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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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Thursday 21 September 2023

21st September 2023 : Overton (mod)

Dave H had emailed us all to say that a Chirk ride was definitely  “on" for Thursday and thus hoping for a crowd to turn up and ride in glorious sunshine (which we did for all but 15 mins). The reality was just five souls, one of which was Dave M who was only out for coffee today. As I had emailed Dave a potential ride, we Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse   (Steve Hu, Alan, Dave H and myself) set off northwards out of Chirk. Just as we set to go the Pike Tandem Duo arrive, but they decided to do their own thing.

I’d put this route together in 10 mins the day beforehand. It featured an unconventional routing to Overton. With 32 miles to lunch and then only 12 or so after lunch, the plan was to ride the hills out before lunch and minimise the very small lanes after lunch.

So we set off bound for Newbridge where the road has been well shut since January 2021. As we roll down towards Dee river bridge, the road now looks like a deep countryside lane with leaves and mud over the once clean surface. Out the other side there is a steep climb up into Cefn Mawr. Out via Acrefair, Delph Road is a pleasant ride up into Pen-y-cae. We saunter through Rhosllanerchrugog, and turning right into Johnson Street, we are surprised by magnificent view across to the Sandstone Trail countryside.

We now take the aptly named Corkscrew Lane off the Wrexham Road to Sontley. Here, we are briefly held up by farm workers shepherding a huge number of sheep by Land Rover down the back lanes. Riding over the inevitable debris, we are on our way to Marchwiel. Up via the King’s Mill estate, we shimmy into the other corkscrew lane, aka Redwither Lane, which winds round the back of the Wrexham Industrail estate arriving via the golf course at the entrance to the industrial estate. 

Shepherding by bike and Land Rover

Time was moving on, so I made an executive decision to cut out 4 miles, hence we rode passed Kelloggs's huge factory (but strangely no cereal-like smell today). El Presidente (Dave M) knows this plant well I believe and then we pass the ginormous blue and white warehouse of the internet business of New World Sports. We are now on the well-worn road to Bangor-on-Dee. After a short sprint along the Wrexham Road, we pass by Bangor taking the little Millbrook Lane. Steve and I wait for some time in vain for Alan and Dave. We surmise they must have gone into Bangor, so knowing that they know the way to Overton, we push on getting to the Two Dove cafe for 1300. 

As ever, the cafe doesn't disappoint, as we four order up off the menu or the specials board. We chat about the potential demise of Chirk as a winter start point, the fuel efficiency of the Yaris Hybrid ( I’d been driving one in Italy for a week and only managed 70 mpg), and the political farce that is the petroleum-powered car and domestic heating boiler cut-off dates.

Up until this point, I hadn’t employed my trade mark "grass up the middle of lanes” routing. This all changed as we turned off the Ellemere road down the deep and dark Red Hall Lane to Rhewl and Pentre-coed. We now cross the Ellemere to St Martins B road where Dave decides he will go straight back to Chirk. So we three dive down more agricultural lanes to Hindford. 

The sky was looking dark and it did rain making these lanes quite muddy with the occasional wheel bath. I hadn’t been down a couple of these before as we circle back to Chirk round the back of the Henle golf club and down to Chicken Run roundabout aka on the A5 roundabout. With a final flourish we take the canal path back into Chirk arriving at about 1515. If we hadn’t sheltered for 5 mins in the downpour, then we would have just seen Dave driving back home.

Chirk was dry! So annoyingly the 10-15 mins of rain was only concentrated on the darkest and now muddiest of lanes at the end of the ride. Were we down-hearted? - No, we weren’t!

We all enjoyed this slightly unconventional route on 95% dry sunny day, only actually riding about 41 of the 44ml route  Once again - where were you all? 


PS: Steve Hu found out via the Daily Post that the police had been carrying out drug raids and arrests in most of the areas that we rode around today!

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