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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 29 December 2019

29th December 2019: Annual Ride Statistics

This time last year, I compiled some statistics about the number of rides and mileage since the club was started in April 2008. I have now updated it for the 2019 Club Year.

This year featured 84 rides and their blogs covering 3947 miles over 52 Moderate/Leisure rides along with 32 Brisk rides. 

There appeared to be only one week when No Ride was reported and this was in early March.

YearMileageBlogsAv Miles/Ride


In addition, I have analysed the blogs to find out who were the authors and their frequency (highest number first). CA, SH and DH  wrote up half of the total  blogs.

And  ID, ST, KP, JD,TC, KB, JM, BM, MG, DP, GW, NT, NH  all led and wrote up at least one ride.

It is great to see more members offering to lead rides and write up the blogs.

We also welcomed some new members this year and look forward to them adding to the blog write-ups for 2020.

Should any member want to have any of the route gpx files, then they are stored via Dropbox and can be downloaded via a link upon request (email me). We have "saved" rides from August 2017 right up to end 2019. In addition, there are 180 odd rides covering the period Jan 2009 to Nov 2013. After that date through to July 2017, we lost all the gpx files when "bikeroutetoaster" website suddenly stopped working and we were unable to access the site and retrieve them.

Today, all the current routes are stored on PlotaRoute and are backed up on a shared Dropbox account (SH, ST and CA have access to this)

So, if you fancy leading a ride from a particular start point, you could select from over 350 gpx files and lead a route that we may have done before but probably will have forgotten - or ride the route in reverse which makes it a "new" route - after all, I have often heard "we haven't been down here before" when we patently have!

Have a great New Year's Eve and Best Wishes for 2020


Thursday 26 December 2019

26th December 2019: Shocklach (mod)

It wasn't a great forecast, and many CER riders were tied up by family commitments at this festive time. I wasn't sure that any other riders would be turning up as I approached Cleopatra's in Holt. Thankfully, the strange sight of a bikeless frontage was changed by Steve Haywood's timely appearance. Helen provided a warm welcome, and informed us that Boxing Day was usually one of their busiest days, but the weather.....! Steve had read my e-mail, so knew that he would not be alone if he turned up. Actually, the weather forecast was not too bad, and it was likely to become drier as the day wore on. Over ten years, I can only recall three other rides with only one other rider turning up. One was when Colin Watson was a club member, and I turned up at Ness Gardens with about three gears working. We finished up having lunch at the atmospheric cafe upstairs at the Woodside Ferry terminal. Another time was last winter with George, when it was pretty icy, and we finished up at Overton, without going near treacherous looking untreated side lanes. The third occasion was when Clive had recently joined the club, and we braved an unpromising forecast to ride to Great Budworth for lunch. On our return Clive, who was just getting into cycling, struggled slightly up the steep rise past The Goshawk. I was never to witness such a sight again, as Clive went from strength to strength.

Steve, as ever had three planned routes. We needed to miss some likely flooded lanes close to The Dee. I had checked  the Hanmer Arms the night before, which was open, but probably needed booking, and pubs in Whitchurch were a mixed bag, with one of our favourites closed. We didn't want to get back late, with families keening behind the back door anxious for our return at this family time. Or perhaps they were too inebriated from their continuing Christmas celebrations to be able to drive to the supermarket for a bottle of milk and a packet of Rennies. So, a modest ride to Overton was decide upon, via the B5130 to Cross Lanes and the A525 to Bangor on Dee.

The roads were delightfully quiet. We were early at the White Horse, and it was closed. Just as we were planning our next move, a bloke came out and said he had just lit the fire for the hotel, but there would be no food. He suggested The Buck House, but that was back at Bangor on Dee. We knew that we could get lunch at Cleopatra's if all else failed, so we fettled a quiet route north west to Shocklach via Worthenbury.

