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 29 January 2024

25th January 2024: Overton (mod)

I was running a little late, when I became stuck behind a school minibus and another car following a lone cyclist. Fair enough, the road from Waverton to Aldford has a number of curves, which can make overtaking a risk. When the smartly attired rider waved us through, it happened to be Ivan!  He joined us for coffee at Maggie’s, before doing his own route back. It was great to see his recovery going so well. At Maggie’s it was also a pleasant surprise to meet up with Elwyn and Fiona. Ken had made the effort but had commitments that prevented him joining one of our rides.  Jim and Trevor had ridden out, but it was just Matt, Ray, Andy and myself who made up the day’s moderate group participants.  

Wet weather was forecast for some time around three o’clock, so my plan was for a fair mileage before lunch, followed by a direct return route, hopefully beating the rain. I booked The Two Doves for 12.45 and that is exactly the time we arrived. We had started out through Farndon, and the high water at the Dee bridge was notable considering that the weather had been quite dry recently. It was hard to understand how planning permission had been granted for the impressive new house against the cliffs; did they use cars or canoes to get out when the river flooded? Did Amazon use drones to make deliveries? We had a largely quiet lanes route to Tilston, Duckington and Ashton Cross before heading south west to Malpas via Hampton Heath. We were soon on backwaters again taking in Oldcastle Heath, Threapwood and Mulsford before crossing the A525 at Holly Bush and reaching Overton by way of Cloy and then the B5069. With two strong riders and Ever Ready Ray, I was sometimes in the position of the Jim Dale model of leading from the back. This didn’t always work effectively, with Matt’s experience occasionally presuming that the route in my head was logical. Ray, of course, was often cruising ahead like an unaware geriatric driving a 1952 Lanchester 14. This had been exemplified at Sarn Bridge where I surprised the troops by turning right from behind them. Andy always waits supportively for anyone lagging, but this is partly offset by him regularly pointing out that the leader doesn’t appear to know his derriere from his elbow. Ray Hardman leading would have just turned off and left them to it. If we were a formal CTC group, we could call a meeting and condemn the behaviour, waste my time writing up minutes, send copies to the officers on the local board, and ban Ray until he fitted a mud flap. As it is, we are a very relaxed, tolerant independent club, and we prefer riding and jesting to extra bureaucracy and the imposition of strict rules.

The staff at The Two Doves are very pleasant and the food spot on. Their Full English is always an essential on Andy’s athlete’s diet sheet. Conversation was lively, and a bit loud to be honest, but writing this a few days on, I can’t remember the topics discussed! Life is like that at my age, it just washes over you like water over marble, gradually wearing you down and nothing sinking in.

Photo by CER

The ride back was always intended to be shortish, but perhaps we should have reviewed it over lunch, because with the wind behind us we returned to Holt via Bangor- on-Dee in just over forty minutes, including Matt’s cleverly taken photographs at the bridge where a visiting couple volunteered to do the deed last time. At Holt, Andy and Matt set off for home, hopefully missing any rain. Ray and I were surprised to see Alan and Steve Tan cycling to the car park, but that is another story! We had covered about 44 very enjoyable, dry miles. Matt and Andy had ridden more miles and a lot more respectively.


Friday 26 January 2024

25th January 2024: Stretton (mod+)

Today’s meet venue was Maggie’s, which we virtually took over. There were approximately 18 of us, all raring to go, after what seemed like weeks of no cycling. The weather forecast was promising, with no rain expected until after 2pm, which Jim was concerned about, as he and Trevor had ridden to Maggies. I had a hilly-ish, Mod+ meander in mind that appealed to the usual crowd, which for today also included Fiona and Elwyn. We had not seen them for a long long time ( they’ve been busy, catching up on travelling, the whole world it seems - Lol). The rest of the group were Alan, Steve (I’m not very good with pliers, Hu- more about that later- Lol), Steve T, Shaun & Clive.

