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.

Thursday 26 September 2019

26th September 2019 : Beatles Tour of Liverpool Reprised (brisk)

A few weeks ago, Ivan had mentioned that it would be good to re-ride the Beatles Tour of Liverpool. Brian Mac had expertly constructed a route around the Fab Four's birthplaces and other significant sites.  See this link for the original blog.

This ride was in July 2012, and unfortunately the gpx file was lost when BikeRouteToaster abruptly ceased to be available and all our previously stored routes were lost. So I spent some time reconstructing the route from my live recording of the route and adapting it to start from Ness Gardens rather than Chester Station.

The Fab Six brisk riders were John M, John W, Ivan, Nick, Ray and myself. Ken, Dave M, Andy B, Andy W and Dave P were just out for coffee today so missed a memorable ride! We set off via Raby and Clatterbridge to mosey passed Port Sunlight village and thence onto the Wirral Circular cycle path.

At Lower Tranmere, we stop at Cammell Laird's shipyard as there are myriads of people funnelling into the yard to see the naming ceremony by the Duchess of Cambridge of the "Sir David Attenborough" polar exploration vessel in the presence of the Duke of Cambridge and Sir David himself. We could just catch a glimpse of the ship painted in a day-glo Post Office red. Onwards via Birkenhead Priory, we wend our way to Hamilton Square Metro station for the single stop sub-Mersey transfer to James Street station.

Safely on the river front, we cycle through crowds of tourists to exit north and surprisingly uphill, to Toxteth and the Dingle area to arrive at Madryn Sweet. This is where Ringo Starr was born but today he wouldn't recognise it as we couldn't as it has had a marvellous make-over. We could actually get up Madryn Street as it was closed off and for builders only. So we cycle up the next road which had had the refurbishment. We have an informative chat with a local tenant who tells us that the two-up two-down original layout has been transformed in the three or even four bedroomed properties. 

The streets around here all have Welsh names and the reason why can be found here. We also ride to the Empress pub where his mum worked next to where the Starr's had moved from Madryn Street.

Voelas Street -original and recent  (ex Wikipedia)
We also ride to the Empress pub where his mum worked.

Empress Pub - note the number of cyclists (ex Wikipedia)

We press on now via Sefton Park and Penny Lane to Picton and its clock to find George's house in Arnold Grove. Quite a sad area really. Next comes a long run to Woolton to St Peter's Church and its hall where Paul was introduced to John in July 1957 -  Yes, 62 years ago! There were Beatles tour taxis here discharging sightseers as well.

Retracing part of the route, we stop briefly at John's house (now a NT property) before moving on to Paul's  house in Allerton also NT. It's here that I realise I have cycled passed Strawberry Fields -  but is that thunder I hear or empty stomachs? So we head off for the Greenhills pub for a carvery or pizza lunch. 

The real Macca's boyhood home
Outside John's boyhood home

During lunch, there is a scene reminiscent of the meerkat TV videos as periodically one concerned cyclist after another stands up to look out of the window to check that the bikes are still outside! 

We decide to go back a mile to Strawberry Fields and stand outside the gates for the obligatory photo also noticing there is a rather modern building now in the grounds owned by the Salvation Army.

At Strawberry Fields Forever
It is now a straight run downhill to Aigburth via West Allerton to the Merseyside cycle path. I hear a "rifle shot" sound emanating from behind me and wonder if the natives are restless and don't like non-Scousers, but we did had two of them riding with us. It was Ivan's high quality rear tyre, which had sustained an explosive decompression. The side wall of the tyre was split as was the tube. John W and Nick offer to go and find a suitable replacement from a bike shop about 1.5 miles away. This they do and a suitable replacement is fitted and we are on our way again.

The plan now was to circle back into the Georgian Quarter to marvel at the Victorian Gents in the Philharmonia Rooms pub (and have an obligatory swift half), but we had lost about 45 mins with the puncture, so we headed for James Street station. Safely back via Hamilton Square, we head uphill via Victoria and Egerton parks to Storeton. It's now a short hop via Raby to get Nick, Ivan and John W back to Ness Gardens.  Ray, John M and myself head back via the back lanes of Capenhurst to Mollington.

So a fabulous day out with some very patient cyclists cycling through our musical heritage all  thanks to the Fab Four and other Liverpudlian artists. Who can forget hearing "Please Please Me" for the first time! And No - no-one was heard singing "Ferry Across the Mersey"

The weather was kind in that we seemed to miss the showers and find some sunshine in our 47 miles jaunt.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Photos; JW, JM and ℅ Wikipedia

Friday 20 September 2019

19th September 2019: Maesbury Marsh (mod)

On what will probably be the last warm and sunny day of the season, there were plenty of Easy Riders gathered at Cleopatra’s. The mods were destined for The Navigation Inn at Maesbury Marsh, following a route that I’d pulled from the blog some time ago. I’m not sure who devised it, but as we followed the route, it had all the feeling of one of Clive’s. When it was first done, I do not know and it would take forever to sift through all 790 on the blog to work that out.

