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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 28 July 2023

27th July 2023: Audlem (mod)

The weather was pretty dire as we gathered at Alison’s, but by the time it came to leave the rain was down to a light drizzle, so waterproofs weren’t needed. Seven ‘mods’ offered themselves for a 40-odd mile ride I had planned down to Audlem, although a late counter offer from Mr & Mrs Pipe for a 30-odd miler to The Bhurtpore nearly saw Dave H defect from the group, which also included Steve Hu, Alan, Andy B, George, Mike G and myself.

Turning right out of Alison’s we’d only gone half a mile when a cry came from the back about some kind of problem. We waited at the left turn into Bird’s Lane and a few minutes later Dave H appeared having gone back to the car park to collect his water bottle.

After this hiatus, we moved on swiftly through Beeston and Bunbury, aided by a tail wind. We continued on through Haughton and Burland to Ravensmoor and Sound and we arrived in Audlem about 12.10, having covered 20 miles in warm and mostly dry weather. I’d planned to eat either at the Lord Combermere pub or the Old Priest House café, depending  on how many riders we were, as the café has limited seating. 

As we were a group of seven, I opted for the pub, which seemed eerily quiet as we arrived. Parking the bikes around the back, we got menus and then went inside to order. Well, to say it was slow was an understatement, the guy behind the bar not being able to work the card machine and writing down each order on a notepad. Steve Hu clocked this early on and ducked out of the queue to go and find an alternative source of lunch.

The rest of us ordered either a burger or a ‘flat bread’ and a soft drink. Andy and Dave had wanted a pot of tea, but that wasn’t available as ‘the machine was broken’. How difficult can it be? Kettle, water, tea bag, milk….

While we waited for the meals to arrive, Steve Hu came back to report that the Old Priest House was, indeed, closed. Having changed hands quite recently, the new owners ran it for 14 weeks before deciding to shut.

The food arrived about 45 minutes after ordering it. Whilst the beef/chicken burgers that George and I had were just about passable for £8, the flat breads were about six inches in diameter and covered with the ‘topping of your choice’ and cost £10. The pub isn’t on our list of favoured lunch stops and is not going to be added on the basis of today’s repast. In fact, no-one else came into the pub whilst we were there and the car park was empty as we left. The collective view is that it will be closed down when we next go to Audlem and The Village Chippy seems like the likely lunch venue.

We cycled past The Old Priest House along Stafford Street (which had ‘road closed’ signs across it) to take a loop around the south of Audlem. There were no signs of road works or other obstructions by the time we peeled off up Paddock Lane to go through Kinsey Heath and Swanbach, after which we turned north heading for Aston (and the Bhurtpore, where there was no sign of Mr & Mrs Pipe) and Wrenbury.

We stopped for a group photo as we crossed the Shropshire Union canal at Wrenbury and managed to hijack a passer-by to take the picture. It turned out that he was on a narrow boat and had come to lift the road bridge to allow his barge to pass through, so that provided us with a second photo opportunity.

Photos by Steve T

Our route then took us towards Gaunton’s Bank and The Cholmondeley Arms where we crossed the A49. Pressing on past the gardens and Egerton Green, we were approaching the crossing of the A534 when a cry came from the back to watch out for some ruffians on bikes who were tearing up the tarmac.

This turned out to be the ‘fast lads’ heading back from their trip out to Alsager (see Clive’s report), so a small race ensued to the top of Harthill.  The result was a draw and all that remained was to roll down Bolesworth Road into Tattenhall to complete 43 miles on a day of mixed fortunes. Great company, reasonably clement weather, but an awful lunch.

See route map and/or gpx file download


27th July 2023 : Alsager (brisk)

For the first time since the April Special Ride there have been two consecutive Brisk rides. Last week it was Ivan’s ride to Crewe, and this week mine to Alsager. With a little WhatsApp prodding, five of us supped at Alison’s  - John M, Richard, Ken, Ivan and myself - Nick was enjoying his birthday day out and Ray was “enjoying” a nasty horsefly bite to his thigh.

