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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Sunday 26 February 2023

23rd February 2023 : Sandbach (brisk)

Meeting other CER riders taking advantage of spring like weather the brisk group consisted of only Ken and I. John W on GP duties and Clive enjoying coffee but only out for a quick spin due to driving south later on. I had circulated a proposal for today's ride to Leigh but due to low count today decided on a route I had ridden Sunday to Sandbach. 

Four of our group did ride on Tuesday with a car-assist to Whitchurch. This ride was a real tale of two rides as the outward ride via Oswestry and the Old Racecourse Mountain plus other rolls!! and onward to Llansinffraid riding 3200ft in 34 miles and the return ride to Whitchurch was mainly flat and downhill with a tail wind mostly so a gentle ride today was the alternative. 
Clive joined us from Meadow Lea as far as Tarporley whilst Ken and I continued on to Wettenhall and Church Minshull and heading along Middlewich Rd to Occlestone and School Lane cutting through Warmingham to Elworth stopping at Mostyn at the narrow bridge over the Trent and Mersey canal for a photo shot. Into Elworth we are direct into Sandbach and market day in the town. 

Arriving at the George for 12:10 we were not early diners and were lucky to secure a table. Half term week must have had something to do with it as there were a few families enjoying the ambiance. We enjoyed our experience in this hostelry and were out in the midday sunshine far too quickly but nonetheless we head up passed St Mary’s church and up the hill to the heath.  Passing Malkins Bank this location has vastly changed since my boyhood paper round. We cross the canal again which runs from Runcorn to Shardlow and built in the 18th century. 

Our ride back from Winterley is along the well-used lanes through Crewe and the cycle way into Nantwich then Aston to Bunbury and around Beeston Castle. The weather although chilly as we set off at 10:30, had warmed quickly and an excellent 65 miles in sunshine was enjoyed. Thanks to Ken for his company.  

Saturday 25 February 2023

23rd February 2023: Commonwood (mod)

On a cold but bright and sunny day, there was a fair turnout of mods at Meadow Lea: Andy B, Ray, Steve T, Alan, Dave H, Andy W and Matt. 

Only two or three routes were on offer, and the usual Garmin gremlins quickly reduced that to just one. So it was that I (Matt) made my debut as route-master / ride leader. And what a debut it was, delivering drama, comedy and farce in a fun-packed special: a figure-of-eight ride that ended up being a figure-of-zero!

Setting off on well-travelled roads via Tattenhall and Churton on our way to Holt, topics of conversation included Dave's auto-electrical problems, reckless car drivers and the woeful state of the tarmac on some of our favourite byways.

As the peleton splintered between Coddington and Churton we encountered a couple of horses ridden by youngsters. They (the horses, not the riders ... I think!) were completely freaked out by my trike (or was it me?) taking one look before rearing up and hastily cantering off in the opposite direction. Eventually, they were persuaded to trot past my stationary vehicle, all the while peering suspiciously in my direction. As if that wasn't enough drama, I soon came to another stop, with a slow puncture in the rear tyre.

The group reconvened at Churton and conversation soon turned to where we should stop for lunch. Consideration was given to Cleopatra's and The Red Lion at Doddleston before someone suggested the Commonwood Fisheries at Borras, just off the planned route. The more enthusiastic riders, led by Ray, made it all the way up the hill to Borras Head before getting the message that we'd overshot Commonwood and had to turn back.

Lunch conversation featured the shameless dodgy dealings of government ministers, whilst the popular vote of the CER collective was a landslide majority in favour of Burgers. Dave Heath would like to point out that although he had supported the Chicken Burger party, their candidate had failed to turn up, so his vote was a second preference.

Photo by AO

After a group photo, and a few more pumps of air into my rear tyre, we headed north into the wind and via a little-known and somewhat Clive-esque grass-topped lane into Lavister. Just before Doddleston, I had a second puncture, this time to a front tyre and much too fast to get away with air top-ups. A relatively painless tube replacement ensued, as Steve came back to see where we'd got to.

Reconvening once again at Doddleston, we managed a whole mile before the next dramatic interlude. As Steve turned onto the main road he called "car right". I stopped, but Alan didn't, colliding with the back of my trike and executing an athletic somersault into a muddy ditch! It deserved 5.9 for artistic impression, but maybe only 5.5 for technical merit.