So Andy B, Andy W, Dave H, Dave M, Peter, George, Fiona and yours truly set off through Farndon, heading for Shocklach, Worthenbury and points generally south. Apart from the odd missed turn, things went well, at least to begin with. We even went ‘off piste’ near Penley and found a small lane about which Dave M waxed lyrical before rejoining the pre-ordained route. Stops were made occasionally to make sure we didn’t lose anyone along the way as we meandered down the quiet lanes of Shropshire.

Crossing the A495 at Welsh Frankton, we crossed the Llangollen Canal at Lower Frankton. However, things went wrong at Rednal. Andy W, Fiona and I were a little ahead of the others and they missed us as we turned down the lane going to West Felton. By the time we reached Grimpo, we could no longer hear Dave H’s dulcet tones, which I’d been relying on as evidence that the group was still together (bear in mind that I can’t look backwards these days as the surgeon sewed my head back on facing strictly forwards.) So, I back-tracked for some distance without finding the rest of the group, but then I had a call from Dave H to say that they were at Queens Head, but it was OK as he had his maps with him and could find The Navigation Inn OK. I headed back towards Grimpo only to find Andy W and Fiona in telephone conversation with Dave M. ‘We’re in the Queens Head’ he was saying. Andy thought that the lunch stop had been changed until I told him that Queens Head is a place as well as a pub and that we were going to The Navigation Inn as planned.

So we pressed on through West Felton and came across the rest of the group at Woolston, just a mile or so away from our lunchtime destination, 29 miles from our starting point.

The pub (who we’d phoned earlier) was very quiet with only one person on duty, so I was a little concerned about how long it might take to get served. The guy took our orders for drinks and food and at one point, Dave M asked if his wife was slaving away in the kitchen preparing food for us. ‘That’s my husband!’ was the reply at which point tumbleweed could be seen blowing through the bar…….

In the event, no harm was done and our food came quite quickly and was of good quality. We ate outside in the warm sunshine, next to the canal. A young couple were there with a dog, but they soon left, claiming that they needed to get back for the school run. A likely tale! By choice, George sat on his own in the shade, listening to the conversations going on around the two tables we were sitting around. Saving nuggets of info for future use, no doubt.

As we gathered for the traditional photo, a nice young lady offered to take one including us all, which makes a change. I’m sure you’ll be impressed with the composition, with Andy B and George posing on the steps.
Photo by CER

Our route back was a little more direct, with less meandering and some busier roads. A wrong turn at Whittington (I blame reflections on my screen) meant that we had to turn around and make a right turn at a time when every large wagon in Shropshire seemed to be coming around the same junction.

On we pressed through St Martin’s and Overton, where Dave M left us to make for home. We went on to Bangor-on-Dee where we crossed the cobbled bridge against the flow of traffic and joined the A525 for a short distance before turning right to skirt Wrexham.  At Bowling Green our plan was to take a route along small lanes which run approximately parallel with the B5130. Fiona needed to get home, so she opted to take the B-road route back for Holt. Andy W told me ‘the thing to remember about this bit is that you turn right at every junction……except for the first one where you turn left.’ And so it was that we trundled into Holt at about 4.20, having covered just over 54 miles.

Andy W left for home whilst the rest of us stayed for a well-earned cup of tea and (for Dave H only), a slice of cake.

A great day out in warm sunshine and, once again, no need to clean the bike. As George said, we’ll remember that bonus fondly was we sluice mud, cow muck and other detritus off our bikes in the coming months.


Thursday 19 September 2019

19th September 2019 : Baschurch (brisk)

Today's ride was meeting at Cleopatra’s coffee bistro at Holt. A good turnout of mixed riders to enjoy the late Indian summer's day with expected blue skies and little wind. A selection of routes were proposed for the Brisk riders and the 57 mile ride to Baschurch was the ride we agreed upon.

Setting of were Clive, Nick, Ken, with the welcome addition of Neil and Elwyn and yours truly. The ride out was via Threapwood, Tallarn Green and Penley before heading towards Loppington and Myddle.The lanes were very quiet of normal road traffic, but a few tractors were vying for the same little lanes.

