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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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Friday 26 April 2024

25th April 2025 : Rhyl (brisk)

Today's ride was from Gladstone Library Café in Hawarden. I was not expecting any other Brisk riders to be out today as they were mostly on holiday elsewhere but on arrival, I was the only rider for 20 minutes!! Eventually, Alan arrived then at 10:27 Dave P turned up ready to ride. 

I had route to Rhyl and the motion was carried and we set off.  Departing the café, it started to drizzle so we had a quick pit stop to put on our jackets. On setting off again through Ewloe, there were now only two of us as Dave decided to do his own ride. 

Rhuddlan Castle and this ride's peloton.

Clwyd River Path to Rhyl
The route is through Northop and the Halkyns and then on to Trefnant. From St Asaph, we join the cycle way along the busy A525 to Rhuddlan which is a very good cycle road and a lot less potted than the roads. It's then along the Clwyd river cycleway into Rhyl and the ever-popular "The Sussex" Wetherspoons pub for lunch of fish and chips and a golden beer from all the way from Bonnie Scotland.

From Rhyl, although we did not have the history tutor, I was suitably informed of the Sustrans involvement in maintaining the cycleway and Alan's commitment to the Sustrans voluntary work force. On departure from the Spoons pub, we ride the road to Prestatyn before joining our next cycleway through the golf course and Prestaven Sands holiday park.  Again, Alan has been involved along this track only last week, shovelling all the sand back from the wooden section. 

We rejoin the main road (A548), and I realise I am solo and pull over and wait for Alan. When he arrives, he advises me that he’s lost his seat bag. It's quickly established that he hadn’t had one as he swopped bikes and didn’t transfer his kit! I mention that I hope we don’t have a puncture as now no tools. Omen!!! 50 yards along the road he hits a pothole and a snakebite – pop!!  He quickly fixes it and we were rolling again.  

On arrival at Shotton, I head for home via the Greenway. Due to bike malfunction on leaving home and swopping his bike, Alan must now return to Hawarden to collect his car. So a 58 mls route round from Hawarden with thanks to Alan for his company on the ride.

See route map and/or gpx file download

ID

Thursday 18 April 2024

18th April 2024 : Tiverton (mod)

There seemed to be slight desperation and apprehension in Ray B’s email in which he was asking who will lead a ride today as Dave H was away. So, I couldn't let Ray be there with no ride leader could I?

I’d only ridden to the Station Cafe from the top of Kelsall Hill as I had driven over today not relishing an hour’s ride back in the advertised late afternoon rain. I was at the cafe first and a bit worried that I would be the only one. I needn't have worried because soon there were eleven of us - Ray B, Steve T, Mike B, Andy B, Alan, Shane, Matt, Jim, Trevor, and Dave P.

After a bit of discussion, Steve agreed that his ride to Goostrey was a bit far east given the afternoon rain’s 1500-1600 arrival, so I put forward a circuitous ride to Tiverton - no, not the Devonian town but that just south of Tarporley where the Lockgate cafe is nicely situated at the bottom of two hills.

So with the usual disarray, we set off up towards Hatchmere and Norley enjoying the first of many Road Closed signs and road repairs of the day. We turn right up Gallowshough Lane where there is supposed to be a Neolithic and Bronze Age round barrow in the field - but I think it has been ploughed out but there is a reference here

At the end of this tiny lane and after two cars and a big tractor, we re-group and turn right down and up Stoneyford Lane thence crossing the A556 road onto a short section of the A49. Passing Cheshire Polo Club, it’s into Longstone Lane bound for the Whitegate Way where we briefly meet Dave M and Andy W on their Bob Clift’s Ride check-out ride.

At the bottom of Whitegate Hill, we turn off right for the run down into Winsford passing the rock salt mine with its allied deep document storage business. Jim and Trevor decide to go their own way here as we circle the roundabout to kiss the edge of Glebe Green and Hebden Green areas of Winsford. It's now a run down Blakenden Lane behind Cheshire Constabulary’s HQ. This lane in common with many back lanes in Cheshire, has seen better days. A short stretch of the A54, quaintly called Chester Lane, takes us towards Little Budworth and Oulton Park motor racing track. It’s a short run now passing east of Tarporley and crossing the A49 and a fast descent after 22 miles to Tiverton Bottom and the Lockgate Cafe.