The final act witnessed yet more trike puncture farce at Saltney Ferry - the same front tyre, as I'd not properly removed the guilty thorn. At this point, I resigned from the ride leadership and the rest of the group headed off across Saltney Ferry bridge, then along the (non-trike-friendly) Dee path back to the Greenway.

Postscript: I have now ordered Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres for my trike!!

See route map and/or gpx file download


Sunday 19 February 2023

16th February 2023 : Caerwys (brisk)

The recent spell of dry warm weather provided an ideal opportunity to enjoy riding some of the lanes in North Wales.  As I hadn’t been able to have a long ride this week, I suggested  a ride out to Caerwys to the brisk group. Thursday morning was dry and warm and 6 riders, John’s M & W, Ivan,Richard & Nick met me at Rossett for our foray into North Wales.

The first 16kms was on quiet roads which meandered through Hope and skirted  around the cement factory at Buckley and on towards Mold. We stayed above and to the west of Mold town rather than taking the more direct busy traffic route through its centre. On entering Mold, we turned onto  the first climb heading up  towards Nercwys when one comedian piped up that according to his Garmin “this is the first of nine climbs today and this one is 2 miles long”. I quickly  enlightened  him that there were  more than 9 hills  on my route profile.

Turning off the main road below Nercwys, we traversed above Mold through Gwernamynned to Gwernaffield where the snowdrops at Fron Hall were putting on a super display in the morning sunshine. Unfortunately around this point, John W dropped behind because he was struggling with back pain and decided to abort the ride and head for home. Ivan chose to accompany John and they rode off via Shotton back to Chester.

Our now depleted group carried on into Cilcain arriving via the steep climb up from the River Alyn which according to Richard’s Garmin was rated at a 22%. It was all downhill from here to  the valley bottom where a short section of main road had to be endured before we could turn off  onto the quieter lanes towards Nannerch. John M excused himself from this section because his bike was too highly geared for climbing the hills through the village so he opted to stay on the main road and meet us in the cafe for lunch. The stiff climb through Nannerch village soon gave way to a descent back to the valley road and the start of the long climb up to Caerwys and lunch.

The Corner Cafe turned out to be a very popular meeting place but fortunately I had heeded Clive’s advice and booked our table. Once seated our orders were taken, the food arrived promptly and was as good as I remembered from my previous visit. During lunch Nick showed us pictures of the damage that had been inflicted on his sister’s house (in New Zealand) by recent storms. The house is uninhabitable as they have no water or power and it will several weeks before the utilities are restored. 

Lunch over it was back on the bikes and it felt quite springlike in the sunshine as we climbed over the Halkyns with views opening up towards the Dee estuary and the Wirral peninsula beyond. We then climbed the undulating  but good quality road surface through villages of Pentre Halkyn, Halkyn to descend into Rhosesmor. 

Turning left by the church in Rhosesmor, we entered a narrow steeply descending lane towards Northop. This road surface had a generous coating  of mud and debris so both caution and concentration were required. Unfortunately, Richard’s front wheel slipped away from underneath him and he ended on the floor. Fortunately he escaped serious injury and soon recovered to sort  his bike out . 

We set we off again paying even more attention to road surface we all safely  arrived down at the valley bottom. Our route now took us on familiar roads past the Horticultural College and onwards through Northop and into Hawarden. Here Nick and I turned off towards home, and John and Richard carried on towards Chester via the riverside cycleway from Saltney Ferry.

Today's ride was ridden in near perfect conditions, warm with light winds, and sunshine. The  ride totalled 75 kms with nearly 1200 metres of ascent but everyone completed over 100kms of riding when going back to Chester. 

See route map and/or gpx file download


Thursday 16 February 2023

16th February 2023: New Brighton (mod)

There was a good turnout of mods at Ness Gds: Jim , Dave M, Steve Ha, Hu, Tan, Alan Ray and Trevor. 

Dave M, Steve Ha and Jim were doing their own routes, so Alan’s route to New Brighton via Birkenhead Park was selected. 