There were a few bumpy lanes but overall pretty good. Not too many steep gradients to grunt over and before 12:30 and 35 miles covered, we arrive at the New Inn at Baschurch. Today we were able to sit round a very big circular table and enjoy an alfresco lunch of six different menus all very different and excellent quality.

The problem with such good hospitality afforded was that we had to again get on our bikes for the return ride back to Holt. A good job it was only 25 miles and all down hill!! From Baschurch we travel on very good surfaced lanes to Ellesmere then then on to Bangor-on-Dee.

We stay on the A525 to Pickhill Lane, cutting the corner at Cross Lanes to Talwrn, then joining the road back to Holt. Here we went into a sprint finish with Elwyn leading with Nick close on his wheels and me lagging behind. Sensibly Ken, Clive and Neil rode with style and arrived at Cleopatra's much more refreshed and able to enjoy coffee and cake without soaking everything.

The Sextet safely back at Cleopatra's
Thanks for the company and I only wish we could enjoy more rides in the sunshine.The ride back and to  Chester was 78 miles with an average of 16.6 mph. It wasn’t quite as flat as we thought as there were 2703 ft of ascent covered.

A ride from Ness next week – let's hope we still have the Indian summer.


Photo taken by a passer-by

Tuesday 17 September 2019

12th September 2019: Aston (mod)

It was good to see a mix of old and new members at ease, chatting and supping at Rose Farm cafe. Michael Dodd had rung me the night before, and I was pleased to see that he had turned up. Our recruitment has been very idiosyncratic recently. Peter joined after Trevor gave us a plug on 'Countdown', and Michael on reading our blog,  figured that Fiona and Elwyn must be his friends from the same Chester gym.  Steve Tan had a possible ride, and Clive had a route to Alsager, but I had a cough and cold and needed moderate pace and distance, even if it meant peeling off on my own at some stage. Fortunately, Andy Whitgreave likes to take it easy, and Fiona enjoys the lack of pressure compared with proper road club sessions. Actually, Andy who is often touring abroad and is cycling fit, enjoys very easy riding so much that he had arrived on a swanky electric bike. It turned out that a route to the Bhurtpore Inn was an acceptable moderate ride for Andy, Fiona and Mike and they opted to keep me company. 

The route was familiar and relaxing: down to Cotebrook, skirting the southern edge of Oulton Park and on to Wettenhall. There were people below, enjoying tea and a bite at canal-side tables, as we crested Cholmondeston Bridge at Venetian Marina. At Reaseheath College, I pointed out where we are no longer allowed to ride through (at point of prosecution). It was very mild, and garment removal was beginning. We were soon passing Henhull Hall. At this point I decided that the ultra swish bikes of Andy and Fiona should not be subject to the grit of parkland in order to skirt south of Nantwich.

The alternative took us to the fine old church at Acton, down Ravens Lane, across to Swanley Lane, past Ravensmoor and into the Bermuda Triangle of Sound Heath. I remember being here with Dave and Liz and Dave's clockwork GPS; our heads began spinning, and we nearly disappeared up our own butted tubing. Andy and I decided that the extra loop south east of Aston would give us a few more pleasant miles before lunch. We headed in the direction of Audlem, and I tried to draw attention to the moated Hall o' Coole. This was the second time I had tried to educate the peasants, a la Brian Mac, but failed to muster any interest! The first time was when we passed Madam's Farm on the Dorfold Hall estate. When we reach The Bhurtpore, I'll tell them to look up the history on t' internet! We turned north west up Back Coole Lane to head straight for lunch in Aston. We always feel welcome and at home in The Bhurtpore. My curry was plain, but contained plenty of decent chicken, and the service was friendly and efficient. It was good to chat to new riders, and get to know each other better. It strikes me that we have been very lucky lately in the personable nature of the riders who have joined us.

The return was intended to be shorter than the 25 miles to lunch. Andy marvelled at the lightness of Fiona's bike, and they wondered how a light, fit rider would fare on a hill against old Andy and an electric motor. I had no plans to return via Harthill, for instance, to test out their imagined joust! Our return was via Wrenbury, Chorley, Burland Green and Radmore Green.  I led a little diversion down a backwater to see   Haughton Hall. Steve Tan rang to say that The Fast Lads were back at Rose Farm. As Elwyn was sharing a car with Fiona, and Steve with me, it looked like the partaking of coffee and cake at Tilly's or the Old Fire Station would be a mite inconsiderate. No matter, if anyone in the club needs less cake, its me!  The sting in the tail after Bunbury is the sharp climb at Tilston. This was a chance for the Andy and Fiona contest. I am not sure what happened, but Fiona flew up like a bird, Mike did a Vettel block on Andy, and then they disappeared around the corner. We returned on the narrow lanes to Rhuddall Heath and Tarporley before climbing back to Utkinton, with Andy peeling off for home on the way. We covered a very pleasant and sociable 45 miles on mainly quiet lanes, and managed to find a sheltered route where we hardly noticed the the strong wind. I hope Mike joins us again, when he is not in Germany.


