For CER riders looking out of their bedroom windows the main question was, “If I turn up to ride today will I just get reasonably wet, or insufferably wet, as in having to endure miserable, cold hours of driving rain ?” Those who have rich and full lives, urgent household task to tackle, or stimulating company at home, sensibly chose to “give it a miss”. Clive, Ken, George, Nick and myself turned up. To be fair, Nick was multi-tasking in terms of a need to get to Screwfix in Wrexham before the end of the afternoon, then he was going to hang curtains, and later practise his karaoke! That's the energy of (relative) youth for you. I suggested Hanmer or Ellesmere, and I reckon Ken had calculated that at my pace he'd be returning home in the dark if we went to Ellesmere, so the Hanmer Arms it was to be.
I sort of led, but although I have pioneered some perverse routes in this area, mainly to avoid hilly and rough-roaded Malpas, the help of the rest of The Crazy Gang, who ride these lanes more frequently, smoothed things along. When I don't know my north from my south, George can always take bearings from his beloved distant Welsh hills in order to keep us on track. The route out was via Churton. At Coddington the Caravan Park cafe was recommended to those who hadn't yet partaken. We continued through the mazy little lanes of Cuddington Heath and Oldcastle Heath. We passed Peacock Farm where my Clio RS happened to be in the capable, specialist hands of Steve and Andy of Birchdown Motors. At Eglwys Cross, Clive, perhaps surprisingly, suggests the main road in order to miss the super muddy back lane to Hanmer. George and I remember well using sticks here to poke the muck from between our tyres and mudguards. It was by leading us on back lanes like this that Clive literally cemented his reputation. The Hanmer Arms is full of chatting ladies, one of whom nearly knocks me over, chuckling over her view that my yellow “safety jacket” was the only thing that saved me from demolition. Service and food were very good, and it is nice to see this long time CER favourite returned to top form.
The conversation was interesting, but as I strayed onto the political, George, quite rightly mentioned out our informal concensus on avoiding the risk of heartfelt arguments over politics. Of course, George may have just been on Civil Service autopilot after decades of ensuring Political Purdah before elections!
Our return was via Little Arowry, Three Fingers, Threapwood and Shocklach. The pace of the fast lads was considerately turned down, but progress had been good all day. Nick peeled off for home. We, amazingly, felt very little rain until the last few miles to Farndon; even this was only light. We decided to give our custom to Helen, back at Cleopatra's. We had a very pleasant coffee and cake session before departing. I suspect Ken, and definitely Clive, will have hit real rain riding home. Only 31 miles, but very enjoyable despite the gloomy forecast. I am sure that we all were glad that we had not “given it a miss”!
See route map and/or gpx file download
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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