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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Friday 30 July 2021

29th July 2021: Borras (mod ride 2)

 A good turn out today at Meadow Lea (I saw at least 15 riders), and very nice to see Dave P there, well on the way to full recovery it seems (love the bike Dave). Fiona and Elwyn couldn’t make it, due to a mini cycling break between Ludlow & Hay on Wye (tough life). The main moderate group, approximately 10, set off left, out of Meadow Lea, whereas, yours truly, along with DM, set off right.

I was carrying an iffy hamstring, so Dave’s suggestion of heading west, along the Greenway, directly into the stiff wind, sounded perfect as the Greenway provides complete protection from the wind and he had also planned a virtually flat route. We therefore cruised along the Greenway, unaware of the wind, until Shotton, which took us far enough west that we virtually had a cross tailwind, at worse, for the majority of the ride (ideal). So, after turning left off the Greenway, over the River Dee, Dave led me on a couple of small lanes that I had not ridden before. This included the only real uppy bit, a fairly lengthy drag up toward Hawarden, avoiding the main road.

After taking the little foot bridge over the A55, at the top of the ‘Old Warren’, we proceed through Hawarden and head south, past the site of my infamous; ‘let’s rip the bike of the car roof, by hitting the overhead, max height beam, moment’ (what a plonker- anyway, in the past, if not forgotten). It was at this point that I asked Dave where we were heading for. His response was “Cleopatra’s” which, I was fine with, but saw a chance of gaining some smartie points, by suggesting a different café that Dave had never been to or even heard off (shock horror). Dave was game to try somewhere new, especially as it was so close to Cleopatra’s and therefore only needed a tiny deviation from our route.

Once we got to Rossett we turn right to head up Marford hill and swing around the back, half way up, heading to Borras, so as to be able to drop down into the Acorn café at Commonwood Fishery (they do a wicked vegie haloumi burger -massive! On homemade baps). I think Dave was pleasantly surprised at the scenic and amazingly quiet café location, where upon we ordered fish & chips for Dave and a sweat chilly haloumi wrap for me. I think Dave had watched too much of the Olympic swimming, as mid fish & chips, he proceeded to try and teach a wasp how to do the breast stroke in his cup of tea. Unfortunately for the wasp, Dave’s coaching talents were lacking and the wasp was done for.

So, wasp now dead and great food devoured, we set off again, into Holt and on up toward Saighton.  We take the little side lanes of Churton and Aldford, of course, thus avoiding much of the main road. Before we knew it we were in Waverton, where upon Dave showed me another little bit of lane I’ve not ridden, that took us up the side of the ‘Black Dog’ pub (which by the way, has improved no end with it’s intriguing outdoor pods and much improved food). In Dave’s opinion this way of crossing the A41 is safer & I sort of get his point, as you don’t have to sit in the middle of the road, waiting for traffic to pass, as you do when crossing opposite the antique shop. A41 behind us and my cue to say “thanks and cheerio” to Dave, as I head south to Tattenhall & home. Dave was heading home to Oscroft.

I got home after 57 pleasant miles on the clock at a sedate 14 mph average & only 1400’ of assent, which must have been perfect for me, as there was no sign of any hamstring issues (12 of those miles were getting to Meadow Lea in the first place). Great day out as usual & nice to see everybody. Finally, and somewhat spookily, both Dave & I bumped into old friends at different points on our route (small world again).


Thursday 29 July 2021

29th July 2021: Marbury (mod ride 1)

We met at Meadow Lea café on a day sandwiched between a Wednesday of downpours and a Friday of forecast steady rain.  Miraculously, this Thursday’s forecast was dry, cloudy with sunny spells but with a stiff westerly wind.  That dictated a north-south route, and I’d worked out one to The Swan at Marbury. Many Easy Riders were at Meadow Lea, so a largish group of ten formed the mods.  Jim joined us for the first few miles, and the rest were Roy, Andy B, Alan, Dave H, Dave P, George, Steve T, Peter and myself.

