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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Monday 27 November 2023

23rd November 2023 : Holt (brisk)

As others have reported, quite few riders gathered at the Pursuit Cafe in Hawarden and, after a convivial discussion, rides were chosen from the various offerings.


Richard and I had elected to ride to Hawarden to test our legs and conditions. I had a niggling calf strain and Richard hadn’t been on his bike for weeks.  The ride out to Hawarden against the strong westerly wind convinced us that maybe a day in the Welsh hills was not for us. So thinking the mod+ ride to Caerwys was a bit brave in the windy conditions, we settled on a loop that would bring us back to Chester along some pretty but low level lanes, as far as possible, avoiding a headwind. 


After waving to Dave M who had just arrived, we headed south and uphill to Bilberry woods then we crossed the bridge over the North Wales Expressway. From here we had a mainly downhill ride along lower mountain road in the direction of Llay. We avoided the steep climb to Gresford by sneaking  off road along Springfield Lane, parallel to the A483. Emerging near the start of Marford Hill we were soon turning down Hoselely Lane and then being turbo assisted by the wind along Borras to what was, until recently, “Cleopatras”.  We arrived to find a new establishment has emerged from the ashes in the form of ”Satriale’s” which we were told had opened for business a couple of days earlier.  

Re-born Cleopatra's 

Our plan had been to stop for refreshments at “Alisons” in Tattenhall but instead took the opportunity to give the new place a whirl.  It's had a complete refresh decoratively and the staff tried very hard to make us welcome. As we were leaving we met Dave M (photo) who it turned out had earlier parked his car at Holt and ridden a circular route in the opposite direction to ours!


Richard and I rode a further 20 miles back to Chester or so on along familiar lanes taking in the likes of  Tattenhall, Weitreins Lane, Cardon and Waverton experiencing a strengthening head wind and cloudier skies. Our total mileage out and back from Chester was 47 miles. We succeeded in our objective to avoid the worst of the wind although felt a bit guilty that didn’t join our braver comrades for their hilly Welsh sortie. However having now read the report of that ride I think we may have made the right decision! 


Friday 24 November 2023

23rd November 2023: Mickle Trafford ('Lone Ranger' - mod)

There I was patiently waiting for the rest of CER to arrive at Rose Farm, when I began to suspect that everybody had been frightened off today, owing to the strong winds and forecasts of 65kph gusts. However, after a brief message to Steve Hu, I discovered that everybody was at the Pursuit cafe (Hawarden). 

Well! I was flabbergasted, as I couldn’t believe that all 10 had got the venue wrong, it beggars belief- Lol Lol.

Not deterred and still trying to come to terms with how anybody could make such a stupid mistake, I got ready for my Lone Ranger ride. Now resigned to the prospect of a Billy No Mates lunch, I set off on the Mod+ route I originally planned- Lol. My route was very particular, as I had carefully plotted a way around the Westerly winds, as best I could, which meant a hilly start along the Sandstone Ridge, via Quarry Bank & Tirley Lane for starters. As expected, the Sandstone Ridge provided great protection from the wind, which was even better, climbing through and around Helsby. I then head south, slightly downhill to Mouldsworth.

My first leg into the wind was also downhill until I took one of my favourite lanes (Nortons Lane). This lane turned out to be even better than expected, as I was tracking at 45 degrees to the wind with a decent hedgerow for protection, all the way up, until a house got in my way- Lol.

A huge wooden house, on a wide load trailer was basically jammed, in the Lane, trying to turn up an even narrower lane, with half a dozen frustrated motorist on either side. Luckily for me, I could manhandle my bike past the obstacles- Lol. For all I know, they could still be there, as the situation looked impossible.

No sooner past and at the top of the lane, deciding to not go left, south toward the Bluebell at Barrowmead. I opt to experience the full extent of the wind by going straight on at the crossroads and onto the main road to Mickle Trafford. I had changed my mind deciding to stop at Meadow Lea cafe. Wow! That wind was tough- Lol.

I was glad to get sat down at Meadow Lea and promptly tucked into a prawn jacket potato and a lovely conversation with my mates- Lol. Underway again, I was looking forward to the canal road from Waverton, which I knew would be a fast cross tailwind to Huxley and even better to Brassey Green, as the wind was more of a north westerly by now.