No sooner had we started when my route dropped out on my Garmin. It was a bit spooky in fact, as I had just led us the wrong way down the one way lane that leads to Holt bridge. Clearly the Garmin objected to that and gave up-Lol. Fiona then piped up, providing me a defence, “if it’s one way, why are there traffic lights at the bottom” - my case rests, thank you Fiona- Lol Lol.

Our lunch venue, unusually, was only 3 miles from our starting point hence, the slightly tricked up and planned meander that was aimed at the forecasted stiffer winds, which didn’t really materialise. The local meander was also out of necessity, because of several known lane closures. What wind was out there made for a fairly brisk start, according to some of group (not my intention- honest Gov- Lol). It wasn’t long before our first pit stop occurred, after losing touch with a few of the group. Somebody had stopped, just as we got into Platt’s Lane, after spotting a mudguard in the gutter, thinking it belonged to somebody up front of course. However, none of us had lost a mudguard, although Alan later noticed his mud flap missing.

Pit stop over, we set about trying to keep up with Steve Hu, who suddenly went on one of his customary surges. Once reigned in, we crossed the A41 and headed toward the Ice Cream Farm, as we were by-passing Tattenhall. We passed Old Ma’s, which I pointed out to the group, that there was a sold! sign outside. This prompted me to enlighten a few of the group on the status of a couple of other cafes in the area that have also gone to the wall. Fiona had informed me, only the day before, that Manorwood cafe had recently closed, which was news to me, as that was my original lunch venue- Lol. Again, only the day before, I also discovered, as I rode past, that the cafe in the field adjacent to Beeston Castle has also gone ( literally gone)- What’s happening, 3 local cafe’s gone?

Shortly after passing,  a somewhat unusually quiet ice cream farm, we turn right into our first bit of real headwind, once we called Clive back from going left- Lol (I reckon he should return those hearing aids-Lol). After a brief stretch of headwind we start to head up hill towards Burwardsley, at which point we met our second tractor, cutting hedges. You never used to see hedge cutting at this time of year.  I could go into the reasons for this and a few other things like the unusual local flooding, but the fun police might get on my case, so I will park those thoughts for now. 

No sooner had we got past the hedge trimmer when, yours truly, got a puncture, just as I turned into School Lane. Unfortunately, the puncture dragged on a little, as Fiona pointed out with great delight. She had decided to carry on at her own pace up over Harthill. So of course she had plenty of time, waiting for us to catch up. Far be it from me to cast aspersions, but the prime reason for the delay was the person on the pliers, trying to remove the thorn from my tyre. Once we got an engineer in charge of said pliers- job done- Lol Lol Lol (bless him). To be fair to Steve Hu, oh flip! Did I reveal ‘bless him’s’ name- Lol. He is always the first to lend anybody a hand, pick up stragglers or go back for missing people- bless him!

Photo by AO

Now on our way again ‘bless him’ pointed out that the last time I rode with CER, I’d had a puncture. This prompted me to consider if CER was a bad omen for me, as I have had  only 2 punctures over the past year and both with CER. When I consider that 80% of my cycling is on my own, I am forced to again ask, “what is going on?” Lol.

We picked up Fiona, as we all struggled over the top of Harthill- well I did at least.  Anyway, after a few short recovery gasps, we cracked on to Bickerton. I decide not to head over the ridge, as planned, via my favourite Goldford Lane, as we were now late for lunch by about 15 minutes. Instead, we take the much easier ‘Long Lane’, which was not only flatter, but also saved us a half mile. 

Despite this lane being relatively flat, the headwind was now having an effect on me and I called for somebody, who had some legs, to get on the front. With that, Shane came forward, however, he set a pace approximately 50 feet ahead of us, which sort of defeated the object- he’ll learn- Lol.

