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 30 August 2019

29th August 2019: Over Peover (mod)

A large group of riders assembled at Delamere Forest Station Café on a warm bright morning. Once we had sorted out who was riding and who wasn’t and who was ‘brisk’ and who wasn’t, it looked as if there would be six for the moderate ride to The Dog at Over Peover – except that Dave P had arrived telling us that Peter had ridden with him from Chester, but he’d picked up a puncture about half a mile away from the café and was in the process of fixing it.

There followed a lengthy delay whilst we a) located Peter and checked that he could fix his puncture, b) got him to the café with it fixed and c) examined the cuts in his tyre(s) and established that they were too serious to allow him to continue with us. So, in the end, we would be six and not seven.

So it was 11.00 by the time we left Delamere heading, inevitably, towards Hatchmere and thence Norley. By this time ‘we’ consisted of Dave H, Dave M, Dave P, Fiona, George and yours truly. Taking the pretty Gallowsclough Lane in Norley, we headed across the A49 at Cuddington and the A556 at Sandiway. I had been anxious to make up for our late start so had been pressing on. At this point we’d averaged almost 15 mph – a supersonic speed for the mods. Things slowed down a little as Dave M led us over the River Weaver at Bradford Mill and up the rough path under the bridges leading up to Moulton. At Davenham we picked up Cycle Route 573, which runs east towards Congleton, passing through Lach Dennis and Goostrey.

Passing The Crown at Goostrey, we looked but couldn’t see any sign of the brisk riders who had planned to stop there for lunch. Either they were hiding from us or they were lost on the Whitegate Way.

Passing close by Jodrell Bank, we arrived at The Dog in Over Peover at 12.50, having covered just under 25 miles in less than 2 hours. As usual, the food at The Dog was excellent and the service friendly. There was some discussion about the multitude of ‘Peovers’ in this area.  According to Wikipedia, Peover is a rural area in Cheshire, southwest of Chelford and northwest of Jodrell Bank. It contains Peover Superior (also called Over Peover), and Peover Inferior (also called Lower Peover or Nether Peover) and Peover Heath.  Peover is mentioned in the Domesday Book as "Pevre", from a Celtic word meaning "the bright one" referring to the Peover Eye, a local brook.

Photos by Steve T

Suitably refreshed and photographed for posterity, we made our way out of Over Peover to Lower Peover. Here Dave M took his leave to ride back to Oscroft by a different route. We pressed on over Plumley Moor, crossing the busy A556 at The Smoker by wheeling the bikes over the pedestrian crossings.  Riding the short distance on the pavement alongside the A556, we turned right into Linnards Lane and followed this into Higher Wincham. From here we took the familiar route through Pickmere, Great Budworth, Comberbach and Little Leigh to take us down to the River Weaver at Acton Bridge.

Given the choice between riding up the very steep hill into Acton Bridge, or taking the riverside path to Dutton Locks and the more gradual climb back to Delamere, we stuck by the moderate group motto of ‘never take the hard route when there’s and easier one’ and rode down to the river. Fiona thought she was going to have to swim across the river, but found the crossing at the locks a novelty. She was less impressed by a muddy section of the path as we cycled towards the railway viaduct!

The climb out of the Weaver Valley up first Crewood Common Lane and then Norley Lane is certainly less steep than taking Acton Lane, but it’s quite a long grind, so it was a relief to reach the top and freewheel down to Hatchmere. Here we directed Fiona back through the forest to the café where she’d left her car. There rest of us split up like the Red Arrows, heading back home after 46 pleasant miles through the Cheshire countryside on a sunny summers day.

Thanks to Dave M for his guidance on the early sections of the route and to all on the ride for their company on a classic moderate ride.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Thursday 29 August 2019

29th August 2019 : Goostrey (brisk)

Earlier in the week I had been out with John W and Ivan exploring some off-road routes. As it had been quite dry of late, I decided to trail the Weaver Navigation canal and then Ince Marshes NCR5 from Frodsham to Elton. The Weaver route was OK - the Ince Marshes was dry but a very rough track - for a long way!  Continuing the “it’s been dry” theme, I had put together a route for today’s ride to cycle more of these official cycleways which are best ridden in dry conditions.