After 6 lovely fast miles I turn right down to the Shady Oak, on the canal side (I noticed as I passed, it is now just ‘Shady’, since the new occupants took over). I decided to head up and around Beeston, in order to take Peckforton Road, which gets great wind protection from a north westerly wind and I was disappointed, despite it being slightly uphill all the way to Bulkely. I had a relatively easy ride across to Harthill and an even easier ride over the top and downhill into Tattenhall.

I got home by 2 pm after 50 miles total. The company and banter today was particularly good, although I did find it hard hearing my fellow cyclists in the wind. At times I wondered if anybody was behind me. Come to think of it, nobody came through to take a turn on the front - surely I wasn’t really on my own  -Lol Lol Lol Lol.



Thursday 23 November 2023

23rd November 2023: Caerwys (mod)

There were three groups in the Pursuit cafe at Hawarden on this a windy but surprisingly dry Thursday in Nov. Dave H, Jim and Trevor had ridden in from Mickle Trafford. Briskers, Ken, Richard & John M were looking at a route back to Chester with Ken wanting to maybe divert through Llay. Lastly and the subjects of this blog were the daft group of mod plus riders who fancied the hills: Shane, Steve T, Alan and Steve Hu. What did Brian Wade say? “We go to Wales for the hills” , well we certainly cycled them today all 3800ft of them. 

This was a hybrid route of Steve Hu out and Alan’s return. The group set off through Hawarden then climbing towards Drury and Buckley. It was at this point the wind started to make its presence felt. A quick plunge through Alltami and we were on the quiet lanes through Soughton. As we left Soughton the quality of the roads deteriorated. A local farmer was digging out a ditch which prior to seeing him we had been riding up what felt like a stream. At the junction of Green Lane and Cefn Eurgain Lane, Steve Hu made a leadership decision to tackle the Col du Green lane in favour of its clean tarmac. This was met with a mix of incredulity and resignation from Alan and Steve T. Shane was blissfully unaware of the calf burning section to come. 

The downhill into Wen y Gaer was memorable as Steve T commented “how often do you have to pedal just to go downhill” such was the wind! As we crested the hill at Moel Y Crio we knew we would have been better ditching the bikes and flying a kite. 

Using Alan’s local knowledge we navigated tractors cutting hedges and were soon safely ensconced at On The Corner Cafe at Caerwys. The service was as usual excellent, marred only by Steve Hu & Shane trying to send the table mats back thinking they were menus, as Neil would say LOL. 

Speaking of Neil Tanner, Neil had promised a route for today, the trouble was his route went from Meadow Lea, where he patiently sat wondering where the CER contingent were. Neil has form for going to the wrong venue, so we shouldn’t be surprised. It was agreed a laminated list of 2024 dates and starting venues zip tied to his handlebars may help. 

Alan's return route was as always well planned and with a tailwind over in a short time. A pernicious thorn in Shanes front tyre and Steve T’s rear mudguard making a bid for freedom were the distractions from an otherwise wind assisted ride. Alan peeled off at Northop leaving the three musketeers to roll into Hawarden. Thanks to Alan for the route a very challenging 43 miles with plenty of climbing thrown in. 

Photo by Steve Hu

See route map and/or gpx file download

Steve Hu  

Friday 17 November 2023

16th November 2023 : Wrenbury (briskish)

A low turnout at Delamere of 5 riders meant that John M, Alan, Steve Hu, Electric Ray and I would ride as one group. Dave M also came to the cafe but only for a coffee and a chat before heading home to lavish some TLC on one of his fleet of vehicles.

Prior to arriving at Delamere, I had given some thought to a route given that the storms of Babet and Ciaran had played havoc making the road conditions more hazardous than usual. The route of 42 miles was nothing exciting but one ridden many times from Delamere to Wrenbury.

On leaving the cafe, we faced roadside construction on Fishpool Road. The Highway Authority have turned this  road into a one way system while  the repairs take place. This meant our options were 3 miles of busy A roads or sneaking through and cycling against the traffic while keeping within the safety of the barrier. Needless to say we did the latter.

Once free of the road works we went down the lanes that pass Oulton Park race circuit and continued through Wettenhall towards Nantwich. We were expecting  standing water and a trail of storm debris but were pleasantly surprised to find the roads dry and clear. The only issues we had were a close pass by an aggressive driver and a few GPS hiccups with my phone but we arrived in Nantwich unscathed. The quiet cycle path through Nantwich that runs alongside the River Weaver, kept us away from most of the traffic enabling us to join Marsh Lane as our exit route out to Ravensmoor.