Thursday 12 September 2019

12th September 2019 : Alsager (brisk)

It becomes more and more difficult to prepare routes which contain "new lanes" these days. There are 790 blogs on our website that have been posted over the last 10+ years. Bryan W used to mark up his OS maps with a highlighter to show the lanes and routes ridden. Maybe he still does! Its a pity that we can't collate all routes from these 790 posts to prepare an electronic version of Bryan's highlighted maps to make the ride compiler's job easier!

Notwithstanding any of the above, I believed I had cracked it today with a brisk run to Alsager down some new lanes. Steve T and Elwyn were up for it, but I had to persuade Neil that the 51 miler was flat and if he were to peel off for home near to Alpraham, he would save at least 5 miles off the out and back trip. He was a little hesitant but decided to give a try. "Oh ye of little faith!*

So we four set off out via Little Budworth on our way to Blakeden Lane to skirt Winsford. Its not a pretty place neither is Middlewich which we had to skirt via the multitudinous housing estates. At Brereton Green, and after 16 miles, we now take the "new" lanes of Moorhead, Brookhouse and Moss End lanes. We now cross the A50 and run west of Rode Heath and south in deep lanes shielding us from the brisk SW winds.

Alsager comes up and we slide passed the Wilbraham Arms, a pub I had used before but service was so slow that today we would use The Plough at the western end of Alsager. Here you can get a full carvery roast at a very reasonable price if so minded. We four didn't indulge, but my small fish and chips was enormous. Lunchtime banter reflected on the present housing market and the fact that it felt like "they were being built everywhere we cycle".

So to prove it, we set off through a housing estate, diving off a little lane and over the M6 and down the lovely lanes of Oakhanger to Winterley. We're back into Crewe suburbia now circling Coppenhall on our way to Church Minshull. I change the course on the fly to get Neil closer to Alpraham to ease his run back to Tattenhall albeit directly into the gusty SW winds.

We three carry on to Eaton and thence into the back of Tarporley where I can't resist a climb up Cobbler's Cross Lane. Elwyn shoots up this even after nearly 50 miles of fairly brisk effort. The Heath Green transfer finds us close by Rose Farm at just after 1500 with 51 miles and a surprising 1938ft of ups and downs.

No cycling problems today, with lots of long quiet lanes in a quiet day for weather, except for the wind that is. As I cycle back to Chester, its full force dulls my "brisk" efforts and I am grateful that home arrives after "only" 79 miles.


* Neil saved six miles!

See route map and/or gpx file download

Sunday 8 September 2019

5th September 2019: Holt (mod)

Today’s meet was at The Gallery cafe, Hawarden, so I set thinking it’s going to be a dry one. Well it was after a little shower, the one that came as all six of us set off to the cafe.  Only two got caught as they rode out: Brian W but he boxed clever and put a waterproof jacket on and Dave M took shelter in a factory on Broughton Industrial park. You know the thing dressed as a cyclist not looking out of place, ha ha, but at least he kept dry. 

So at the cafe was myself, Brian W, Fiona, Elwyn, see I did listen this time on how to spell your name bud, oh while I’m at it he came with us but is really a fast lad so had to put up with us other mods, Peter on the electric bike like Brian’s, Dave M and me.  Dave said he has been out for an early bimble and was heading to Holt for lunch, so as Brian wasn’t riding with us and we didn’t have a  plan we asked Dave if we could tag on. So we set off on a 15 mile route to Cleopatra's via Lower Kinnerton, Rossett, etc. Here we had a light lunch.  We took a route that Fiona and Elwyn knew, liaising with Peter, back to our start, meandering  around the back lanes of Rossett up to the cafe and cars in Hawarden.  

It was only a short ride, about 30 miles due to people chatting and us not having a plan B.  Now I know what Pep and Co go on about having a plan B.  Anyway the day turned out great as the rain went, the sun shone and the company was good.  Today's blog is short and not much info but the reason is a quirky one, as except for at the cafe where big bad Brian was and he knew me and big bad Dave, all the others were new to each other so on the ride it was a case of getting to know each other, being sociable, chatting, etc. I think I know the reason individuals didn’t get to the ride as they were lording it big time as having been put in their place by 1/2/3/4/5 year olds for the last six weeks.  So they have now gone away on a break asking what happened there.