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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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Thursday 28 October 2021

28th October 2021: St Martin's (mod)

 A forecast of strong southerly winds and an afternoon of heavy rain affected attendees at Cleopatra’s in Holt.  Neil had planned a ride, but dangerous side winds on his route to Holt had dissuaded him.  Dave M and Andy W were only out for the morning.  Others were present in civies, namely Elwyn and Fiona.  If I’ve missed anyone, apologies, but as part of our group were inside and part outside, I wasn’t too clear who was present.  The result was a party of six out for the club ride: Clive, Andy B, Dave H, Steve Hu, Alan and myself.

In the absence of other proposals, I picked a fairly short route off ViewRanger, the destination being The Greyhound at St Martin’s. We took the lanes to the west of the River Dee, or Afon Dyfrdwy I should say as we were in Wales. We were fairly sheltered from the wind for most of our way. Somewhere around Roden’s Hall we came up behind a largeish herd of heifers being driven along the road – the kind of thing you expect in the countryside. Without too much success we tried to avoid the cow plops they left in their wake. They continued their progress after we met the B-road and were still marching onwards when we left them for the lanes at Talwrn. We must have been behind them for a couple of miles, but there was no sign that they were heading for a nearby field.  They certainly reduced our average speed.

Photos by AO

At the A-road we dropped down the hill and across the old bridge into Bangor-on-Dee (Bangor-is-y-coed). From here we took the main road to Overton (Owrtyn), and then the main road to St Martin’s (St Martin’s), turning off at Shell Brook onto small lanes to Dudleston Church. Next it was a short distance to re-join the main road and follow it to The Greyhound.

It was mild and sheltered outside the pub, so we eventually decided to sit there, especially in the covered area to protect us from the expected rain.  A warm welcome was offered and a wide menu, but most of us went to the small fish and chips, except for Steve Hu who chose the standard size and received a whale of a fish!

Some rain had started to fall by the time we had to leave.  We turned right out of the pub, then stopped and turned around, then stopped again and turned back.  Our navigator was having problems with directions!  Eventually we worked out the right route and headed towards Dudleston Heath (Criftins), from where we took to lanes heading north eastwards with the wind behind us. We travelled on through Holly Bush. During our return Dave H (who seems to operate a permanent helpline for his family’s car problems) spent a lot of time on his phone.  Eventually, after waiting for him to appear, we left him behind on the understanding that he would meet us back at Holt. We followed the simple route back via Worthenbury, Shocklach and Farndon, to find Dave somehow already seated in Cleopatra’s waiting for us - puzzling.

The afternoon rain had been intermittent rather than heavy and we enjoyed a satisfying 35 miles.  We reminded ourselves that by next week the clocks would have changed and we would be ending our rides in encroaching darkness. 

See route map and/or gpx file download


Friday 22 October 2021

21st October: Waverton (mod)

 It was a glorious sunny day at Rose Farm Cafe if a bit chilly, as winter arrived last night, with some strong winds. 5 degrees when I rode out :-(

 Steve T and I figured the head count to be 16 strong, 5 of those being the fast group and the rest, all bar Dave M, being the Moderate group. DM decided he had to get back home, as he had another cycling meeting to attend, despite my proposed route going past his front door.

 So, today’s moderate group was 10 people, but only 9 bikes :-) Dave Pipe & Liz were joining us, on the E-tandem, which was a first for one of my rides.

Before I get into the who’s who of our Merry band, I would like to thank my 2 volunteer ‘tail gunners’ (the 2 Steve’s) They made me feel almost important, as they kept insisting I carried on forward to lead the group, each time they took it in turn to bring up the rear. This happened with a synchronisation worthy of a Tour De France police escort :-)

 And so it was, that I became the Leader of the moderate group, thanks to that sly old dog (Dave H) He virtually press ganged me into the role, after he threw his arms in the air with a distinct look in my direction, proclaiming he didn’t have a clue as to a route and neither did anybody else- Lol.

Feeling the pressure (not) I therefore proposed a 40-mile local meander, stopping at Walk Mill cafe for lunch, as I thought it would be a bit different for most, which I later discovered was about right. Most had not been to Walk Mill before or at least, not since pre Covid.

 That said and bucking convention, my route, although largely flat, did have a bit of a kick in the tail, which meant the whole route should be roughly 2000 feet of ascent and mostly all after Walk Mill (shock horror :-)) That revelation produced a couple of frowns, but surprisingly didn’t deter Dave & Liz (I wonder why that was - Lol). I later found out that DP was only worried about the downhill bits, as his E-tandem, although good up hill, is a bit slow on the flat, as they struggled, during the first half, when the pace occasionally lifted above 15 mph ( his words by the way :-) For those who don’t know, all legal E- bikes are limited to a max of 15 mph, which means you have to really work hard to go any faster, hence DP’s worries.