It was shortly after this that the ride became something more akin to a ‘Clive’ ride- Lol. Suffice it to say, that Coach Road was a mud bath, much to my annoyance, as I had ridden it the day before and it was clear (honest gov). The farmers had had a field day since then, so I do not accept responsibility for this.

I would also like it known, in this modern age of mutual respect and a need to be mindful of each other’s sensitivities/mental health, that I did not appreciate the tirade of abuse I received from some of the group. They shall remain nameless of course, because I have more respect and consideration- oh sod it! - It was Fiona and Steve Hu- Lol Lol.

So what if we got plastered in mud and water. What the group failed to realise was that our ‘journey’ was  supposed to be all about the memories and everlasting bonds forged through adversity and companionship. Those bonds should not only build partnerships but also encourage self esteem, thus empowerment leading to discovery and the pursuit of even greater endeavours. Do I hear some of you say “what a load of tosh”- Lol, Lol.

It wasn’t long before we were whipping along, down into Tilston and in to the Lost Barn, which was heaving. However, our tables were reserved. Granted there was a long queue, but it didn’t seem to bother anybody.  Lunch was lovely, if a bit expensive.

After a few queries to me as to what the run in to Holt was going to be, I discover that the whole group was abandoning me. Everybody seemed  to have their own idea on how to get back to Holt or head for home. My heart was deeply wounded of course- Lol.  It meant I could get another small hill in, via Carden Park and be home by 2:30- yipee!

So, there is no more to this story, which, no doubt, you will all be disappointed about, as I know how much you look forward to this diatribe- Lol, Lol. I got home, roughly around 2:30 with 40 miles on the clock and a few more upward mtrs than I expected. Hopefully, everybody else made it home without incident. This ride was in fact a new personal record for me, as I have lost several cyclists from the group before, as they all peel off for home or whatever, but this was the first time I had lost everybody!- Lol.

Great day out with some good banter as usual.  Thanks everybody. Remember folks, as the Chinese always say; “a good ride is made by the people involved and the journey they take”- Lol. 

Till next time folks- ‘Tales Of The Unexpected’ - Lol,Lol.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Monday 22 January 2024

18th January 2024: Wrenbury (mod)

It was stone cold and icy when I picked up Steve Tan. The first test of whether the roads would be rideable was our careful drive to Rose Farm.  All was fine until the uphill stretch of Utkinton Lane, when we encountered a hundred yards of total glacier. The Berlingo had no difficulty on a light throttle, but we wouldn’t be cycling over this down to Cotebrook later! It was great to see Keith out for the first time in two years and meet Steve Haywood who had managed to drive up for coffee. Steve is making progress after his operation, which ended his sciatica pain, but left him with a long journey towards a full recovery. We will all be very pleased if he can cycle with us again this summer, and also begin ticking off the last forty Monros on his list. Reliable Ray had  arrived from the far west, and Dave Matthews turned up in civvies, as he is one of the sensible ones when it comes to ice (shades of Ray Hardman).

It was a struggle to consider any route from this venue and back that was likely to be a reasonable risk. In the past I’ve ridden with George from Cleopatra’s to Bangor-on-Dee or Overton in icy conditions, but we were able to stick to decent “B” roads and considerably reduce the jeopardy. I suspect that a few years back these roads were probably gritted, but from Utkinton today comparable roads out were not obvious and were unlikely to be gritted.  If you were a cycle tour leader, a p.e. teacher or inviting a neighbour out for a ride, then the only decision would be to cancel. As it is, there were three of us that were old enough and experienced enough to make our own independent decision to enjoy the challenge (or perhaps we were the three with the lowest I.Qs in the club!)  Steve Tan is an intrepid character but considering that he is still not fully recovered from his recent fall on ice from this venue, had to let his head rule his heart; he managed to ride back safely to Runcorn via Tarporley.  I think he was more concerned with leaving Lesley with all the funeral arrangements, rather than fearing the risk.