To avoid running into a big group booked in at Cleopatra's, Steve suggested The Bull at Shocklach. The last time I was here was with George and Steve, at least, near the end of a  long summer ride. It was like being on the set for an episode of Midsomer Murders. Someone eventually took our drink order on that occasion, and we never saw him again!  Although we did see two ears sticking out of the bin at the back when we returned to our bikes. This time it was quite busy, with some customers believed to be involved with a Boxing Day Hunt. We had passed vehicles apparently engaged in hunting activity on the way. I have to say at this point, that I have no evidence of foxhunting taking place, as it is illegal. The dogs are now allowed to chase a lure, but the evidence appears to indicate that foxes are sometimes killed “ unintentionally”. The food was fine, and it was good to be able to catch up properly with Steve, and discuss a range of issues.

When we finally returned to Cleopatra's, we didn't stop again, but returned to our doting families as soon as possible. It hadn't rained properly all ride, and it was a nicely paced, relaxed outing. Another day that had appeared unpromising, but turned out well worth the effort. Short and sweet. Many thanks to Steve for his faultless leading.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Thursday 19 December 2019

19th December 2019: Barton (mod)

(I've had reported that the smiley emojis :-) in the report below are not showing and appear as "J"s instead - please read accordingly - SH)

What do you mean, I have to write the blog for the day's ride? That was not part of my plan when I volunteered to lead a route. Don’t blame me for the following illiterate diatribe:

So, there we were at Rose farm café, pondering the threat of heavy rain coming from the south (due after 1pm), on top of already flooded roads all over the countryside; Dave H – Steve H – Peter- Bob – Steve T – Dave M – Trevor -Clive - Elwyn – John W and yours truly. We were clearly minus a few regulars, one  notable was Fiona. However, Elwyn informed us that she had a better offer and was riding with MGVC- ooh! “Get her” J J
Other missing notables were, most of the fast boys, so Elwyn and John elected to join us (rumour has it that they wanted to experience a real ride, instead of all that macho speed stuff, I could be wrong of course, but rarely am J)

As I discovered, I wasn’t the only one  interested in a mud free ride for a change, with the hope of relatively dry lanes (in the grand scheme of things of course) Hence, It was quickly decided to follow my route ( Dave H & Steve T that is - something about being tired of always carrying the group and getting no recognition for all their efforts or did I miss hear the chuckle brothers J)

Our destination was Manor Wood cafe, not visited before by some of the group, but a favourite of mine, especially in the summer with its outside seating, beside a quaint landscaped Mere and strange looking folk, in camouflage gear, dangling poles in the water   (almost as strange looking as us lot of course J)

Again, to be different. I head out right from Rose Farm and immediately we were in trouble with confusion over the number of riders, as I thought we were 11, however, Dave M did his usual and went the other way. Steve H was also missing, to which I was then informed, by one of the chuckle brothers, that Steve was suffering a bit and decided to head home. So, after a bit of a discussion we head off again with 10 in tow- well 8 and a couple of fast Klingons J

With the first 2 losses under our belt we head toward Oscroft on a few fast open lanes and quickly spread out with Peter doing the duties of “tail end Charlie” on his E-bike. The ride was going well (nice and mud free) until Clive decided to hijack the route and lead us down the back lanes of Aldford. This was shortly after I had stopped to admire the lovely wild meadow noted on the left, just before Aldford bridge. So it may have been that the group was temporarily rudderless and that Clive used his initiative (what a load of crap J)    

On we trot toward Churlton, where we lose Trevor, who headed off toward Coddington and home. No sooner had we lost Trevor, when John decided he needed to head home, something about dropping his bike off at AJ’s however, we all knew the real reason, as he was spotted at the rear, somewhat flagging, chatting to the green party (clearly his legs had gone - totally underestimated the pace of this group JJJ)

Anyway we make it to the café (at Barton) with no further losses. On arrival I discover that I hadn’t paid for the bag of coffee beans, I thought I had paid for on my last visit – oops! Clive commented, at our table, that we had only completed 20 miles, which didn’t stop the majority ordering the “full monty” ( 33 miles for yours truly J)
The lunch conversation seemed to revolve ostensibly around property and in particular our 1st mortgages. It was then we discovered how old Bob was, as his thatched cottage in Oxford cost him £1000 can you believe, back in year dot- well, maybe a bit more than £1000 J
The rest of the conversation was about how useless Elwyn was with electronics and bikes- to which Clive then demonstrated how easy it was to plot a route home on his Garmin (think Elwyn said “show me again and again” JJ)