 Another thank you too to Allan (one of the good guy’s it seems- Lol) for the unnecessary, but gratefully received, gas cylinder.  I had helped him out last month with a puncture, giving him a gas cylinder after he used the 2 he had. That said, I would love to have a fiver for all those I have helped and never as much as received acknowledgement, let alone a replacement item :-(

 Off we trot ( Allan, Steve T, Andy, Dave H, Dave P & Liz, Steve Hu, George, Mike & yours truly) Turned left out of Rose Farm and within half a mile left again into a mucky, but paved track, that shocked a few of the group. I took the short cut up over the Tarporley ring road that leads into a favourite series of lanes towards Eaton & Bunbury (as usual with my rides, it’s more about the journey than the miles or speed, which I like to think is ostensibly the ethos of CER’s :-)

 Only a mile into the ride and a couple of comments were hurled from behind about the nature of the cyclocross route- Lol. My little uphill track was thrown in purely to avoid Tarporley (rather like DH and his hatred for Malpas :-)) It wasn’t long before the comments became more complimentary about the lovely lanes we were now on, as they were smooth, dry and mud free, until Bunbury, as again I threw in another lane most didn’t know, after a brief detour via Alpraham (Garmin tried to direct me down a road that didn’t exist- Lol)

 Once around Beeston and down to a gem of a hump back bridge at the ‘Shady Oak’, we head left at Brassey Green towards Waverton. However, I decided to detour again, through Hargrave, in order to save the group from the headwinds of the exposed canal road.

 It was at this point I also decided to spend a few minutes at the back & provide encouragement to the ‘old codger’ (you know, the one with the Lilly white legs and a paper version of a Garmin on his handlebars-Lol) He was having a tough day, after the flu, which had robbed him of his legs.

The group didn’t really need me by this point anyway as they had sussed out where they were and knew the next turning to Walk Mill. By the time I got to sit down Liz was already eating, they must have flicked the turbo button on the tandem :-)

 Notwithstanding the admiration for the orangery we were sitting in along with the dulcet tones of the mill stones grinding out flour, the conversation moved on to solar energy/ heat pumps etc. On our table at least. Trevor’s story, from his working days, of an old gent who provided hot water to his house by simply painting an old radiator black and plumbing it from his garden lead me to regale about my days of desert camping.  We used to camp a lot at the Red Sea and showered using a 5 gallon Jerry can in a black bin bag, sat on the roof of my Land Rover (after only 2 hours in the sun, it would sometimes be to hot - Lol) The simplicity of this concept of solar power seem to surprise George (not been around much, bless him- Lol) The poor man would again surprise us later on in the ride :-)

                                                              Photo by AO

Lunch done, we set off heading West past DM’s house (Oscroft) and beyond past the Blue Bell cafe. Just a few miles further on we arrive at the junction near Manley Mere. At this point Trevor decided to bail out on us, realising the hilly section was not far away (some say he is in fact ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ in disguise, due to his wise decisions on when to bail our rides- Lol)

Now heading SW toward Kelsall, on another favourite lane, a few started to ask where we were going, clearly getting concerned about the promised climb of Yeld Lane.

However, just as we were getting close to Kelsall we had to stop as there was now growing concern, in the ‘peloton’, for poor old George. He was apparently saying “hello Steve” to random cyclists going the other way. No sooner had we stopped when George started to jibber about seeing Steve Hayworth, so I decide we better check him out with a few fingers waved in front of his face.  Turned out his eye’s were fine, he was simply having a senile spell, “bless him”. After a shout from the back “don’t be daft you old fool, SH is on holiday”, we set off again -Lol. After only a few hundred yards and true to the spirit of CER’s, I noticed Mike had adopted a riding position just behind George, clearly keeping an eye on the poor man-Lol.

 It wasn’t long before we arrive at said Yeld Lane and DP/Liz were off, showing us the virtue of an E-bike. I decided I wouldn’t challenge their efforts, as I had a few extra miles to do after the ride (kidding myself-Lol) At the top, I shout at everybody, as they go by (hiding behind a bush, admiring the view) to wait at the bottom crossroads while I waited for the ‘old codger’.