The weather was iffy to start with and it didn’t disappoint as I donned my rainwear in Christleton. Ivan and I enjoyed rain all the way to Alison’s cafe. I’d advertised the route to Alsager to lunch at Hall Farm cafe with the route first taking us the usual way to Nantwich. In and out to Wybunbury (Winbry) which is reckoned to be one of the earliest settlement in Cheshire, we take the four mile Wrinehill Lane to Wrinehill. Betley is left but we go right for a bit on the main road sliding off towards Madeley Heath. A left into the rising four mile long Heighley Lane (circling the ruins of the 13C castle hidden in the trees) finds us in Audley, named after the former family owners of the said castle.

It’s another 4 miles before we slide left through Alsager to find Hall Farm shop and cafe. It’s a popular place as we take the last free table. The menu is interesting with a busy kitchen bringing out our repast quite quickly. We have now ridden 31 of the 58 miles so we saddle up riding westwards passing a brand new "chic” warehouse estate advertised as “Radar Crew” on the PlotaRoute mapping. Looking at the map you can see that we are riding parallel to the massive munitions site of the former Royal Ordnance plc since bought and run by BAE. Wicki informs me that it makes all sorts of small arms ammunition for the army.

We cycle on going through Oakhanger, bypassing Weston to arrive in Shavington - but minus John. He’s a mile back repairing a puncture - thankfully the only excitement of the day. Ivan leads around Willaston and Nantwich as we depart Nantwich via the same way we came into it via Acton. It’s another 4 mile run to the Cholmondeley Arms pub crossroads and then yet another 4 miles to Bickerton. Along here Ken peels off back to Rossett.

Shortly we espy the bedraggled ranks of the Mods crossing the main road readying to ascend the “easy’ side of Harthill. We stop for a catch-up chat about their ride and disappointing lunch venue in Audlem, before hurtling down the hill and another 4 miles back into Tattenhall. So back in Tattenhall, we four ride on for home with John accompanying us for a short while to get his 100km up before driving home. We three then ride back into Chester via Saighton. 

For us riding out and back from Chester it was about 80 miles today at 16 mph average. Despite the wet start, the rest of the day was thankfully dry. So my thanks to Ken for acting as pilot for a lot of the day and also to Ivan, John and Richard for deciding to come out for a CER Brisk Ride. Hopefully they will now have a taste for it and turn up in Chirk next week!


Sunday 23 July 2023

20th July 2023: Malpas (mod)

Recent rides that I've been on have not been particularly well attended but today no less than 18 members turned up at Meadow Lea. I had a ride of 44 miles planned to the Wheatsheaf Inn at No Man's Heath. Four members were not riding, two set off on a brisk ride and four of the moderates wanted something a bit longer and set off with Steve T for Church Minshull. That left eight of us for my ride. I was joined by Dave H, Dave P, George, Jim, Matt, Mike and Ray as we set off south through Guilden Sutton, across the A51 and on to Waverton. Here we turned left, passing the Crocky Trail before turning into Martin's Lane.

I am more used to following this route to reach our starting point at Alison's but today we were avoiding Tattenhall and after passing through Hargrave we turned left towards Huxley. Here we turned right and before long we came across a very colourful verge where someone had planted masses of wildflowers. We couldn't resist the photo opportunity before turning down towards the Shady Oak, now reopened and renamed The Shady (for some reason best known to the new owners. The oak tree is still there). After skirting round the back of Beeston Castle we again turned towards Tattenhall. This time we avoided it by turning up Carrs Lane and taking the quiet top roads towards Bolesworth.

Photo by TC

Several of my fellow riders had expressed surprise that the Wheatsheaf was open although my searches on the internet suggested it was. However I thought it best to try ringing them but failed to get through. So a Plan B was discussed and Dave H suggested The Lion at Malpas. We rode round the back of Bolesworth castle and across to Brown Knoll. Here I had intended to turn left and take a loop round Bickerton Hill but in case we had to end up going further to reach Malpas I decided to turn right to head through Duckington.

At Hampton Green crossroads we stopped. Malpas was to the right and No Man's Heath straight on. I tried ringing the pub again and again I failed to get through. We turned right. As we rode up the hill into Malpas we found the road busy as the school appeared to be finishing early for the summer holidays. We soon arrived at the Lion and opted to sit at the tables outside. The weather was warm, the food was good and the conversation flowed as we tucked in to our various meals.

