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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.

Friday, 18 June 2021

17th June 2021: Chirk to Harmer Hill

 It was bright and warm when Dave H and I arrived in Chirk; we met Roy in the car park as we were unloading the bikes.  We went round to The Castle Bistro and Tearooms, where Andy B and Dave M arrived shortly afterwards, although Dave M had come out on the train and was riding back to Chester following the route of an Audax ride that he’s organizing. The weather was fine and dry, but there was a threat of thunderstorms at some point during the day, so wet weather gear was to be taken with us. We chatted about where we should go as we drank our coffees. Dave H had The Talbot at Ruyton XI Towns in mind, but I’d checked their website earlier and they don’t open until 3 pm, so that wasn’t an option. The alternative was The Bridgewater Arms at Harmer Hill and this became our agreed destination.  As we came out of the café, we found Mike Dodd sitting outside, so we would be five for the ride, which I had last done in July 2019.

We left Chirk via Castle Road, crossing the Ceriog River at Pontfaen, then climbing the steep hill into Weston Rhyn. Dropping down into Oswestry, I was conscious of the fact that the last time I’d done this I’d gone twice round the one-way system there trying to find the road out towards Morda, so I was concentrating hard as we threaded our way through the back streets. Success! We were soon headed the right way, taking Weston Lane and crossing the A483 at Mile Oak.

On through Maesbury and Maesbury Marsh we eventually reached the busy A5 at Weirbrook, where we had to wait for a gap in the traffic before wheeling the bikes across the road to a gap in the hedge and the road out towards Wykey. The lanes between here and Baschurch are delightful, being quiet (except for the odd tractor) and smooth, although there are some steepish sections to test your fitness. By now, the sun was shining, adding to the pleasure. Taking the B5067 out of Baschurch, we turn off at Walford Heath and on reaching Merrington, we take the small lane which runs up to Lower Road at Harmer Hill and thence to The Bridgewater Arms.

As we arrived, we were just behind a big crowd of customers who were queueing to get in. The place was very busy inside, so we decided to eat outside, even though it was now quite cloudy and a bit cooler. Drinks and food were ordered. The former came quickly, but the latter took almost an hour to come due to the load on the kitchen. When it finally arrived, the waiter told us that our drinks would be on the house. It’s a pity we weren’t drinking anything stronger than cordials!


Leaving the pub at 2.30, we headed back along Lower Lane towards Myddle. After about 10 minutes, I realised that I couldn’t see Dave or Roy. No wanting to repeat last week’s experience of ‘losing a rider’, I turned around to look for them while Andy and Mike continued towards Myddle. After some time and a number of failed phone calls, I picked up a voicemail telling me that the others, including Dave and Roy were now at Myddle! It turned out that they’d missed the turning onto Lower lane and taken the main road directly to Myddle, arriving soon after Andy had got there.

Taking the A528 we arrived at Burlton, where we would normally have taken a route to Cockshutt via Loppington and English Frankton, but we gave this a miss and continued on the A528 to Cockshutt to recover some of the lost time. From there we go via Lee and Tetchill to the climb up to Welsh Frankton, where we cross the A495.

Some of the back lanes through to New Marton and St. Martins were quite tricky, due to large amounts of gravel lying in the middle of the lane, but we eventually reached St. Martins, passing the parish church before taking the B5070 to the busy roundabout at the A5. Rather than tackling Chirk Bank, we opted to take the canal towpath and the aqueduct to reach Chirk, arriving about 4.45, having ridden just under 50 miles.

ST

See routemap and/or gpx file download

Friday, 11 June 2021

10th June 2021: Tattenhall to Ellesmere

I have just lost my full write-up on this computer, so please accept this far briefer account.

