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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Sunday 30 May 2021

27th May 2021: Loppington (mod)

 It was a warm, sunny and dry forecast at last. It was smashing to be able to return to Cleopatra's, and sit outside in shorts and short sleeved tops. Catching up with Elwyn and Fiona was enjoyable, but they couldn't join us on the ride. Nick also turned up for a coffee, but was doing his own thing on the day. Most of the other regular lead riders were elsewhere, so my half-baked thoughts of an intricate route to the Dickin Arms were accepted.

The moderate group were Dave Matthews, Andy Barber, Mike Gilbert, Mike Dodd, Steve Hughes, George, Alan and myself. We pottered along to Tilston with plenty of breath to spare for interesting chats. Malpas is best avoided, so my back route to Lower Wych was via Horton Green, Cuddington Heath, and Oldcastle Heath. After climbing up from Lower Wych we turned left, passing the attractive Strift House before drifting south on little lanes to Whitewell. We crossed two main roads without any problems before entering the delightful rural corridor to Whixhall and beyond. Steve did us a favour by phoning the Dickin Arms to ensure that we could be accommodated for lunch. We headed towards Wem by an intricate lacework of lanes near the Prees Branch of the Llangollen Canal. Mike Gilbert was particularly interested, having spent many happy hours of his childhood on a narrow boat. Mike is an excellent route navigator, but he was unclear where exactly I wanted to go (that made two of us!). The upshot was that we spent a lot of time pleasantly meandering, but becoming behind schedule for lunch. For expediency, I was no longer contemplating Wem, Tilley and Nonely as a route to Loppington, but headed briskly for Poolhead, Lowe and Horton. Steve had rung the pub again as my e.t.a. was passing. They said, that was fine, but we would have to make it before 1.30 p.m. We made it with five minutes to spare! And it was well worth it. We had two adjacent tables shaded by an airy canvas construction, and the food was excellent, good value and served swiftly. We joked with two local ladies, who took an interest in our day out. One of the staff kindly took our group photograph, before we headed home.

Photo by Mike G

The road to Lyneal was a peaceful and lush easy cruise after lunch, then we headed for Hampton Bank and Breadon Heath. All lanes were narrow and quiet and laden with summer scents. At Tarts Hill I turned left with Dave convinced I was heading south for Welshampton, which I would have been if I had turned left again shortly after, but I didn't, and we finished up painlessly in Penley, as planned. From Penley it's a pretty straightforward route north to Farndon. At Holly Bush I became aware that not everybody had passed me as I stopped to sort out my maps. I rang Steve to try and find out who was ahead, after ringing George and finding myself chatting to his wife! Andy had already gone back and Steve retraced his steps to reach me. Andy then rode up to say that Dave had had fixed a puncture, but was intending to cut off for his home before we returned to Holt anyway, so was happy for us to carry on without him. 

The ride continued to be pleasant and steady until Andy started to wind things up north of Worthenbury, as has become a bit of a tradition on this stretch in recent years. I stayed on his wheel, with George, Mike and Alan in close order, I think. It was good to see Alan back to form after his recent breathing problems. Although I gave it a go for a couple of miles or so, the pace was faster than it was sensible to try and sustain for me. I presume that Mike had no idea why suddenly everybody was cycling away at twice the speed we had been travelling all day! Anyway, a couple of calls from Alan ascertained that there was no significant problem, and Steve accompanied Mike back to us at Farndon.

There was still time for coffee and cake at Cleopatra's for some of us, before Andy, suitably sustained, set off on his sixteen miles to Mold. Mike told me we had covered 52mls. It was a particularly enjoyable day, given the outstanding weather, beautiful, quiet Shropshire lanes and the relaxing company. I very much appreciated Mike and Steve being on the ball in terms of navigational support. There may have been the odd tactical imperfection, but at least I couldn't have selected a better team, so one up on Pep then!


Some of you would have been amused at me banging on the locked door of Cleopatra's having convinced myself that I had lost my debit card when I returned to my car. I found it in my pocketed face mask shortly after the door was unlocked!