After lunch it was uphill through Malpas then the long downhill run to Tilston. Not the usual fast descent as a cool wind tried to force us back up the hill. In Tilston we turned towards Stretton then turned left into Wetreins Lane heading for Farndon. When we reached the centre of the village we turned up towards Chester but as we were leaving the village we realised that we were down to five riders. Jim and the two Daves were missing. They knew the way alright so we waited several minutes for them to appear. No sign of them so we tried ringing but without reply. Eventually they returned our call and we discovered that they had gone to Lewis's for a coffee. I should contact the secretary to have them thrown out of the club but unfortunately one of them is the secretary. Not for taking an unauthorised coffee break but for not inviting the rest of us.

We carried on without them (and without a caffeine hit) and before long George decided he was going to go back through Tattenhall. I'd done my best to avoid all morning but he was obviously missing it. Matt and Mike left us at Saighton leaving just Ray and me to continue on to Waverton where we returned to Meadow Lea on our outward route. Well, not quite. With a quarter of a mile to go I turned off myself leaving just Ray to complete  41 miles.   

See route map and/or gpx file download


Friday 21 July 2023

20th July 2023: Group photo

 A larger than normal number of Chester Easy Riders gathered at Meadow Lea on July 20th, so we took the opportunity to make a record of this. A cyclist with another group offered to take the photo, but he got his finger over part of the lens - hence the image in the top left of the photo.

20th July 2023: Church Minshull (mod +)

There was a huge turnout of CER members at Meadow Lea café on a warm and sunny morning. A cyclist from another club offered to take a group photo which can be seen elsewhere on the blog. The large number of riders brought its own problems, as managing Easy Riders is like herding cats!

I had brought a 42-mile route to Church Minshull and Trevor had a route to No Mans Heath, whilst Matt had yet another route to Buckley.  Ivan and Clive looked likely to form the first fast group ride for some time. To forestall a prolonged discussion about who was going where, I corralled Steve Hu, Alan and Andy to make up a foursome for a mod+ ride.

We set off at 10.30 whilst the others were still getting organised, heading north and west passed Manley Mere, up Sugar Lane and down Dark Ark Lane before joining the humpy road through Delamere Forest. The run through Norley took us along Bag Lane at the end of which we crossed the A49 before turning towards Sandiway. Crossing the A556 we followed Whitegate Road which took us to Winsford. Getting through there was fairly straightforward as there was only one of the towns infamous roundabouts to negotiate, which we did without mishap.

From there it was a straight run along the B5074 to Church Minshull and The Badger pub, where we arrived just after 12.00 having covered 23 miles. As we were early, the pub was quiet and we were soon served with lunch, the battered haddock sandwich being the universal choice – and very nice it was, too. Lunchtime conversation revolved around tourism and poverty in the Caribbean islands, the Tour de France and other topics. Andy gave us a physics tutorial on fissile materials and Steve Hu made us recite the Periodic Table (which he knows by heart, having been made to learn it at school as a punishment for an unspecified misdemeanour).

 Background St Bartholomew's Tower, dating from 1702 
Photo by by Steve T

As we set off from the pub, it became evident that our swift arrival at the pub had been at least in part due to the tail wind which we’d had the benefit of, but had not noticed. Our route back was north and west, directly into the wind. This became most noticeable when we left Wettenhall heading for Eaton.  We relied on Andy’s passable imitation of Wout van Aert to shelter behind, with Steve Hu taking one for the team at one stage.

From Eaton, we took the steep hill up to Portal Golf Course, crossing the A49 and heading towards Utkinton. Turning left into Wood Lane, we headed towards Duddon. Just before we got there, my bike computer showed me the chequered flag and declared that we’d reach the end of the route! Fortunately, we knew the rest of the route without needing guidance, so we pressed on towards Waverton, pausing only for well-deserved refreshments at The Walk Mill Café.

The familiar route through Brown Heath and Guilden Sutton took us back to Meadow Farm Café, where we arrived just after 3pm. 42 miles covered at an average speed of just over 14 mph on a warm, dry and sunny day. Classic CER riding!

