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 27 February 2020

27th February 2020: Aston (mod)

This write up will have to be brief, as we have been invited out, despite flying to the Canaries in the morning! There was a good turnout at the 'upvamped' Rose Farm cafe despite the continued unsettled weather and drowning countryside . It was good to meet Steve Hughes who is now a fully paid up club member, and is very welcome. Rapid riders Ray and Clive decided to join the moderates at a more relaxed pace than is their norm. The group consisted of Andy B, Mike G, George, Keith, Steves Hughes, Tan and Haywood, myself and the two fast lads.

We set off for Cotebrook, meeting a large cattle lorry on the way up. I caught a glimpse of a fine looking beef animal, and wandered if it was shortly to be slaughtered at Rose Farm. Life and death is played out pretty starkly in the pretty Cheshire countryside, as further evidenced by a fox laid out at the front of a farm ten minutes later. I embroidered the route to Nantwich by meandering on less familiar little lanes to Wettenhall. Our route was via the lovely old church at Acton, and down the quiet lane bordering Dorfold Hall. We continued to Ravensmore and Sound, and completed a loop south-east of Aston, finally arriving at the Bhurtpore with twenty -eight miles under our belt.

A few curries were consumed in a very convivial atmosphere, before we headed back. The route back was intended to be shorter, heading for Larden Green, Brindley and Bunbury. We exchanged a wave with Clive and Ray, who had gone ahead to keep warm, and were sitting in the window at Tilly's. We approached Tarporley by way of Beeston Castle. It had been a battle against the wind on our return, but we had managed the odd flooded section, and completed an enjoyable forty-seven miles in excellent company. Some of us stayed for a well-earned coffee and cake at The Old Fire Station. My sympathy was for Mike and Andy, who still had a blustery ride remaining as they forged on to north Wales.

Photo by Mike G
See route map and/or gpx file download 


Sunday 23 February 2020

20th February 2020: Minera (mod)

This would be our last visit to The Gallery café at Hawarden before Spiros retires at the end of March. Eight Easy Riders had gathered to wish him well. Jim and Trevor had come in civvies, John W was doing his own thing and Ken had to be home for lunch, but he joined Dave H, Keith, Andy B and Steve T for the ride. We decided that, since Dave was recovering from his gall bladder op and Keith hadn’t been out for a while due to a bad shoulder and the weather was awful, we’d make it a short one today. I’d found a ride on the blog to the Tyn-y-Capel pub at Minera which Steve H had led a year or so ago. At only 30 miles, it seemed to fit the bill for our ride today.

So, off we set out through Ewloe and Buckley (where Ken helped us to navigate the housing estate streets) to reach the A5118 near Llong. Ken peeled off here to head for home, whilst we struggled along the main road into the strong westerly wind before taking the long, steep hill to Pentre, skirting Treuddyn to reach Rhydtalog and Four Crosses. From here it was steeply downhill to reach Minera and Tyd-y-lan opposite the church.

It didn’t look open, but a quick look inside told us that all was well and we were soon settled in the warm pub, drying off gloves and other wet things on any radiators we could find. As well as the normal menu, there was a 2 course lunch on offer for only £7.95. Andy, Keith and I chose this option, whereas Dave went for a Moroccan surprise. He was more than a little worried when the waitress brought him a plate of salad, chips and wraps, but the sizzling sound of a dish of Moroccan chicken soon brought a smile to his face.

As we were eating, the sun came out so that when we set off for home the world looked a much brighter place. However, the wind was still very strong and we did get shot-blasted by a few snow showers as we took the B-road round Coedpoeth and zig-zagged through Pentre Broughton to Gwersyllt, where we joined the busy road to Llay. From there we found the quieter lanes to Penymynydd, where we crossed the A5104.  Andy left us here to take that road back to Mold, leaving Dave, Keith and I to navigate the footbridge over the A55 and then follow the track through Bilberry Wood back to Hawarden.

Yet again we’d started from the café in very unpromising conditions, only to finish the day in fine and dry weather. A short ride today, but good company and the drying weather made it all worthwhile.