I had booked ahead for 12 riders and we were now only 9 riders, but our tables were reserved in this busy cafe. The food came fast enough and was judged to be of good quality. I was using the time at table to work out how I had misread my original route for today which meant that we had arrived at the cafe a little early and how I could now make a passable return ride. This is the problem with complex cross-over routes especially those assembled in a hurry. 

The problem had been that I had cobbled together today’s ride in about 10 minutes before I drove off to Kelsall - I didn’t want Ray to be leaderless and disappointed, or worse, that he would have to plan a route and lead it! So with a failing phone battery, I now cobbled a corrected return route back to Delamere. We set off up the A49 and into the back of Bunbury using the delightful Wyche Road village bypass and thence Bird Lane; lanes which were first introduced to me in 2009 by Ray Hardman no less. Here Andy, Shane and Matt struck out for home shortly after the group photo.

They are a trusting group!

At Alpraham, where we use a short section of the A51, we head north for Oulton Park again via Rushton. Crossing the A49 once again at Cotebrook, it’s a straight run back to Delamere with nearly 37 miles ridden. About 1430, a light rain is evident - so quite a bit earlier than advertised. I branch  left onto the A54 to Kelsall Hill and my car, where now the rain has upped its game, whereas the others head for Delamere Station car park and home.

I can’t remember the last time I led a Mod ride with 10 riders trusting in my routing. However it does make you appreciate how the Dave H’s and Steve's tirelessly put up and lead routes for your delectation. 

No one will mind if one of you were to offer to lead a ride - it’s how we all learnt to do it!


CA 

Photo AO

Saturday 13 April 2024

11th April 2024: Rhos to Trefriw (special ride, mod)

When I volunteered to plan this day, I hadn’t envisaged the amount of preparation demanded compared to previous outings. Routes required for Mods and Brisk’s plus a Mods Route Sheet. Also, people’s abilities have changed and new faces arrived. Any planning had to account for the majority of the groups. Since COVID, opening hours for public houses have changed considerably. Café’s in Rhos have changed, so starters I decided on the popular café COAST used by my family. For lunch I didn’t know whether the Old Ship Inn would be open as regular phone calls were unanswered.

As my Wednesday Pootlers Group had a ‘Welsh Wash Out Wednesday’ I decided that the Mods route I planned would suit them nicely. So, 19 in total turned up at the COAST cafe. The Brisk & Mods+ had decided on a clockwise route largely based on my suggested Routes, Pootlers and Mods would use what I had planned. Ivan I learn’t later, went solo following one of my Brisk Routes.

The Mods, MikeD, Electric Ray, Hon Sec DaveH, Dave Matthews, Keith, and myself, plus 4 Pootlers (John, Shaun, Audax Chris shortly off to Japan & Electric Paul) set of for Llandudno. DaveM was having difficulty on the first climb out of Penrhyn Bay and decided at Llandudno he would bypass the Great Orme round and would rejoin at West Shore. The remainder congregated at the Rest & Be Thankful Café before setting of for Deganwy. At West Shore the main group of Pootlers, Ray and Andy had disappeared leaving just four of us DaveH, MikeD, Keith and myself to wend our way to the lunch stop in Trefriw. Keith was very keen to practice Welsh place names so some fun was had. He could have done with some assistance from Steve Hughes. On we went around the Conwy estuary cycle trail thinking all was well with those in the advanced party. Photo opportunity was taken at the Telford Suspension Bridge completed in 1826 and at one time carried the A55. 