See route map and/or gpx file download


Thursday 20 July 2023

20th July 2023 : Crewe ( Brisk)

Do you recall these "slightly amended lyrics" from yesteryear?

Where have all the Fast Lads gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the Fast Lads gone?
Long time ago

Of course it was Bob Dylan and Joan Baez who sang the original song waybackwhen. I think I can still play it on my guitar as well.

For many weeks, whenever I have been out on a Thursday, there is usually a question “Where are all the Fast Lads”. As I am not on Strava or other cycling apps, I usually didn’t have an idea. I will admit that I’m often away either in Norfolk or on a boat. Well today there were two Fast Lads and this is the blog of the ride that Ivan suggested for he and I (there were no others, except John W who was just out for coffee) to ride to Crewe and have lunch in the cafe in the spendid Queens Park.

The route is pretty straightforward in getting us to and through Nantwich. Ivan’s intimate knowledge of the back streets of Crewe then came into play. We arrived at Queens Park before 1200 at the very large cafe in the landscaped park complete with a large ornamental lake. The cafe was quite quiet and we got our lunch quickly sitting outside on the large deck overlooking the lake in the sunshine.

 Credit: www.webbaviation.co.uk
As Steve T remarked that the group was going to The Badger in Church Minshull, Ivan crafted a route back so we could pop in and surprise you all (and have a pint) - but you surprised us as you weren’t there! So we soldier on along familiar lanes arriving back in Guilden Sutton by 1430, and I’m home with 66 miles ridden by 1500. 

One highlight of the route back was the spectacular patch of wild flowers resplendent near Huxley on Huxley Lane.

So, thanks Ivan for being out today, and dragging me at 16.7mph
average around for 60+ miles.


Photo ID

Thursday 13 July 2023

13th July 2023: Ellesmere (mod)

I sensed that today was not going to be straightforward. Steve Tan had to rush to meet me on time, as the early morning arrangements for dropping of his wife's car at the garage had resulted in the car being in one town and the lift home waiting at a different garage in a different town! John Mills had contacted me on Wednesday to say that Facebook seemed to indicate that “Cleopatra's” was not yet ready to open, despite their previous assurances to me. When I picked up his message it was too late to ring the cafe direct or communicate alternative arrangements for the morning. Two calls by Steve on the drive to Holt confirmed that Cleopatra's wasn't quite ready for opening, and that Lewis's of Farndon would  be happy to have us. On passing Alan on his bike, we told him to turn back up the hill from the Dee bridge, and we would tell any riders at Cleopatra's to join him at Lewis's. I even had a notice with me to stick on the outside of Cleopatra's in order to redirect late arrivals. When we got to the triangle in Holt many of our riders were already sitting at tables outside “Maggie's”, supping coffee in the sun. Instead of phoning Alan we turned the Berlingo around, and went to tell him, but he was already eating and drinking. We finally parked at Holt a little late, as we had already had to wait at the traffic lights on the bridge three times. I think we all know that these lights are never on green when you approach them!  We settled on my offer to head for the Red Lion at Ellesmere, but I didn't have a properly resolved route, there and back, in my head. Not very Bryan Wadeish! 

Clive joined our moderate group of Steve Tan, Ray, Mike Gilbert, Andy Barber, Trevor, Alan, Dave Matthews and myself. Unfortunately, Dave Pipe had a saddle issue, so didn't ride with us. Nick and Andy Whitgreave had ridden out for coffee with us, but were not riding with the group. Understandably, we headed out a little late, for Shocklach, Threapwood, and Hanmer. Dave Matthews peeled off along the way. We ran into a little rainfall around Little Arowry, but it stayed warm and dry for the rest of the day. It was interesting to hear from Ray about his Scandinavian trip, but I couldn't be persuaded that a Cruise ship holiday would be my cup of tea. From Northwood we reached Lyneal, and then took the most direct route past Newton Mere before hitting the main road into Ellesmere, and arriving at the Red Lion. I was about to order food, when I realised that Mike was not with us! On ringing him, it turned out that he was in the centre of town, unaware that our destination was the Red Lion. We sat out at the back where it was warm and bright, and the food and service well up to scratch.

