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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Thursday 29 September 2022

29th September 2022 : Shawbury (Brisk)

The weather was good today - crisp, sunny and clear. Just ideal for 60 miles of Shropshire lanes and countryside. Ivan had offered a ride to his favourite bakery in Shawbury and Johns M and W accompanied Ivan and myself as we rode down the hill out of Chirk and up to Oswestry.

I was mercilessly ribbed for not bringing my brand new Giant Defy bike out for its inaugural ride. However, as a student of Shropshire's often agricultural lanes and the fact that it had rained the day before, my decision was vindicated on several occasions today. Maybe next week then.

After Oswestry, we motor through Maesbury and its marsh, right through Knockin and its shop and immense satellite dish, to cross the A5 at the end of the Nesscliffe bypass. The lanes narrow as we pass through Little Ness, then round the back of Adcote girl's school with senior year school fees per term costing double my Giant Defy's “reasonable” cost. We power on through new lanes riding north of Bowmore Heath and into Hadnall.

Shawbury comes up at 31 miles. I think CER first came here on a Special Ride back in October 2015. We dined at the “Elephant and Castle” pub on that occasion but today we are next door at the bakery. This was just what we needed with a good selection of grab food and an inside table as well. It has been sunny quite a lot but as we left at around 1300 there were dark skies around. 

We head due north, passing by the Norman and Elizabethan relics of Morton Corbet Castle which we have visited several times in the past. King John's William Marshal (Earl of Pembroke) besieged the Norman part in 1216. We now head East, up a long hill, then passing through my eponymously named village with its fine spired church and onwards towards Myddle and thence to Baschurch.

Three musketeers plus an ear.
Neat and tidy

The next stretch is northerly in to the wind and then turning south westerly to meet the Mods cycling towards us at Rednal. This is the long straight road to Queen's Head where the Mods had just finished lunch. There are more castles at Whittington as we work our way back to Chirk ( with its own castle).

So 61 miles at 16 mph thanks to those long quiet B roads and a moderate 2800ft of climbs. No incidents and quiet weather – a perfect combination for early autumn. So thanks to Ivan for the route and for leading for a good part of the day, and for the two John's for keeping me up with the peloton.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Photos JW

Friday 23 September 2022

22nd September 2022: Audlem (mod+)

 It was overcast but dry and reasonably warm as we gathered at Alison’s. As usual, Dave M was just out for coffee. Clive, John and Nick were off for a short but brisk one. That left Steve Hu, Steve Ha, Steve T and George as the ‘mods’ for the day.  Steve Ha would only be with us for a short distance as he needed to get home to pack for a week bagging more Munros. Rain was forecast for some time in the afternoon, so the plan was not to go too far and hope that the rain came later, rather than sooner.

I’d taken a route originally devised by Trevor in 2017 and had used Plotaroute to change the starting point from the Ice Cream Farm to Alison’s. However, when the route was uploaded on to my Elemnt Bolt computer, it appeared as a series of straight lines, which Clive found amusing – were we going to fly rather than cycle!

As some of the route was familiar to me, I set off hoping to wing it where there were bits I didn’t know.  So, we set off out of Tattenhall, heading for Beeston and Bunbury. I soon found out that where I deviated from the straight-line route, the computer would re-route me on the nearest road going in the same direction – very clever!

Steve Ha left us at Bunbury and we continued on through Haughton and Burland to Ravensmoor and Sound. Progress was swift in spite of a stiff south-easterly wind and we arrived at The Old Priest House café in Audlem as the church clock struck 12 with 20 miles covered.

Baked potatoes with various fillings and a pot of tea for three were ordered and arrived a while afterwards. A discussion of the pros and cons of cruising (of the maritime variety!) formed a large part of the lunchtime conversation. We left at 1pm, just as a wedding party were leaving the church opposite. As per Trevor’s route we did a loop around the south of Audlem, passing through Kinsey Heath and Swanbach before turning north towards Aston and Wrenbury. Although there were odd spots of rain in the air, the roads were still dry.

 A mile and a half out of Wrenbury I heard a cry from George whose front tyre was slowly deflating, so we stopped in a gateway to fix it. At this point, it started to rain.