Photo by Mike G

On through Rowen and we had time to take in St Mary’s a 13th Century Church at Caerhun with its views of the Conwy Valley and was once a major Roman Fort in times gone past.  The wind was getting up and on our way to Trefriw where we were passed going in the opposite direction by the Brisk group, who were pounding their way for a lunchtime pancake. At our lunch stop Old Ship Inn, Andy, DaveM and the Mods+ were into their grub and reported that Ivan had visited. Where was Ray? He appears to have lost contact with the Pootlers decided to wait at Llandudno Junction small roundabout but hadn’t realised we went via the estuary cycle path so missed him completely. So he returned safely to Rhos on Sea where he had lunch before returning home. We four had a lovely lunch hour, the beer I had was very pleasant. Andy advised he was making his way home and DaveM was soon on his way as were the Mods+ group. We four made our way across the valley to Llanrwst, via the suspension bridge and as we progressed up the long climb noticed the wind would be in our favour. Across the tops wind assisted, the four of us freewheeled for long periods, and were able to enjoy the limited views of the Carnedd mountains in the west and the Clwydian Range and Moel Famau plus Denbigh Moor to the east.  Keeping the best to last. I planned on a lovely downfall to Old Colwyn. All four of us enjoyed the extravaganza via Llanelian yn Rhos with lovely coastal views. The road surface made it even better, being recently resurfaced unlike the years gone past where it had always been an undulating gravel strewn patchwork quilt.

We four arrived safely at the COAST café just after 4pm, the Mods+ arriving shortly afterwards. Also, the thanks received from Ivan and others for the enjoyable ride they had. Thanks also to Dave Heath for the effort he provided in advising me on what was required, names and numbers who would be attending.

See route map and/or gpx file download

Mike Gilbert



    


11th April 2024 : Rhos to Trefriw ( Brisk Special Ride )

There were a lot of us at the Coast Cafe as I turned up after a 5 mile warm up ride around Rhos. It was positively buzzing. There were three (or perhaps four) distinct rides today. I had taken one of Mike’s brisk routes and then reversed it to ride the big hills before lunch. As ever, getting the rides going was more disorganised than herding cats. Slowly it became clear that there would only be three of us Brisk riders today - Nick, Ken and myself.

I was looking forward to the first few miles as it was all along the foreshore and cycle path No:5 i.e. flat and interesting except it wasn’t. I made the fatal mistake of remarking to Ken at the start that the promenade was finally finished after three years - but it wasn’t. There were barriers across the road which meant we had to take the old main road up to Penmean Rhos - and up it was for a good mile and 300ft. So we run down passing the massive quarries to rejoin Highway 5  to rejoin the cycle path near Llanddulas. There may have been a diversion sign back down to the coast path but I didn’t see it.

The path was rock and debris strewn as result of recent storms so we either rode very slowly or carried the bikes over the worst bits. Eventually after 6 miles of inconvernience, we start the six mile uphill ride to Trofarth. It is a very beautiful valley with some nasty steep bits - but very picturesque. Ken tells me one hill was 19% and I believed him as I very slowly ascended it.

Eventually, we reach a very good and wide road and head ever upwards almost due south battling a vicious gusting side wind. Just before we hit the A548, we notice the rainstorm strafing the hills and Conwy river valley in front of us, so we don rain jackets just in time. The descent on wet roads into Llanrwst is very fast and very bendy but we arrive safely in the centre and head north to locate the tiny lane by the station which takes us over and across the Conwy river and its flood plain into Trefriw.

Our route now is straight north along the B road to Conwy passing the surfing centre. We notice a few Mod riders on their way to lunch at Trefriw. We pass the Roman fort turn before peeling off left towards Rowen then onwards to the Dutch Pancake House cafe after 30 miles of hard riding. Lunch was adjudged to be very good and quick and we all took a pint of hydrating Snowdon ale as well.

The lane into the back of Conwy was very pleasant as I lead our trio around the town and down to quayside. We stop awhile to take in the scenery with the famous Liverpool Arms pub and the fresh seafood shop before cycling across the bridge and around the estuary to Deganwy junction. We were held up by the level crossing for some time here but we were in no hurry. Just as we get onto the main drag to Llandudno, the Mod+ group arrive alongside us having ignored the long queue of traffic that had built up due to roadworks. 

Conwy Castle quayside

Unfortunately on getting onto this road from the side turning, Nick has a front mudguard malfunction which tips him off his bike and into the road narrowly missing the slowly moving traffic. Thankfully he is not too badly hurt but rather shaken as you would be. We rest awhile until Nick is ready to ride again. We set off now following the Mods+ to the West Shore model railway park. They head off for a turn round the Great Orme via the private road.