Our route back was via the very pleasant back lane which is the left turn after the cemetery, and heads up to the Penley road. Unfortunately for me, I was stung badly on the lip, by a wasp I presume, and for days after I've looked like someone who has spent fifteen rounds with Brian London. I then welcomed Clive's suggestion to head west of Penley on a lovely little lane alongside Lionlane Wood finishing up at Sandy Lane on the Overton Road. Andy's crank fell off , but he told me to carry on, as he would soon fix it and catch up. What dawned on me a little later, that neither Andy or myself knew at that moment where Clive was intending to go next! At Lightwood Green we turned right off the main road to Holly Bush. I started to receive phone calls, but was having trouble in trying to reply, and didn't want to hold the group up in order to speak to a house insulation firm, or the like. Then the penny dropped, and I stopped  in order to get through to Andy, who had not caught us up as expected. Andy wasn't too far behind as it turned out, and he had heard me talk of returning via Tilston, so said that he would try to catch us up there. 

Unfortunately, Mike and Trevor had already started north on our normal direct route back to Farndon, as I directed us to “carry on”on the Malpas road ( by now the day had become like a “Carry on Cycling” film). So it was, that the reduced peloton turned left at  Cuddington Green, and eventually arrived at  The Lost Barn just north of Tilston. I rang Andy, and he had decided to ride straight up to Farndon instead! For once we gave the Lost Barn a miss, as Andy would not be joining us, and Steve had to get back to the garage near Runcorn in order to pick up his car. Mike did well to turn out and complete the ride having to cope with a combination of serious issues. We hope he obtains successful treatment. Despite the Matt Hancockian feel to the day, the route was largely quiet, scenic and enjoyable. The coffee was very good at Maggies, as was the lunch, and the camaraderie was as enjoyable as ever when we were actually together! 42 miles covered.


Photo by AO

See route map and/or gpx file download 

Tuesday 11 July 2023

6th July 2023: Audlem (mod+)

Rose Farm or should I say “Coffee House @ Rose Farm”, as it is now known, was the venue of choice today. It was a lovely morning, so we all sat outside, approximately 10/11 of us, I believe.I had a speedy mission in mind, which appealed to Allan and Steve Hu. We must have all had a wannabe moment, with no fast boys making an appearance today, although we briefly saw John. So it was that we three quickly became the Mod++ group- Lol. This left the others trying to decide where to go and who to follow. I did hear the Cock O Barton mentioned, which is a favourite local of mine in fact- Lol.

We set off left and straight into that nasty little hill to Tarporley, where we immediately turn left for the easier, but much longer climb up to Portal golf club. We bear left at the golf club,  for the fast downhill into Eaton and Nantwich beyond. This made for a change to the normal club route, I believe, and a chance for Steve to point out a cafe I didn’t know about, which was at the traffic lights, just on the edge of Nantwich. We were skirting the very edge of the town, running parallel to the canal. I’m guessing the cafe was up on the canal bank  ( can’t remember if he gave me a name- had a sleep since then- Lol.) We had cracked on at a fair pace, with me setting the rhythm. However, we now turned more into wind, in the direction of Wrenbury and full on headwind. So it was time for a bit of team work on what I consider fairly exposed lanes. Both Steve and Allan got there heads down and we all pushed on; almost reminiscent of a TDF team - Lol, although it was more like a minute on the front, as opposed to 10 seconds each -Lol. We briefly sat up to pay homage to the Bhurtpore Inn, at Aston. It was like a ‘rest in peace’ moment, as DH wasn’t with us of course- Lol, in fact he wasn’t with anybody today, but we did spare you a thought Dave, assuming you will read this-Lol.

This area of the county, around Wrenbury, is some of my favourite cycling, as it is more open and flowing, although not so keen when the wind is up like today hence, our teamwork, which paid off in the end. We were soon turning with the wind for the final approaches into Overwater Marina, which I always thought was named Audlum Marina- Lol.