At Ravensmoor we had an option to extend the route by another 10 miles but time was against us so we kept to plan A and made our way straight to Wrenbury and lunch. “No 18 The Park Cafe” was  very busy  as usual but fortunately we had pre-booked the table and we were quickly served. Since my last visit, in the summer, I noticed a marked increase in the menu prices with most items up by about £1.50; a sign of the times .

Once lunch was over and John had sorted an issue on his radar/rear light unit, apparently it wasn’t talking to his GPS unit, we departed. Our way home involved crossing the Llangollen Canal going through Chorley, Faddiley, Bunbury, Tilston and Eaton. The highlight for me on this route is the  view at Tilston where the road dips down to the canal.

Yours for £4.5 million

We had a short stop for a photo shoot near to Faddiley outside some impressive gates which led to Ash Hall. This beautiful property with stunning grounds is on sale for around £4.5 million! Shortly after joining our outbound route at Cotebrook I left the others as they continued on to Delamere while I turned off up Heaths Lane to Kelsall to my  car. 

Unlike the morning the  roads our return route was littered with storm debris and standing water consequently some serious bike cleaning would be needed once we arrived home.

Todays ride was 42 miles with no rain or wind only the cold to hinder our progress. Thanks to all for their company and help today.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Monday 13 November 2023

9th November 2023: Malpas

Carolyne at Walk Mill was every bit as hospitable on the day, as she had sounded on the phone. We were soon comfortably sat with our coffees served efficiently by the friendly staff. There was a good turnout, mostly of those who wanted to cover a decent mileage at a brisk pace.  George, Big Ray and myself opted for a more modest course on a day that was likely to be quite wet.  So it was, that we set out on a more exploratory route, with the idea of a fast, direct route back if the weather turned unpleasant. I’m not really sure of myself in this area without having to stop and check my map occasionally, so I was glad of my friends’ patience, and George’s familiarity with these lanes. We headed east to begin with before turning south for Burton, Hoofield and Huxley. George and I wondered if the 50p. shop was still operating. According to my phone, both the 50p.shop, and The Little Coffee Shop (Wed.-Sunday) were still open. After Huxley we were soon climbing up to Beeston Castle, and working our way across to Bolesworth Castle, and then climbing again to Broxton Old Hall. We then used the small, very quiet lanes around the listed Grade II Edge Hall, which is over three hundred years old. Ray was trying to cast us as Dad’s Army or Last of the Summer Wine characters, but despite the physical difference the only comparison that really caught the imagination was Ray as Private Pike! We criss-crossed the A41 to reach Hampton Heath on little used lanes. If we had taken the more obvious course to Malpas from Brown Knoll, we may have arrived dry for lunch, as it was, we didn’t.  Still, it in the DNA of Chester Easy Riders, to explore, Harry-like at times, and it seems preferable to steaming down a busy, wet main road on someone’s back wheel.

The food was very good at The Old Fire Station, and Ray was his usual effervescent company, but it was raining when we unlocked our bikes. Our route back was as direct as possible, and after climbing up the Roman Road to Kidnal  Hill it was fast to Tilston, but the streaming roads needed concentration. It was consoling to think that we didn’t have the flooded, hilly lanes, say from Loppington to Chirk to overcome, and we would have a relatively short drive home. We reached Tattenhall via Carden, Clutton and Chowley, and then pressed on to Hargrave and Greenlooms, before turning to Walk Mill. The journey back had only taken seventy-five minutes, despite Ray’s troublesome mudguard stay, which he must have fixed with chewing gum in the week. We still had time for coffee and cake; George very kindly treated me. Ray had wanted to get back to catch crabs at Moreton- on- Sea. Before we left, the Likely Lads of Steve Hughes and Alan popped in to say, “Hello”.  They appeared happy with their ride despite the rain and diversions. Walk Mill had worked out fine. Trebles all round then!


Thursday 9 November 2023

9th November 2023 : Sandbach (brisk)

Today’s ride is the first brisk ride from our winter starting venue at Walk Mill on the outskirts of Waverton. About ten of us turned out, with brisk riders being in the majority. Walk Mill was very pleasant with plenty of space for us all in the large conservatory area - so a useful alternative to Chirk for those winter months.