Friday 14 February 2020

13th February 2020: Warrington (brisk)

Ivan had proposed a ride to Warrington and so it was that John W and I met Ivan at the top of the Greenway in the pouring rain for our ride out to Delamere Station Cafe. Around Manley Mere, John was having trouble changing the front and rear derailleurs on his Di system. So he reluctantly decided that riding all day on a fixie was not a good idea, and returned homewards.

The warmth of Delamere Station was welcome and it was very busy with lots of Easy Riders and walkers. Steve T was yet again dragooned into the Brisk Ride Formation Cycling Team as Ivan leads us out  setting off bound for Runcorn via Kingsley. The other side of Frodsham, Steve  offers to weave us through Runcorn in between the railway lines, main roads and canals, to get to the old Mersey Bridge, which he did expertly. Up until this point, the roads were pretty familiar to me but this was all about to change. Steve tells me "it is a bit rough around here". I see signs for Prescot where the owner of the Chester "Sticky Walnut" restaurant successfully opened a gourmet establishment!

On the Mersey Old Bridge
Ivan guides us through suburban Widnes to Upton Rocks then Cronton thence Rainhill Stoops - familiar to you all I suppose. Ivan tells us that it was around here in 1829 that Stephenson's Rocket won the competition for the first locomotive to pull trains on the nearly complete Liverpool to Manchester Railway line; and Yes it was more prompt on arrival times than Arriva North trains! Hereabouts as well was the first railway death - the "man with the red flag" was run over by the train and died.

We motor on passing Burtonwood Brewery and then into the metropolis that is Warrington, now with 209,000 population and a lot of warehouses! After 30 miles, we tie up our steeds outside the Spoons' "The Friar Penketh" where a couple of workers are jet-washing the outside smoking area - the jobsworth won't let us park our bikes away from the pavement here, neither offer to jet-wash our mud covered bikes.

We get a table at the window to stand watch over our bikes as our food comes promptly as always from the kitchens. The route back doesn't feature much in the way of railways, but we set off along the Mersey River cyclepath crossing it over the swinging Howley Footbridge where an electric blue-haired lass kindly takes our photo. Cutting through Victoria Park  and more cycle-paths, we head for Hillcliffe where the clue is in the name. It's a long ride up at nearly 10% to Fox Covert Cemetery and thence down the unmade road passing upmarket houses to Appleton reservoir.

Howley Footbridge over the Mersey River
Out via Hatton, we arrive in Daresbury village passing the rectory where Charles Dodgson was born in 1832. Better known as Lewis Carroll, Charles was also a well-respected mathematician and inventor of a Scrabble-type board game when he was not writing the Alice In Wonderland books.

Crossing the M56 we end up at Preston-on-the-Hill where we elect to join the old Chester to Warrington road known as the A56. Steve peels off near Sutton Weaver as Ivan and I ride straight back to Chester. Ivan's planned route would have taken you back to Delamere with 51 miles via Acton Bridge however.

Safely back in Chester, it now getting colder as Ivan I finish up for around 70 miles round trip. A great day out with a good part along roads and areas that I had not been down, or up, before.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Photos ID

Thursday 13 February 2020

13th February 2020: Goostrey (mod)

Heavy rain was falling as I cycled to the Station Cafe at Delamere. Several other drowned rats gradually appeared, while others had made the journey by car. It was good to see Dave H looking well, though in civvies recuperating from his recent operation. The plan was to ride out to The Crown at Goostrey, and the party comprised George, Andy B, Bob and myself.

Leaving the cafe the skies cleared and we even saw a spot of sunshine. The route largely covered familiar ground, taking the back way to Acton Bridge and then on to Great Budworth, Pickmere and Plumley. Around Lower Peover, I took a new lane for me - my old OS map showed it as just a track, though on line it appeared as a yellow lane.  It was OK except for the puddles and mud.

Entering The Crown, we were told that we had arrived before a large party of 50 were expected. Grateful not to be waiting for the kitchen to cook their orders first, we chose our food and drink, which arrived and were consumed quickly.