No sooner done when, you guessed it, Steve asked how far to lunch. Although to be fair, he was on one of his 100 milers again. We found the Marina fairly quiet, although most of the tables inside were taken. Although no sun and windy, we still sat outside, after a little adjustment to the table and chairs- Lol. We all tucked into a full English, which was absolutely fab, probably the best I have had in any cafe, although Jamoleys comes a close second because of the value. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good and large, but the quality of the Marina breakfast is top dog, with the perfect triangular hash browns as well, which didn’t go down well with Steve & Allan, as it appears you only get them on the Veggie breakfast- Lol. 

Suffice it to say, most of the conversation revolved around the awesome breakfast/ brunch. We also chatted over upcoming and past cycling endeavours, as Steve filled us in on his recent 5 day adventure with a mate, in Kent, putting in some good rides indeed. Upon the arrival of a very well ladened bike, I was prompted to mention the incredible LEJOG endeavour of my friends from Oz, who were starting it the following day. It had particular relevance as I planned to join them to Runcorn; Yes, that’s right Dave, I was going to brave Runcorn for the first time, as I always stop at Frodsham, when I head north on the bike. I have since completed that ride, in shocking rain as well.

Must thank Steve T for his confirmation of my route through to the Silver Jubilee bridge, where I was dropping off my friends. Next time any of you have a bit of a tough ride just think about this; One of my friends is a 70 year old type 1 diabetic and he, by all accounts, was far from the weakest in the 5 man LEJOG group, which saw the so called strongest drop out after the first Cornish stage. They rode 235k, with, get this, 3600 mtrs of total assent- incredible, but another 6 days to go. 

Anyway, back to the story and lunch now over with a fly past by 2 Oyster catchers, which stole our attention and confirmed as such by our expert ornithologist- Lol ( Allan is a bit of a twitcher, but we won’t hold it against him in these modern times of LGBTZWPM or what ever- Lol,Lol). The Marina has now provided more bike racks and just as many signs, ordering you not to lean your bike against the ornamental rope fence, as we have all done in the past,  which I still managed to miss, until gestapo Steve pointed it out, just as we were trying to get a team photo- Lol. By the way the ladened bike guy, turned out to be trialling his new saddle & frame bags as he was also starting LEJOG next Thursday ( small world). A very interesting lunch indeed, for many reasons and soon forgotten, as we set off on a slightly adjusted route, as we realised there was no need to return to Rose farm. Allan was parked at Guildon Sutton, so I set off for Ravensmoor, via the immediate Hollings Lane, which was supposedly closed- Lol. We came across several vehicles with people sat inside and nothing going on as usual and annoyingly still a cross wind, although only for a few miles, then all was good from then on.


Photo by CER

We were rapidly through Ravensmoor and up to Brindley, when Steve requested a drug test, inferring that the pace was a bit quick. I thought it was due to the tail wind, but then realised it must have been the veggie sausages Lol- Lol. We ease off a tad and carry on to Bunbury, still enjoying a lovely tail wind. We cruise through Bunbury, while waiting for Steve to catch up- Lol. To be fair, I shouted straight on when in fact we turned right into Bunbury. I think that was my only mistake of the day- Honest Gov- Lol. We soon pick up the pace again and heading down Moss Lane, we couldn’t help but admire Beeston castle, as the sun had just come out, which lit it up like a beacon. Past the little cafe in the field and main entrance to Beeston, we are zooming down toward Bates Mill Lane, where I leave both Allan and Steve, but not before stopping the Garmin to check our average speed, as a group and surprisingly, our initial wannabe ambitions were not that far off, as we averaged 16 mph - move over ‘fast boys’- Lol, Lol.

I say cheerio to them both ,heading West for my 6 miles home and now a cross wind leaving them two to their lovely tailwind back to Guildon Sutton. However, Steve would then have to finish his ride home into the cross wind (he’s a strong old boy though- well old at least- Lol) Seriously though, well done on another great ride Steve. I got home just after 2:30 with 58 miles on the clock and a little tired- Lol. Hopefully you guy’s made it home without incident. 

Great day out again with a few good laughs, some on me as usual.

