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 31 August 2023

31st August 2023 : Dobsons Bridge (brisk)

Is this a first, I wonder? A week with only a brisk ride? Read on to find out.

The weather forecast wasn’t encouraging as it was going to rain sometime on the ride. Should I stay or should I go now? I went, as Ivan had sent me “Monday's Ride“ and I said I probably would be out. Arriving at Maggie’s cafe, I found Steve Hu into his coffee. Soon after Ken and Trevor turned up but both just out for the coffee today as it transpired. Then Mike arrive along with “El Presidente” arriving just after Andy B – but no Ivan.

I mentioned that I had Ivan’s ride to Dobsons Bridge if any one was interested. Four of us were happy to ride it if I could transfer it to Steve’s Garmin - but despite a few magic spells being cast, it just wouldn’t upload. Ken offered me his Apple phone case to enable me lead the ride, but in the nick of time Ivan arrived, somewhat breathless after a busy morning apparently.

So the Famous Five set off bound for Dobsons Bridge and Whixall Marina for lunch. Ivan led us out via the bypass and then down on Worthenbury Road towards Shocklach. Here we meet Trevor again who was just out for a local ride today. 

Along this road we had split into a leading three and a rearguard two. A local “Chester Recycling” car overtakes Mike and I (the rearguard two) and tries to overtake the leading three (Ivan,Steve and Andy). Just at that moment a car comes round the bend towards us making the Chester Recycling car end up breaking hard and “parking” alongside the lady driver of the other car. A robust remonstration ensued ensuring that the Chester Recycling car driver was in no doubt how stupid his actions had been.

We motor on down turning left in Shocklach now bound for Chorlton. Mike is finding the pace a little too brisk so he elects to make his own way to Whixall Marina and will “see us there”. So we proceed via Old Castle Heath, Lower Wych and Higher Wych to Isycod Park to the A525. A few shimmies here takes into Bronington and onwards to Bettisfield. 

At Bettisfield station

Turning back for home out of Northwood, we arrive at Dobsons Bridge and thence to Whixall Marina cafe (a firm favourite of mine now). It was quiet today so our repast comes in double quick time allowing us to leave after 30 mins. We set off again at 1300 wondering where Mike has got to – the answer presents himself riding towards us from the north. Apparently Mike had arrived at 1215 and did a few lanes getting “lost”in the process. He is happy to continue riding solo so we set off for Coton. 

We have a long blast through to Coton and Tilstock then onwards to Whitchurch. It’s then out via Marbury and on to Bickley Crossroads. As Ivan’s “Monday” route then continues northwards, and after a quick conflab, Steve and Andy head off for Malpas and Tilston back towards Holt. Ivan and I head via Harthill back to Tattenhall and Christleton where the bikes mysteriously veer into “The Ring of Bells”.

So, I haven't mentioned the rain – and it did sporadically after about 1330 until the edge of Chester – not too wet really just a nuisance, so you should have come out today.

The official route ends up at 49 miles and I managed 73 miles at 15.5mph all round and Steve almost likewise, with no doubt Andy a few more than that. Hopefully Mike made it back OK on his solo ride today.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Photo SHu

Saturday 26 August 2023

24th August 2023: Audlem (mod)

There was a good turnout of moderate riders at Rose Farm. I welcomed a short catch-up with Ken and the fleeting visit of John Wilkie, but Clive was the only Brisk Group rider available for a club ride today. Trevor and Jim joined us for coffee, but not for the day. The moderate riders were Alan, Ray, George, Mike Gilbert, Dave Matthews, Mold Andy, Matt and myself, with the addition of Clive. Cafe at Bridge 80 was to be our destination. 

We made brisk progress to Rushton, by Oulton Park, and onto Wettenhall, passing the lane to Matt's  brother-in-law's auto-electrical business. If you have intractable electrical problems with your car, this is definitely the guy to go to! I was intending to go through the park at Nantwich, but we were likely to arrive a little early for lunch; a Clivesque loop was called for. From the edge of Nantwich we headed to Acton and then took a double left past Madam's Farm at the back of Dorfold Hall estate. This lovely quiet backwater becomes Tally-ho Lane before it hits Marsh Lane, and we turn  right for Ravensmoor. At Sound we cross the A530 to Broomhall Green and head down to the moated Hall o'Coole, and ten minutes later we arrive at Overwater Marina and Cafe at Bridge 80, with a respectable twenty-four or so miles covered. Marquees were being erected on the canal side ready for the approaching Bank Holiday we presume, and, after ordering, we decide to eat in one, sheltered from the cool wind. The food is very appetising as usual, and it turns out that this is the first visit for Dave Matthews, as well as Clive (and Matt?). Of course, Dave Matthew's much-loved Priest House cafe, his normal port of call in the Audlem area, has ceased trading. 

