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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 26 November 2021

25th November 2021 : Edgerley (brisk)

Today’s ride starts from Chirk so, for the first time since lockdown, I travel to the town by train. Unfortunately, the service was 20+ mins late and arriving at the cafe it was only to say hello to the other moderately brisk riders. I was the only Brisk rider out today due to various reasons.

My route was planned to be as flat as possible and a round trip 55 miles and 2400 feet of ascent. The plan was ok but you can't remove undulating roads. Leaving Chirk dropping down Chirk Bank before taking the right turn to Western Rhyn, I brake and reduce speed as Dave’s parting words were "Have you seen any frosty roads!" No problem it’s brake, indicate and then up hill. Flattish; not yet!

Passing Gobowen, I am on the long straight through Whittington and Queens Head. From Chirk to this point is only 8 miles, we've had rides only out to the pub here in the past. Taking the left fork avoiding the A5,  I ride down to Elbridge and on towards Knockin. It was only a couple of weeks ago Clive ,John W and I stopped off at the Knockin shop for a coffee, but as I’d only ridden 14 miles it's non-stop today. Onwards via Maesbrook and through Llanymynech passing the village hall used for the Vets 100.

Today the roads are dry and not much traffic. Blue skies and a moderate tail wind is taking me out to Four Crosses and passing over a very calm river Severn. Admiral Rodney's Pillar is on my right and I seem to have passed this monument so often of late.

My lunch stop was going to be the Butty Shack or The Three Pigeons at Nesscliffe but on passing The Royal Hill inn at Edgerley and, being solo, I make a management decision to stop here. Fantastic result :-pheasant, leek and bacon pie, mash and veg and two coffees all for £10.00 ! Also, I was on my way again in 20 minutes enjoying splendid lanes and never out of the big ring so for now my plan is good as a flattish route. Passing through Nesscliffe, the Pigeon looked shut but the Butty Shack had customers waiting.

Royal Hill pub
Canal and Rail by bike

Through Little Ness and en-route to Ruyton XI town, I took a wrong turn and headed up hill, oh dear after lunch -  not welcome. I pass a big white BMW minus a back end then realised I’m going the wrong way. Clive would have advised that he took this direction just to view the car. Back into the town, and passing the only cafe in this location, it is very popular with cyclists as there were probably in excess of 20 bikes outside. Hopefully their wait not too long as my past memory was it was very very slow service.

Now 38 miles into the route, it’s the Rednal airfield I’m skirting round before heading up to Tetchill, Welsh Frankton and St Martins. This last 10 miles had all the bumps and was uphill to St Martins but then into recovery by rolling down the hill, and round the A5 roundabout which takes you back to Chirk.

Arriving back at the station for my ride home it's 14:40 and my decision was if there was a train within time then catch it: had I missed 14:49, I was riding back to Chester. Another lucky break. All done and a very enjoyable day out with my own company and a relatively clean bike after 55miles.

See route map and/or gpx file download


25th November 2021: Burlton (mod)

It was very sunny but cold as we gathered at The Castle Bistro in Chirk. ‘We’ consisted of Steves Ha, Hu and T, Dave H, Alan and George. We were drinking our coffees and debating where we should go when Ivan arrived, having come out by train. He was the sole representative of the brisk riders, the others variously being away or unwell. Ivan was heading for Nesscliffe and was soon on his way.

Steve Ha had a route to The Bradford Arms at Llanymynech and I had one to the Burlton Inn at Burlton. As there was some doubt The Bradford Arms would be open, we opted to head for Burlton. We set off along Castle Road and down into the Ceiriog valley. To avoid the steep climb from Pontfaen into Weston Rhyn, I chose to go further up the valley to Castle Mill before heading uphill. What I had forgotten was that the first 200 metres of the road here is very steep, even though the OS map shows no chevron. Whilst several were equal to the challenge, one or two chose to dismount. Dave H reminded me that it was on this very hill a few years ago that Keith Barlow’s rear mech broke and he had to abandon the ride.

We soon reached Bronygarth and skirted round the edge of Weston Rhyn to pick up the road out to Hengoed. From here we zoomed down the hill to cross the A5 at the roundabout which leads to the Orthopaedic Hospital at Gobowen, where I spent several weeks three years ago. At Whittington, we joined the A5009 and a long run down to Queens Head. Steve Hu was quick to score me 0/10 for this section of the ride as the road was quite busy and the traffic was going past us at high speed.

