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.

Saturday 26 October 2019

24th October 2019: Special - Marton (mod)

There was a surprisingly good turnout for the last Special Ride of the year - a cyclist's dozen of thirteen riders met at High Legh garden (and everything else) centre for the 1030 off.  The weather was not promising in that there was light rain on the way to the cafe, but it improved to grey cloud cover for most of the morning.

The Moderate group consisted of Andy B, Mike D, Peter, Dave H, Steve T, Trevor and myself. I had already prepped the group that there were lots of twists and turns on this ride as we set off bound for Rostherne and its impressive natural mere (48 hectares and 30m deep). We wiggle our way through Mobberley where, detecting a loud noise, I pull to the side expecting a larger tractor to pass, only to find that a Virgin Atlantic 747 was taking off in the next field. Mobberley airport is in fact Manchester International Airport!

We are now on our way south east towards Nether Alderley and the start of Artist’s Lane aka Wizard Hill lane. We each grind our lonely way up the mile plus lane and rest outside the  "Wizard of Edge” pub. It’s now largely downhill now through Birtles to Henbury. School Lane, down through Gravelhole and Hunt woods, is definitely downhill and as the road flattened out, a double cyclist nemesis greets us - two tractors hedge cutting! We gingerly pass by then turning into Bearhurst lane, I hear the plaintiff cry of "Stopping -puncture"! Andy has a front wheel flat and, as it is nearly mended, I espy a rather large thorn in his rear tyre. To add to the situation, Peter then owns up to a front wheel puncture as well. After about a 30 mins delay, we are off again for the 5 miles or so through Gawsworth to Marton and the Old Barn cafe arriving about 1330.

The cafe had reserved two tables for six for us but no Brisk riders were in evidence as yet. They had a longer and hillier ride to the same cafe. We quickly sit and order our repast. The Brisk group arrives complaining of a minor piece of off-road transfer and that the route was rather steep! We all agree that the repast was of excellent quality. Outside it is looking a little dark and I wonder if the we were going to get rained on. So we set off for the return route and I “decide” to make an instant minor route alteration on our way to Goostrey. The sun has now come out and a little bit of warmth is in evidence.

We are now heading north east bound for Knutsford where Steve has suggested we use the Tan Transfer to get us across the the very busy A556 at Tabley. This works a treat  and it is now a 5 mile run back to High Legh. The Brisk group have supped and gone, as we arrive back around 1630 with 51 miles and 1800ft of ascent.

For me, there were miles of new lanes through beautiful and affluent Cheshire Life countryside; however, Dave and Steve seemed to know quite a few of the lanes today. So, paraphrasing the Morecambe and Wise Andre Previn sketch  “ I was riding all the right lanes but not necessarily in the right order"

See route map and/or gpx file download


Friday 25 October 2019

24th October 2019 :Special - Marton (brisk)

With Nick for company, we headed by car to High Legh Garden Centre for our caffeine fix and rendezvous for the 58 mile,  brisk  ‘special’ ride.

As both groups gathered for the ‘grand depart’,  Nick got the zip of his Gore jacket jammed in the fabric but in freeing the zip, he somehow managed to break the zip on his seat pack rendering it useless. Meanwhile, John M, John W, Ivan, Ray and myself waved off the moderates while Nick organised his gear.

Finally we set off in pursuit of Clive and the moderates, the first part of route being  shared by both ride groups. We caught up with them just before Rostherne Mere and continued our brisk pace through the quiet and very flat lanes of East Cheshire until the first and only advertised mile climb of the day up towards Alderley Edge and the Wizard Inn. The 7% gradient slowed us down but eventually we pressed on towards Prestbury. Just before reaching Nether Alderley ‘Plotaroute’ directed us through a private property fortunately the error was spotted and we continued on the posted route into Prestbury and onto horrible cobbled speed bumps .

Leaving the town, we headed south of Bollington along Dumbah Road to meet the A523, where we had to go on two hundred meters of dual carriageway before branching off over a heavily brambled steep embankment to drop down to a minor road, Clarke Lane. As you can see by the photos John W and Ivan enjoyed breaking the trail through the nettles and brambles!