So we finally get going, after the “last supper” and still with no rain, but the worst of the lanes, in order to get across the A41. At Tattenhall, I decide to change the route slightly to avoid the really mucky marina area, due to the building site. This also provided a much needed tailwind for some. So we head out to Beeston castle and down to the Shady Oak pub, once I had corrected Clive on his poor sense of directionJ

At Brassey Green, with 4 miles to go, I leave the remaining 5, and head home, they turned right to Tarporley and on to Rose Farm. I got home after 45 miles with only a bit of drizzle in the last 2 miles. Hopefully everybody else made it the last few miles to Rose Farm (33 total for the ride). I kept my fingers crossed as I rode home, as up until that point Elwyn had not fallen off his bike – still getting used to those clippie things on his pedals  J   

So, all in all a pretty good day for all, to which we all have to thank the ride leader for stepping up with a fabulous route with very little mud (as predicted) - exceptional lunch stop - and finally, amazing leadership.

Yours truly – Alias; lies R us JJJJ

PS;  Merry Xmas to you all and a Happy New Year 

See route map and/or gpx file download


Sunday 15 December 2019

12th December 2019: Gresford - Christmas Lunch Ride (mod)

I can't believe another year has gone by. Time for the annual Christmas Lunch ride again. Dave H kindly volunteered me (Thanks Dave!!!) to lead the moderates so on a damp wet morning which was destined to get worse I met up with Dave, Jim and Steve T for the ride up to Hawarden. We cycled into town, down to the river and along to the Old Dee Bridge. I will start my narrative at this point as we were to return here later in the day to complete a circular route.

We continued alongside the river skirting round the Little Roodee car park and then the racecourse. After passing the new flats we were forced onto New Crane Street for a short distance before cutting through The Cop back to the riverside. We followed the river now as far as the Ferry Lane bridge where we crossed over into Wales. Here we turned right onto the main road and passed the back of the Airbus factory. At the roundabout we turned right and then left up Rake Lane before turning right again for the final run up to Hawarden.

Although we were early we weren't the first to arrive and eleven riders had turned up by the time we had to leave. The brisk riders had planned their own ride and Steve joined them while we were joined by Andy B, Mike G, Peter and Brian. The seven of us set off down the Wrexham road then turned left up towards the A55 footbridge. As we neared the top we could see snow on the hills to our right. The question was would we get the promised rain later or would it be snow? It was certainly cold enough.

We turned right and then left into Old Hope Road and followed familiar lanes below Hope and Llay. As we crossed the Rossett – Llay road the weather worsened. The snow kept itself to the upper levels but it was raining by the time we reached Gresford Road. Here we dropped down to cross the bridge over the dual carriageway and turned into Springfield Lane. This took us to the bottom of Marford Hill. Peter wasn't able to join us for lunch and left us here while we climbed our way up into Gresford. At the lights we turned left and right into Old Wrexham Road. Only a mile to go to lunch now and shortly after passing The Flash we arrived at the Pant-yr-Ochain.

We had arrived cold and wet but that was soon forgotten as we headed to the bar for some pre-lunch drinks. We were first to arrive but we were soon joined by the brisk riders and those who had taken more notice of the weather forecast. We have been to the Pant-yr-Ochain for our Christmas lunch on several occasions and for good reason. They always put on a good lunch and today was no exception. Mercifully the conversation topics over lunch did not include politics or the day's general election.

All too soon lunch was over and we had to head back out into the cold and rain. Maybe it was the warming lunch or maybe it was good selection of ales that were on offer. Either way it helped us to forget about the wet weather. Even so we opted for the most direct route back. Andy, Mike & Brian went their own separate ways while Steve returned to us along with Clive for part of the way. We headed back through Gresford, down Marford Hill and then straight on through Rossett and Pulford. After the Grosvenor Garden Centre we turned right to pass through Eccleston & Handbridge before crossing the Old Dee Bridge to complete our circular route. Only 31 miles but 38 in total to get back to our starting point.