Photo by Alan O

For the return journey we retrace our route for a few hundred yards and then carry on toward Audlem before taking an acute right turn at Brickwall Farm, and heading to Aston. The route is then a familiar one: Wrenbury, Larden Green, and onto the narrow lanes, that normally take us across the A534 at Brindley. For a change, we ignored the normal left turn, reaching Burland and then carrying on up Long Lane in the direction of Haughton and Bunbury. This option is too perverse for Dave M, who made his own way north. At Radmore Green, I wanted to show Haughton Hall to those who hadn't seen it, so turned right at Hall Lane. This option was too perverse for Clive who made his own way north! I did have doubts about leading Matt on the trike, in particular, up this lane as it's a bit rough in places. Haughton Hall would be an idyllic place to live, and did have rooms to let. By chance, we then caught up with Dave M near Spurstow Hall. At Bunbury, Mike, Matt and  Ray had to push on, while Dave M, Andy, George, Alan and myself enjoyed coffee and cake at Tilly's. The last leg had just myself and George heading back to Rose Farm. Tilstone Bank, followed by Sapling Lane and Heath Green out of Eaton, were challenging climbs as ever, but we steadily pegged away reassuring ourselves that it was doing us good. Overall, we had enjoyed a proper little lanes Easy Rider relaxed day with friends. About 45 miles covered. Many thanks to Alan for, once again, taking the photograph.

See route map and/or gpx file download 


Friday 18 August 2023

17th August 2023: Overton (mod)

The Gallery is now called ‘Pursuit Café and Kitchen’ and is being run by a cycling enthusiast, so that bodes well for us. 

The turnout was good, with Dave M and Ray S doing their own thing. That left Dave H, Every Ready Ray, Andy, Neil, George, Trevor, Jim and yours truly for the mod ride for the day. The plan was to ride down to The Two Doves café in Overton using the route pioneered by Alan last October.

We set off down the hill past the car park and up Tinkersdale climb, bearing left to take the steep road/track up to the A55 bridge. Trevor and Jim were at the rear and, going into the track, Trevor had a problem with his gears and came off, bringing Jim down with him. It all happened in a flash at almost no miles and hour, so no major damage was done to man nor bike.

Once over the A55, were set off along Old Hope Road then zoomed down Lower Mountain Road, crossing Kinnerton Road and soon found ourselves in Golly. The lanes around here and down to Rossett were quiet and smooth, but the railway crossing at Rossett was bumpy enough dislodge my rear mudguard, forcing a short stop to put it back on.

We only climbed part way up Marford Hill, before turning left down Hoseley Lane, where Andy complained that there were no apples to scrump this year. Again, the lanes were lovely and quiet down to Borras as were the lanes that skirt Wrexham Industrial Estate. It was here that we missed Trevor and Jim. After waiting five or more minutes, Andy set off back to look for them. After about another 10 minutes, Dave H returned to the junction where Neil, Andy, George and I had been waiting (he’d gone on ahead with Ray), to tell us that Jim and Trevor had told him that they had decided to bail out and go to Holt. A text later from Trevor confirmed that this was because he was feeling the after effects of his tumble earlier.

So, the six of us continued on via Cross Lanes to Bangor-on-Dee, where we took the group photo on the bridge. From here it was only a couple of miles before we reached Overton.

Photo by Steve T

As usual the offerings and service at the Two Doves was excellent and an eye opener for Neil, who had passed the place numerous times, but had never been inside. Suitable fed and watered, we were soon back on the bikes for the return journey. This took us back to Bangor and then up Creamery Road and along a series of lovely lanes to Holt.

From here, we headed for Lavister, but part way along Rossett Road, Ray suffered a flat rear tyre. He was confident that the ‘gloop’ that he’d already put in his tyres would solve the problem and that all he needed was to pump it up a bit. How wrong this turned out to be! After another stop near Trevalyn, where Neil, used a gas cylinder to pump up the tyre, another stop was needed as Ray approached Dodleston.

This turned out to be a very prolonged affair. The idea was to put in a new inner tube, but removing the rear wheel from Ray’s ‘leccy’ bike turned out to be a nightmare and it was over half an hour before we were moving once more. The loss of this time meant that we were unable to indulge DH’s desire for a cake stop in Kinnerton, so we headed directly back to Hawarden via Rough Piece Wood and the roundabouts at Dobshill, before plunging down Tinkersdale back to the car park.

46 miles covered on a day which had started cool, but which had turned out sunny and very warm. A ride not without incident and challenges, but one with great company and some superb lanes. Thanks again to Alan for planning such great route.

See route map and/or gpx file download 


Friday 11 August 2023

10th August 2023: Dunham Woodhouses (mod)

There was a good turnout on a warm morning outside Delamere station cafe. Andy, Peter and Jim were having to return after coffee, and  Dave Matthews would be peeling off early. It was good to hear that Peter was riding more and making progress with his recovery, and also to see Ray return from injury. The rest of the group consisted of Ever Ready Ray, Steve Tan, Trevor, Alan, Clive and myself. I suggested The Rope and Anchor as a lunch stop. I had led a group there in the past, and ridden out to lunch with Keith to this destination adjacent to the Trans Pennine Way. There was a very pleasant outside area, and the food had been fine.