I had ridden out to Delamere with John W, and as I was bemoaning the poor state of the road through Delamere Forest, John suggested we cut through to the Station Cafe via the forest tracks. This was an inspired idea as the surfaces were no worse than the roads and it was a mile shorter. So we find ourselves at the cafe with lots of CER members supping in the sunshine.

The brisk group formed around John W, John M, Ivan and myself; I then persuaded Neil and potential member, Elwyn, to join us. We shoot off up the bumpy road to Hatchmere, then turn right into Norley proper. I like to take Gallowsclough Lane here, and usually find horses and riders on this lane - I wasn't disappointed today either. Dropping down the hollow on Norley Road, we turn right down aptly named Waste Lane, where the group are wondering where they are going to now. It is 5 miles of flat riding down the whole of Whitegate Way. This upper section can be muddy when wet, but today it was near bone dry all the way to the outskirts of Winsford.

Riding the Whitegate  Way

Out and towards Middlewich, it is now a long run on cycleway 71 to the edge of Swettenham. More off-road via The Davenport Hall transfer is now employed to get over the Dane River valley and into Swettenham proper. 

Dane River Bridge at Davenport Hall
One more diversion down Sandy Lane takes over the ford and on our way, via Twemlow Green, to "The Crown" in Goostrey. As ever "The Crown" doesn’t disappoint - always a friendly welcome and a very good meal at value prices.

The route back is quite straightforward taking in Lach Dennis and Davenham. As we approach the Blue Bridge over the Weaver Navigation, we drop down the side of it and turn right on the canal path towards Northwich. John W and I had ridden this path on Tuesday but from the opposite direction - so as everyone knows, going the opposite way creates a whole new route. It is idyllic recovery cycling sliding passed the dock and repair yard near Kingsmead, Northwich Rowing Club and the rear of St John Dean’s College. 

The double canal locks transfer at Hunt's Lock takes us through a dreary housing estate and onto Hartford and Weaverham. We power passed Acton Bridge and Crowton towards Kingsley then, as there was quite a strong headwind and ignoring the drag up exposed Norley Lane, we take the hedge protected and delightful Beech Lane, thence Forest Lane, to run into Hatchmere and back to Delamere Station cafe.

So, 50 miles all round, with many miles of flatness (2000ft) via the Whitegate Way and the Weaver Navigation, we take a welcome drink and break for home. For those four of us going back to Chester, it will be 75+ miles today. 

See route map and/or gpx file download

Photos JW

Monday 26 August 2019

22nd August 2019 : Montford Bridge (brisk)

Clive cycled over to Rossett and joined me in the car for the last 30 km’s to Chirk. When we arrived there were plenty of bikes tethered to the railings outside the cafe which belonged to the  Moderates group who outnumbered the Brisk by 4 to 1. Dave M had arrived by train for coffee and  planned  to return home by bike. The eight or so moderates, led by Clive, headed off to Baschurch for lunch whilst Nick and I decided to grace Montford Bridge with our presence. 

We got off to pretty poor start due to ‘yours truly’ taking the wrong road from the cafe however we did enjoy a lovely circular  tour of Chirk in the summer sunshine. Eventually we exited the town via the short but steep climb of Chirk Bank and continued south. At this point the wind was against us but fortunately the high hedges provided some shelter as we  made our way into Oswestry. 

Our route through the town was straightforward and we were soon bumping along Maesbury Road before crossing the busy A483. A short unintentional detour then led us directly into Maesbury which is a pretty village with  a river running through it and a canal nearby. Taking a a south west heading we skirted around Maesbrook before hooking back east towards Nesscliffe where cycle route 81 led us into Shrawardine and onto Montford Bridge, our lunch stop.

Although the Winfield Arms looked closed, it was open, and as we were the only customers, we were quickly served and seated. This venue  is best be described as adequate which is a pity as the village is in a lovely setting on the banks of the river Severn with a bridge designed  by Thomas Telford - it was his first bridge design and was constructed between 1790 and 1792. The lunchtime chatter ranged from education to the transport issues Nick was experiencing whilst planning  his trip to Switzerland and France. 