Till next time,


Thursday 6 July 2023

July 6th 2023: Manorwood (mod)

An excellent turnout gathered at Rose Farm, Utkinton in the sort of weather that makes it tricky to know how many layers of what thickness to wear and whether to pack a rain jacket.

 It was good to see John W out and about and hopefully starting to come through the other side of his recent travails.

 Pre-ride talk featured Neil describing the challenges of DIY carbon fibre repairs, a comparison of C2C routes and collective gasps at the recent exploits of Roy's younger, fitter, madder cycling colleagues. Roy also provided a comedy moment when he couldn't remember which of his 30+ bikes he'd ridden here today.

 About half of attendees had their own things to do and departed, whilst Neil led a small group on a Mods+ ride which sounded a bit too challenging for some of us. That left Trevor, Roy, Ever-Ready Ray and myself (Matt the Trike) to come up with a plan. As nobody had a better - or indeed any - alternative to my suggested 80km/50mi ride to Barton, we agreed to set off that way, albeit with a few minor tweaks ...

 Dave M, although not riding with us, suggested that Manor Farm would be a better lunch stop than the "posh" Cock O'Barton, a shortcut lopping off the Wettenhall leg was agreed to placate Ray's fear of too many miles, a quieter route from Bunbury to Beeston was suggested by Trevor, and we abandoned the entire Farndon/Lavister section in favour of a more direct path to Waverton, with the net result of reducing the ride to an easy-going 58km/36mi ... apart from all that, we stuck rigidly to the originally planned route!

 It's traditional for CER rides to start in a farcical manner and today's was no exception. Before setting off, Roy had to fix a puncture, having packed inner tubes with insufficiently long valves for his aero-wheels, and then I missed the first turn due to computer lag, forcing us all to u-turn past a bemused lady in a Mercedes who'd been waiting patiently for an overtaking opportunity.

An easyish pace allowed for plenty of conversation, which included the state of the roads (as always), Roy's cycle projects and tales of past glories, Trevor's grandchildren, how to get the best photo of Beeston Castle, and the latest sports-washing plans of Ineos billionaire sociopath Jim Ratcliffe.

Lunch was taken indoors at the campsite cafe of Manor Farm, where the four of us must have looked slightly out of place amongst the young families of campers. At least Roy's dad jokes helped give us a little family authenticity. The food was good and unexpectedly vegan-friendly, and the water lillies provided a pleasing backdrop for our group photo.

It was at lunch that Trevor suggested short-cutting through Waverton which, amongst other benefits, would avoid me escorting Ray back to Utkinton. So it was that we doubled back towards Tattenhall then endured the crater-strewn Pump Lane to Churton. A downhill dash through Aldford on the main road followed by a tailwind-assisted scoot through Saighton brought us to Waverton where we bid good afternoon to Ray, slightly alarmed at the prospect of navigating for himself. Having checked that Ray could manage three instructions all at once, we left him to solo back to his car at Rose Farm and headed off in the direction of Guilden Sutton. I peeled off at Christleton for home, whilst Trevor guided Roy to Mickle Trafford and his route back to Ratcliffe's Runcorn.

 The weather gods treated us to a little bit of everything throughout the ride but it was decent enough to be labelled "good cycling weather" as we managed to dodge any significant headwinds and all but the lightest and shortest of showers. A short but satisfying ride in the end and one in which Ray finally earned his "cycle navigation" cub scout badge! (@Ray, you did actually make it back didn't you?)


See route map and/or gpx file download

Monday 3 July 2023

July 2nd 2023 : Vets 100 mile Ride

It was the 56th Bert Bailey Memorial Veterans' 100 mile Cycle Ride 2023 ( aka Vets 100 ) on Sunday. Three Easy Riders took part and two officiated.

Steve T, George and myself were part of 65+ group of local riders who set off in 9 different groups all waved off by Dave M in his official capacity as President of Chester and N Wales CTC. Dave P was in attendance as a ride marshal i/c the car park.

The route is not so arduous consisting of four 25 mile sections between refuelling stations. Although the weather on Sunday was none too warm, it did't rain.

This ride doesn't really need stamina for the riding per se, more for the food stops in Overton  (out and back) and Four Crosses. 

See route map and/or gpx file download