Clarke Lane led us directly up Kerridge Hill,  a climb of about 1.5km with 100 metres of ascent, the first of 4 significant climbs before lunch which were a surprise as they were omitted  from Clive’s advert about the ride!

After the descent of Kerridge Hill there was a cry of “glass“ but the warning was too late for us to avoid. The next long climb, to Tegs Nose, started almost immediately but inevitably by the time we reached the top Nick had a puncture. At this point we had  4 riders at the top of hill, 2 having already descended. No sooner had we remounted and shouted we were on our way, John M suffered the same fate as Nick. Meanwhile, Ivan and JohnW, presumably fed up of waiting for us rode back up the back up the hill to rejoin us. 

Ivan indicating that they had had 2 punctures today.

The rest of route through Sutton Lane Ends and Gawsworth to Marton was incident free but it was nearly 2pm before we arrived at the Old Barn Cafe where the mods were already seated and awaiting their food. It seemed  their arrival was only 15 mins before us as they were delayed by punctures.

The lunch chat of both groups  was mainly focussed on the ride route and punctures and filled most of the lengthy wait time we endured for our food - it took almost an hour to be served which was strange given we  were the only customers . 

Finally fed and watered, the mods left first and then the brisk group shot off like a dogs after a hare, chasing the mods and wanting to make up for the time loss. The mods were caught at Swetenhams Heath where they turned right and were followed by most of the brisk group who then had to be recalled as our route took a different trajectory. Shortly after ‘Plotaroute’ tried once again to send us through private property, but fortunately the error was  spotted in time to avoid the turn. The remaining journey along the flat lanes through Goostrey and Wynscham was uneventful.

The route today totalled 93km (58miles) and according to Garmin contained 880 mtrs (2887ft) of ascent. A great route that is worthy of a revisit.

Thanks Clive for your planning and to the brisk lads for their company.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Friday 18 October 2019

17th October 2019: Bickerton (mod)

There was a fine turnout at Delamere Station Cafe. It was good to see Steve Haywood, who is hopefully on the mend. There are a number of us who have had an enforced absence from club rides for medical reasons, so we can empathise with the frustration felt by Steve. We are missing Steve's major contribution in not just posting all moderate ride write-ups, as he continues to do, but in his willingness to seek out routes and new pub stops, and to so often lead and write up the rides. As well as missing his usefulness, we just miss his company. 

The route was great, originally created by Ken, with Paul Rose and Steve Tan in tow. Steve led with Fiona, Andy, daft Andy, Bob, George, Mike the voice, Dave Pipe and myself.

We turned left at Hatchmere, and left again toward Kelsall, and right down the delightful, little, leafy Grange Road to Ashton Hayes. Unfortunately, Bob was ahead and missed the turn. Eventually we were reunited, and passed through Oscroft and Waverton. Andy B. had a puncture before Saighton. Mike kindly offered to chase Bob and George who were off the front. Andy's rear tyre was as thin as a wafer of graphene, and I think he realised that it needed to be junked when he got home. In the tradition of true farce the lead three returned, as we unwittingly missed them on the Churton to Coddington back lane. As the main peloton were now running late we lunched at the delightful Mannerwood Country Caravan Park cafe. The young women serving were friendly and efficient, and the food was very tasty.

Our route back was through Tilston, Bickerton and Bunbury. Dave Pipe and myself were severely tempted by Tilly's, but we all ploughed on to Eaton via the tough Tilston Bank. I needed to get back home, so I haven't yet found out what happened to the breakaway group. I hope their lunch at The Bickerton Poacher was enjoyable! The weather was ideal, so I am sure we all enjoyed the day despite the unintended split. When I returned I found that I had lost one of my new flashing heel clips. Ah, well! They were half price! 43 relaxed miles in excellent company. Thanks again to Steve for resurrecting this picturesque route. 


Thursday 17 October 2019

17th October 2019 : Goostrey (brisk)

A chilly start this morning as I set out via Manley for Delamere. Just outside Mickle Trafford, I espy Trevor and Jim fixing Trevor's puncture - they are OK, so I soldier on passing Manley Mere on the way to Delamere. This starting point is as popular as ever with about a dozen or so Easy Riders taking morning tea or coffee. A welcome visitor was Steve H who had travelled over Kelsall Hill to the station cafe by the oldest transport system available i.e. Shankys's Pony. Good to see him and he is making progress, it will be a little while yet before he is back in the saddle.