It was a pleasant surprise to see Bob, and also Keith at Alison's. Our wholehearted best wishes go to them both.  The moderate group consisted of Mike Gilbert, Mike Dodd, Steve Hughes, Steve Tan, George, Alan, Dave Matthews and myself. Our route out was via Carden, Tilston and Malpas. On turning south for Higher Wyche and Iscoyd Park, we became aware that Dave Matthews was not with us. Waiting, and attempted phone communication failed to reunite us. As we had also ignored a 'Road Closed' sign there was every chance that Steve Hughes' willingness to ride back to find Dave would have been a fruitless task. The rest of the route took in some of our favourite, sunny Shropshire lanes.

We headed west from Dobson's Bridge to Northwood, Lyneal and Colemere. Out of expediency, we then gave the back route past pretty White Mere a miss, in order to arrive by main road at the Red Lion on time. On our way in we were surprised to catch a glimpse of Dave Matthews at The Kiosk on the lake side of the road having lunch! It turned out that he had taken the direct, main Whitchurch Road in order to catch up, and  couldn't find us at The Red Lion, so had headed for his favourite Ellesmere venue. We ate outside at the back of the pub. The food and service were very good. Dave popped in, and then went his own way home. On Friday, I rang Dave to apologise. Lessons have been learnt, and it won't happen again. The route back was by the pleasant lane up from the north-west end of The Mere, past Haughton Farm. The warm breeze wafted us back to Tattenhall by way of Penley, Holly Bush, Mulsford, Worthenbury, Shocklach, Tilston, Barton and Chowley. Unfortunately, we were a bit too late for a coffee at Coddington. Just over 46 miles in fine weather and good company.

DH


 


See route map and/or gpx file download

Friday, 4 June 2021

3rd June 2021: Meadow Lea to Aston

 Another bumper turnout of CER members at Meadow Lea confirms the popularity of this starting point for our rides. This week, the mods were Steve Hu, Alan, Roy, Mike D, Peter, Andy B, Dave M, Dave H and yours truly. After the usual umming and aahing about where we should go, it was agreed that we should take a route originally devised by Dave H last year to….you’ve guessed it, The Bhurtpore at Aston. Since I had the route on my phone, I was nominated to be ride leader!

It was overcast with a few spots of rain as we set off, but at least it was warm, so cold weather gear  had been left at home. We set off past Ivan’s house to Vicars Cross and on through Christleton.  As usual, Dave M soon left us as he had other demands on his time. After crossing the canal, we also crossed the A41 to go into Rowton and then crossed back at the end of Rowton Lane, taking Moor Lane into Waverton. There we ran alongside the Shropshire Union canal heading for Beeston via Huxley, Brassey Green, crossing the canal at The Shady Oak.

After Beeston came Bunbury and then south to Haughton. This time we could not take Dave’s loop to Haughton Hall, as the road was closed. At Gradeley Green we turned east on Spring Lane, crossing the Shropshire and Union canal at Swanley before heading south for Ravensmoor and Sound. At Wrenbury we take Station Road, which has to be one of the roughest, most potholed roads in Cheshire, before reaching The Bhurtpore in Aston about 1 pm.

The usual slick operation at The Bhurtpore was missing today, confusion arising about whether we should order drinks inside and food outside and whether we could order together but pay individually. The food also took a while to arrive, but this gave us time to admire Roy’s vintage Brian Rourke bike which is almost as old as our younger members!



The sun had come out and the weather was perfect for cycling as we set off for home. Our progress was halted at Wrenbury Station by two trains which had the grand total of hree passengers between them. Our route back took us via Chorley Bank, Chorley and Larden Green. Just north of Brindley I missed the turning off Cappers Lane and had to drag everyone back a couple of hundred yards. Peter decided that he preferred the other road, so we lost him for a while, catching up with us as we reached Peckforton Hall Lane.

From here, the route via Beeston was fairly straightforward, but there were some mutterings at the back about a coffee stop. Options were limited as it was almost four o’clock by now and the Ice Cream Farm was heaving, it being half-term and all that. At the cross-roads between Newton Lane and Tattenhall Road, Red Lane had ‘Road Closed’ signs and bollards blocking the way. At this point, Peter and Andy decided to head for home another way while a motorist got out to move the bollards to one side, so that he could get his car through. For some reason, he didn’t seem to appreciate the ‘thank you’ he got from the cyclists as we nipped through the gap! As we reached the bridge by the marina we were confronted by several trucks and a tarmac laying machine. Initally, a jobsworth said that we’d have to turn back, but eventually we negotiated to walk the bikes past the roadworks.