The tyre was new, as George had had the bike serviced recently. It proved quite a struggle to get it off the rim, which didn’t bode well for getting it back on. Strangely, we couldn’t find any sign of a puncture on the inner tube, nor a thorn or piece of glass in the outer. Happily, the tyre went back on the rim quite easily due to the skills of our in-house expert, Steve Hu.

We’d stopped at the end of a lane, which my computer correctly identified as Back Lane, so I took it that we should go along it. However, as we did so, I didn’t get the usual re-routing by the computer, so we stopped and Steve Hu devised an alternative route. This took us to The Cholmondeley Arms crossing of the A49, from where I was familiar with the way home. By now the rain was falling steadily, although it was still comfortably warm.

In fact we re-connected with the intended route as we passed Cholmondeley Castle Gardens and headed on into Bickerton. The last hurdle was to climb over Harthill before we could roll along Bolesworth Road into Tattenhall.

By the time we reached Alison’s  at 3pm we were so wet that we didn’t stay for coffee, but the ‘three musketeers’ had survived the trials and tribulations of iffy computers, a puncture and rain.  43 miles covered at a mod+ pace of 14.3 mph. Well done lads!


See routemap and/or gpx file download

Thursday 22 September 2022

22nd September 2022 : Malpas (brisk)

You could tell we have enjoyed a long hot and dry summer by the fact that as we sat in the early Autumn sunshine at Alison’s, no one fancied a too long a ride because of rain forecast for the afternoon. In a few months time, we’ll be glad of a rain free morning!

The brisk group, Clive, John and myself didn’t have a route planned so I, somewhat rashly, offered to lead an unplanned route along known roads. Unsure of where we would be around lunchtime, that venue was left for when we felt hungry. 

So off we set on a roughly clockwise circuit, firstly heading northwards through Huxley, along the nicely twisty lane from Hoofield (slowing to admire a road sign we thought that John had recently cleaned-up for the President’s Ride) on to Clotton. This was followed by one of Cheshire’s finest rough lanes to Utkinton, potholed and uphill.

Turning south took us through the car madness of Tarporley, cars randomly shooting off in various directions for parking places. But turning right by the Texaco garage we were soon back on quiet lanes heading past the Shady Oak pub towards Beeston Castle. From there it was on very familiar roads to Bunbury and south towards Faddiley. Without even needing to slow down we crossed the A534 towards Chorley (not that one). Over the whole ride we saw remarkably few cars. Tractors however are appearing in numbers, as maize cutting is commencing. One tractor travelling at a ridiculous speed and taking up the entire road width, force me off the road, fortunately onto short smooth grass.

Approaching Cholmondeley, we turned left towards Wrenbury but then took the next right towards Norbury and Bickley Moss on some of the best lanes to cycle on, flat (ish), often straight and reasonable condition. Crossing the A49 towards Bickley, a short dip southwards took us to a cycle track to cross the A49 towards No Man’s Heath.

After crossing the A41, the cycle track took us to No Man’s Heath, I was going to go one way, but Clive took us left, on a lane bypassing the village just to the south, and one which I had never been on before, and a better route. Every day is a school day!

We soon found ourselves in Malpas and parked up outside the glorious Huxley’s, a traditional village bakery. Lunch consisted, at least for two of us, a meat pie followed by a custard tart – delicious. 

Due to the impending rain, we decided on the direct route back to Tilston, funnily enough where I happen to live, so unable to continue with Clive and John to Chester via Farndon and to get a soaking for the last half hour as the forecast rain made its appearance. 

For me total of 40 miles, for John and Clive, about 60. (Sorry!). Average pace, just under 16 mph.


Friday 16 September 2022

15th September 2022: Church Minshull (mod)

Autumn beckons as could be seen by fewer short sleeves and bare legs as we gathered at Meadow Lea, though the day was forecast to be dry. A reasonable turnout of mod riders plus Nick, though David M wasn’t going to join the ride.  He was looking forward to receiving his new winter cycling shoes from Canada, suited to temperatures of -20 degrees! We were unexpectedly joined by John B, who we hadn’t seen for a couple of years. John’s attendance on our rides has been regular but infrequent. Before Covid he came out with us once a year, and we look forward to seeing him again in 2023. The rest of our party were Dave H, George, Dave and Liz P on the tandem and Alan.

