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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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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

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