The return route was also familiar taking us through Lach Dennis (a reminder that Storm Dennis was expected at the weekend), Davenham and Hartford. Sandiway, Cuddington and Norley came next, before we reached our starting point. 

Despite the early rain, we stayed dry on the ride, and the weather was relatively pleasant for cycling with little wind. The total route length was 44 miles.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Friday 7 February 2020

6th February 2020: Melverley (mod)

There had been a heavy frost, though a sunny day was forecast, when CER members assembled at the Castle Bistro in Chirk. Ivan and Nick made up the brisk contingent, and we had six moderate riders: Bob, Steve T, Trevor, Mike G, Andy B and myself. Over coffee, Andy was sharing a few interesting facts about working in the nuclear industry: in order to test radioactive contamination, some staff had to provide 4 litres of their urine, in order that it could be reduced down to a concentration where alpha particles could be counted!

In choosing a destination for today’s ride, I remembered that on other rides we had often passed an interesting-looking pub on the banks of the River Severn.  So it was that our destination became the Royal Hill Inn, midway between Melverley and Pentre. We set off on one of our regular routes from Chirk, through Hindford and Welsh Frankton. Caution was in order as we came across patches of ice which we passed gingerly, and sometimes dismounted and walked around.  We hoped these would disappear as the day progressed. We cycled on through West Felton and Knockin, past the radio telescope dishes and beneath the helicopters always hereabouts due to the local military base.  Before long we were seeing signs to our pub.

Photos by Mike G

I can’t explain why it’s called the Royal Hill Inn as the locality is fairly hill-less, but maybe it is connected to the Civil War battles in the Shrewsbury area. The pub itself has an ideal location looking south over the banks of the River Severn towards the Breedon Hills in the distance. The interior retains a collection of small rooms - a servery, a snug and an old parlour. We sat basking in the sun shining through the windows and chose our refreshments.  The main courses are all under £10 and quite adequate – we were told that more chips could be provided if we wished. My pint of Three Tuns was in very good condition. We were discussing rides we had done in the area, when someone turned over a beermat to reveal the fact that the River Severn is 72,355 canoe lengths long! This brought the discussion round to canoe trips.

Soon it was time to move on.  Mike G suggested that we should visit St Peter’s Church in nearby Melverley.  This is a delightful timber wattle and daub structure, built in the early 15th century after Owain Glyndwr burnt down the previous one. In the early 1990’s a major effort succeeded in protecting it from falling into the River Severn.  As a result Melverley was given a “most motivated village” award.

From here we headed north through Maesbrook and Maesbury to join the road through Whittington to Gobowen. Before entering the town, we headed west, past the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Hospital, very familiar to Steve T, and then picked up the lanes to Western Rhyn and the Ceiriog valley.  From here we climbed up into Chirk and back to the Castle Bistro.

It had been an exceptionally good ride. The weather turned out to be excellent once the frost lifted. Apart from some muddy lanes around Chirk, the roads were generally clear and there was little wind. The route held plenty of interest, especially the church, and the pub was a notable find to which we will return. Total distance travelled was 42 miles.

See route map and/or gpx file download


6th February 2020: Nesscliffe (brisk)

It’s a train ride to Chirk for today's outing, travelling out with Trevor it is looking a very promising day with blue skies as far as the eyes can see. Arriving at the café in the town, the moderates have already taken over with a good turnout. The brisk group today is down to two – Nick and I. The mods are out of the door promptly leaving us to settle up and get ready.

We depart via Colliery Rd and crossing over the A5 to Pont y Blew. The sun is still bright but it is quite chilly as we descend Rhyln Lane. Nick stops to put a scull cap under his helmet and we set off. The roads are dry from Chirk to this point but, on going around a left-hand bend and continuing down hill, we hit ice across the road. No time for warnings but Nick crashes down onto the tarmac. After the shock he is able to get up, bike and clothing intact but his shoulder took the brunt of the fall and is bruised, so we decide to ride back to Chirk.