Alan’s route initially took in the well proven roads through Ness Neston and via Leighton road to Gayton. Skirting Heswall to the south we climbed up “the only hill on the Wirral” to the outskirts of Pensby. A number of cheeky left and rights allowed us to pop out at Thingwall Road and access Arrowe Park via a permissive bridleway.

This was certainly a challenge as much of the route was single track and due to last night’s rain a tad muddy. See photo. 

Photos by Steve Hu

Once clear of the woodland we skirted Upton and passed over the busy Moreton Spur. On joining Fender Lane we were treated to our own full size cycle lane. Imagine a dual carriageway split into two lanes with cones up the middle. Well that’s what whisked us to Bidston Moss. 

Following the signs to Wallasey Golf Club (the first club of the day) we popped out at the sea front. A leisurely pedal to New Brighton brought us to our lunchtime stop at the Seaside Cafe. For a very reasonable £8.90 one can have fish, chips, mushy peas, salad, a slice of bread and a hot drink. One of our favoured riders even managed a jar of preserve too. 

Replete with either Fish or Gammon we followed our trusted route along the waterfront admiring the new Everton Stadium and marvelling at the cranes “disappearing” into the low lying river mist. At Seacombe Ferry we diverted from our usual East Wirral return route and headed into the lovely Birkenhead Park. 

From here Claughton Village gave way to Oxton and we entered our second golf course of the day, Prenton. Armed with a friendly caution of “watch out” from a nearby golfer we climbed steadily to the quaint village of Storeton. 

From here we were now on familiar roads and the villages of Brimstage, Thornton Hough and Raby zoomed by as our tyres hummed along the dry roads with excellent views of the Dee Estuary and North Wales. 

At Ness Gds, Alan, Steve T and Ray collected their cars whilst hardcore riders Trevor and Steve Hu set off for home avec biciclette.

A big thanks to Alan for researching and planning such an interesting route with little or no busy traffic. 

See route map and/or gpx file download

Steve Hu

Friday 10 February 2023

9th February 2023 : Wem (brisk)

A peek through the curtains at 7 a.m. revealed a chilly but frost free morning. Also it was predicted to be dry and sunny so perfect for a leisurely ride out to Cleopatra’s to join up with the Briskers. I’d noticed that Clive had planned a route to Wem on Plotaroute so added it to my Garmin. After a leisurely breakfast, I selected my light “summer” bike as the most suitable steed for hopefully dry lanes and keeping up with the speedy briskers! I set off after 9 only to be back home 15 minutes later as my right hand shifter had decided not to shift. Fortunately, my back up bike was fully prepared but as time was getting on I decided to car assist to Holt passing both Clive and Nick on route.

Cleo’s was buzzing with a gaggle of Easy Riders and but it turned out that only Richard and Nick were up for a brisk ride. Ken was out for coffee and to my surprise Clive was heading home before setting off for his country estate.  He had no recollection of preparing a route to Wem! He did however give me directions to the favoured café, Josemya’s. He also appointed me ride leader and as such responsible for this blog!

Our brisk group of three duly set off along Francis Lane and overtook the Mods along the somewhat rough lanes heading for Isycoed. I referred all complaints from my co-riders to the ride planner, Clive! Fortunately, Nick had managed to copy the route from my Garmin to his and between us navigation was mainly straightforward. We took in Bangor on Dee, and Overton on the way to Ellesmere with one or two fast main road legs. 

The narrow undulating lanes between Ellesmere, Colemere and Loppington were a delight as usual.  Richard, waxed lyrical about sheep on the road and buzzards above reminiscent of him living in the Lake District. We soon found ourselves rolling along Wem High Street and, with the aid of Clive’s directions, were quickly ensconced in Josamya’s cafe. Its not that big and was full of friendly locals two of whom surrendered their table to us. The menu was pretty comprehensive and not expensive. We settled for omelettes which were excellent. 

Resisting the temptation to finish with cake we were soon back on our bikes heading north towards Whixall, Higher Wych and eventually the long uphill drag up to and west out of Malpas. It was here that I began to miss my light bike but had the consolation of knowing that my car was at Holt and I didn’t have to ride back to Chester. 