Waiting for Godot ( aka CA)


At "Rest and be Thankful Cafe" 

I’d modified the route to ascend the Great Orme by road and then drop down via St Tudno’s Well onto the private peripherique. Unfortunately this meant about a mile or so of 15-20% hillside either cycling, or in my case walking, up along side the railway track. All respect to Ken and Nick as they rode the whole way !!!. By walking up though I had given them time to briefly explore the Great Orme Bronze Age copper mine. We eschew the summit by turning off right and down passing St Tudno’s Well and its church and cemetery and onto the peripherique. We had agreed to stop at the “Rest and Be Thankful” cafe only to find the Mod+ group there enjoying their recently purchased  cake and coffees.The home run back to Rhos was uneventful taking in the bay’s wide promenade and the last hill up and over the Little Orme. 

A great route thanks to Mike's initial suggestion, but the stiff wind plagued us all day, and we could have done without the stinging rain as we swooped down into Llanwrst. Steve Hu sent me a newspaper cutting the following day which informed me that, the part of the closed promenade that pushed us onto the old main road, was now open (after three years).

So many thanks to Nick and Ken for their patience with me on those hills today, but nevertheless 50 miles and 4000ft of climbs on an interesting and stunning route with great company all day. 


CA

Photos KP

Friday 12 April 2024

11th April 2024: Rhos to Trefriw (special ride, mod+)

Well what a “reet grand” day at the seaside. The spring CER special ride was organised by our very own Mike Gilbert and publicised by our esteemed secretary Dave Heath.  A tremendous turnout of CER friends both old and new met at Coast Cafe to start the first special ride of the year. In a week where rain and high tides had dominated our small window of dry weather was appreciated. 

With such a large group three groups naturally formed, the glacials, the mod+ and the briskers. Both Steve T and I had been concerned on the profile of Mike's suggested route with its Eiger like profile after the lunch stop. This concern was eased when Clive advised the briskers were altering the direction of the route and doing it in reverse. 

An excellent idea I believed and this was quickly adopted by Shane, Steve T and Alan so off we went. Possibly a CER record, we managed to lose Shane within 300 yds. I returned to the cafe to see a stream of flow yellow jkts heading both east and west. Undaunted the three musketeers continued along the lovely coastline which has benefitted from one million tonnes of sand sucked up beyond the wind turbines and re deposited on the shore. This alongside furniture and sea defence work has totalled over £20 million over 2022/3 & 4. 

As we approached the underpass for the A55 we spied a rash of flow yellow cyclists. Sure enough our errant Shane had decided to jump on with the fast lads, such is his youthful determination. He was quickly re absorbed into the workmanlike mod+ group and we were once again quorate. 

The long climb from Old Colwyn up and around Llaneilian yn Rhos can only ever be called a slog. A number of King Of The Mountains challengers were seen in action but Shane dispensed with all comers and collected maximum points at the top of the climb. It was during this “twiddling “ ascent that Alan pointed out the ever so slightly mahoosive flaw in my cunning plan of reversing the route. The decisions meant we spent twenty miles climbing 2500 feet into a continuous headwind. The realisation of this error was cemented when we crested the hill and rode across Pennant road on the flat in a full on headwind at 10 to 12 mph. Whilst managing to “miss” the turnoff to Llanrwst we maintained altitude and rode towards Betwys Y Coed. Finally at a hairpin turn we turned back towards Llanrwst and the headwind became our friend and gave us wings. 

Therin followed a two and a half mile downhill section where everyone excelled. After the plunge into Llanrwst we stopped for a couple of photographic opportunities and crossed the River Conway on a very pretty suspension bridge. 


Photos by Alan O

Trefriw soon appeared to our tired eyes and to our delight we met Andy B and Dave M who greeted us with a cheery “where’s the pub”? The Ship Inn. On finding the pub that Andy B had ridden straight past we discovered another elite CER member Ivan . Ivan had not only arrived there early, he had eaten and was setting off the way we had come. Such is the power of his new knee!! Over lunch a number of mod riders appeared one at a time , however I will not detract from the mod blog which will probably be called “ how we set off with 11 and ended up with 4or 5 !” or similar. 

From Trefriw with the much needed tailwind we made good time , stopping only for a quick mudguard fix on Steve T’s bike and a navigational error by Steve H. We passed Rowen where the fast lads were dining at a Pancake kitchen apparently. 