The roads were now quieter and more to Steve Hu’s liking as we passed through Eardiston, Wykey and the PGL Centre at Boreatton Park. PGL have been running adventure holidays for children since 1957 and my brother and I had a holiday with them more than 50 years ago, canoeing down the River Rhone and camping on the shores of the Med near Marseille. A memorable experience!

We were soon through Weston Lullingfields and Marton, arriving at The Burlton Inn at about 12.15. Unusually, this establishment doesn’t offer ‘light bites’ or sandwiches, so most people had fish and chips or soup. I wonder if it still deserves a place on our list of favoured lunch stops?

Photo by AO

Leaving the pub, we headed to Brownheath. This meant that we were going into a headwind, which was already feeling very cold, even though the sun was still shining. But the countryside was looking beautiful and the lanes were smooth and quiet as we rode around Colemere and White Mere, so Steve Hu was scoring the route more highly now. On reaching Welsh Frankton, we decided to avoid the rough and dirty lanes at Hindford by diverting via Perthy and New Marton to reach St. Martins. I held back here to wait for Steves Ha and Hu, whilst the others headed for Chirk via the B5070. When we reached the A5 roundabout, Steve Ha wanted to go back via Weston Rhyn, so we finished the ride by dropping down once again into the Ceiriog valley before climbing back into Chirk.  

44 miles covered and 2447 feet of climb completed as we got back to The Castle Bistro at about 4 pm. Although the sun was still shining, it had already dropped cold (~ 3°C), so it would not have been wise to be much later back. Winter is truly on its way.

My thanks go to my companions for their company, support and general banter.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Thursday 18 November 2021

18th November 2021: Wrenbury (mod)

 It was a shame Neil wasn’t present when we decided on a route to his much-recommended café: No 18 The Park at Wrenbury.  We were starting from Alison’s in Tattenhall, where we had a good turnout of 12 members.  David M was resting, while Dave P was only riding out with us for part of the route because he had no lights and wanted to get back before dark.  That left 10 riders: Steve T, Steve Hu, Alan, Roy, Trevor, Andy B, George, Clive, Mike and myself. 

We set out south-westwards towards Barton and then Stretton and Tilston. To avoid Malpas we turned eastwards before the hill, towards Cholmondley, at least most of us did. The follow-my-leader system broke down and Trevor and Andy carried on to Malpas.  Assuming they knew our destination and hoping they would meet us there, the main party continued from Chorley Bank, over the Llangollen Canal and into Wrenbury.  We cycled slowly through the village looking for our destination. We found it on the left beside the Primary School, just before the turn to Wrenbury Station.  We had arrived at noon having covered 18 miles in a “moderately brisk” pace.

It looked smart as we entered and they found space for the eight of us, just before the missing two, Trevor and Andy turned up.  Pleased to be re-united, we reconfigured our seating with three sitting outside and the rest around a large table. The food was a hit, with most ordering the Eggs Benedict. There was some disquiet inside when the outdoor party were served well before us, but we passed the time with reminiscences of earlier days in the club and George’s memorable first ride. Food was hungrily consumed and we thought that this café deserved future visits.  The only downside was when I got locked in the lavatory, only to be released by brute force. 

Photos by SHa

Our return took us to Ravensmoor, Swanley and Bunbury, where we decided not to stop at Tilley’s having only covered 10 miles after lunch.  We said farewell to some riders on the return journey and arrived back at Alison’s by 2:30pm, early enough, for once, to take refreshments.

Our total distance was 35 miles, which we had covered in mild, dry conditions.  Something about the day encouraged a relatively speedy ride: the surfaces seemed smooth; headwinds negligible and hills slight. An excellent day out on generally familiar lanes, with a new lunch stop discovered.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Friday 12 November 2021

11th November 2021 : Audlem (brisk)

Today we met at Meadow Lea cafe and, as usual, a good turnout was evident but only three brisk riders available for today's ride to Audlem. John W, Ray and I set off along station lane to Waverton. We head along Guy Lane passing the Crocky trail and then pass the original “50p shop” at Burton.

We have a call to stop by John, who promptly advises us to remain quiet. It’s 11/11 @11:00 and we pay our respects to our serviceman.

On the way again, there is nothing unique of our route either out or back , so I won't bore you with left or rights as you all know this route, but the autumnal colours of the countryside were fantastic.