Nick peeled off for home at Tilston as we approached Shocklach and after the long straight run to Crewe By Farndon I guiltily bid goodbye to Richard who was riding home to Chester to complete nearly 70 miles. Nick and I managed nearly 50 miles.  As it turned out to be an excellent day out I would like to claim full credit but Clive is more deserving. Thanks for the route Clive (even if you don’t remember doing it) and for the cafe recommendation.

See route map and/or gpx file download


9th February 2023: Whittington (mod)

The day started cold, but bright sun soon emerged which made for warming conditions. There were a lot of Easy Riders in Cleopatra’s - more than I’d seen for a long time. Steve T had a ride to Loppington which found favour. Unfortunately, technical gremlins got in the way and he wasn’t able to load the route. Therefore my backup ride to Whittington became the mod’s route.

After our usual shambolic start, I found I had a group of 10: myself, Ray, Steve’s T and Hu, Alan, Trevor, Dave H, Matt and Andy, plus Clive who was only joining us for the start as he had another engagement later. We headed out following the lanes to the west of the Dee, through the remains of river flooding, even though the last heavy rains had been around two weeks previously. Arriving in Bangor on Dee, we took the lanes towards Cloy before heading back to the B-road to enter Overton. We continued southwards through Rhew and then down to cross the Welsh border and Shell Brook via a very steep and very rough disintegrating road. Further poor surfaces and hilly lanes took us by Dudleston Hall and past the now closed Jack Mytton pub into Hindford. We turned right here onto a lane we knew to be often thick with mud, but the lack of recent rain meant that it was just very very rough. 

We joined the B-road to arrive in Whittington with it’s fine castle, which is the site of an annual historical re-enactment  by Historia Normannis (https://normannis.co.uk/wp/). The village also has two pubs. We’d previously visited and enjoyed Ye Old Boote Inn, but today we made for the White Lion. As is necessary these days, I’d previously checked them both out on the web to see if they were open and to look a their menus. Both were open, but the White Lion offered more reasonable prices for light bites starting at £7.50. 

Photo by Ray/Alan

The White Lion happily accommodated nine unexpected diners and we were seated with a view of the castle and its moat. Drinks and food duly arrived and were consumed with satisfaction. The agricultural nature of the route out and its undulations led some to speculate that it must have been a Clive route, though I didn’t know when I picked it out of our database. I can now say that we last rode it April 2018; it was a route I’d put together; and at the time we also felt the surfaces to be very bad, though somewhat wetter than today.

Eventually it was time to leave and we exited Whittington on the A-road before turning off to pass through Hindford again. We then travelled towards Perthy where we had our first unexpected stop. Dave called us to a halt as he needed to clear his mudguards. Task duly done, we saddled up to again be halted by Matt who had a puncture in one of his front tyres. After some delay the offending thorn, a very tiny one, was discovered and the repair made. Shortly after we passed though the edge of Dudleston Heath and were now on less hilly ground and able to make faster progress, as time passed and the temperature star to drop. We crossed the main road at Holly Bush and entered Worthenbury. From here we took our regular route through Shocklach and into Farndon. Some continued back to the start in Holt. But Matt, Trevor and I decided to avoid crossing the river to Holt, and instead took more direct routes home through Aldford.

The total length of the route was 45 miles. Setting aside the quality of the surfaces, this is a good route through attractive countryside with a good pub in a picturesque setting. Much enjoyed I hope by all.

One postscript: with darkness closing in and with a mile to go to home, I was brought to a halt by a puncture. I hope that others’ return journeys were less troublesome.

See routemap and/or gpx file download


Thursday 2 February 2023

2nd February 2023 : Combermere (brisk)

The weather forecast of 12C with a breeze from the SW and only small chance of rain, helped ensure an excellent turnout at Rose Farm with the brisk rider numbers actually equaling those of the moderate group--unusual!!

The planned route was to The Piggery Cafe at Combermere. For company I had Clive, John’s M and W, plus Richard, Nick and Ray. Ivan, our usual leader, was absent preparing for his forthcoming holiday to Tenerife. Clive and John W were brave attending today as both were slightly battered and sore after colliding with some tarmac on a fast ride on Tuesday.