For our return journey we headed north towards Ellesmere before turning west to Chirk. The high hedges again seemed to be sheltering us from the wind although it’s direction seemed to be more of a help than a hinderance. 10 km after leaving Montford Bridge we passed through Baschurch but found no evidence of the Moderate group. 

Keeping to our northerly course we cycled along some lovely quiet pothole free lanes that linked the small hamlets of Bagley, Hordley ,and Lee, brought us into Ellesmere. From here the last 15 km were through quiet lanes to St Martins before descending and crossing over the Ceiriog River. The final climb up over the A5 had  both of us puffing hard however  we arrived at the  Chirk cafe  shortly after and had recovered enough to manage  coffee and cake.

Todays route was 80km (50miles) with 540 metres (1700ft) of ascent at an average speed of 26kmh (16.25mph)

See route map and/or gpx file download


Friday 23 August 2019

22nd August 2019: Baschurch (mod)

Chirk proved as popular as ever as a dozen of us sat around mulling over where to go with our coffee and teacakes. Dave M came out on the train and was riding home; Ken and Nick were looking for a brisk route; so the rest of us took up on my suggestion of 51 miler via Baschurch. We set off on time down the Ceiriog Valley road. There was George, Dave P, Dave H, Steve T, Trevor, Andy B, the two e-bikers, Peter and Graeme and myself - so nine of us ground up the hill into the hinterland of Weston Rhyn bound for Oswestry. It soon became clear that the planned route into Oswestry wasn’t going to work with 9 strung-out riders, so at Hengoed, I opted for the Iron Age Hill fort transfer. After successfully negotiating the town without losing any riders, we head due south, and after a brief ride on the A483, run parallel to it in lanes anew.

The area is delightful in that the lanes are pretty good, and the hedges were high to fend off the stiff south westerly breeze. We head south east on a long run of quiet lanes closing in on the River Severn at Severnside, and now heading for Shrawardine passing the hidden ruins of Castell Isabella built in Henry I reign. The route now is to Montford Bridge which was Thomas Telford's first bridge design over the Severn river built around 1792.

We now head north-east with a following wind as 30 miles finds us just west of Baschurch and Moor Farm shop and cafe coming into view. I was glad I had telephoned ahead for a table as the place was packed - always a good sign, which proved correct. The food and service were very good, as looked the pork pies in the adjacent farm shop - but no room in the saddle bag unfortunately! Wiki told me that Agnes Hunt was a prominent local Baschurchian. Along with Dr Robert Jones, they founded the orthopaedic hospital at Gobowen where Steve T and myself have used their excellent services of late.

As we are leaving, we notice that a major equestrian event is to be staged over the holiday weekend on the adjacent equestrian centre. Earlier we had passed a steam traction engine puffing its way towards Shrewsbury - no doubt for another Bank Holiday event. A few drops of rain threaten as we circle around the PGL young person’s adventure holiday park at Boreatton (www.pgl.co.uk). When he was 18, Steve T enjoyed a PGL holiday in France apparently, but enough of ancient history.

The rain soon passes and more long lanes with wind assist find us circling Rednal airdrome and onwards to Tetchill. A North Westerly ever-upwards track finds us at the edge of St Martins. I offer a choice of a largely hill-free route back to Chirk, or the descent and ascent in and out of the Ceiriog river valley and into the back of Chirk. Surprisingly, all elect for the latter as we enjoy this delightful valley with a fairly strenuous climb out.

So, plenty of new and quiet lanes today, and new lunch venue and largely a wind-assist all day, and a light sprinkle of rain. A few more sunbeams would have made the 51 miler a perfect CER day out.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Monday 19 August 2019

15th August 2019: Special Ride Ribble and Hodder Valleys - Whalley to Waddington

We weren't supposed to be here! Last Thursday I had ridden a recce in the Peak District in order to clarify a route for today. Steve Tan had kindly accompanied me, as we rode above Toddbrook reservoir, the one with the damaged dam, at Whaley Bridge. Most of the roads were open, but Lyme Park was strictly closed, and we had climbed over 4,000ft before returning to our starting point at Redes Mere. We had a fine day out, but the many steep climbs made it too hard a route for us to relish riding again in seven days’ time, never mind inflicting on others. Hence, we were now sitting in Tastebuds cafe in Whalley, as part of 'Plan B': to ride an alternative scenic route, this time in Lancashire, and not as severe.