To my surprise, he hadn’t climbed off and was spinning that amazingly low granny gear of his. However, the grimace on DH’s face, on reaching the top caused me to day dream a little about what medical support DP might be carrying in that huge pannier - Lol Not sure where he got it from, although the large print down one side says ‘Dandy’s for Hire’ :-)

 The climb conquered, we set about the easy run in to Rose Farm, with just a couple of little uppy bits to go, after admiring the llamas in the field at the top of the infamous Chapel lane, which we promptly descended. Now at the bottom, Allan had a ‘deja- vu’ moment, when I pointed out that this was where he had a puncture last month. He then got off his bike and proceeded to roam around the trees, as though he was doing a rain dance or something. This prompted some inquisitive remarks as to what he was doing. “I left my mini tool behind when I had that puncture” was his response. The fact that it was at least a month ago, didn’t seem to phase his belief that it would still be there- Lol.

 I was now wondering what other eccentricities I was going to experience on this ride however, with only a couple of miles to go to Rose Farm, surely nothing else could surprise me :-) We arrive at Rose Farm with the whole group still intact, minus Trevor of course and just a tad under 40 miles and 2000 feet of ascent completed :-)

 Shortly after ordering  my usual decaf coffee and a lump of their cracking choc cake, George turns up at the table having ordered exactly the same drink & cake (starting to worry about him now, although it could have simply just been ‘Idol’ syndrome- Lol) However and despite me insisting on him having the bigger slice, he begged me to take it off his hands, as apparently he doesn’t eat desserts and as it was his 2nd! lump of cake that day, probably felt guilty about the big slice- Lol.

     Photo by ST

Just as we tuck in to said cake, I begin to realise Mike must have spent too long riding next to George, as he was starting to display the same sort of confusion that George was having earlier. DH mentioned a possible Xmas bash pub, which Mike then queried,  “where’s the Pant-Y-Ochain”? After a bit of a discussion we realised that Mike couldn’t even remember where his own local pub was located, at which point George tried to prompt his memory (couldn’t help but chuckle - it was the blind leading the blind - Lol)

 What a great day with 2 cafe stops, good company and some funny moments.

I decided to take the long way home and made it just before a heavy shower hit, having completed 68 miles and 2600 feet on my Garmin. I spared a thought for Andy, as I watched the rain, who as usual was riding back to Mold- ish :-) and even more miles than me.

 I hope everybody enjoyed it as much as I did. Of course, there has been a little poetic license employed in this report, although, I still worry about George, bless him- Lol.

Just realised that there were no punctures during the ride :-)

 Til next time


See route map and/or gpx file download

Thursday 21 October 2021

21st October 2021 : Knutsford (brisk)

On a dry and chilly autumn morning, a good turn out of riders were already enjoying tea and coffee at Rose Farm when John and I arrived. A 60 mile circular tour was proposed and Clive had suggested reversing the route. John, Nick and Ray set about the task of reversing the route using smart phones and their garmins. Twenty minutes later with task completed, 5 brisk riders set off with 5 garmins all synced with same route. What could possibly go wrong?

Into Tarporley we ride where a motorist makes a right hand turn without indicating and nearly takes Nick with him; then 50 yards further on, a lady motorist opens her door as John is approaching:- lucky she still had the door attached as we all passed. Turning left at the garage and safely through the town we now head to Eaton. 

We're riding the usual lanes towards Middlewich passing Wettenhall and  Church Minshull and we skirt around Middlewich taking Cinder Lane to Brereton Green. Joining the A50, we continue through Holmes Chapel. Here John decides to ride back to Chester as he's having an off-day and his bottom bracket not sounding good, and after a 130 mile Audax at the weekend, it's not surprising. The rest of us are taking a lane called Wash Lane to pass Shakerly and Dovermere lakes. We again re-join the A50 into Knutsford for our lunch stop. 

It’s Booths supermarket cafe we're visiting and we all enjoy a full English. As we were on the A50 road coming into to Knutsford, we passed a garage advertising diesel at £1.499 per litre. This started a discussion of Tory climate change objectives ranging from boilers to vacuum cleaners!!

Lunch finished, it’s back outside with hats and gloves on and a ride through the town before heading out along Ashley Road and the mega mansions of East Cheshire. The building trade are very active in this area as we pass many white vans parked up along the road. We cross the A50 near Tatton Park for the last time and head for High Legh. 

Passing Comberbach, our direction is Northwich-bound arriving on the hill near the Anderton boat lift. For a change it's down the hill to the lights taking the left turn for Whittington. Ten years ago when we started riding this area it was all industrial buildings but it’s a massive housing estate area nowadays.