In the absence of alternatives, we chose my route to The Badger at Church Minshull, a destination we’d visited for the first time earlier this year. We headed out past Manley Mere and turned uphill onto Sugar Lane, where Nick left us to continue his own ride. We sped down the curiously named Dark Ark Lane, and rode up through Delamere Forest to Norley.  From here we headed south crossing the A556 to briefly join the A49, turning off in polo pony country beside The Hollies Farm Shop – as Dave H said it’ll cost a week’s wages to buy anything from there. 

Joining Clay Lane, a regular outward route for us from Rose Farm, we passed through the Whitegate Way traffic lights and turned down the hill for the road into Winsford, where we stopped.  The road was jammed with stationary traffic, so we did some recalculating and turned back to join the Whitegate Way. Except the tandem and John didn’t follow.  After some time, they reappeared. The sole of one of John’s shoes had separated itself from the upper.  It was lucky Dave P was there with his bottomless paniers, from whence he found two straps to keep John in the ride. 

The Whitegate Way provided a smooth and quiet alternative route, though we emerged at the bottom end of Winsford and had to navigate the back streets to rejoin our route. It was now a straightforward, though rather long run along the B-road to our destination. The Badger is full of images of badgers and even sells Badger Ale. We ensconced ourselves into a corner and tucked into our refreshments, which included a bucket-sized pot of tea for John. 

Our return took us on familiar roads to Wettenhall and Eaton, then up the hill to cross the A49 by the old road. A strengthening north-westerly slowed us down, though we hadn’t had its benefit on our way out.  Before Utkinton we turned left to Duddon and then took the road to Waverton before stopping at Walk Mill.  Alan and John continued while the rest of us tucked into caffeine and cake. It was now a short distance back to Meadow Lea, with 49 miles on the clock. A good ride, maybe even a better ride with the forced detour. Let’s hope the Autumn continues to hold off for a while yet.

Photos by AO

See route map and/or gpx file download


Thursday 8 September 2022

8th September 2022: Malpas (mod)

There was a modest turnout of riders this week. The threatening weather forecast and booked September breaks were likely reasons for the absence of some regulars. John Wilkie and Richard were doing their own separate rides. I think John was preparing for one of his mega challenges, and Richard had workmen at home, so had been using our collection of past ride routes to dip into and return home early. The moderate group consisted of Steve Tan, Steve Haywood, Steve Hughes, George and myself. Steve Haywood had been thinking about a ride to Whittington. I think it was Ye Olde Boote Inn we had enjoyed visiting there in the past. My concern was that if the forecast number of heavy showers arrived after lunch, that two hours of a wet return ride would not be  much fun. Steve Tan had expressed the belief that it was pretty certain that we would get wet, it was more a question of when the rain would arrive and how heavy it would be. I suggested an experimental circular route to Malpas, of all places(!). Not for the first time, the idea would be to cover a decent mileage to lunch, but be close to home anytime after lunch if the rain had closed in. Another ploy in order to beat approaching bad weather is to give lunch a miss until returning to the starting venue.  Once we successfully adopted this tactic from Cleopatra's, arriving back dry, but those without cars, who stayed for lunch, found it wet on their ride home. Once, the Fast Lads rode from Chester to Chirk, had their breakfast, and beat the rain approaching from the south, by staying ahead of it on their brisk return north. 