After that it really was plain sailing. Roy left us at Greenlooms, as he was off to take part in a 10 mile time trial – the ride with us had obviously been a ‘warm up’! At Waverton, Steve Hu left us for home, so that left four Easy Riders to thread our way across the A54 back to Mickle Trafford and the now-closed coffee shop. If only they’d stay open till five!

ST

See route map and/or gpx file download

Thursday, 3 June 2021

3rd June 2021 : Coppenhall (brisk)

Those of you who read Jeremy Clarkson’s car reviews in the Sunday Times will know that quite often most of his “blog” initially revolves around something else, with a quick verdict on the car being reviewed that particular week. So with this in mind, I want to review the ride that John W, John M, Ray, Ivan and myself did on June 1st.

Cast you mind back a couple of days and you will recall it was a cloudless, very sunny and hot day with a light easterly breeze i.e a perfect British summer’s day. I had been fed up of having to access the same old (rough) lanes to get out of the immediate area to horizons anew. So I hit upon the idea to start from Market Drayton to find new countryside to ride through - and we were not disappointed.

The ride was “just” seventy miles but what seventy miles. Leaving Market Drayton, we headed south down endless quiet country lanes arriving after 18 miles at  the outskirts of Muxton at the MacDonalds for a coffee. The rest of Muxton is endless estates on the edge of Telford. So heading east then north east we find more endless lanes and attractive rural villages too numerous to mention, eventually arriving in Haughton. Here we access NCR5 towards Stafford. This is 4 miles of old railway line looking green and verdant in the June sunshine. We continue on highway 5 to minimise our transfer through a very suburban Stafford, passing (and smelling) the Bostik factory.

More long lanes take us down recently patched refurbished lanes. Here the only incident of the day is that I find I have a slow leak in my tubeless front  tyre. The sealant works its wonders and soon we are searching Stone's pedestrian High Street for a lunch stop. The “Stone Baked” cafe fits the bill as we eat carbohydrate and sugar-rich repasts to top up our tanks.

The route back takes in more unfamiliar lanes until Baldwin’s Gate and Norton Hales become familiar names as we get back into Market Drayton. The Joules pub (Red Lion) beckons to finish off a throughly enjoyable day’s cycling in lanes anew.

But where am I now, oh yes, today's Brisk Ride to Coppenhall with Ivan and John W. A fast run out through Frodsham and a right at Sutton Weaver takes us to the outskirts of Weaverham via Acton Bridge. Davenham comes up, and we head straight through Middlewich via Warmingham to the Coppenhall's Co-op store.  A £3.50 meal deal does the feeding trick and we head of back through a familar route eventually riding around Beeston Castle.

The only incident of day now occurs. There is a yelp of pain from Ivan as something has caused great pain in his left knee. He can’t straighten it - what to do? Fortuitously, his son-in-law is working in Tattenhall and has a van. Ivan decides to cycle on one-leggedly to the Ice Cream Farm. Son-in-law isn’t able to come right away, so we all ride on to Tattenhall and the safety of Alison’s Country Kitchen to wait. Bizarrely, Ivan managed to cycle at 18+ mph most of the way - Yes, just one leggedly as well.


Ivan bravely cycling one-leggedly

After a welcome cake and coffee, the Rescue Van arrives to take Ivan home and John and I make our way back to Chester with 75+ miles on the clock at a fast 16.8mph average.

Today’s 61 mile ride was utilitarian compared with the Market Drayton one. So, whilst the sun shines, like Clarkson, I would recommend the alternative option of the Shropshire and Staffordshire offering over today's route. It could be extended to make a Special 100 miler. For route details see here.

Today's route is also here.

CA


Update: Ivan reports that his knee is much better this morning and he can walk OK.

Photo :JW