Towards Hartford we climb up Burrows Hill then to Whitegate and the last climb up Cinder Hill. As we approach Oulton Park on Park Road Nick stops and calls us to halt. An education highlight is to inform us of the best-kept cattle pen used in the past to hold livestock when roaming the area. It is a NT site. Clive missed the tutorial as he was in the lead and failed to heed the call but as we know he may know the facts anyway.*

Returning at the crossroad at Utkinton, we say farewell to Nick as he heads to Rose Farm to collect his car and the rest of us head back to Chester via Duddon and Waverton.

A good day out in the October sunshine on this 62 miler, and now 80 miles on our garmins to reflect our efforts.

See route map and/or gpx file download


(* There is a 10th century pinfold ( a pound for stray animals) in Capenhurst)

Friday 15 October 2021

14th October 2021: Rossett (mod)

Well what a sorry sight greeted Megan and I as we approached The Gallery Coffee Shop start point. Three fast lads and three mods with Alan bemoaning the fact The Gallery was closed due to holidays and “no ride can start without coffee”

 As we waited, Dave Pike’s other half brought news that the Gladstone Library was open and more and more CER riders started to appear.

The fast group departed and Neil who had ridden over also did his own thing. The rest of the group then de camped 100 yds to the library.

Photo by AO

So, having consumed beverages cakes and more than a little culture the 14 strong mod group set off. 

Herding cats/ juggling monkeys or herding jellyfish must be easier than keeping this group together.

Alan led the group out of Hawarden through Buckley and Mynydd Isa down Rose Lane to Llong leaving suburbia behind and into the Welsh countryside.

The lovely experience of whizzing along quiet tree lined lanes suddenly changed when the going went vertical. By the time the group reached the summit of Treuddyn comments such as “is that the climbing for today” and “boy, that was long and are we there yet” resounded from the group.

A quick plunge into Llanfynydd through Frith and then a further drop to The Ffrwd. In Cefn y Bedd we took the back road around Alyn Waters Country Park. Bordering on Llay we took the Gresford Road turning before the railway tunnel to take the old road to Rossett, paralleling the A483 on a road which the farmer was kindling cutting his hedge.

One man down, Andy B succumbed to a freshly cut thorn, prompting Peter to say “that was the fastest tube change I have ever seen”. Always the modest man Andy replied “I’ve had enough practice”

In Rossett we dined under a Teepee at the Golden Lion. Whilst the food service was slow, the food when it arrived was first class. Dave Heath you would have loved it there, and please get well soon.

At Rossett we bade farewell to Trevor, Steve Ha and Peter.

Crossing the railway line, we headed up towards Kinnerton. A quick spin along Lache Lane and tempting close to Chester we turned left again and headed for the The river Dee.

At one point we lost Mike and Andy and the intrepid groups went from seven to five and finally three as Steve T, Megan and myself returned to Hawarden.

Thanks to Alan for devising a not too hilly route from Hawarden.


See route map and/or gpx file download

Thursday 14 October 2021

14th October 2021 : Prestatyn (brisk)

Arriving at the Gallery tea rooms it was somewhat unusually locked. Soon, there were a good number of riders, but only John and I for the brisk ride. I knew Clive was out today and not like him to be late. Decision to go to the farm shop for coffee was discussed but then Liz and Electric Tandem Dave arrive and coffee alternative soon arranged by Liz across the way.

Clive now arrived but as John and I had been cooling down for twenty minutes plus, we were ready to ride so Clive forwent his much-needed coffee and we set off on our way.

Taking the usual route to Northop, it’s out to Ewloe and along Holywell Rd and into Northop village. Whichever way you depart Hawarden it’s uphill, but I think up the Green to Lixwm is possibly the worst as it’s 10 miles of gradients.

Once over the top we’re heading for another slog from Babell to the main road to Caerwys. We take a right on the B5122 and then left towards Pen-y-cefn. We start the steep down hill ride into Rhuallt with John showing no caution on a rough and mossy lane. Into Rhuallt, it’s along the B5229 into Rhuddlan. We then taking the Clwyd riverside cycleway route into Rhyl.

A55 from the Rhuallt footbridge

We were out on Tuesday and, although we picnicked outdoors at a Waitrose in Alderley Edge, it now gets a little chilly sitting outside, so I had looked for suitable stops around the area and the Cookhouse at Prestatyn got my attention with a carvery at £5.50; so it was to this hostelry that we visited. Plenty of sitting space for 3 but it was busy. Only John and I enjoyed the carvery with Clive sticking to panini and soup.

