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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.

Thursday, 12 May 2022

12th May 2022: Gwaenysgor (mod)

We gathered at Hawarden for our first ride from here since hearing the sad news of Spiros’ passing - it was a thoughtful moment. Alison seemed to have called all hands to the pump to keep the place going and we had our usual good and friendly service.

It was likely to be a fine day, and although a westerly wind was blowing, this was only forecast to strengthen later on, prompting a plan to cycle out west to Gwaenysgor, and get blown back east. Although the Eagle and Child is a popular destination, no-one seems to have found how to pronounce the name of the village, making it hard to explain to people where were going. It was a good turnout of eight moderates: myself, Dave H, Steve T, Alan, Keith, Andy B, Trevor and Clive, back from his holidays in Cornwall. John W also briefly looked in and then went on his way.

I had a route out which we followed with Alan’s input, whereas Alan had a route back which he followed with Clive’s input. We headed out to cross the big roundabout at Ewloe, and then took Green Lane/Magazine Lane to drop down by Northop Hall, continuing into Northop, before climbing up Middle Mill Road to gain altitude and arrive in Halkyn. Thence on to Babell and Pen-y-cefn, heading almost onto the A55, before running parallel to it, past a field which I remember sometimes being filled with daffodils, but today was too late in the season. It seems that Andy is a connoisseur of A55 crossing points having investigated most of them, but he approved of this one as being one of the least dodgy. We headed north to Trelawnyd, with Gop Hill high ahead of us, to which Andy drew our attention.  This is the second-largest neolithic mound in Britain after Silbury Hill, in Wiltshire, and prehistoric remains have been found in the caves beneath it. From Trelawnyd it was a short ride west along the A road, before heading north again and reaching our destination.

In the Eagle and Child we were directed to an Arthurian round table, underneath a remarkable wooden motorbike hanging on the wall. 

Photo by SH

We settled with our drinks and made our choices from the menu – whilst we could have had Eagle Burgers or an Eagle Brunch, there seemed to be no child-related food choices! While waiting, Alan received a video call from Steve Hu, who while absent somewhere in NW Scotland was obviously missing his Thursday with Easy Riders. As usual we had good service food and drinks before we left for what now seems to be an obligatory ride up the hill for the spectacular viewpoint above the 33% gradient descent and overlooking Prestatyn and the windmills in the Irish Sea.

Photo by AO

For our return Alan took us to Llanasa, Berthengam and Trelogan, before descending to Mostyn – along several lanes which were delightful and new to many of us. Here we joined the North Wales coastal routes avoiding the main road where we could to Bagillt and Flint. Here our cohesive group fragmented: Alan and Clive heading towards their homes, Trevor and I detouring for coffee and cakes at Temptations Café before heading to the Greenway, and the remainder heading back towards Northop Hall and Hawarden. The route totalled 46 very enjoyable miles in good weather and company.

See route map and/or gpx file download

SH


Sunday, 8 May 2022

5th May 2022: Bunbury (mod 2)

Ride Vuelta de Oulton Park 

The earlier rain in the week had clearly not deterred the CER crew which had an excellent turnout at Delamere Station Carpark.

As I arrived the fast lads were off on a 100+ miler. The mod group were getting ready for a ride and Neil was discussing his ride to Tilley’s. 

I joined Neil and Ray who was convalescing after a cold on a second mod ride. 

The route took us up to Hatchmere and along School Lane to Cuddington Lane. At this point we joined the lovely Whitegate Way. The surface was superb unlike earlier in the week when Neil had reccied it, when he described it as a “dust bowl”. 

Photos by Steve Hu

The Whitegate Way meandered Lobslack Wood passing lots of sand quarries now flooded until we broke off at Clay Lane. Now we entered the picture postcard village of Little Budworth where I’m sure the Wisteria owners club must reside, judging by the displays. From here it was easy lanes to Tilston and our lunch stop at Bunbury.


Replete with Eggs Royale we sidled around Beeston Castle (a good Cafe but no toilets apparently) and crossed the Shropshire Union Canal, before heading back towards Oulton Park for the second time today. A quick spin down Oulton Mill Lane took us to Cotebrook. 

At this point our intrepid leader Neil left towards Kelsall and Ray and I drag raced along Tarporley Road to Nunsmere were we resumed more in keeping CER lanes. Following our outbound route we returned to Hatchmere. A nice 36 miles with some spirited riding by Neil and Ray ensuring I had to keep up at the back. 

Steve Hu.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Friday, 6 May 2022

5th May 2022 : Alsager (brisk)

John W was sitting outside my house at 09:00 champing at the bit ready for a ride to Delamere Café.We set of some 15 minutes later on what will be a lovely sunny day. My ride today was a 72-mile circular ride from and to Delamere station café. Its 11 miles out to the café from Chester and the same on return so a minimum of 94-mile ride for us both. John had already covered 12 miles when arriving at my house this morning, so much for lighter early sun rising!! As expected, a good turnout for riders to welcome us, we passed Andy and Keith on our way and they to arrived shortly after us. 