So, Ray, Keith and myself headed straight to Tarporley, before turning up past the high school and on to Eaton, from there it was a familiar route to Wettenhall. I stopped to make a lunch reservation at 18 The Park, but otherwise we started to make reasonable progress, despite our necessary caution in the conditions. The air was still, the sky a brilliant blue and the rural scenes a photographer’s feast. The lethal iced curves past Cholmondeston Bridge (where Steve Tan had fallen) were negotiated especially carefully.  The road surface here forms more than a steep camber, it is really a dangerous drop through subsidence, and would present a hazard even for a car to straddle. A corner- cut on the thin lane to Poolehill was ruled out today, so we took to the A51 at Reaseheath, missing the Welshman’s Lane link to Nantwich, which was also likely to be rough and icy. At  Burford it was a relief to exit the main road and then reach Acton, turning right at  the church  into Monk’s Lane. The quiet Raven’s Lane was a nightmare in the ice last time, so we took a chance on the “Road Closed” sign and used Swanley Lane to reach Ravensmoor. We then thrummed along to Wrenbury, with Keith cracking the whip. The staff at 18 The Park were friendly, and we were able to have a laugh with them. The food was excellent and well- presented. Keith treated himself to steak, and then kindly insisted on paying for my meal. Jim Ratcliffe must pay his staff generously!

Our bikes were left in the winter sun at lunchtime, but there was ice rattling around in my water bottle as we set off for Bunbury via Chorley, Burland and Haughton. The north-west breeze was light but chilling. I can’t wait for my replacement merino wool base layer to be delivered! Vigilance would be required to the end if we were to stay upright. As a club we have experience of ”giving it a go” in adverse conditions. Who remembers climbing over a fallen tree on this route  before Chorley bank, after we had already climbed over one in Tilston? For that matter who remembers riding to our Christmas lunch at Parkgate in a storm at high tide? Mike Gilbert will never forget his ride back to Rhos on Sea after lunch with the trains cancelled!  Anyway, at Larden Green, out of expediency, we took to the sort of hazardous little lanes we had sensibly ruled out all day. There was a flooded section circled by ice, but we managed to reach the A534 without mishap. It was plain sailing to Bunbury, more so for Ray with his silent power assistance, his upright cruising reminding me of the stately progress of 1952 Lanchester Fourteen. Now to execute the plan to avoid the inevitable sun starved icy tarmac on the north side of Beeston Castle, and an unintended slalom down to “The Shady”. After passing the primary school in Bunbury we cycled north on the A49, plunging down under the railway bridge and over the canal, before climbing to the attractive little village of Tiverton. It is always an uphill finish to Rose Farm, but it was a pleasant change to approach Tarporley via Tiverton Hall and Pudding Lane. A beautiful day with easy company. It was as if Keith had never been away. Tanny would have loved it! About forty miles covered.


Monday 15 January 2024

11th January 2024: Holt (mod)

There was a good turnout at Hawarden. The Pursuit Café was closed, so we enjoyed our coffee in the impressive Gladstone Library building.  Steve Tan was prepared to ‘have a go’ with the brisk group, despite still recovering from his icy accident. The moderate team for the day consisted of Big Ray, George, Trevor, Andy and me.  It was good to have Andy back off the bench, another one of us without a real clean bill of health but enjoying riding if at all possible. Trevor kindly agreed to lead, either to Pant yr Ochain by a roundabout route, or Maggie’s at Holt, or even Bangor on Dee if we had time. Trevor’s local knowledge was very effective once we had cleared the climb through Bilberry Wood. The little downhill lanes took us past Burton Tower and on to Rossett. Various deviations were taken around Marford and Gresford which linked a number of narrow lanes in a green lacework of a route skirting Wrexham and its industrial estate. 