Friday 21 May 2021

20th May 2021: Marbury (mod)

When Dave H and I arrived at Rose Farm, the car park was unusually full. The reason for this became apparent when we entered the café – it was full of middle-aged men eating full breakfasts and drinking beer! What was all that about? 

Dave M and Roy were already drinking their tea or coffee and we were soon joined by Andy B and Steve Hu. This turned out to be the full complement of CER members for the day. It would seem that the strong wind and promise of rain was enough to put others off. Dave M was on chauffeur stand-by duties, so there would be only five riders today.

I’d found a ride down to Marbury which had been led in November 2018 by Steve Ha. The Swan was open and so I’d booked a table for lunch at 12.45. We set off for Cotebrook, Wettenhall and Nantwich in light rain, heading into a strong south-easterly wind. All went well until we’d done about 7 miles and had reached Wettenhall. The gears on my bike suddenly dropped onto the small ring and I couldn’t persuade the chain back onto the big ring. As I stopped to investigate, Andy B arrived holding my left hand side crank and pedal which had fallen off a few yards back! At this point I thought I’d have to abandon the ride, but, fortunately, Andy had a 10mm allen key in his capacious tool bag and we were able to screw the crank back on. By this time it was raining hard and so we agreed to press on and investigate further at the lunch stop, even though the chain was still stuck on the small ring.

Photos by Steve Hu

The rest of the journey to Marbury was uneventful, although we were very wet by the time we arrived. Andy had demanded that there be a blazing fire at the pub and lo and behold there was a big log burning stove next to the table we were directed to - perfect! Drinks and food were soon ordered and were of excellent quality when they came. Dave H ordered the ‘large’ fish and chips which looked as if would have adequately fed two. The staff were friendly and helpful, even if Steve Hu couldn’t follow the directions to the toilets as he doesn’t yet know left from right. Happily, Roy put him right!

Further investigation of my crank problem after lunch revealed that the bottom bracket was loose and moving from side to side in the housing. Efforts to tighten it up were not successful, so we set off back with fingers crossed that it would hold together until we got back to Rose Farm.

Our route back took us via Swanwick Green, Chorley and Brindley. The rain had eased off and the wind was (mostly) behind us, so we made good progress. Passing through Bunbury and round Beeston Castle we arrived in Tarporley where Steve Hu carried on for home whilst the rest of us made the obligatory stop at The Old Fire Station. By the time we came out, it was raining hard again. Roy headed for Runcorn and home whilst Andy, Dave and I headed back to Rose Farm. From there, Andy would have a further 20+ miles in the rain before he reached Mold and home.

41 miles covered in less than ideal conditions and with a ‘mechanical’ which could have been terminal, but a good day out nevertheless.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Saturday 15 May 2021

13th May 2021: Brimstage (mod)

 A Bakers Dozen CER members turned up at Meadow Lea on an overcast and drizzly morning. It was good to see Andy W along with Dave and Liz Pipe after a long Covid-induced break. It turned out that there would be seven moderate riders, whilst Ivan and John W constituted the briskers.

But where to go, as there had been a last minute change of venue?  I had managed to root out a ride to Parkgate, originally devised by Trevor a couple of years ago and had loaded onto my phone. Consequently I was elected ride leader and set off with Clive, Dave H, Andy B, Alan, George and Peter, turning right out of the café car park heading for The Wirral (or is it just Wirral? – answers on a postcard please).  We zigzagged our way over the M53, past the back of the zoo and over the canal past Chorlton Hall. We were soon crossing the A41 at Backford and heading up Demage Lane towards the railway. The Sustrans path alongside the railway slowed us down with all its gates but we put up with it as the alternative is to cycle up main roads. Then it was on through Capenhurst and Ledsham, across the Welsh Road and on to Willaston. At some point after the Sustrans path, Peter stopped to take a phone call, saying that he’d meet up with us at Parkgate, so we were now six.