A big thank you to Dave H for organising the lunch again this year. Not an easy task as I know from experience. Happy Christmas to all our blog readers and all the best for 2020.

See route map and/or gpx file download


12th December 2019 : Gresford - Christmas Lunch Ride (brisk)

The Met office prognosis for today was  dire - low cloud with heavy rain forecast for most the day; this, adding to the accumulation  of several days of very heavy rain,  probably meant that  pedalo’s rather than pedal cycles should have been our vehicle of choice. 

Nick joined me on ride from home for today's ride with both of us hoping to burn off a few calories in advance of the CER Christmas lunch at the Pant yr Ochain. A good dozen CERS turned out for the pre-lunch ride  meeting at the Gallery coffee shop where we were  given the sad news by the owner that from March next year he would be selling the business due to ill health.  He will be sadly missed as he has been an excellent host over the years.

Today's ride suggestion was via Buckley, Summerhill, and Wrexham to the Pant Yr Ochain ; a route of 40km. Three brisk riders took up the offer i.e. Clive, Ray and  Nick  but then we pressed-ganged Steve T  taking our group total to five including myself. Departing promptly, we  headed off towards Buckley on wet roads but at least it wasn’t raining. A good start, although one malcontent was heard to comment that if you concentrated really hard you could just about see your front wheel disappearing into the mist.

Navigating our way through Buckley, we were caught up in slow moving traffic caused by people queueing for the polling station, eventually we exited onto Padeswood Road  passing the deserted golf courses on our way to Hope and Caergwrle. As we left Caergwrle, on Ffrwd Road towards the only hill of the day, the rain arrived along with the only mechanical of the day. Steve dislodged his chain at the start of Bellan Road hill and, in the true spirit of Christmas, the rest of the group rode off to wait for him at the top.

With Steve’s chain problem solved, the going was all downhill  along with  the weather. The heavy rain  spurred us on down the aptly named Top Road and with a quick zigzag to cross the A483 we entered Wrexham. Here the  time and weather forced us to shorten the ride, and take a more direct route through town which brought us out onto Borras Road and into Gresford  arriving at the Pant just after 12:00. 
The moderate riders had already arrived along with another dozen CERS who had  opted for  a warmer  and drier form of transport.

A fuzzy photo - just like today's view through cycling specs!

Thanks to Dave H, who was in full headmaster mode, for producing a wonderfully organised event, everyone was issued with pieces of paper listing their meal choice and, of course, to The Pant who performed to their usual high standard. A perfect end to the day and after a pint or two of Penny Porter the wet weather of the morning faded away quickly.

Today"s route was cut short from the original 40km to 33 km with 320 mtrs of ascent and was  ridden on very waterlogged  and muddy roads in heavy rain,  hopefully it was enjoyed as much as it was endured.


Photo KP

Saturday 7 December 2019

5th December 2019 : Dunham Massey (brisk)

Meeting at Delamere Station café was today a festive location with more Christmas trees than bikes in the car park. All that was missing were the elves, but with a good turnout of mam(w)il’s in splendid colours, we managed a reasonable substitute for a short while.

The brisk riders today were minus Clive, but a couple of routes were proposed, but with a wet and windy pm in prospect, a shorter ride was agreed and the Vine at Dunham Massey was our lunch destination. Finding our bikes amongst the Christmas trees, the brisk group today consisted of John W, Ken, Ray, Elwyn and myself.

Leaving the café, we head towards Hatchmere on probably the roughest tarmac surface in Cheshire and turning right at the cross roads for the B5153 and Crowton. It’s a fast descent from Norley and the pace is maintained to Acton Bridge before crossing over the blue bridge then the uphill via Willow Green Lane aka a very mucky lane!! With a tail wind and a reasonable pace, we arrive at Lymm and join the A road to Warburton where we head towards Dunham Massey.

We’ve arrived at the Vine at 11:58 and by the time our bikes were secured to the garden furniture, the doors were open and we were inside to be greeted to an open fire in full fury. A pint of Sam Smiths golden beer at £2.00 and a delicious lunch of pie and seasonal veg was very welcome. Our route out covered 25 miles, but the return was only 20 to Hatchmere and as it was now starting to drizzle, and we were keen to get started.