We headed out to Waverton, then alongside the Shropshire Union Canal and into Tattenhall. From there we passed through Carden and into Tilston, and then took the old Roman road towards Malpas, turning left at Simmonds Green to arrive in No Mans Heath. For those interested, the name originates in the 15th century as “Nomonheth”, and refers to common lane outside specific ownership. We crossed the A41 and then the A49 at Bickley, to arrive at our destination just before 1 o’clock.

I’d phoned ahead to The Swan and was told that they were fully booked inside, but that the outside tables were available on a first come, first served basis. In fact, most of the indoor bookings were for a large pre-wedding drinks party, and this group had decided to stand outside in the fine weather.  As we occupied some outdoor tables, we worried initially that if they we ordering food we would have a long wait. However, before long the church bells started to ring and they drifted off to the service.  Naturally our conversation touched on weddings.  The food and drink arrived shortly and were excellent as was the service.  As we prepared to leave at 2pm, Dave H suggested we visit the Church yard which was a pleasant place to sit and look out over a hidden mere.  On reflection, though, we felt that our group would not be a welcome addition to the wedding photos.

Photo by SH

We left taking the lane to Norbury.  This was more like a dried up river bed, covered in gravel and full of deep holes – obviously the scene of a recent flood. We made for Chorley Bank and then down past Cholmondeley Castle to Bickerton. Choosing to avoid the climb to Harthill, we made for Brown Knowl and the road past Bolesworth Castle. We avoided Tattenhall to the south east and headed towards the Ice Cream Farm.  Along the way we said goodbye to some of our group, leaving six to continue, as conversation turned to a café stop.  Dave H recommended the café at Tattenhall Marina which was new to many of us, and which we accessed by a lane alongside the Ice Cream Farm’s overflow car park. It is called The Boathouse and provided us with refreshments including very good scones with jam and cream for the greedy two.  We sat outside overlooking the water, watching the wildlife and discussing the birds swooping through the air after insects.  After some debate over whether they we swifts, swallows or martins, Alan confirmed the latter and pointed out a nest on the side of the café. This is a delightful location, though we were keen to move on as the temperature was dropping.

We left the café by a gate onto Tattenhall Road between the canal and railway bridges. Then we passed through Hargrave and took the twisting lane variously called Old Hall Lane, then Cow Lane and then Martin’s Lane, before joining our outward route in Waverton.  We were soon back at Meadow Lea having covered 48 miles in good weather, and enjoyed refreshments at two establishments well worth revisiting

See route map and/or gpx file download


Friday 23 July 2021

22nnd July 2021: New Brighton (mod)

On what was arguably the hottest day of the year so far a number of intrepid CER riders met at Ness Gardens Cafe. The group consisted of Elwyn, Fiona, Neil, Dave M, Steve Ha, Steve T, Steve Hu, Alan, Roy, Andy B and George. 

Elwyn, Fiona, Dave M, Neil and Steve Ha had all ridden from their respective dwellings having covered 25/30 miles already, so this group set off for home via different routes. 

This left the hard core of George, Steves T & Hu, Roy, Alan and Andy. Alan had a route around the Wirral however this involved extensive use of the Wirral way and the thought of stone chips on Steve’s Hu new bike left him apoplectic with worry. However even in his absence Clive saved the day (thank you Clive). Steve Hu had recorded the 12th March 2020 ride when Clive navigated us around the Wirral on a day of stinging wind and high tides. Today there was no wind, or breeze just 26 to 30 deg C wall to wall sun. 

The group left Ness returning to the coastal path past Nets and on towards Parkgate. Some nifty turns and a short stretch on the Wirral Way had us cruising through Lower Heswall and onto Ireby. A strange sound emanating from Andy’s bike turned out to be a nasty puncture which had damaged his tyre. Despite wacky suggestions to insert £10 notes into the tyre between the case and the tube we were left with an Egg bulge on the tyre. Quick thinking and internet browsing by Alan tracked down a bike shop in Moreton for a new tyre. Once replete with fresh water, a new tyre and having found a £10 in his tyre Andy was good to go at full speed. I just wonder if the 145 mile Audax he did in Suffolk last Saturday had worn his tyre too much. 