As we’d been going along, I’d been having a conversation with Clive about where we were headed and where we might eat. He suggested that we should divert from Trevor’s route at Willaston and head up to Raby Mere. The mere was 'created' some 350 years ago by damming the river Dibbins that once flowed through this part of the Wirral. A mill was built in 17th century and this in turn was powered via a sluice from the Mere itself.  Having made use of the photo opportunity provided by the mere, we pressed on through the outskirts of Bebbington heading for Claremont Farm Café and Farmshop where we hoped to find lunch and, according to Clive, the best pork pies anywhere. 

When we arrived, the place was heaving. The car park was full and the café full of people, so it was agreed that this wasn’t the place for us, although we did take advantage of the facilities. By this time the rain was heavier and more persistent, so waterproofs were donned.

 Plan B was the café at Brimstage Hall, so Clive led us through the housing estates on the periphery of Bebbington and almost all the way to Storeton, before turning south for Brimstage. The cafe turned out to be an excellent choice, being much less crowded and providing us with shelter from the rain whilst we ordered and ate a very satisfactory lunch.

Photo by Alan

The rain had stopped by the time we left Brimstage and we threaded our way through Thornton Hough and Neston to join the boardwalk across the marshes at Ness. From there it was the usual route through the Deeside Industrial Estate to connect to the Greenway. Clive peeled off for home part way along and the rest of us arrived back at Meadow Lea in time for refreshments before they closed at 4pm.

  A very pleasant 39 miles visiting one or two places not seen before. Thanks go to Clive for suggesting the ‘route extension’ and for leading on that section. Thanks to the rest of the crew for their company and support and apologies to Peter for not showing up at Parkgate.

I hitched a lift back to sunny Runcorn from Dave H and was more than a bit surprised when I got my bike out of the back of the Berlingo to find that my back tyre was flat. How lucky was that!

See route map and/or gpx file download


Thursday 13 May 2021

13th May 2021 : Llandegla (brisk)

Meeting at the rearranged coffee start at Meadow Lea cafe, I knew there would only be two brisk riders, John W and myself, so my route today reflected our choice of riding.

The forecast was showers and it was mizzle rain when it blew in the wind. We set off heading for Christleton and on to Aldford. The stone bridge over the Dee River is being rebuilt after a road collision earlier in the year. You can walk across but no vehicle access (during 0930-1430). The road is very quiet (ha ha) to Farndon due to the blockage. Crossing the A534, it’s heads down to Bangor on Dee.

Our route is heading out towards Minera and, after passing through Bangor, we ride mainly lanes which I’m sure I haven’t ridden before. The weather was OK but we did have one flooded lane at Hafod Lane before crossing over the A483. Photo shows John tacked into the wind and floating through.

Wheel washing facility at Haford Lane

The first real climb is from Minera passing the start up to World’s End and heading up to Gwynfryn. It’s a few years since we’ve been on this climb and at 17% it’s hard work. Joining the A525, it’s down hill for our cafe stop the Llandegla fishery. An excellent location. We had a good snack of sausage and egg baps followed by freshly cooked scone and jam.  Whilst lunching, we had the entertainment of two fishermen landing their big catches.

Necessary Calories 

We continue along the A525 before turning for Llanarmon.The next climb is after passing through the village where you climb up to Eryrys. Another long steep road that had us puffing after lunch. Leaving the village behind, it's downhill again for Mold. Whichever way you visit this town it’s a climb out but at only 7% we can spin out and it’s head down again for Northop and our original starting point of Hawarden.

We had an enjoyable day out in the Welsh countryside covering 67 miles and 3500ft of ascent. As is always quoted, the descent equalled or nearly at 3440 ft so really we had a flat ride!

Thanks to John for his continued support on Thursday rides.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Photos  : ID

6th May 2021: Little Bollington (mod)

 There was another good turnout at Delamere, despite the chill air and the possibility of heavy rain catching us before the end of the day. As it was, we were a bit unfortunate to encounter a shower from the off. Talking of showers, our small moderate group consisted of Rumbustious Roy, Marin Mike and myself. Roy was wearing a “Fat Lad at the Back” jersey, which I took as a personal challenge to my long-established position in the club. 