We headed out via the attractive backwater around Norley Hall, and diverted at Crowton down Ainsworth Lane. Surprisingly, Steve spotted a friend of ours from Runcorn turning his car around in this quiet lane. We think that he must have been visiting the home of Mick Miller, who had, sadly, very recently past away. Mick, in his prime, was a larger than life, big-bearded, blue-eyed Viking of a character with his own coal business, and was a master chimney sweep. R.I.P. Mick. From Acton Bridge we headed for Cogshall Hall, and turned into Comberbach along Senna Lane. We avoided the plunge down and up to Great Budworth, passing the Cock O' Budworth on our way to Bate Heath. We turned north and reached Little Bollington by way of Hoo Green and Booth Bank. All very scenic, lovely little lanes, time to cruise and chat to Ray S, about the culture of our club, and our experiences riding up Ventoux. I was also able to share with Alan the challenges of living with partners who are always keen to 'disappear' your stuff, and of maintaining family cars that are probably past their sell by date.  

Photo by AO

At Arthill, I consulted about lunch, and we decided we would try my suggestion of the Rope and Anchor, although on passing The Swan with Two Nicks I noticed it wasn't too crowded, and was tempted. As our destination was only ten minutes away, it was decide not to bother wasting time ringing, as we usually had no problems just turning up. Not this time! The Rope and Anchor was obviously understaffed in the catering department, we would have a long wait for food , and they couldn't serve us in the garden. And, it wasn't even busy! Clive had mentioned  The Vine, and as we had only just passed it, about 300m back, we finished up there. Ray Baird's pie and chips seemed fine, but the roast sandwiches were simply awful. I won't be going back! As I had to miss last week's ride, this was consecutive rides for me with a disgusting lunch (The Lord Combermere being the previous one).

After luch we set out across the sun-soaked fields towards towards Lymm on the Trans Pennine Trail. Sparky Baird was feeling the heat, and it was an exceptionally hot day, when the need to stay hydrated was a priority. I came off the old rail route a little early, thinking that a brisk mile on the main road would be direct and quick, but road works thwarted us. After climbing out of Lymm from The Cross we took the back lanes to Sworton Heath, crossing the A50 and taking Swineyard Lane toward the old airfield and Antrobus. Clive and Ray Stigter excused themselves, and headed for the A56. We returned via Antrobus, Frandley and Little Leigh. Steve, Alan and myself treated ourseves to ice creams at Delamere. Trevor had carried on for home at Hatchmere,  so had clocked some extra miles on a hot day. We covered about forty five miles from Delamere and back on mainly quiet, rural lanes. The company was enjoyable as ever, but the lunch experience is likely to make me even more conservative in my choice of future pub destinations. 

Thursday 3 August 2023

3rd August 2023 : Baschurch (Mod+)

There was a good turnout of CER riders for this far flung start point. Ken & Nick had ridden over and were doing their own thing, this left Clive, Steve Hu, Alan, Trevor and Andy B as a mixed group. Steve Hu had a route up the Ceiriog valley, 35 miles with 3500 ft of climbing. Even Steve thought that was a daft idea! Clive suggested Moor Farm Cafe just outside Baschurch, a 46 mile route. This was unanimously adopted. 

On leaving the Castle Bistro a few drops of rain could be felt, however little did we know this would be the last precipitation we would see all day; moreover we spent the bulk of the day in glorious sunshine. Cold legs and Chirk Bank are not a good combination and soon Clive had the peloton strung out along the road. Riding through Weston Rhyn and Wern, we enjoyed some lovely CER lanes. Clive’s orbital route around Oswestry was challenging as he avoided the town centre and the one way systems. Soon we were back on small lanes heading for Maesbury.
Between Maesbury and Montford Bridge, we began to notice the brisk tailwind that we were benefiting from and reminded ourselves this was a circular ride. This section of lanes is really quiet as you are rarely near any villages and really just out in the wilds. At Montford Bridge, we had arrived at our most southerly point and from now on we were heading back north. Just outside the village of Baschurch, to the west Clive showed us the correct way to enter the lunch venue “should you be arriving by horse”! A quick photo opportunity was taken by the Polo field and we sat down to consume our lunch.

The food at Moor Farm was excellent and provided us with the sustenance for the windy return leg. Over lunch Clive regaled us with the history of Baschurch or Eglwyssau Bassa. It is famous for the early work of Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt in the establishing an Orthopaedic unit in early 1900 at Boreatton Park. The successor and much larger sister site of this can now be found nearer Chirk known locally as just Gobowen. 
Boreatton Park continues to provide a service , now as a PGL (Children’s activity centre) .

As we skirted West Felton, the full effect of the North West wind could be felt on the long exposed section up to Whittington. From here it was a gentle run past the modern Orthopaedic Hospital at Gobowen an on towards Chirk. Mindful of the last hill following the A5 roundabout (or should that be called the Dave Heath chicken run ), Clive turned left by the pub to allow us to enter Chirk over the canal viaduct, a most pleasant alternative to the long drag. 

An excellent route led by Clive with great company.


See route map and/or gpx file download