Photo by Steve T

Onwards to the Sunshine Cafe at New Brighton, open, quiet, but unfortunately no shade, so back to plan B, Wetherspoons. Despite testing the linguistic skills of the bar man George managed to order two meals in a pure Geodie accent. Possibly as a result of the translation required, Andy's and George's meals were last to arrive. 

Photo by AO

Again fully replete the team of six set off along the New Brighton coastline weaving along opposite the Liverpool City backdrop complete with cruise liner in dock. Then followed the endless turns to take us through Woodside, Birkenhead, Rock Ferry and ultimately Eastham. Another refreshments stop here where the peloton fueled up on Ice Creams and soft drinks. From Eastham it was a short jaunt through Willaston back to Ness Gardens. 

Just under 40 miles on a very warm day with super company. 

See route map and/or gpx file download

Steve Hu

Saturday 17 July 2021

15th July 2021: Coton (mod)

As usual, there was a good turn out at Cleopatra’s. It was especially good to see Ken who’s making a good recovery – very good if his Strava posts are anything to go by! The mods today were Dave H, Steves Hu and T, Mike D and Alan, with Jim and Dave M accompanying us for the first few miles. Our destination was the Dog and Bull at Coton, somewhere that we haven’t been to since May 2018 when the ride had been led by Steve H, so a visit was well overdue.

The route out took us east to Tilston, Duckington and Cholmondeley before turning in a more southerly direction for Bickley and Marbury with the wind behind us. Jim and Dave M had left us when we reached Stretton Hall.

The sky was overcast, but it was still quite warm as we made our way into Whitchurch. At this point, Steve Hu left us, as he had to go home to take delivery of a new Colnago bike and to berate his builder about some ‘snagging’ issues with his new house. We threaded our way through Whitchurch and found the road out to Alkington without any difficulty. From there we followed the quiet lanes through Hollinwood to Coton, arriving at the pub soon after 1 o’clock with 27 miles completed.

Although the pub was quiet, there seemed to be only one member of staff who apologized in advance that he might take a while to get to us. In the event, the service was quick and, as we sat outside enjoying the food and drink, the clouds dispersed and we were bathed in warm sunshine.

Suitably refreshed, we made our way back through Whixhall, Whitewell, Tallarn Green and Worthenbury. The countryside was looking its best and the lanes were mostly quiet, although the silage cut was in full swing and we came across a few large tractors with even larger trailers full of grass cuttings. Happily, there were no incidents or difficulties with them.

On reaching Shocklack, Alan and Steve T had pulled ahead of the others, but the usual sprint to Farndon didn’t materialize, possibly due to the fairly stiff north westerly wind blowing down the road and the soporific effect of the warm sunshine.

We reached Cleopatra’s about 4 pm, having completed 47 miles and, surprisingly climbed 1850 feet. Thanks are due to Steve H for the route and to my companions for their company.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Thursday 15 July 2021

15th July 2021 : Whitchurch (brisk)

Today’s ride heralded the welcome return of Ken to CER. Ken had obviously been looking after himself very well as evidenced by his performamce in today's Brisk Ride to Whitchurch. Along with Ken, there was Ivan and John W. For John, this was an amble ahead of a 300km Audax ride this coming hot-weather weekend.

Where did we go? - well, the start of this ride brought to mind a management training film about a family that decided to go out to the local town for a traipse around the shops and have lunch out. On the way back in the car, gradually and one-by-one, they all question why they went in to town. It turned out that none of them wanted to go but didn't like to say so. The message was clear - and exactly that - be clear in what you are going to do i.e. communicate.

So with this in mind, we set off around the Wrexham Industrial Estate at high speed. Approaching Cross Lanes, I ask Ivan are we now taking a left passing the cheese factory or straight on. He says “I don’t know - it’s your ride!” I was under the impression that I was following his ride to the Panorama and he obviously thought he was following my ride to Whitchurch!