Our route took us on the quiet lane at the back of Norley Hall. On the swoop down to Crowton, Mike was “doing a Pete Roberts”; I wasn't sure if this was due to sensible prudence on the wet surface, or fear of emissions from Roy and myself. We were closing on the other moderate group, but chose Ainsworth Lane, and the off-piste route to Acton Bridge. The steep climb under the main line to London had the so-called “Fat Lad at the Back” glide up ahead. 

Interestingly, a nurse had told Roy that he was clinically obese, despite his build self-evidently being far closer to that of Ben Young’s rather than that of Billy Bunter. It reminds me of being referred to a Physio recently by my G.P. Practice by way of the infamous “triage” process. Physiotherapy by phone does not sound reassuring. The delayed consultation duly lived down to my expectations: an unconvincing diagnosis by checklist, a couple of obvious exercises, and no improvement in my ankle condition. It looks like we all need to be our own Google Doctors if we are to survive these second-rate experiences, or just pay to see a proper specialist, for whose expensive training we have already paid.  

Anyway, we continued on a fairly straightforward route to Knutsford by way of Comberbach, Budworth Heath, and Tabley Hill. We had the wind at our backs, it was pretty sunny, and all was well in our cycling bubble. We headed through Tatton Park very close to some handsome deer. Bearing in mind the approaching wet weather, we looked in at the cafe to seek a quick self-serve, but there was a queue outside, so we returned to Plan A. As we headed for the park exit a female cyclist approached with a zip lowered on her jersey, displaying her assets to a remarkable degree, particularly given the cold air. She passed with a big smile, probably noting how disturbed we were by this unexpected vision. The new by-pass means that crossing the old A556 south of the M56 is no longer a problem. The route through the delightful Rostherne village to Booth Bank and Little Bollington was quiet and pleasant. At The Swan with Two Nicks we sat outside with a roof over our heads. The service was friendly and fast, and the food was spot-on.

We had a nice back route to Sworton Heath and then used the back wheel of Roy to keep a reasonable pace into the wind along Swineyard Lane. We had more shelter down the little lanes north and west of Arley Hall, crossing the old airfield and passing the private hangar housing two old German planes that sometimes can be seen in the adjacent field or flying overhead on a nice day. Now it was 2.30p.m. And about to be very wet and cold for the last hour to Delamere via Antrobus, Frandley, Little Leigh, Acton Bridge, Onston and Norley. If Mike and I had regretted leaving our gloves at home early in the ride, we were now going to feel a lot more cold and wet, with a strong headwind and sluicing rain. Roy headed for Runcorn before we crossed the A533, but Mike and I parted at Hatchmere with the thought of a heated car at the front of our minds. I haven't shivered so much since Steve Haywood's puncture on his first ever ride with us, in similar conditions. Still, two thirds of the outing had been very enjoyable and in relaxing company. 42 miles covered.


Saturday 8 May 2021

06 May 2021 : Broken Cross (brisk)

Today’s ride was hastily put together on Wednesday evening after a hectic day with my grandchild at the zoo, and changing the home boiler from oil to gas. My son-in-law did a fantastic job, so no complaints!

I was riding with John W as Clive away sailing. Instead of the meet at Delamere I chose car assist to Crewe and a ride starting from the King George 5th Sports Centre. John and I set out via Bradfield Road to Maw Green and then out to Winterley. The usual undulating road to Malins Bank and Small Wood then takes us towards Brereton. Normally, we would continue along Holmes Chapel Road, but today we’re heading towards Macclesfield with a new riding lane taking us to Swettenham village.

A lot of new road works in advance stages have taken place on my Garmin route and we have to navigate a new roundabout and pick up the route before being confronted with signs advising all access blocked. Not to be put off by signs, we head for the large contingent of yellow earth movers and cranes and John very politely asks if we can progress along the road. Astonishingly, the gentleman worker clad in very orange overalls and safety helmet says “Yes, but watch out for the moving diggers”.

We continued through the site and met a group of cyclists approaching in the opposite direction and John advised them also to beware of big tractors on the move. We enjoy a short 15% descent before having to engage with a 15%+ ascent to get out of this valley. We continue through a pleasant area called Giants Wood Lane covered in white daffodils and bluebells. No photo unfortunately, but wish I had now! Crossing over the A34, it is now a 6 mile climb 5% average to Broken Cross.