Soon the sight of Conway castle greeted us and we hugged the estuary through to Deganwy. On hitting the traffic we spied the brisk group, who were also experiencing mudguard malfunctions. It was now time, at Alan’s request to circumnavigate the Great Orme via the toll road. Unfortunately only three or four seals put in an appearance at the popular viewing spot so we plodded up the hill to the Cafe at the top of the hill. 

Replete with strong coffees, we were soon joined again by the briskers who had braved the 25% plus climb parallel to the railway line. They certainly needed coffee and cake after that! From here it was all downhill apart from the slight bump of the Little Orme and we were back in Rhos on Sea. No sooner had we stopped to bade farewell to Steve T, then today's man of the moment Mike Gilbert appeared to welcome us back. 

So 50 miles, 3800 feet of climbing a dose of windburn resulted in a fantastic day of fellowship and entertainment! A big thanks must go to Mike G for curating the three different routes and for Dave H in pulling all the members together to go. 

See route map and/or gpx file download

Steve H 

Tuesday 9 April 2024

4th April 2024: Malpas (mod)

 There were four riders making up the moderate group at Alison’s: Trevor, Jim, Keith and me. The weather was welcomingly warm and dry. The idea was to have a quiet lanes long sweeping ride out, and a shorter ride back in case we caught a heavy shower or two. Our route out was via Beeston and Bunbury. Trevor was having some difficulties with his gears, and I popped into the Co-Op at Bunbury for a fat bottle of water to fit in my cage. We then headed east at Gradeley Green, before turning right after the canal bridge near Swanley Hall. Keith remembered Mike Morley’s favouring the Farmers Arms at Ravensmoor for lunch, notable in the past for its barmaids. It was difficult to pass 18 The Park at Wrenbury, but I had booked The Little Deli at Malpas, so we continued through to the lift bridge. The red lights were flashing but a woman beckoned us through before, I presume, pressing a button to raise the bridge for her canal barge. We cut across west to Gaunton's Bank and Norbury Common before crossing the A49 at Bickley. Despite starting out late and stopping for a few minutes in Bunbury, Trevor had effectively managed his rear gear mech. issues, and we had a fighting chance of arriving for lunch close to 1p.m. as booked. We crossed the A41 at No Mans Heath, where we reminisced about the times we used to eat delicious sausages in large Yorkshire puddings at the Wheatsheaf Inn there, and we wondered about its future. We had the usual steep bank to encounter before Malpas (which Alan will not remember fondly, from when he was suffering from asthma), but we were soon locking our bikes up only ninety seconds after our e.t.a.  The food and service were very good at our reserved table in the compact Little Deli. Conversation involved the enterprising holidays and excursions recently undertaken by Keith, Trevor and Jim, with Trevor’s Spitfire adventure also imminent. This was balanced by the usual justified concerns about the state of the NHS, and the real old git tip of making your loaf last by putting half of it in the freezer. The woman serving  takes her car to the same nearby garage that I swear by, and is friendly with one of the two guys who run it, with their sons being close pals. Chatting away I almost feel part of The Malpas Family! Would you believe it?  

Our return was via Cuddington Heath, Chorlton, Horton Green and Tilston. This route is very peaceful and pleasant, and avoids the initial slog up Kidnal Hill on the direct, but busier, Roman road route to Tilston. “Local” Neil had warned us of the current flooded state of the roads from Chowley to Tattenhall, so we took the route to Barton, Handley and Milton Green, before crossing the main road and the milder flooding of Frog(!) Lane to reach Tattenhall. The ride was over forty miles and covered at a steady stress-free state in relaxed company. Jim is doing outstandingly well on his return to riding with us, and Trevor and Jim must have clocked up a creditable sixty miles or so. How uplifting to have a warm, dry ride for a promising change.   

DH


Friday 5 April 2024

4th April 2024: Aldford (mod+)

Alison’s was our starting point today and roughly 14 of us turned up, which meant 3 groups formed with the fast boys being the largest group for a change. I had a local route in mind, which to be fair was all about the Xmas toastie at Lily’s cafe (although you don’t get the stuffing at this time of year-Lol.) My feeling was that my legs were more in tune with a Mod minus pace- Lol. This meant my group was small, with just Fiona, Elwyn & Steve T, as all of us, bar Elwyn of course, felt the same. However that later proved to be unfounded, as we finished with a good average speed considering it was a hill route. So I apologise to Ray and perhaps Matt, who were frightened off our group by my gloomy pace predictions.