Everybody had enjoyed a relatively straightforward journey, although Graeme's car was spotted coming into the village from the wrong direction, having missed their intended turn through chatting. From well inside the cafe, I thought I had seen Andy pass by. Then he bobbed into view travelling in the opposite direction. I managed to get to the door in time to give him a shout. It felt like the fairground stall where you needed a pole with a hook to catch the passing ducks! We were soon tucking in to bacon rolls, giant teacakes and coffee. The party consisted of Andy Barber, Graeme, Jim, Dave Pipe, Steve Tan and myself.
Photos by Andy B

I had planned to stop and look at places of interest, so first off we visited Whalley Abbey, on the banks of the River Calder. The abbey was founded in 1296, when the Cistercian monks of Stanlaw (Stanlow) moved there from a flood-prone site on the on the Cheshire shores of the River Mersey near Ellesmere Port. It is interesting to note that Whalley has suffered some bad flooding in recent times. I am not sure how this may have affected the site of the abbey.  Next stop had us swooping down the lanes, past Salesbury Hall to Ribchester Bridge. In Ribchester we viewed the Roman Baths and stood above a big sweep of the River Ribble.  A fort had been built here by the Romans in AD72, and it was a crossing point for Chester, York and Lancaster roads.

Back on our bikes, we were soon wandering up a rural cul-de-sac to view the attractive almshouse at Stydd. Built by the Shireburn family in 1728, it originally housed The Poor, and is now converted to four flats. Cue more photographs. We climbed up to Hurst Green, passing another lovely almshouse before passing the gate posts of Stonyhurst College grounds. Turning the corner at the top of the hill and viewing the magnificent baroque building below is a stunning site. Please use Google if you would like to know more; there is too much history to tell here. The list of famous alumni is impressive in itself.  By the time we had whooshed down past Cromwell's Bridge on the River Hodder, and then climbed back up, and passed Bashall Town, it became obvious that we had a dilemma. Despite our modest mileage, our sightseeing and leisurely winding up lush green hills, meant that it was time for lunch already! There was a definite 'Last of the Summer Wine' feel to our progress. To be fair, left to their own natural pace, Andy and Steve would have been miles up the road tucking into lunch at The Inn at Whitewell by now. The Higher Buck at Waddington had always been a considered alternative, and the staff were friendly and the food very good.

Lunch hadn't been quick, so after consultation with Steve who had been in this area with me before, we decided to give pretty Chipping and its high, quiet lane out, a miss this time. We wended our way past Colthurst Hall with views across the valley through sun dappled leaves. There was one 'arrow' I had forgotten at Talbot Bridge! We passed Browsholme Hall and turned onto the straight course of the York to Ribchester Roman road. A beautiful, wooded, downhill cruise alongside the waters of The Hodder and past The Inn at Whitewell followed. The inn was a manor house in the 14th. Century, lived in by keepers of the Royal Forest. It is still part of the Duchy of Lancaster estate and owned by the Queen. The strong wind was more in our favour now as we headed for Dunsop Bridge, Newton and Slaidburn with the Yorkshire Dales in sight beyond. The sun was out and the scenery cycling up the valley was delightful. There were plenty of large undulations to tire the legs, mind you! Slaidburn is a lovely village, but there is a sting in the tail if you wish to continue towards Ribblesdale: a hard, hairpinned haul uphill. We neared our turn-off to head over the shoulder of the fell and then pile downhill, hopefully for coffee and cake. Jim announced that he was 'knackered' at this point. I told him that it was nearly all downhill from here, but he was as reluctant to accept my words as if his GP had made the same judgement! There is a good cafe/restaurant at Holden Clough Nursery, less than four miles away, but we needed to get there before last orders at 4.30p.m. The last two miles are an outstanding downhill run. Steve, Graeme and Andy scouted ahead.