Ready for the off at Delamere Cafe

We set off out towards Fishpool crossing the A54 stopping for a photo shoot of the canal at Tilstone.Through Bunbury and on towards Ravensmoor, we have the benefit of some tailwind. The roads around Cotebrook and Oulton Park were advertising the Club car championship this weekend so if out riding keep away from this location. Between Ravensmoor and Sound I got a big thorn in my rear tyre and it quickly went down. A new tube in and within 10 minutes we were rolling again. The benefit of using gas instead of a pump is an improvement to roadside emergency action.

Before entering Audlem, we take Swanbach Mill Lane leading us to the meandering lanes to Hankelow and Wybunbury. From the village we head out to Wrinehill along main road until we take a left for a new climb Heighley Hill. It got our attention at 17% but there was a splendid display of bluebells but too much effort in getting up the hill to stop for a photo.

Audlem's staircase of locks
A tranquil scene

We have ridden some lovely lanes and continuing to Barthomley was no exception. The White Lion was our choice today as they boast home made pies which are truly tasty. However, I plump for sausage and mash although John enjoyed the steak and Guinness pie. Pouring Guinness is a slow process and making the pie was as well as we ended up waiting a while for our meal.

From Barthomley we head to Radway Green and passing through Alsager and to Breton Green.Through Holmes Chapel riding on the main road, we turn left at Spinney motorhome corner for Shakeley Mere, Lach Dennis and Davenham. We cheekily ride on the pavement but as the school day had finished, we should have gone via the correct one-way road. At Hartford we ride through the town busy with school run mums and dads in their Chelsea tractors, but John shows them our rears as he passes the queues.

We are now heading to Norley and Hatchmere where anyone who rides our route would turn left towards Delamere but we’re going straight over onto Ashton Road through Delamere and Mouldsworth. We choose to go via Ashton instead of up hill passing the Goshawk Inn then Manley Lane and back to Mickle Trafford and Chester.

Again, we enjoyed a good route with lots of pleasant lanes mostly dry although plenty of rough and potholed surfaces. I covered 95 miles and John his second 125 miles of the week!.

Another good day out on the bike.

See route map and/or gpx file download

ID

Photos ID

5th May 2022: High Legh (mod 1)

Another good turnout at Delamere Station Café, with 13 CER members present. Ray and Dave M were not riding as they were recovering from Covid (Ray) and going home to mow the grass (Dave). Ivan and John W were gearing up for a short (<100 miles) ride to Alsager and Neil offered to lead a shortish ride, which Steve Hu and Peter took him up on.

That left Dave H, Keith, Steve Ha, Trevor, Andy B and yours truly for a ride I had planned to The Bears Paw at High Legh, a venue we have not visited before, but where I had booked a table ‘outside’ for 12.45pm. 

We set off by the usual route to Hatchmere and Norley, whizzing down Norley Bank to Onston Lane, Acton Bridge and down the steep hill to the A49 and the bridge across the River Weaver. After the ‘down’ there’s always an ‘up’ and so we were soon puffing and panting up Willow Green Road and over the Trent and Mersey Canal.

Reaching the top of the hill in Little Leigh, we crossed the A553 and made our way along Cogshall Lane to Comberbach. A left and right put us on the road to Great Budworth where there’s another climb into the village. Leaving the village by Westage Lane, we soon joined Budworth Road, heading towards Knutsford.  At Tabley Brook, we fork left on Old Hall Lane which takes us over the M6 and then, using a bridleway, under the A556 and out onto the old Chester Road.

From here we took the rather rough and bumpy Moss Lane and then Green Lane to join Tabley Road for the run into Knutsford. Crossing the A50, we’re soon into the tranquility of Tatton Park, where the deer are resting in the shade whilst the sheep quietly graze. Leaving the park by the Rostherne entrance (exit?), we were soon in the village itself, where we turned left into New Road. 

At this point, we were about five or six miles from our lunch stop and looking good for an on-time arrival. However, the fickle finger of fate made an unwelcome appearance. As Steve Ha was changing down to tackle the climb out of the woods near Rostherne Brook, his chain came off. The ‘chain off’ cry ran forwards through the peloton most of us stopped at the junction of Cicely Mill Lane and Mereside Road, expecting Steve to appear in a matter of seconds. When this didn’t happen, Andy B and I went back to find Steve.

Getting the chain back on turned out to be a major job, requiring the combined efforts of all three of us, as the chain had jammed between the chainwheel and the bike frame. We eventually prised it out and got it back on the chainwheel. By now, we’d lost about ten minutes, so it was just before one that we arrived at the pub where Dave H and Keith had already arrived.

We were shown to a table which was outside, but under a plastic roof, which kept us very warm. The food was quite good with both sandwiches and small meals on offer. Unfortunately, they had no soda water and the gas for some of the beer pumps was out, so blackcurrant and water was the order of the day, although Steve Ha managed to get a pint of Guinness.