George and I talked about the unnecessary risk taken by many football teams of insisting on intricate passing out from the back. If only Guardiola had us on his coaching staff!  By the time we were passing Clays golf course the decision had already been made to take lunch at Maggie’s.  Another quiet lane had us on a fast-track northeast to Holt. After safely negotiating the iffy dog leg at the A534  we pass Bellis’ garden centre, which for those who have been in the club a long time, associate with Hildegard, the former lively hostess of what became Cleopatras. Some of us had the full breakfast at Maggie’s, whilst the seemingly more moderate orders of George and Roy were spoilt by their late rush for ‘afters’! Andy told us of his recent trespassing ride with Clwb Seiclo Ruthun which aroused the wrath of the resident Welsh farmer. Trevor’s planned flight in a Spitfire sparked a lot of interest. Ray was still trying to convince us that paying for days getting to somewhere while surrounded by hundreds of status conscious strangers and heaving salt water, was preferable to relaxing in a private villa for a fortnight.

George offered to take us the most direct way back to Hawarden.  The weather had been  pleasantly quiet for cycling so far, but the slight breeze in our faces after lunch was cold. We ate up the miles on George’s route via Dodleston and the cycleway to beyond British Aerospace. Along the way, Trevor had left us to return to Guilden Sutton. The last pedal pressing past Hawarden Castle wasn’t too onerous after such an easy return. I was able to return to Runcorn in time to get Harry the dog out; just as well, because Lynne was in the pub! About 32 miles covered.


Friday 12 January 2024

11th January 2024 : Kinmel Bay (brisk)

After finding the Pursuit café closed, we all crossed the road to the very grand ‘food for thought’ restaurant in Gladstone library. Probably the noisiest customers they’ve had in a while!

A good turnout for a Hawarden start and good to see Steve Tan back in the saddle after his tumble. With seven briskers, Clive, Ken, Matt, Shane, Steve H , Steve T and myself we set of west towards (not so) sunny Rhyl's Kinmel Bay.

Unfortunately Steve T was having mechanical issues (the mudguard again) and was forced to retire near Northop. Shortly afterwards we hauled our way up Middle Mill lane, and up over the Halkyns. No one was complaining of being cold after this! Shortly after Babell, Steve H had to retire; he had been suffering from a virus all week, so he set off for a coffee in Caerwys and an early bath!

A fast decent down to Rhuallt found us then on the Cwm road with its panoramic views all the way to the Great Orme. A great view despite the grey winter's day as we head for Rhuddlan. As we all know Clive can’t resist a "caarstle", so we follow him on a slight detour down to the very nice one at Rhuddlan for our customary group photo. Wiki link to the castle here

At Edward 1st's Rhuddlan Castle

We now head along the River Clwyd path towards Rhyl. As we pulled up at the Hub café in Kinmel Bay, it was nice surprise to see Mike Gilbert albeit briefly as he was just leaving the cafe. 

So after a welcome lunch, we wound our way through all of the repair works on Rhyl prom, and then along the sketchy sand covered cycle path to Prestatyn. A quick ride through the golf club then the holiday park brought us to Talacre and thence a turn around the Point of Ayr former coal mine but we avoided the muddy section of path after Talacre  and then join the main drag back to Flint. 

Onwards we charged through Mostyn via the unavoidable A548It was at this point, as the group's flashing rear lights grew ever distant, that I realised why it is called a brisk ride! 

I headed homewards in Flint, and later learnt that nobody did take Papermill Lane back to Hawarden. In Shotton, Clive and Matt headed for Chester via the Greenway whilst Ken and Shane headed vaguely towards Rossett.

A minimum of 53 miles today and more for some and thanks to Clive for route assistance and his extensive historical knowledge!


Saturday 6 January 2024

4th January 2024 : Church Minshull (brisk)

An excellent day was in prospect for the first ride of 2024 given the weather forecast was for a cloudless though cool day with light southerly winds. Eight to ten riders arrived at the Delamere cafe, some just for coffee, and unusually, there were more brisk riders than mods.