Autumn colours 

At 24 miles, we arrive at Crewe Queen’s Park and the splendour equals Central Park NY albeit a little smaller. Gifted to Crewe by the LNWR railway company, it was designed by Edward Kemp and F. W. Webb, chief mechanical engineer and Richard Moon, the Mayor of Crewe in 1888. He also donated a very large house opposite the park which became an orphanage for children after both wars and orphans of the LNWR railway employees killed in action or died at work. Known as Webb house, it later became a railway training venue and one I was fortunate to attend several times during my career on the railway. 

We enjoy a quick coffee overlooking the lake. For reference, it supplies hot and cold food and a large outdoor covered area. Cycling through the park is allowed but, be aware during busy times can be very busy with walkers and children running around.
Leaving the park we head to Willaston, Shavington and the leaning tower church of Wybunbury and then into Audlem. The popular Old Priest House is our lunch stop and as usual very welcoming. After our lunch we leave Audlem along the Whitchurch Rd before the right turn at the top of the hill onto Coole Lane. The lanes today are reasonably dry and clean and quiet so not to long we're at Sound and Ravensmoor. Along the A534 through Burland and then Long lane into Bunbury. 

A good day out covering 68 miles as a round trip and as flat as you can have on Cheshire's rolling roads.

Thanks to John and Ray for their company.


11th Nov 2021: Comberbach (mod)

 The starting point for today’s ride was Meadow Lea, and a good number of members turned up.  I think three rides set off: a brisk one, a moderate one with Neil, Fiona and Elwyn, and one I led comprising Dave H, Andy B, Alan, Steve T, Trevor, Peter and Andy W. Daylight hours are shortening now we are in mid-November and there were concerns that we completed our route before dusk.  Andy B, who has the longest ride to our starts, was well-prepared with a new jacket featuring 6 LEDs front and back.

Photo by FOK

I had planned a route to the Salt Barge at Marston, a pub where we had enjoyed many good lunches, but which we hadn’t visited since the start of the pandemic. Our route out took us east up the A56 and then past one of our old start points, Manley Mere.  The road past here was as rough as ever, but it was good to travel the old familiar lanes: the Sugar Lane bend and the climb up past New Pale. A steady drizzle began to fall but then passed on. We sped down into Kingsley and took the quickest route to Acton Bridge. We said goodbye to Peter and Andy W and then we rode on through Comberbach and into Great Budworth. Then we took the lane to Higher Marston and finally crossed the Trent and Mersey Canal to arrive at our destination. Regrettably, we found the Salt Barge had stopped serving Thursday lunches, though the landlady suggested the Spinner and Bergamot in Comberbach. Although we had passed by this earlier, it was not far off our return route.

We passed through Marbury Park, exiting right onto Marbury Road and detouring by just over a kilometre we arrived at our new pub. We were efficiently served and were soon tucking into lunch – the favourite being the small fish and chips. I don’t believe we’ve ever been disappointed by this pub.

Photo by SHa

We continued back down Marbury Road, past the Anderton Boat Lift, over the canal again and the River Weaver, and right at the lights through the new estates of Winnington. Our route out passed several roadworks, none of which particularly inconvenienced us.  Now temporary traffic lights, combined with lots of traffic (and angry drivers!), slowed us and separated us. We finally cleared the congestion by turning off onto Hodge Lane. Then on to a dog-leg crossing of the A49, and a familiar return through Norley to Hatchmere. We sped downhill through Delamere Forest and on to Ashton Hayes. Soon we were on our outward route along the A56. We arrived back at Meadow Lea before 4 o’clock with 46 miles covered and in time for last orders.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Friday 5 November 2021

4th November 2021: Bridge Trafford (mod)

Well a chilly November day brought out a fair few mod riders. Trevor, Jim, Dave M, Dave H, Peter, Steve Ha, Steve Hu, Steve T, George, Andy B, Bavarian Mike and of course Road Captain for the day Alan O. 

Having braved the sheep muck section of Burton marsh Alan O presented a route from Ness towards Chester taking in the stunning sights of the Stanley Oil refinery. 

When everyone was refreshed Steve Ha advised he had an appointment with hills in Wales, Jim and Trevor planned their own route and Peter & Dave M did their own thing. 

Within five minutes of leaving the warmth of the cafe the intrepid crew were riding through Ness and skirting Neston via Little Neston on lovely small lanes. The leafy lanes of Raby were soon dispensed with as we approached Eastham. At this point George was regretting riding so close to Steve Hu who insisted on regaling George with a blow by blow account of all buildings points of interest and history of Eastham. 