At coffee, I had cobbled together a route to Goostrey directly into the phone but realised that I would have to reverse it as it was longer on the homeward leg than the outward to lunch. So Nick, Elwyn, John W, Ray, Ken and I set off for Fishpool Lane and Cotebrook. The low bright sun made reading the road surface quite difficult, but thankfully there were no surprises as we head for Wettenhall.

We now take the long lane to Church Minshull and out on the Nantwich Road towards Middlewich. Turning off into Chapel Lane, we can now run northwards with the stiff breeze behind us into Middlewich proper. A quick right and left finds out on the road to Cranage, and we follow the lane to Twemlow Green. Jodrell Bank telescope dish looms high over the countryside as we turn into Goostrey bound for The Crown pub.

We have visited this pub quite a few times and it doesn't disappoint today either. We learn that Boris has just concluded a deal with Brussels and all wonder whatever is going to happen next. Whilst a few of us are waiting for apple pie and custard, I realise that, in reversing my hastily constructed route, we shall now have all the hills to climb on the way back. I decide that I need more practice on route plotting and hastily create a flatter route back.

The return takes us to Lach Dennis and Davenham and onwards to Hartford. After Cuddington, we take my favourite lane, Gallowsclough Lane, back into Norley. I find out later that we have passed a megalithic round barrow half way down this lane. Read about it here.

It is now a short ride back to Hatchmere where John, Ray and I head back for home via Delamere  with about 75 miles under the tyres. The remaining riders go back to the cafe with only 45 miles ridden but at 16.5mph average.

So thank you to my domestiques who took the wind off the front for me a few times during the ride today. I enjoyed the ride on my new Hunt wheels with tubeless Conti Grandprix 5000 tyres - they did actually feel quicker - but will it be a lasting reality or just an illusion!

See route map and/or gpx file download


Monday 14 October 2019

10th October 2019: Baschurch (mod)

After Clive's Beatles Tour a few weeks ago the moderate ride today turned into something of a Mystery Tour although we were as far away from Liverpool as we get on our normal rides. I had gone to Chirk on the train along with David M and Andy W, but David was scouting out part of a route for an Audax ride he was planning and Andy was going with him. I was pleased when Andy B and Dave P turned up at the cafe as until then it had just been me and a group of brisk riders there.

The brisk group had got themselves organised and promptly set off on their ride while the three of us hadn't even thought about where we might go. Dave and Andy didn't have any maps but I had my Garmin. However it was my first ride back after a trip to Europe and unfortunately I hadn't reloaded my British maps. I managed to find and load a route but all I had on the screen was a red line on a blank background. All I knew was that the route appeared to head down onto the Shropshire plains and was about 40 miles, two features which were acceptable to the others. And so our mystery trip began.

We turned left out of the cafe, then right and dropped down onto the canal towpath to cross Telford's aqueduct. At Rhoswiel we left the canal, crossed the A5 and found ourselves heading towards Hindford. Then it was on through Tetchill and Hordley to Bagley.

About 15 miles into the ride we started to see signs for Baschurch and I realised that we were probably heading for Ruyton-X1-Towns and the Talbot Inn. Sure enough as we approached Baschurch we turned right onto B4397. On the previous ride from Chirk, Clive had said that the Talbot Inn was closed on Thursday lunchtime and had taken us instead to Moor Farm cafe at Baschurch. Not wanting to arrive in Ruyton to find that we couldn't get any food we opted for the same alternative and ate well from the hearty menu. The pies in the farm shop looked good too (Note to self: must bring a bigger saddle bag next time!). After lunch we continued along the main road into Ruyton and noticed that the Talbot Inn appeared to be open. (Perhaps we can use it again on future rides).

If football is a game of two halves then today's ride was certainly a ride of two halves. The morning ride out had been dry but for the most part into the wind. The afternoon was just the opposite and the rain started as we headed to Wykey and Eardiston.