The route out of Prestatyn is through the golf course and camp sites and along the coast between Talacre and Point of Ayr where we stop for a photo shoot at the miner and pony wood carving. Onto the main coast rode it is head down and blast with a good tail wind taking us to Shotton before joining the Greenway and home to Chester.

Point of Ayr's coal mining installation

Although the start of the route endures some little rolls, i.e. 20 miles !!!, we covered 73 miles as a round trip with 2964 feet up and 2865 down. The route back to Hawarden would have been 54 miles.

Bryan always commented at the end of all rides that the elevation levels out; well said sir! 

A good ride, dry weather and excellent companions to ride with.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Photos JW

Friday 8 October 2021

7th October 2021: Special ride: Audlem to Ellerdine Heath (mod)

Because of the restrictions and uncertainty caused by the pandemic, we have not had a Special Ride since October 2019, so it was a real delight when Dave Matthews offered to lead a Special Ride from Audlem to Ellerdine Heath. Jane at The Priest House Café had opened early to accommodate the CER riders who gathered for the ride. The ‘mods’ consisted of Daves M & H, Steves T & Hu, George and it was a real pleasure to also see Andy Whitgreave, who was making his first sortie with CER since the start of the pandemic.

After coffee, tea and refreshments, we set off at about 10 o’clock on the Woore Road out of Audlem heading up hill for Norton in Hales and Loggerheads. From there, Dave took us down to Knighton and Newport, where we started heading west for Great Bolas and eventually arrived at Ellerdine Heath at about 1 pm, having covered 32 miles.

Following some excellent refreshments at the Oakgate Nursery and Café and having fiddled unsuccessfully to cure a strange noise that my bike was making, we struck out for home. The route took us via Stanton to the fearful hill at Marchamley. To make things even more ‘interesting’, the road surface on the hill was badly broken up and wet, so the only person to successfully ride all the way up it was ‘super – Steve’ Hughes. The rest of us got off and pushed!

Having recovered our breath and calmed the hearts, we followed the route through Ash Magna and Wilkesley entering Audlem from the east on the A525, arriving as the church clock struck four.

An interesting and entertaining day out on delightful lanes, many of which were new to us on a day when the early autumn weather was kind. Thanks are due to Dave M for devising the route and to the rest of the mods for great company.

Photo by SHu

See route map and/or gpx file download


7th October 2021 : Audlem to Ellerdine Heath Special (brisk)

There were about 10 riders at the Old Priest House cafe in Audlem - about a third of CER membership - a pity more didn’t come and support Dave M’s Autumn Special Ride from Audlem to Ellerdine Heath. Well those who did enjoyed a glorious day out down lanes anew in warm dry autumn weather.

I decided to fashion a slightly longer brisk ride based around Dave’s excellent route. The brisk three, Matt, John W and myself, set off in the opposite direction to the Mods to avoid the slow slog up to Norton-in-Hales before the even longer slog up to Loggerheads. In fact the first 9 miles were all uphill. The other side of Loggerheads we split off left now down many lanes anew. The autoroute function on Plotaroute tried to send us down an unmade lane so we backtracked a little to divert via Croxton. We take Ginger Lane out of Croxton and you’ll be pleased to know that, as we have now very slowly cycled this once-metalled deep-lying lane,  you don’t need to unless you are on a gravel bike!

We'll be alright -it's only one mile downhill 

Bishop’s Offley and Tunstall come and go as we now rejoin Dave’s route just after Shebdon. We now slavishly follow his route across the flat land via Sambrook and Great Bolas arriving at the Oakgate nursery by 1230 after 33 miles.

We are shown to our reserved table and our ordered food arrives promptly and is of excellent quality. After discussing veganism at some length, Matt and John move onto the intracacies of saddle design vs Audex length vs comfort levels. I chill out in the sunshine.

Just as we are about to start to depart, the Mods turn up mumbling something about “getting lost” or perhaps I misheard what was said. Anyway, we set off as per Dave’s route towards Stanton and onwards towards Marchamley Hill. 

I had already decided to go around this hill towards Hodnet and then to Wollerton to rejoin Dave’s route at Fauls. We continue to follow the official line to the other side of Ightfield where Matt succumbs to a puncture - a very nasty thorn is the culprit. We divert off piste now to enter Audlem via Coxbank and Kinsey Heath i.e. the way the Mods left Audlem.

Audlem's staircase locks

Overall, an extremely enjoyable day's 58 miles cycling down largely dry lanes in ideal autumnal weather with like-minded cyclists. You should have made the effort!

See route map and/or gpx file download 


Photos JW