Anyway, today's moderate riders amiably went along with my untried route plan, which reached down to Penley via Shocklach and Worthenbury. It was a pleasant surprise to briefly cross paths with Richard at Holly Bush. From Penley we turned left at the site of the former Dymock Arms a historic Grade ll-listed building which was set on fire by arsonists back in 2010. We headed up some rough, quiet lanes before  navigating left and right across the A525. It was reassuring, as always, to have sound directional advice from my Garmin-led friends. I just hope that they never acquire pedestrian recognition or lane assist technology for bikes! There would be a lot of slamming on, and landing in prickly hedges. As long as we know the wind direction, or the position of the sun in the sky, George knows where the Welsh hills lie, and we can find two stick to rub together to make fire, who needs a Garmin? We headed for Lower Wych from Tallarn Green. I was discouraged from exploring a path crossing Wych Brook at Oldcastle Mill. I must take Tonto with me and have a delve sometime soon. After the steep climb out of Lower Wych we soon reached The Lion At Malpas. Our Gourmet in the Saddle, Steve Tan, and Steve Hughes who has spent years munching his way through the menus of top Ribble Valley chefs, appeared to approve the fare on offer. We have Steve Haywood to thank for first introducing us to this particular pleasant watering-hole

After lunch, it was still not raining, so instead of bolting direct for Holt, about 8.5 miles away, we went across to No Mans Heath, and headed up narrow lanes just east of the A41. Edge Lane was a smoothly surfaced, quiet little gem, which saw us re-crossing the A41, and  passing Edge Hall and dropping into Tilston. Plenty of ominous clouds, but still no rain, so we ignored the safer bet of the Wetreins short cut for the sake of squeezing a couple of more miles in via Barton, Coddington and Churton. At Coddington, Steve Haywood took his leave to head for Tattenhall.  We did cop a heavy shower at Churton, but we weren't too wet on reaching Holt, and George was already tucking into cake, as Steve Tan and I reached Cleopatra's after chucking our bikes into the Berlingo. Steve Hughes needed to return home earlyish, so everyone was pretty happy even though our mileage had been defensively modest.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Friday 2 September 2022

Ist September 2022 : Lymm (brisk)

Today, my neighbour, Chris  accompanied me to Ivan’s house where we also met with John W  and then all headed out to Rose Farm. There was an excellent turnout today with at least 14 riders present. The brisk contingent numbered 6, but Nick came  only for coffee and a short ride as he was  training ready for a Tri event at the weekend. So 5 brisk riders, the original 4 plus Clive, took  a route  devised by Ivan to the The Crown at Lymm.

Climbing on a rough road over Quarry Bank, we joined the A49 and headed past the old sand quarries of Nunsmere and Oakmere then turned onto quieter roads which lead us through to Acton Bridge where we  crossed the River Weaver. Once over the river we turned immediately right, the road zig-zaggged roughly north before crossing the M56 and then doglegged back eastwards before reaching Daresbury Technology  Park.  Although these roads were quiet traffic-wise, the noise from the main highways was an assault on the ears. Skirting  Stockton Heath, we crossed back over the M56 and M6 and then back over the M56 again before  passing by the picturesque Lymm Dam and arriving at The Crown in Lymm.

The mornings 45+km were trouble free other than a split mudguard on Clive’s bike which was easily fixed with some gaffer tape thus providing a temporary or a  permanent solution depending on the delivery time of his new bike. Lunch was served promptly in the beer garden where Ivan informed us that the return route was partially experimental but hopefully easy to follow.

Leaving the comfort of the beer garden, we once again crossed over the M6 and after several stop starts ,plus directions from 2 young boys on mountain bikes, we found a steep gravel footpath that led onto cycle route 62 - the Trans Pennine Trail. 

The trail, initially wooded, dropped on to the ship canal at Latchford Locks - a pair of large locks one for ocean going vessels the smaller for coasters, tugs and barges.We followed route 62 alongside the disused St Helens canal and River Mersey into Widnes where we crossed back over both waterways via the Silver Jubilee Bridge.

The next 20 minutes was a blur of residential and industrial buildings as we failed to pick up the new cycleway through Runcorn  and  eventually ended up in Weston grinding to halt outside an Ineos factory. From here we did  a dash along Weston Point Express to rejoin  the cycle route which guided us across the the M56 and River Weaver into Frodsham.

Although the posted route back to Utkington leaves Frodsham passing through Kingsley and Delamere, a total of 90 kilometres, we took the A56 back to Chester. However a proposed stop at The Chester Fields Pub was abandoned due to a wedding taking over the venue and  so we carried on into Mickle Trafford where we parted company with Clive and John. The remaining three musketeers carried on to The Bird in Hand but it was closed much to our disappointment.