Riding along the track adjacent to Dunham Massey Hall, the car park was very busy with cars probably due to the big Christmas light switch-on which had signs boasting a sell-out. Passing the Swan with Two Nicks, then crossing the A56 and stopping for a photo shoot under the M56 bridge at the John Wesley monument. Reading in Wikipedia later, one of his quotes was “Though I am always in haste, I am never in a hurry” but today we are, so off again up Booth Bank and with the recent rain and hedge trimming, another mucky road. Passing High Legh garden centre, it is a different day to the recent Special Ride which started from here.

Underneath the M56  - John Wesley Memorial
Riding towards Great Budworth, I suggested that if the village was festive a better location for a photo opportunity but not a tree in sight! Must be filming again. Passing the mere on our left, another suggestion for a shoot was also declined and, to keep the locals happy, a gate stop opportunity taken.

From Comberbach, it was then following the usual route via Anderton and the Boat lift dropping down to Winnington. There are so many new homes built around here now it is very different area from just a couple of years ago. As mentioned in an earlier comment, from Delamere it's down hill to Crowton, so the return must be uphill and our last push up Maddocks Hill is felt.

Into Norley village and then back to Hatchmere crossroad, we continue along the roller coaster road through Delamere after parting with Elwyn riding back to the café and Ken who had parked up in the woods. John, Ray and I ride back to Chester and, as we arrive back, the wind has whipped up and were grateful to be back on local territory.

For the three Chester riders, we’ve ridden 65+ miles and an undulating 3000ft of climb at 15mph. The round trip distance returning to Delamere café is 45 miles. Although my bike had full length mudguards, I was a very spotted with mud and my overshoes thick with road slush. Bike is all very dirty – the joys of days out.

Thanks to my fellow riders for a good day out with no incidents 


Thursday 5 December 2019

5th December 2019: Bunbury (mod)

“And then there were none”

The team were greeted by some festive music on arriving at the Delamere café, and a good sized group set off for a steady moderate ride to Bunbury. A short stop in Kelsall gave Dave P the opportunity to ring ahead to the pub and check that they were happy for the group consisting of Dave and Liz on the tandem, Dave H, Steve H, Bob, Fiona, Andy W, Neil and myself to arrive at lunchtime. Having cleared that hurdle we set off along Willington Lane, and past Willington Hall. If you’ve ridden this bit of road you’ll know that the surface is as rough as anything Clive takes us on, so the last time I went down there I filled in a repair  report for the Cheshire Highways. Some days later I got a call from the local engineer to inform me that he’d looked at the surface and it didn’t fit the criteria necessary for a repair! Perhaps they need to lose a few local Range Rovers in the holes before action can be taken. However, the next section has been re-surfaced and a pleasant downhill took us to the A51 where traffic was briefly absent allowing us a quick crossing onto Corkscrew Lane.

The farmers had thoughtfully sprayed most of the surface with a fine layer of post-glacial mud, which makes a change from the usual blackthorn I suppose. The rain that was forecast for 3pm made a preliminary appearance but generally we stayed dry. Past the entrance to Beeston Castle - not many visitors there on a gloomy December day - and on to Bunbury and the Nags Head. The open fire was a welcome sight and we were soon perusing the menu. The meals were good quality and well –priced, but it was soon time to head back out into the gloom.

Dave and Liz set off to retrace the route out, Fiona and Neil felt the need to add on a few extra miles, which left the rest of us to head back to Beeston. Andy then peeled off direct for Chester and the remaining 4 continued down to the Ice Cream Farm and over the twin peaks by Tattenhall Marina. Here Dave and Bob took a right up to Huxley and back to Delamere. Steve and myself continued along Greenlooms Lane where we parted as Steve went right to Tarvin and I continued left to Guilden Sutton. The wind was beginning to pick up now with twigs and leaves blowing across the road, so I was quite relieved to get home to a mince pie and cup of tea. Just 40 miles for me, perhaps a bit less for the group, but a pleasant ride well up to moderate standards.

See route map and/or gpx file download