Thankfully we all made it, and we received a friendly welcome. The Bakewell tarts were the best Graeme and I had ever tasted. Behind schedule, but suitably fortified, we headed home via Sawley Abbey, the side of theA59, Chatburn and Worston. Just a few, flat miles back now. In the interest of time and Graeme's bike battery, the valley side route through Pendleton and Wiswell was rejected. Despite winding the pace up with Dave Pipe over the last stretch into Whalley, it was still 6pm when we reached the cars. Steve tells me that we covered 49 miles and climbed 2,600 feet. When so many were on holiday, I appreciated the support and excellent company of those who made the effort at short notice.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Thursday 15 August 2019

15th August 2019 : Pickmere (brisk)

It didn't rain and the afternoon was quite sunny but it was very windy and gusty. I turned up a little late for the last meet start at the Ice Cream Farm  - NB : It's Alison's Cafe in Tattenhall next time!

Neil was sitting there like Billy No Mates with a coffee wondering if anyone was going to show up today. I said I would be there, but he was starting to doubt that until I actually showed up. No one else turned up, so we two set off via Tarporley bound for Pickmere.

The route was unexceptional passing thorough Eaton, Rushton and Little Budworth on our way to Whitegate. Traffic was very light - unlike the strong NW wind. This was great if it was behind you as I can attest as I averaged 18mph on the route out to ICF over 16 miles.

In Whitegate, I take the forest footpath transfer to access Vale Royal Golf club to introduce Neil to the Dave Mathew's "Golf Club - Weaver"  transfer route. We hang right to cross the Weaver over the massive locks and ride along the pleasant footpath with bike unfriendly gates. Up the hill by the Blue Bridge, we are soon in and out of Davenham bound for Lach Dennis.

A left up Common Lane takes into the by-roads of Plumley and we are soon at The Smoker pub on the busy A556. I'd thought about having lunch here but opted to go on to Pickmere to the Red Lion (part of the same group of pubs as The Smoker). So we arrive around 1215 having left Wincham behind.

Service was very prompt and the fare reasonably priced and wholesome. Neil chatted about his 25 yrs experience of working in Saudi Arabia training the Saudi Air Force pilots and technicians. I reflected on the long weekend I spent in Riyadh and Jeddah in the 1990's and how I was addressed there as Mr Al-Bany ( obviously I'm now of Arabian extraction!)

We are soon back on the bike and heading mainly into the wind as we slide through Great Budworth on our way to Little Leigh and the big hill up to Acton Bridge. At Crowton, we take Norley Lane for the inexorable climb up into Norley and use the Dave Heath transfer via Town Farm Lane to journey on to Flaxmere and Delamere Forest.

There is "just one more climb" up and into Kelsall where Neil carries on via Willington to complete the 49 miles route on his way home. I slide off bound for Oscroft and permutate the best way to avoid the head-on wind back to Chester.

So thanks to Neil for his company today, and 70+ miles for both of us probably.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Saturday 10 August 2019

8th August 2019: Parkgate (leisure)

The four leisure riders, Trevor, Graeme, John B and myself chose a day at the seaside in preference to the moderates' choice of the flesh pots of Whitchurch, and accordingly set off in the opposite direction towards Hoole bank.

Swinging round to the east we skirted the zoo, over the canal and up to Backford. The route then followed the Sustrans track alongside the railway, still with all those gates, and on to Capenhurst. Rather than joining the Wirral way here we continued on to Willaston, past the old windmill and up to Thornton Hough. We then cut back west towards the coast to Parkgate and our lunch stop, The Boathouse, which we used for our Xmas dinner a few years ago.

Lunch was very pleasant sitting on the terrace overlooking the Dee and the Welsh hills in the sunshine, but there was a stickiness in the atmosphere preceding the forecast evening's storms.

However, the afternoon continued to be warm as we took to the Wirral Way briefly before cutting through the residential areas of Neston towards the Greenway. Coming in the opposite direction we passed a guy on one of those Boardman bikes - in fact it was Boardman. Clearly with no time to chat he sped off towards his mansion while we negotiated the industrial estate and gained the Greenway. No route finding now as we were blown eastward by a pleasant tailwind back to Meadow Lea. With time for a coffee and cake we watched in horror as the last two pieces of chocolate cake were snaffled up by two rather large ladies in front of us. Then to make matters worse a wasp took a bath in Graeme’s flat white which would certainly have added a little piquancy to the taste had he not noticed and removed it.