Broken Cross, according to Wikipedia, has been a village for over a thousand years. It does not have a cross but has always been a busy crossing place. Also noted is nearby Henbury Woods which we passed through, as it was the first location where the grey squirrel was introduced!! 

Lunch stop was at the “Heavenly Sandwich Bar” and we enjoyed our snack in a sunny bus shelter. As we’d finished lunch, it started to feel chilly so we got our bikes and continued towards Alderley Edge. Within minutes we were sheltering under a luckily large beech tree in full leaf as snow and hail blasted down. It only lasted long enough for John to put on another jacket and we set off again.

Heading along the B5807, this must rank as one of the worst roads in Cheshire. We are going to be heading down the “Wizard Hill” and I advised John that I’ll be taking it slowly. Arriving safely at the bottom and navigating our way through the town and the required Chelsea tractor brigade, we head for Peover and Swan Green.

Now back on customary route we’re into Davenham. It’s a left turn along London Rd and Bostock Green which makes a change from Hartford direction. It’s never pleasant riding in Winsford, but we have to and it's the usual ride down hill and the gruelling up hill. At Glebe Green, we follow the B1074 which runs into Church Minshull. Turning left and head towards the Middlewich Road, then it's Warmingham Lane and into Bradfield Road and thence Crewe.

A good ride today. Apologies for not starting at Delamere and to my other fellow brisk riders, but it was a last minute decision to change to car assist. 63 miles covered and a 16mph average. We endured a head wind for much of the return route. The weather as usual making our trip something to wonder and talk about 

See route map and/or gpx file download


Thursday 6 May 2021

6th May 2021: Goostrey (mod)

As we were standing outside Delamere Station Café (officially “Delamere Station House”) listening to Dave H telling us the weather forecast was fine except for showers in the afternoon, some of us looked up at the angry dark clouds building up behind him.  It started to rain as the riders set off.  Steve T and I had both planned a route to Goostrey, and so between us we led George, Mike G, Andy and Steve Hu.

We rode out through Acton Bridge and into Comberbach. By now the rain had stopped. Here we avoided the busy and potholed road to Great Budworth by heading NE and then joining the road to Pickmere. Crossing the A556 and heading into Lower Peover, Mike suggested we stop at the “Tree of Imagination” which was created over 5 years ago and is well worth a look and a photo or two.

The Tree of Imagination

Next was a section of small very rough lanes where we met a road mending crew – they had an impossible job if they were going to try a mend all these surfaces. Crossing the A50 heading for Goostrey, we turned the corner at Boots Green, noting that the lane going straight ahead could provide an alternative way into Goostrey but would need exploring on a dry day as it peters out into a track.

In Goostrey we headed for one of the two pubs. Prior investigation suggested they might be open.  However, we found The Crown did not open till 3pm, although the Red Lion was open! Or rather it had an open door. Steve T walked in, wandered around, shouted out, but no-one was there.  

Killing time outside the pub

Our alternative was to stop at the Trading Post for coffee and sandwiches. This didn’t go to plan either. George and I headed for the Trading Post, but lost the rest of the group.  They had been seduced into visiting another stop in the parade of shops – Pastimes.  I think this is a fairly new establishment and provided them with good homemade fare.  This is a café and has some very good reviews on the web.  Although the rain had stopped sitting outside in the cold did not encourage a long stay at either establishment, and soon we were on our way again.  My knee was playing up so we took a slower route back. 

It was on our return that the weather worsened, the wind picked up, the temperature dropped and it started to hail. We took the ‘B’ road into Lack Dennis and then into Davenham. Steve T led us into Hartford and crossing the A49 on to the climb up Norley Bank, through Norley and on to Hatchmere. Here, we parted ways, with the rain and hail still falling.

We covered 42 miles on an enjoyable ride despite the afternoon weather. 

See route map and/or gpx file download

SH (Photos by Mike G)