Leaving Rose Farm, our route took us through Duddon and after crossing the busy A51, we navigated our way through the villages of Hoofield, Beeston, Bunbury and Faddiley before following familiar lanes through to Norbury and Marbury and then turning eastwards towards Aston.

The roads up to this point had been mainly dry and fairly clear of debris allowing the pace to be kept fairly high but 3km’s before Aston that changed. At Pinsley Green we came upon a large portion of the road that was under water - this turned out to be very deep. Most of the group manned up and pedalled through the crank deep water, apart from Richard who dismounted, shouldered his bike, and traversed along the steep banked grass verge - getting wet feet obviously didn’t appeal.

Once we regrouped the last few miles to Combermere were quickly covered and we arrived at the Piggery Cafe just after 12 pm. This Cafe is located in converted farm buildings along with a few other businesses including a gin distillery. Despite the cafe being very busy with ladies lunching, we managed to grab two tables and, after ordering food and drink, sat back to enjoy our surroundings. The staff dealt with our orders very promptly and both food and drinks were of good quality.

The Piggery Cafe - it was full after we arrived.

Back on the road, with the bulk of days mileage behind us, we still had just over 34 km to cover. Unfortunately the first  3 Km’s we had to ride on the A530 and several close passes from overtaking vehicles highlighted poor driving standards with little or no respect for vulnerable road users. Thankfully in Aston, we able to turn onto quieter roads and head off towards Nantwich.

At  Ravensmoor, Nick departed for home and left the rest of us to continue through Nantwich  where we had to suffer the pot hole hell road surface of Wettenhall Lane. This surely must rate as one of the worst roads in Cheshire.The last few miles  through Oulton Park and Cotebrook to Rose Farm took no time at all. Clive left the group here to pick his car up and the rest of us carried on back to Chester.

Quite a spring-like feel to today with no major drama’s, apart from the nautical section near Aston. The route today was 82kms and covered at nearly 25kmh on roads we all know very well plus a new lunch venue that’s well worth revisiting.


Photo ex Piggery website

2nd February 2023: Goostrey (mod)

 Spring was in the air when we met at Rose Farm, much milder than recent weeks, dry with the possibility of some sun. But it was a misleading spring because at the beginning of February there is still plenty of time for snow, frosts and gales. It may have been the weather, because there was a good turnout of both mod and brisk riders. The mods were Trevor, Ray, Steve T, Alan, David M, Andy and myself. We shared the news of Peter and wished him a full recovery. We had two rides to choose from: Steve T suggested a 50 mile route to the White Lion at Barthomley, while I had a 41 mile route to The Crown at Goostrey. We decided on the shorter route for the benefit of those who had already cycled a distance to get to Rose Farm.

We set off to Cotebrook and then towards Wettenhall before heading north east to enter Winsford. David M had joined us for the start and then peeled off. We took the familiar route to Clive Green and then the lane northwards to meet the A54 and follow it through the middle of Middlewich. Soon back on to lanes we headed into Goostrey.  We had made good time due to a tail wind, but were surprised to find the Crown’s car park full. Looking inside, the pub was packed with a funeral party, so we decided to try elsewhere. Less than a mile back along the main road is the Pastimes Café, which was a more than adequate alternative. Buck rarebit was a popular choice washed down with proper tea.

The route back was familiar through Boots Green, Lach Dennis and Davenham. Our intention was to drop down the rough track and cross the Weaver Navigation by the wooden bridges for a picturesque photo op. We were halfway down this track when we came across a road closed sign.  Steve T continued down to do a recce and reported back that the bridges were impassable.

Photo by AO

A scramble back up the track followed while we decided on an alternative route. We took the old main road through Bostock Green and then into Winsford Industrial Estate. After rough surfaced tarmac and busy traffic, we took the cycle lane through the estate to connect back to our outward journey and return to the big Winsford roundabout.  Trevor suggested the Whitegate Way, so we followed this to Marton Green and then Little Budworth before rejoining our outward route at Cotebrook.

The weather had been benign for most of the day, though a headwind emerged in the closing miles. Due to our detour we ended up covering 47 miles, so not far short of the Barthomley alternative we dismissed for being too long. Still a very good ride.

See routemap and/or gpx file download