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!

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