After loading his bike in to his car, Nick is off home for some pampering hopefully. I decide to ride my route so set off again taking extreme care when approaching the bend. It is probably 15 minutes since the accident and the ice has gone! For the rest of my ride I did not encounter any further icy patches. Unbelievable and unlucky. When Nick was gathering himself together a tractor, quad bike and two cars passed over the ice, so I can only assume busy traffic grated and dissolved the ice/slush.
Along Glyn Morlas Lane and through Ifton Meadow with the only category climb of 15%, its onwards to Ifton Heathand along Cross lanes towards Dudleston. Its now across country to Welsh Frankton and Hordley. The lanes are very quiet of traffic and it’s a pleasure for me to be riding alone and at my own pace enjoying the vistas as I cannot remember these lanes, but our leader has explored most lanes between Chirk and Shrewsbury so my memory is fading!

I pass through little villages of Lower Hardley and Bagley and approaching Lullingfields its similar to Newmarket as there is a grand stud stables and foal fields along with gallops. Dropping down to Myddle, I can remember a Clive route from Battlefield passing through this town but whenever you go down roads, there is always an up to challenge you.

The lunch stop today is at Nescliffe and a pub called The Old Three Pidgeon’s. I don’t think I’ve visited before but is a very old-world inn with a lot of history and a resident ghost that luckily was not behind the bar. Service was very friendly and my lunch was served very prompt and I was soon back on my bike again. My departure from my lunch stop took me along Nescliffe woods and the verge was covered with snow drops and crocus, I’m soon knocking on Knockin village and to Maesbury Marsh before skirting Oswestry.
The Pub
Another Solo Rider
I thought my route took me via the Fort, but I was passing the old works on the B5069 Gobowen Road and crossing over the A5 at Park Hall. At Gobowen, I wait at the station as the gates are down and the 1452 service from Chirk is arriving so I have an hour for my next service home. Between Gobowen and crossing the A5 again, at Whittington Road, I espy a group of riders, who I suspect were the Mods on their way back into Chirk via St Martins.

For me it was Weston Rhyn and Chirk Bank arriving back into town too early for a quick train home so amused myself at Stanton House and a relaxing 50 minutes. Unfortunately, not accompanied on the ride today, and I hope Nick isn’t too bruised, but an enjoyable 52 miles covered, although the planned route was only 46 miles, on I’m sure some new lanes in spring-like sunshine all day. Its a route I would enjoy riding again with some brisk riders to join me.

Saturday 1 February 2020

30th January 2020 : Market Drayton (brisk)

Today's ride is from Alison’s cafe at Tattenhall. Another good turnout of CER riders, and for the brisk ride today we were a group of 5. A ride to Market Drayton and a visit to the Red Lion, Joules establishment was on offer. With the hope that the roads are not as muddy as last week, the first half hour of today's conversation was the bike and gear wash after lasts weeks ride.

John M, John W, Steve F, Ray and I set off via Burwardsley Road and onto Dark Lane then onto Bolesworth Road and over Bolesworth Hill, dropping down to Brown Knowl then along Bickerton Road. Heading out to Wrenbury and passing the Dusty Miller inn, the canal bridge was down so it was then onwards towards Aston.

Beeston Castle in the sunshine
John M and Ray make a detour shortly after the crossroads deciding on a shorter ride to Audlem. We three continued on our route. As previously wished for, the lanes today were drier and the weather although overcast was warm. After a further few miles along decent lanes we are entering Market Drayton and lunch.

The service  at the "Spoons pub, the Red Lion, was quick and food reasonable and we are back out in the saddle again. Heading East, we head out  and up to Norton in Hales then into Audlem. A quick check of the café there confirmed our two "slackers" had departed for home. Through the town and up the hill before the right-hand fork thence to take us to Nantwich. Passing through the town and exit via Welsh Row, we continue to Acton and Swanley Lane and the usual route to Bunbury and Beeston.

We head on back to Chester after 53 miles around and having enjoyed 80+ miles of good cycling. As we pass the Rugby club on Hare Lane, and after so many pot holes, I hear a "psssssssss" sound and ride the rest of the short way home on a flat tyre

Another good ride, weather very warm and miles covered at a 16.5mph average. Still got to wash the bikes and gear though!!

See route map and/or gpx file download


Photo ID