Overall a pleasant ride of 36 miles - I suppose we should have gone for a quick burn round Great Barrow to bring it up to 40 but we were greatly disinclined at that stage.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Friday 9 August 2019

8th August 2019: Alkington, Whitchurch (mod)

Well where do I begin? Sorry if I have missed anyone out or upset anyone, but this is my first post. 

Ten mods set out, yes that’s right, 10 heading to Whitchurch via lots of little hamlets of Cheshire and Shropshire.  Well I was just meandering along in my own little bubble, like everyone else, even our leader Andy W, so when we went off course it was our fault for talking to him and he told a white lie saying we are missing Harthill and other little pimples, but guess what, we went via Harthill and any other pimples on route.  Anyway we got our lunch stop at the garden centre lake at Alkington, I didn’t pay attention as to where we were, takes me back to my school days ha ha teachers!!  We went here in sunny June, the time Clive went for a paddle with his bike through a very large puddle and Brian W would not go through it and Clive wouldn’t come back (electric bike). 

Photos by Mike G
The garden centre did us proud as it was very busy with people sunning themselves this time.  Well we got 3 benches easily outside for us to sit.  Later Andy B did say the reason was they were directly in the sun and had no parasols, not like everybody else's, bless us! This is where I knew some of the crew need carers to fetch cutlery, water, etc.  As I said the girls did us proud here, food came quickly, they got cutlery and water for some, obviously they have parents of the same ilk.  We then set off for home when our leader asked if we would like tea and cake at Hanmer lake, soft question really!  This is where I realise some of the older generation shouldn’t drive, those of us there know what I mean - old lady etc parking in the middle of a junction due to us being in her parking spot then detouring to swerve at us and shouting - she loves us I think!!!!!

Well we got going back to Meadow Lea and our separate ways, I know some peeled off for home earlier. Anyway it was a fantastic day, again good mileage 60 plus, then everyone had extra to home, So cheers to Andy W for superb route, Andy B from Mold, George, Dave M, Dave P, Neil, Mike G, Fiona O'Keefe plus her partner who’s name I can’t remember, sorry, it sounded Welsh.  I think North Wales police had an easy day, due to all our Welsh members meeting at the cafe first off.


Saturday 3 August 2019

1st August 2019: Burlton (mod)

An absolute host of CER members turned up for the moderate ride, comprising of Clive, Jim, Graeme, Andy B, Fiona, Neil, Dave H, Trevor, Steve T, Keith and George. And we were joined by two guest riders, Jerry and Peter who I hope were made to feel welcome. Peter came equipped with an e-bike, so it seems this mode of cycling is gaining pace – literally!

After some discussion, it was agreed that we would follow a route to The Burlton Inn at Burlton, originally devised by Dave H and last ridden in August 2017, which I had uploaded onto my phone ‘just in case’. So it was with a degree of trepidation that I lead this phalanx of riders out of Holt to Tilston via Crewe-by-Farndon. From there we rode to Threapwood by way of Chorlton Lane, stopping occasionally to a) check the route and b) to make sure we hadn’t lost anyone. We had a longer stop at Tallarn Green so that Clive could put the route to Burlton onto his phone to make sure that, if the group got split up, then someone else would have the route. From Tallarn Green we cycled south-west to Drury Lane and across to Whitewell, an unusual, but quiet and scenic route. About 12 o’clock, Clive rang the pub to make sure that they could handle our large party, which they said they could, so it seemed that all would be well.

Pressing on through Fenns Bank, we came to Dobson’s Bridge. As Clive and Neil came round the corner and down the hill towards the bridge, there were two horses in the road coming up the other way. One of the horses was startled by their sudden appearance and reared up, almost unseating its rider. The rest of us went past as gently as we could to avoid upsetting the horse (and rider) any further. This was now prime Shropshire easy riding, wafting along in midsummer on well-surfaced roads running through lush green countryside. We were soon through Loppington and arrived at Burtlon just after 1 pm.