Ken and Dave M were just out for coffee, so that left Steve Hu, Alan, Shane, Ray and myself to join Ivan on his last ride of the year. The weather prediction was mixed with some certainty of a rain shower at some time during the ride. I’d not bothered to wash my bike following a somewhat muddy ride on Tuesday with Nick; it was the correct decision! 

Ivan’s ride was to "The George" in Sandbach, a reliable Wetherspoon’s establishment in the centre of the town. So we set off down familiar lanes to Bunbury and out to Nantwich. Everthing was going well with a brisk pace and everyone keeping together as we should do. We dodge around Shavington and Basford - lanes that Ivan knows very well after living around this general area for many years.

In Weston the first road closure of the day manifests itself, so on the fly Ivan steers us on a bit of a loop and back on track via Engelsea Brook Lane. The White Lion inn appears in Barthomley looking very sorry for itself - it had been a popular lunch venue for us for many years, mainly because of it’s large plates of in-house cooked meat pies. 

At the junction with Radway Green Road it is very clear that we can’t go the planned direction via Radway Green into the outskirts of Alsager due to probable repair work on the railway level crossing. Ivan’s railway experience tells him we won’t be let through, so turning right, Ivan assures us all that if we head down and take the first left then left again, we shall enter Alsager from the south.

Whereas this is certainly true, negotiating the massive and exceptionally busy roundabout under the M6 Junction was not planned at all! We enjoy a mile plus uphill drag along the busy A500 dual carriageway towards Stoke. I’ve driven this route many times and it's a lorry-infested racetrack! We turn left and off the A500 into a peaceful road eventually falling into the back of Alsager.

We are soon back on track but menacing black clouds herald a steady and persistent period of light rain.  We hurry on through Hassall Green and Malkins Bank and  at last into the warm dry arms of the very busy George pub after 37 miles. The diversion along the A500 had cost us about 30 mins, which would have probably meant we would have missed the pre-lunch celestial bike-washing activity!

The pub was heaving with punters but we secure the last two tables and order up off the extensive menu. Pizza and curries were the order of the day. Time to go into the rain again so some of us wander over to the cobbled market square for a photo courtesy of Alan. Ivan was assisting Shane with his front mudguard mis-function and they missed the photo shoot. You can read all about Sandbach here.

They regularly wash the streets in Sandbach!
The rain persists for about an hour or so and then on-and-off all the way back to Walk Mill. The route is very familiar and “Wettenhall" describes us perfectly. Thankfully no further road closures bothered us but there were quite a few closure signs noticed today.

Shane peals off after Duddon as we all end up at Walk Mill again. Alan and Steve head for their car as Ray, Ivan and myself head back to Chester. The only significant event was Ivan’s slow rear-wheel puncture outside of Waverton itself which, after some re-inflation, he thankfully managed to nurse through the few miles home.

Ivan’s advertised route was 53 miles; with a diversion at Weston, and the loop up the A500 pushing it up to 60 miles all round. So quite respectable for mid-November. So thanks to Ivan for the route, Alan for the photos, and all for their company today. I managed just under 80 wet miles so you can guess what today’s job is!

See route map and/or gpx file download


Monday 6 November 2023

2nd November 2023: Nowhere (mod, minus)

Some of you may be wandering if any riders turned up last Thursday, in the light of the dire and stormy forecast. Well,…… I turned up on time after an early morning bike change due to a slow puncture.  It had been tempting not to bother,  because Steve Tan was otherwise engaged, and it was possible that nobody would turn up at Tattenhall.  Anyway, I sat inside at Alison’s with my maps, and started to think that a short circular ride to Malpas may be more prudent than my original plan for lunch at Whitchurch.  My bike was in the back of the Berlingo, and it would stay there if my only choice was a lone ride in dodgy conditions. It then came to my attention that Dave Matthews was sitting in the outside covered area, and he had cycled over from Oscroft on his exotic red vintage steed.  His bicycle is truly desirable, with frame tubes made in Settala, near Milan from Columbus Super-Duper steel and icing sugar from M&S Food. Dave came inside and we talked old git stuff about  car maintenance, bike chain compatibility and the spacing of my freewheel.  Dave, understandably, was intending to ride back home. I was envious that he had made the effort to ride, and a bit miffed with myself in deciding that a solo ride was just not worth it in the circumstances.  There was one bright outcome, I was driving home through Christleton, and decided to call in on one of the best characters I had ever worked with (Clive knows who I’m talking about). I hadn’t seen him for six years, and it was a pleasure to find him in great spirits at the age of ninety!