So a quick re-compute and we are now off to Whitchurch via all the small lanes to Penley. Grange Road out of Penley is in a very sorry state and would be best avoided in winter time. Equally so are parts of Tarts Hill lane leading down to Breaden Heath. A shimmy through Bettisfield takes down to Norwood and good quality lanes. 

Here we pick up NCR455 which will take us via Waterloo, Welsh End and Alkington into Whitchurch. Here also Ken picks up a rear wheel puncture. We plump for a sumptuous al fresco lunch at Sainsburys with their £3.50 meal deal. Finally the sun comes out as it had been very cloudy and cool all morning.

Earnest discussion at lunch time (who's Ernest?)

The route back takes us out to Marbury and looping round to No Mans Heath. We bypass Malpas via Ebnal and on to Kidnal. Here the “official” route takes you through Tilston and thence down Wetriens Lane back to Cleopatra’s. I suggest a drink at Manor Wood Caravan Park near Barton. We arrive in hope to find an “unavoidably closed” sign on the door. So back-tracking, we end up at Cleopatra’s for tea and cake courtesy of Ken celebrating his return to CER.

The route round is 49 miles, but all of us clock up 70+ miles today as we cycle homewards in the sunshine.


Photo by JW

Thursday 8 July 2021

8th July 2021: Audlem (mod)

It was warm but cloudy when a large group of moderate riders assembled outside Rose Farm Café. Other members present were John W and Neil, each planning to do their own thing, and Jim in civvies. The mod group were somewhat at a loss as to where to go and who should lead.  David M stepped into the confusion and offered a ride to the Lord Combermere at Audlem.  Following him were Dave H, George, Andy B, Alan, and Clive, plus the three Steves (T, Hu and Ha).

We rode out through Clotton, Huxley and Tiverton to join a very quiet A49.  As we left the 30mph zone we turned right into Dean Bank towards Beeston village and suddenly were in the midst of traffic flowing both ways.  Why this was, was a puzzle to all. Next, we passed through Bunbury and headed towards Haughton.  By the time we reached the ornate Old School House, a gap had opened up, so while the lead group passed through Haughton, the followers turned right towards Brindley. After a phone call, we decide to meet up in Ravensmoor. The lagging group then got itself confused on Whitehaven Lane.  Dave H was convinced we should go one way, I was convinced we should go the other, to the extent that I got the map out.  I was wrong!  After re-joining at Ravensmoor, we passed through Sound and into Audlem.

The Lord Combermere was looking welcoming, with lots of vacant tables outside under a marquee. Unfortunately, due to a group of customers inside, we would have an unacceptably long wait for food, so another plan was needed. Clive cycled off to see what other local pubs could offer, while David M went to the Old Priest’s House Café, which most of the group felt would be too small for us.  Clive had better news, that although the Shropie Fly was shut, the Bridge Inn was open and could accommodate us. I don’t think that CER has been here before, but it was very pleasant, sitting outside at the back with the canal alongside having our lunch. We should probably in current conditions always phone ahead to book. Meanwhile David M had been served quickly and passed by to say he would head back on his own. This left Dave H and myself to plot a route back.

We took the main road through Audlem to the east, then turned onto NCR552 towards Market Drayton, but not for long as we looped south of Audlem, to join the lanes heading north to Aston. Pausing briefly outside The Bhurtpore, we made for Wrenbury, but found road works (“delays up to 15 minutes”) on the way to the level crossing. Bypassing these to get to Wrenbury canal bridge, we continued to Chorley Bank where we said goodbye to Clive. By now talk had turned to another café stop, so we passed through Brindley and followed our outward route to Bunbury where we arrived at Tilly’s at 4pm, expecting that to be closing time. In fact, Tilly’s is now open to 5pm on Thursdays, and also Tuesdays and Wednesdays I think. Hot drinks were consumed and cakes for the indulgent few.