So 110 kms was achieved today for Ivan, Chris and myself with John and Clive accomplishing around 120km. We averaged 24.5kmh. A ‘Liquorice Allsorts‘ of a route covering road, gravel, cycle paths and tarmac provided an interesting day out in good cycling weather and excellent lunch in a nice setting.

Thanks to all for their company today and especially their route finding skills. 


See route map and/or gpx file download

Photo JW

Thursday 1 September 2022

1st September 2022: Audlem Marina (mod)

Arriving at Rose Farm at 10am, there were already a host of bikes outside.  There were so many Easy Riders that we’d taken over two large separate tables at each end of the café. Maybe a combination of good weather which was expected to break at the weekend and the onset of Autumn.  I’d heard on the radio that morning that 1st September was the first day of Meteorological Autumn, which apparently is different from Astronomical Autumn which is the 22nd of September. If that’s confusing, consider sunrise and sunset, which differ between astronomical, nautical and civil. The mod riders were Dave H, Steve T, Dave P, Steve Hu, Alan O, Trevor, George and myself.  Jim and David M were out, but not joining the ride. Dave H suggested Audlem Marina as a destination which found favour as a new lunch stop for many. However, Dave hadn’t worked out a route so I offered to lead the way out.

Photos by AO

We headed towards Clotton and with Steve T in the lead were about to turn into Corkscrew Lane, when a cement lorry heading towards us swerved onto our side of the road before making the same turn.  Steve would have been under the wheels if he hadn’t dodged the vehicle. Just the incident when a helmet cam would have provided footage for the police. The rest of the ride was less eventful.  We passed by the Shady Oak and up to Beeston Castle before taking the lanes to Bunbury, then south to Brindley, Larden Green and Chorley Bank to enter Wrenbury. From here we made for Sound before Dave took over the lead to guide us onto Overwater Marina on the Shropshire Union Canal about a mile north of Audlem town. The site looked idyllic in the bright sunshine with water lapping and geese swimming. 

We sat outdoors on two tables as the food was prepared At Rose Farm, Nick had recommended the Staffordshire Oatcakes which I chose and were very tasty. Conversation at my table inevitably centered on the wasps that made lunch less than totally idyllic, but we stoically carried on.


After a very relaxed light lunch, socialising in the sun, we meandered lethargically from the canal to Coole Lane. Our aims on the way back were to avoid any part duplication of our lanes out, and to have slightly shorter, but pleasant return route. Perhaps, we would have time for a coffee before the end? The main road just south of Nantwich wasn't too busy, but we soon turned off on the well-maintained grit paths the other side of the little lake.  Although I take the dog for a walk by the river about twice a month when visiting Nantwich food and vintage markets, I hadn't been on these particular paths for a while. Trevor inspired confidence just ahead of me, and soon we were leaving the parkland and heading for Welsh Row. Welsh Row is full of buildings of character and history. The website “A Dabber's Nantwich” provides plenty of interesting historical information about this road. We then wiggle our way back into the countryside passing Henhull Hall before crossing the A51 and reaching Reaseheath College. It seems a shame to see so much house building going on greenfield sites around Nantwich. I haven't seen any that looks affordable for young people. A familiar route directly north takes us over the Shropshire Union Canal at Venetian Marina and up to Cholmondeston. The weather is warm, and the lane is rural and easy going, but for too long there have been stretches of poor road surface to take the shine off for cyclists. The Drays Coffee Shop would seem a good place for a nice cake and coffee sitting at the back looking across the fields. I just need to check my map, as my instinct is to turn right towards Rushton, but my domestiques rein me in, and who needs a map when we have our trusty local yokel, and master guide, Steve Ha. The people at The Drays are very friendly, and their coffee and juicy berry flapjacks are just the job. This is a first visit for some, and I am sure their reviews would be very favourable. Passing some young polo ponies on our way out, we climb straight up to Portal and across the Tarporley by-pass. We are soon back at the rough little bank before Rose Farm. We have covered forty-five very enjoyable miles in excellent company.