Photos by ST

Suitably refreshed, we headed off along Swineyard Lane and Barleycastle Lane to the B5356 and Appleton Thorn. Following this to Stretton traffic lights, we continued to Hatton, where we went left onto Pilmoss Lane and right onto Summer Lane. Rather than going straight on to Preston Brook, we hung a left up Newton Lane and then a right down Morphany Lane were we stopped briefly to visit the site of the old vicarage where Charles Dodgson, a.k.a. Lewis Carroll, was born in 1832. His father was the vicar of All Saints Church, Daresbury. Culture interval over, we pressed on along Higher Lane to join the A533 for a short stretch, before taking Aston Lane to Sutton Weaver and the dreaded A56.


The run down the hill to Frodsham was a pleasure only because it was downhill, as the traffic on this road is quite heavy. Trevor and Andy B stayed on the A56 heading for home as we turned into Fluin Lane and this week’s ‘sting in the tail’ – the climb up to Overton and Lady Heyes. The last couple of miles towards Norley and then along Forest Road took us to Hatchmere and back to our starting point

Forty-eight miles covered on a dry and pleasantly warm day. Thanks to Steve Ha, Dave H, Trevor, Andy B and Keith for their company

See route map and/or gpx file download

ST

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

28th April 2022: Burlton (mod)

Ivan's nostalgic railway reflexes had him steaming from Crewe in a double-header with John Wilkie. So it was just five moderate riders who chugged up at Chirk, that's if you can call Neil a moderate, although he was prepared to take it easy. Steve Hughes was missing a bottle when he arrived, Keith left his in the car, and I was missing some teeth, and didn't really have a route. It didn't feel too much like a focused Quick Step pre-stage meeting. At least Alan, our ace cameraman, hadn't forgotten his mobile, or to change out of his slippers before leaving home.

After watching the second half of the Liverpool v. Newcastle game the night before, I had looked up a few possible pub destinations, and checked that they were open for lunch and had decent reviews. On my own, I would have sorted out a route to The Dickin  Arms at Loppington, but I didn't want this to become my Shropshire Bhurtpore, and be perceived as repeatedly taking people to my same personal preferences for lunch.

As it was, we set out for The Burlton Inn, which is still a regular stop of ours. 

The priority was for quiet lanes, with a few unusual route twists for a change. In order to largely miss the busy road to St. Martin's, we turned south-west for Hindford at the first chance, and then worked north-east to Old Marton before crossing the dismantled railway for a second time at Crickett. We passed the Hardwick Estate on our left before dog-legging across the busy A495 down to the canal and on to Tetchill.

It was decidedly cool without the sun of recent days. From Lee, close to scenic White Mere, we headed south to Lower Hordley and Bagley, eventually turned up to English Frankton via Cockshutt for an extra few miles, before directly pedalling to lunch at The Burlton Inn. Our past friendly hosts had departed, but the guy who had taken over was very welcoming and the food was good, with plenty of chips. Evidently light bites, like a choice of sandwiches, are likely to be added to the menu in the future. Some of the lunch discussion was very informative about a variety of media offerings, internet scams, and what to watch out for.

After lunch, it became obviously that it was going to stay the only sunless day of the week, and as Chirk is nearly forty miles from home for some of us, I cut the intended return route to save a bit of time. At Stanwardine in the Fields , I had intended to head for Rednal  and Welsh Frankton via the climb and dive- down around Stanwardine Park and across the River Perry. The quicker route to Welsh Frankton kept us east of the River Perry, but did use a short section of the outward- bound route from Bagley to Lower Hordley. You would recognise the large factory building near Lower Hordley, slightly sinister with its lack of signage. Steve was telling me that it was a very large abattoir owned by ABP, a huge multinational food processor, who surprisingly, perhaps, own Primark. I thought that, originally, the Weston family of past Wagon Wheel fame owned Primark, which was also true. If you are interested in how this mega business developed look up ABP, Garfield Weston, or Wittington Investments on t'internet. Over seven hundred people were working in the Lower Hordley factory in 2015. Burton's Food was sold off in 2000, and they still produce Wagon Wheels. You will not be shocked to know that the Weston's Wagon Wheel of your schooldays is now smaller and lighter. From Welsh Frankton we cut up to New Marton and St.Martin's. What Alan later called “the sting in the tail” was about to come. We descended, steeply at times, into the narrow wooded valley leading to cow shit covered Pont y blew, then followed two challenging climbs back to our parked cars. 

'The sting in the tail' 
Photo AO

Quite an effort to avoid the busy main roads around Chirk. The lads lost time waiting for me, as I missed seeing a long, discarded cable as I changed my glasses whilst riding up the first climb. My new glasses were hurting my head. I'd told them at Specsavers that I had a big head, but they thought I was joking! The cable wrapped around my chainwheels, and jammed between my front mudguard and wheel. Fortunately, no lasting damage to man or machine, just a lot of dirty disentangling. About 40 miles covered. Thanks to Steve for his route support, and thanks for the patience of everyone as I worked out directions on the hoof. I enjoyed all the quiet lanes and the company. Let's hope we have the sun back for next Thursday.

DH

See route map and/or gpx file download