With a lack of ride options on offer, I put forward a brisk ride of 46 mls to the Aqueduct Marina at Church Minshull. Shane, Alan and Matt took up my offer and we departed on time. Initially we headed out through Kelsall before turning south via Beeston to enter Bunbury. Here we changed direction crossing over the A51 and, following a speedy meander through the lanes around Wettenhall, we arrived at our lunch venue at the Aqueduct Marina with 27 mls completed. Our food orders were very speedily delivered and within an hour we were ready to depart for Delamere.

Considering the amount of rain we have been subjected to recently, our route was in a surprising good condition with only a few areas standing water and debris to negotiate. Our return leg was out past Oulton Park race circuit where Matt, who had cycled in from Chester, decided he would leave the group and head for home making his a ride of approximately 75 miles.

Myself, Shane, and Alan had left our vehicles at Delamere, so we continued on, crossing over the A54 through to Sandiway and Norley before arriving back in Delamere and completing today’s 46 ml circuit.

The first ride of year was ridden in near perfect conditions as the forecasted weather proved to be correct. There were only a few pockets of standing water to negotiate and there were no mechanical or navigational issues. So all in all, a totally uneventful and peaceful start to the New Year cycling programme.

Thanks to Shane, Alan and Matt for their company today.

See route map and/or gpx file download


Photos AO and MT

Friday 5 January 2024

4th January 2024: Comberbach (mod)

There was only a small turnout for the first CER club ride of the new year. Dave H had planned a ride to the Spinner and Bergamot at Comberbach but because of a last minute problem at home he hadn't turned up. Matt had a ride to Hartford but decided to go with the brisk group instead. That left just Ray and myself for a moderate ride and I had no idea where to go. While trying to decide where to go David M decided to join us for part, if not all, of the route and Dave H, having solved his problem, rang and said he would meet us at the Leigh Arms.

So three of us set off from Delamere Station passing through Hatchmere, Norley and Acton Bridge before crossing the Weaver to meet Dave H. The four of us then climbed up to Little Leigh and took a short diversion to approach Comberbach via Senna Lane. It was far too early for lunch so we turned right and then left into Marbury Park. We followed the Old Warrington Road before crossing the flashes to reach the New Warrington Road. We then did a loop around Great Budworth but this wasn't enough to fill the time. David M decided to leave us at this point and the rest of us headed up to Antrobus. A loop via Reeds Lane brought us back into Antrobus from where we headed over to Frandley and a second trip down Senna Lane. This time we turned left and headed for lunch at the Spinner and Bergamot.

After lunch we headed straight back to Little Leigh before dropping Dave H back at his car. Ray and I retraced our route from the morning climbing up to Acton Bridge, then Norley.  At Hatchmere I left Ray to make his own way back to Delamere Station while I headed home. He was the only one to complete the 34 mile ride. Not the most exciting route but a pleasant day cycling round the lanes of Cheshire on what had been a cold but sunny winter's day.

See route map and/or gpx file download

Happy New Year.  


Tuesday 2 January 2024

31st December 2023 : Annual statistics.

The annual statistics are listed below. You can see that overall mileage and number of blogs is lower than in previous years. 

The main reason seems to be that the number of Brisk blogs halved to only 15, whereas the Mod blogs held up at the same figure of 57.

The average ride length has dropped as well; Brisk blogs tended to be longer so a halving of these this year contributed to the reduced average and the reduced total mileage ridden.

The usual ride leaders and blog writers were in evidence as well; with 42 of the 72 blogs being produced by a Dave and three Steves with a further  eight contributors as well.

We also have to face the facts that we are all a year older and probably now just thinking about that "little electric number" you keep looking at in the cycling press and local dealers.

Hopefully, the weather in January will dry up soon so that we can enjoy the ride more and wash the bike less in early 2024. It was good to see Matt well and truly back in the saddle, and we hope to see Ivan and Steve Ha back on their bikes in the first quarter of 2024


YearMileageBlogsAv Miles/Ride