A sharp right off ferry road took the group down Bankfield drive and onto the service road which parallels the start of the Manchester ship canal. 

Photos by AO

At Ellesmere Port road captain Alan led the group down to the boat museum and a glance at the Manchester Ship Canal. From here the ride took on a very industrial setting as we rode through the old Shell Stanlow site now owned by Essar. We were surrounded by fuel pipes tanks and some interesting smells. 

A sharp right heralded the return to country lanes as we bumbled through Elton, Wimbolds Trafford onto Bridge Trafford for a pub stop at the Shrewsbury Arms. 

Whilst most of the easy riders were trying to establish the provenance and make up of “Hunters Chicken” Andy B had removed his wheel removed a broken spoke, refitted a new one and re tensioned the wheel. 

At this juncture Jim and Trevor arrived and bribed the kitchen staff to serve them first, on seeing Andy’s plight they also served him first leaving the rest of the group wondering “what do I have to do to get served here” 

Replete with five portions of the aforesaid Hunters Chicken we rode the lanes into Upton Croughton to Little Stanney. This route provided many glimpses of Chester Zoo. A quick spin along the stunning section of the Shropshire Union Canal took us effortlessly to Blacon. At this time Bavarian Mike held the group transfixed with the design and history of the new Crematorium! 

Now all roads were left behind with a blast along the Millennium Greenway, only stopping to notice the improvement in road surface when we entered the privileged land of our fathers. 

As we approached the Toyota park the group finally split up with those returning to Ness Gds and others going further into Flintshire. 

Thanks to Alan for finding a great route and Mike for adding tweaks to keep us mud free and safe. 

Steve Hu

See route map and/or gpx file download

4th November 2021 : Brewood (Brisk)

Four of us were out on a quick 50 miler on Tuesday courtesy of Ivan, and dropped into the "Imagination Lane" cafe for a hot food and coffee. We’ve all been passed this many times on the long drag up Wettenhall Road from Nantwich to Wettenhall not knowing that this cafe existed (well I didn’t) and there is a bike shop! It is hiding in a small industrial estate well before the Venetian Marina Cafe.  Well worth a visit.

Whilst there, I mentioned that the Thursday ride was at Ness, and we all agreed that, given the prospect of a full day of sunshine, we should go somewhere else. I offered to find somewhere for the Brisk riders. So this is how Ivan, John W and myself found ourselves setting off from Market Drayton swimming baths car park bound for Brewood. Those who couldn’t come today missed a truly memorable ride - one worth re-riding at some future time.

Out around the golf club and up Salisbury hill, we run due south down very quiet and dry lanes in the sunshine to Child’s Ercall curving towards the edge of Newport. We ride passed the impressive Harper Adams University buildings. Their website states "it is the leading specialist university tackling the future development of our planet's food production, processing, animal science.”     Well, we definitely need more of this!

Onwards we climb the hill into delightful Lilleshall where John takes the monument’s photo. Full details here

Lilleshall Monument

East and south routing find us going through Sheriffhales, over Watling Street and into Shifnal after 21 miles. Time for a coffee and a short rest. The next section uses NCR81 and takes us around the edge of RAF Cosford airdrome where there is the RAF Museum.  We meander through attractive Albrighton and, at Codsall, head north through the curiously named Coven village and now uphill into Brewood at 38 miles ridden.

I had found a few shops or cafes for an alfresco lunch venue but Ivan though pointed out the Oakley Arms which is a Brunnings & Price pub;- I couldn't eat a meal there and then ride a further 26 miles back to Market Drayton! So the Village Bakery was selected and, although Ivan didn’t like the look of his hot panini, John and I were happy with our chosen fare (and it was ridiculously inexpensive)

Heading north now and back over Watling Street (aka A5), we have long, long lanes to ride to Church Eaton and on to Adbaston. Some of these we have ridden before when on our Special Ride to Wheaton Aston back in April 2019. After Cheswardine, it's a short main road ride back to the car park arriving around 1500 with 64 miles ridden.

We all felt thoroughly mentally refreshed by being out in the splendid countryside going through new areas in the November sunshine. My solar array at home produced an impressive 10 kWh of free electricity (about half the summer maximum level). So thanks to Ivan for chauffeuring us to Market Drayton and for John and Ivan for acting as windbreaks on the route back.


Photo JW