Reading Dave’s report of the ride in 2017, he said ‘The staff at The Burlton Inn were friendly. The eating environment is attractive, and the food is consistently very good. It took a while to prepare, because we were such a large group, but this pub is certainly one of our favourites.’ And it all held true on this visit, so it was nearer 2.30 by the time we’d posed for the group photo and got on our bikes again.

Photo by CA
By now the sun was shining and it was quite warm as we made our way back to Penley through English Frankton, Lyneal, Welsh Hampton, Breadon Heath and Tarts Hill. Just before we reached Penley, the ‘advanced party’ consisting of Steve T, Fiona, Neil, Andy B and Jerry stopped at a junction to wait for the others, but after several minutes, they didn’t show up. So we concluded the return route that Clive had put into his phone using ‘Plot a route’ must have taken them on a slightly different route. So we pressed on, assuming that they were well behind us, only to find them ahead on the road at Little Green!

The rest of the route was a brisk, familiar ride north through Holly Bush, Worthenbury and Shocklach, where Graeme and Jim left us for Malpas, the former for home and the latter for cat sitting which, funnily enough, he was doing 2 years ago on this same ride!

As we got closer to home on the road from Shocklach, the faster riders (Neil, Andy B and Jerry) pulled away from the ‘advanced party’, spurred on by the fact they we had been overtaken by two ‘proper’ cyclists. Steve T and George vainly tried to keep up and Keith and Fiona following on behind them. The rest of the group rode at their own pace, so our original phalanx was now quite scattered. On reaching Farndon, Clive, Trevor, Keith and Peter all headed for home and the rest arrived back at Cleopatra’s having clocked about 54 miles.

My thanks go to Dave H and Keith for acting as ‘tail-end Charlies’ so that none of this large group got lost or left behind and especially to Clive to doing the same thing, but also for his help on the navigation front. I couldn’t have done it without you!

See route map and/or gpx file download


1st August 2019 : Llangollen (brisk)

There were going to be four us of starting out on this route, but Clive saw some significant climbs in my route so went with the mods. Turned out a good choice considering I had meant a much easier climb out of Ceiriog; I had plotted the wrong road up but hadn’t noticed! I was asked about the lunch stop, (the Mill at Llangollen), but John keenly recommended the Special Welsh Rarebit at the canal-side tea room.

So myself, Ken and John set off in improving weather towards Chirk via the familiar route of Bangor on Dee and Overton. Passing the A5, we skirted Chirk by going to Weston Rhyn and along a delightful lane taking us into the scenic valley of the Ceiriog. Taking turns at the front due to a headwind we soon arrived at Pontfadog. A sharp right turn took us straight into double digit gradients, with some sections between 20 and 25%. A mile later and 800ft higher, we topped out with an impressive view of Llangollen and the limestone escarpment leading to our next climb, at World’s End.

To John’s relief, after bigging-up the proposed lunch, the rarebit in Llangollen was indeed excellent and spot-on cycling fodder. Soon, in increasingly hot sunshine, we set off up to the Panorama road. At the ford at the base of the climb, we chatted to a cyclist who said he had walked across due to the slippy algae on the concrete, so of course we rode across. I crossed first but then heard a splash behind to see Ken lying in the river with his bike on top! Naturally, when you see an accident like that, the first thing you do is get your camera. Fortunately un-injured (bruises perhaps?), Ken managed to pick himself and bike up before I was ready. I requested that he go back in and lie, with bike, in the stream, purely for accurate photo-journalism and the benefit of you good readers. I missed what he said, but I think the gist was a No!

After the rigours of the earlier climb, the climb out of Worlds’ End didn’t seem too bad, and we were soon flying across the moors above Minera with Llandegla Forrest to our left. On descending, John split off and turned left to go to Chester to pick his car up, we turned right then 2 miles later left down a very rough track to yet another ford. This was quite a deep one, so an easy decision to walk. 

We then passed down a beautifully wooded valley following the River Clywedog and Nant Mill. Abruptly emerging at the bypass, Ken navigated us through Wrexham, himself then to Gresford, me to Tilston.

An excellent days cycling with good banter aplenty, my route (Tilston to Tilston) was 58.5 miles with 3,850ft climbing, averaging 14.4mph. This route is 53 miles.


Photos NH and JW