Now that I knew where we had been, I had a good idea of the route back. Which is just as well because as we approached Maesbury the screen on my Garmin decided to freeze. Not only was I without the maps but now I had no red line to follow either. However we found our way to the A5 crossing near Aston and then turned left towards Oswestry. I was confident that I knew the route around the suburbs of Oswestry and soon we were climbing up the road past the Old Fort.

Shortly after that we came across a car stopped blocking the road. Apparently, a herd of cattle were on their way towards us and we were advised to wait. We had to wait longer than expected and Dave decided that his light rain jacket was no longer up to the task. So he changed into his rain cape – at which point the rain stopped. If only he had decided to change earlier!

Once the cattle had passed we carried on along the top road, turned down through Weston Rhyn and found our way back to the canal for the return to Chirk. Just the three of us to complete a pleasant (despite the weather) 40 mile ride. A bit of work to do when we got home though, to wash the Shropshire mud off our bikes.


Thursday 10 October 2019

10th October 2019: Ruyton XI Towns (brisk)

I had 10 minutes to spare before setting off by car to Chirk, so I rapidly put together a route that could be used as a brisk or moderate ride. The problem was it was only 42 miles. I thought “never mind, someone will have a suitable route”. I arrived in the car park and it was clear that the weather could do anything today, so I had a ride around to warm up the legs before going to the Castle Bistro for a coffee.

There was a reasonable crowd of CER riders there and it polarised into a brisk ride ( yes, my route) consisting of John M, Nick and a dragooned in Steve T. I explained the length dilemma and explained we would just wing it when we got as far south as I had originally planned.  I didn’t catch where the Mods were going though. So we set off down the Ceiriog Road and up and around the back lanes of Weston Rhyn and in and out of Oswestry. 

The first part of today's route was a steal from the recent Mod ride to Baschurch as we continue south and east to Melverley. My original route for today then turned north for Montford Bridge and Ruyton. So after a quick conflab, we slide across the River Severn and take the long and undulating “main” road east through Ford on the A458 to turn up to Montford Bridge. The weather is threatening now and light rain and drizzle now accompany us all the way to Ruyton XI towns with 31 miles up. 

Believing that The Talbot did not open until 1400, we stop at Cafe Eleven where I am told it will be 25 minutes at least before we can hope to get some food. I ask John to ride down the high street to check if The Talbot is open - and it is! It now opens at 1200 except on Mondays, but after the ride I check their website which states food service between 1800-2100 only. So, somewhat confused now.

We go in and food is on, and as its a Joules pub, there is delicious Slumbering Monk ale to be had. We all order Eggs Benedict (in various forms) and some excellent chips.  We talk about our ancient memories and our ailments ( do we need an Ailments tab on the website perhaps?). Warmly ensconced in the bar, it is difficult to leave knowing that the rain is all around, and my original cobbled together route is a very short run back. So I look again and plot a slightly longer route back via St Martins. 

So up Grug Hill and onto Gimpo, it seemed like the lanes have all been hedge-trimmed or tractor to death, so we have mud and thorns and debris everywhere. We hit Welsh Frankton and I remember that the obviously direct lane to St Martins is in appalling condition so we circle Perthy and onto New Marton and St Martins. It is now only a quick dash down to the A5 roundabout, then onto the canal side by the Poacher Pub to end up back at the cafe after 48 miles and 2500 ft of climbs at around 1515.

It had rained all the way home, and the temperature had dropped, and the bikes were covered in Shropshire countryside debris - so we all decided to head for home rather than take a coffee on the cafe. So thank you for being patient with my route planning today, but as ever, an enjoyable day out on the bike

See route map and/or gpx file download


Saturday 5 October 2019

3rd October 2019: Whitchurch (mod)

There was a fine turnout for our first club visit to Alison's Country Kitchen. The staff were very friendly and welcoming, and we were accommodated in the back room. We had plenty of space for our bikes and no problems parking our cars for the day at the back. John Adam and his friend were welcomed. John decided to go with The Fast Lads, after I explained how slow I was going to be, whilst waving two coffee stained, disintegrating maps in my hand. I did have a complicated route to Ellesmere vaguely in mind, but Steve Tan, thankfully, had a former route to Whitchurch on his Garmin.