Steve Hu had already left us, but some debate was had over the route to take us home. Dave H, Steve T and George headed for the Tilston Bank and back to their cars in Utkinton, accompanied by Andy, while Alan and I separately made our own ways onward.

The total route distance back to Rose Farm was 53 miles. It had been a good day with fine, warm weather and little wind. Very enjoyable.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Saturday 3 July 2021

1st July 2021 : Mostyn (brisk)

Riding out from Chester to Hawarden, I met up with John W and we rode on the greenway to Shotton then back along the Dee way to Queensferry then along Gladstone Way to the cafe. A quick cup of tea and, and as the brisk group is just the two of us, we set off along the usual ride via the main road to Ewloe and up to Northop.

Poppies in wheat field - indicative of a summer's day

Up through the green it’s the first of three climbs. Puffing and panting at the ride upwards and along the lane, the views are zero as we're in low cloud or mist. Exiting at Rhosemor, it is slightly clearer but damp. Over the Halkyns then passing through Rhes y Cae, we continue along quiet lanes. As I'd planned the route with the intention of getting the hills out before lunch, we're now heading for Babell. Dropping down the valley before the ride out at 17% is not too bad today. The last climb is from Glen Llyn then an awesome downhill into Rhuddlan.

Passing the castle, we ride through the town and join the cycleway before crossing over the River Clwyd and then joined the cycle path to Rhyl. It's now onto NCR5 along the sea wall to Mostyn stopping here briefly for a snack at a local Spa shop.

Out onto the main road at Ffynnongroyw, we've covered 50 miles from Chester and 2700 feet. Head down and we're spinning 25mph to Flint where traffic dictates a more moderate pace. We rejoin the greenway at Shotton and head for Chester rather than back to Hawarden.

The sun did emerge eventually, but an enjoyable ride none the less. John had ridden Dave M's Berwyns Audax 130 mile  with 9000ft of climb on the Sunday yet he was still a force to ride with today. The out and back route at Hawarden would be about 54 miles.

A good day out and 73 miles out and back to home and, as Bryan W always remarked, 2786 ft up  and 2771ft down equals a flat ride that was covered.


1st July 2021: Gwaenysgor (mod)

Nine of us met at the Gallery, so we could all use the limited seating outside. Six mods, bravely choosing to follow me to the Eagle and Child. So Steve Hughes, Andy Barbour, Dave H, Steve Tan, Mike Dodd and myself (Alan), set off freewheeling down Gladstone way. My intention was to keep the climbing to the absolute minimum to reach our destination, after we had become used to the flatter Cheshire rides. Flintshire is a bit hillier!

At the busy ‘Asda’ roundabout we took the cycle path over it and then on to the ‘blue’ bridge over the Dee. Then following the coastal path through to Connah’s Quay docks, past the excellent Yvonne’s café (Sustrans volunteers meet there most Tuesdays  at 10). Then on to Flint trying to avoid the A548 as much as possible, then a detour along the ‘prom’ to have a photo by the castle.

Photo by AO

Back onto national cycle route 5 into Bagillt, the easy riding over, up the steady climb into Holywell. Andy and Steve Tan powering away out of sight into Holywell which, unfortunately was not the way I had in mind!  So Steve H kindly went off on a search and rescue mission and we all regrouped at Carmel.

Then at last away from busy traffic, on peaceful lanes through Whitford, passing Mynydd y Garreg tower’, Maen Achwyfan cross and down to the delightful village of Llanasa.  Arriving at the pub the skies had darkened considerably, but, thankfully no rain.  So, with such poor visibility we skipped the extra half mile to the viewpoint, a shame as the mist cleared shortly afterwards.  After a nice lunch in the garden and admiring the impressive hanging baskets, it was off along a route well known to many CER riders.  Across the A55 then up to Halkyn via Babell, then down to Northop, where I turned off for Flint, the full loop to Hawarden 44 miles, more for some.  Mike gets to wear the yellow jersey this week with an extra 20 miles to and from Chester, even more, than ‘ard Andy!

See route map and/or gpx file download