Brisk group had met up on Tuesday and enjoyed a Clive route to the Leopard pub at Nantwich, so today Nick had ridden out for a coffee before riding back home and Clive was expecting to meet up at our lunch destination The Vine at Dunham Woodhaouses. The Mod’s were also discussing this as their venue and route master and club secretary Mr Heath was map setting as John W and I set off.

From Hatchmere it was the usual route out via Crowton and Acton Bridge. Passing the Leigh Arms (once a lunch stop!!) we ride uphill to Little Leigh and Antrobus. After High Leigh we head over to Broomedge. We were passed by a breakaway sprinter on the road before the crossroads and after he had passed us, we stepped on the pedals and whizzed passed him before having to brake for the lights. He then enjoyed staying on the rear of our wheels before peeling off near Woodhouses.

We arrived at the Vine at 11:40 and the premises was shut so a couple of extra couple miles around the village ensued before arriving back for our lunch. As we were waiting for our apple crumble pudding the Mods arrived and also Clive.

In the Vine- waiting for lunch

It was good for both groups to meet up for lunch at the same venue. Clive was soon fed and watered and the three of us head back for home leaving the remainder to enjoy their first visit to this Robinsons hostelry. We head out towards passing under the canal bridge and the track which passes by another venue The Swan with Two Nicks. We follow Clive’s route out from Booth Bank and it’s a shorter ride via Sworth Heath, Appleton then to Hatton and Preston Brook.

We take the main A56 from Frodsham back to Mickle Trafford, where Clive and John head for home. A round trip distance of 64 miles was covered (Delamere route was 48miles as a circular) and the day’s weather was generally dry (arrived home dry) but we had suffered a couple of showers during our adventure today.

A good ride ride again and no incidents. Thanks to John and Clive for their company today.


Photo ID

Friday 5 July 2019

4th July 2019: Harmer Hill

I’d found a route that Clive had led last August from Chirk to The Bridgewater Arms at Harmer Hill and had loaded it onto my phone ‘just in case’. This turned out to be a good thing, as the CER group gathered at The Castle Bistro consisted of me, George, Trevor, Andy B, Graham and Neil, with neither our usual moderate ride leaders nor any of the brisk lads present. Neil had ridden out the 27 miles from home and declared that he was worn out and would only be having a coffee and then riding back home. So that left the 5 if us asking ‘where are we going today’?

So, Harmer Hill it was. We set off via Weston Rhyn and down the B road to Oswestry. Entering Oswestry, I found some difficulty in seeing the thin blue line on my Viewranger map and so we were soon swept up in the one-way system around the town. Looking closely at Clive’s original route, it seems that there’s a very direct route through which puts you on the road out towards Morda, but we missed that and spent quite a while working out which way to go. I must ask Clive how he did it.

Eventually, we were on Weston Lane and heading across the A483 at Mile Oak and thence on to Maesbury and Maesbury Marsh. On reaching the busy A5 at Weirbrook the map showed us going straight on, but there was no road on the opposite side of the A5! Fortunately, Trevor remembered that you go through a gap in the hedge opposite (another Clive dodge?) which puts you on the old B- road out towards Wykey and the PGL  Holiday Camp at Stanwardine.  The route here has quite a few steepish climbs which allowed Graham’s e-bike to show its impressive paces. Taking the B5067 out of Baschurch, we turn off at Walford Heath and, after a short run along the A528, we soon find ourselves at The Bridgewater Arms.

The barmaid (landlady?) didn’t seem to take too kindly to 5 scruffy, sweaty cyclists appearing in her nice pub and ordering our drinks and food had the feeling about it of appearing in front of the headmistress. However, with the offer of two meals for £8.95 and food quickly served, we were not unhappy with the outcome.

We were soon on our way on what was now a very warm and sunny afternoon. Unlike Clive last year we did take the back way through Myddle to Burlton and what a beautiful little lane it is, under the sandstone cliffs.

Loppington and Cockshutt follow in quick succession. At Lee, Trevor decides to leave us in order to put in some the extra miles as training for the Bert Bailey Memorial ride that he and George are doing this Sunday – good luck. lads.  We soon reach Tetchill, after which there’s the long climb up to Frankton Hill. Then along the back lanes through New Marton to St. Martins, where the parish church bells are ringing as we passed through. Then we navigate the busy roundabout at the A5 and take the B road into Chirk with Chirk Bank offering us a final challenge for the day.

The run back took us less than 2 hours, possibly because I didn’t get us lost as much! 50 miles ridden on a grand day with excellent company. I hope my fellow riders will forgive my navigational mishaps – I’ll have to see if I can make the thin blue line a bit thicker next time so that it’s easier to see.

See route map and/or gpx file download