The moderate group consisted of Andy Barber, Mike Dodd, Fiona, Steve Tan, Mike Gilbert, Neil and myself. Our route took us toward Wrenbury via Beeston. There are many little lanes you can choose in order to drift down to Whitchurch, and Mike and I became concerned that every obvious right turn was being spurned. Steve was sticking to the route he had downloaded, and we were so far south-east of Whitchurch in the end, that we were close to Calverhall. Surely this hyper-loop gives the clue that this must have been a Clive route originally! Although, we never passed through any deep mud surrounded by Saddlebacks, so perhaps not. Neil thinks that my rear tyre is soft, but I am able to assure him that it is just the visual result of my rubber squashing weight perched on the saddle.

After thirty miles, The Black Bear provided the usual friendly and characterful environment for lunch. The Fast Lads made a surprise appearance outside, having finished their own lunch elsewhere in the town. They had just stopped to tweak their afterburners.

The return starts with a surprisingly stiff climb to Wirswall, and as we briefly stop, the view is smashing. Looking out from this quiet leafy lane across Cheshire, the moment encapsulates the essential experience of riding with Chester Easy Riders: quiet, scenic routes, and a relaxed pace in convivial company. We cross the A49 at Bickley and take on Harthill before whooshing down to Tattenhall and just beating the expected rain. Unfortunately, Alison's has stopped opening all day, so no coffee and cake. Never mind, about forty-five very enjoyable miles. Many thanks to Steve for an excellent lead.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Thursday 3 October 2019

3rd October 2019 : Whitchurch (brisk)

It was an unwelcome chilly start this morning, but a huge crowd of riders had descended on Alison's Country Kitchen cafe in Tattenhall for the first visit to this "new" starting point in Tattenhall.  John M asked me "if I had a route", to which I answer " I always have one (even when I haven't actually prepared one) ", so the brisk ride was sorted!

Today, Ivan was just out for a solo ride before he went to Liverpool to "meet" Bradley Wiggins for some riding tips. So our group consisted of John W, John M, Nick, Elwyn and a potential new member, John A. Too many Johns and Daves now!

The route had been prepared by using the new features of the Viewranger app which allows one to create a route on the phone directly, and it will auto-route for walking, cycling or motoring. It will also allow you to edit the route once saved. So we set off out of Tattenhall and up and over Harthill bound for Bickley. It's about here that I realise we are going out out on the return loop of the ride, but no matter I correct, re-set the direction of travel, and we head for Ashton via a circuitous route through Marbury. It is now  along run down Steppenhall Lane. Checking again I realise that we shall be at Calverhall far too early for lunch and with not enough miles ridden. So a quick re-route takes us out in a loop to arrive in Calverhall after 25 miles. As it is still only 1230, I ask for permission to cycle on the Whitchurch town.

So off via Ightfield and the twin Ash villages, I dive off left down and through Brown Moss Nature Reserve to enter the back of Whitchurch and thence to The Wheatsheaf in Green End. We have been to this welcoming pub before and we are soon seated with food orders taken and drinks delivered to the table. There is the usual lunchtime banter, and Elwyn then informs me that the Mods are up the road in the Black Bear pub - so that is why there is a photograph of us outside it!

This was taken outside the pub where we didn't have lunch in Whitchurch!

At lunch, I had abandoned the planned route and put together an "improved" return section counter-intuitively going away from Tattenhall towards Fenn Bank via Alkington. We are soon heading in the right direction now with the wind behind us in the hilly borderlands of the Wyches. Pretty soon we in and out of Malpas heading for Brown Knowl and the hillside lane behind Bolesworth Castle

We arrive back into Tattenhall about 1530 to a closed cafe. It is then I recall that when I had last visited the cafe they said that on this particular Thursday they would be closing early.

So John W and A head off home as I promise a hot drink via the Spar shop, only to find their machine was "being cleaned". So John M and I settle for a cold chocolate drink to fortify us for the return to Chester in light rain.

The route around was 53 miles and at 15.6 mph with a surprising 2630ft of climbs - something to do with Harthill and Brown Knowl I suspect. Riding back to Chester I find that if have ridden 79 miles and my trusty Trek Pilot has just turned over 30,000 miles.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Photo JW