My route had been carefully planned to avoid all the flooded lanes that I had come across the day before, which even applied to the direction we left Alison’s. 2 of the 5 routes out of Tattenhall had bad floods, which lead to a little confusion with DH, on the best way to get back to Alison’s. Anyway, off we trot towards Harthill (avoiding the very mucky and flooded Rocky lane) All the hilly bits were in the first 10 miles, so it wasn’t long before we were heading up, around Harthill ( the easier way) and down into Brown Knowl.

Shortly after crossing the main drag to Nantwich, we swung right in to a short tarmac goat track that surprised Steve, especially when after only a few hundred mtrs we had a nasty little kicker to climb. Clearly, Fiona felt the hill as I heard the shout of “13%”! To be fair, not as steep as I thought. Probably not worthy of the term ‘kicker’ -Lol. It was shortly after this that I mentioned to Steve that I had read a story in Cycling Plus, only that morning, about steep hills and a small cobbled lane in Whitby, with a 50%!!!!!!! incline. I always thought the steepest street in the UK was 40%- who knew- Lol.

Now whistling down the other side of Brown Knowl, having just passed Broxton Old Hall, we spray our way through our first large patch of run off water, which made me wonder what constitutes a ford (not the car Mr Hughes- Lol)? After a fairly quick circular loop that took us up over Bickerton Hill, we pass through Duckington and cross the A41 heading for Tilston on a favourite stretch, or at least to Fiona and I.

After a U turn at the Carden Arms, due to my brain being in neutral, we head toward Horton and the Shochlach road, which we join at The Bull pub ( now closed, like many these days). We decide to check out the River Dee in Farndon, which I was surprised to find looking normal. I had expected to see the meadows flooded, due to all the recent rain. No sooner at the traffic lights of Holt bridge,  I do a u turn back up the hill, much to Fiona’s dismay, as I hadn’t told her what we were up to. She was in the wrong gear of course and cursing me- Lol.

30 seconds later, I had to call Steve to remount his stead. He was already back up the hill and parking up at the rear of Lewis’s cafe. Clearly he did not know Lily’s and must have thought I said Lewis’s- Lol. This meant we fell back by 50 mtrs from E& F who had decided to suddenly set the pace and cracked on without us. My legs were shot after the pace I had set along the Shochlach road. This meant we spent the next 2 miles to Lily’s trying to catch them. Steve just about made it, but I had no hope.

Lily’s was not busy so we were able to get our orders in straight away and the sandwiches were truly lovely and very filling. We sat outside for the first time this year, although it did get a tad chilly toward the end. A lovely courtyard  to relax when the sun is out. It wasn’t long before we we discussing the rest of the route, which lead F& E to decide to cut for home as they had ridden to Alison’s and had 35 miles on the clock already. So they turned back to Holt, which meant their ride was roughly 43 miles, by the time they got to Lavister. 

Steve and I carry on the planned route, over Aldford bridge, where the River Dee was high this time and looking very muddy. We tried to push on with our cafe legs, which began to bite as I followed Steve up past Abbey Gate College, after enjoying the lovely half mile stretch of new-ish tarmac from Platt’s Lane.

We pass the multi coloured concrete hippo in the school playground of Saighton and start to accelerate as we swing through another lovely Westminster village and the home of the Brunning & Price office. Anyway, we arrive at Waverton and cross the A41 with no hold ups and soon pass the Crocky Trail, shortly after we turn right into Martin’s Lane, heading for Hargrove. 

Despite now heading directly south we weren’t feeling any headwind, which surprised me as there was supposed to be a light south westerly by 1 pm. This meant our finishing stretch to Tattenhall was easy enough, even though we still had a few miles to go. My route looped around Tattenhall, past the ice cream farm, which seemed to disappoint Steve. I got the feeling he would have preferred the direct route into Tattenhall, after he asked if the loop around was an add on. 

In actual fact his total of 38 miles was less than the expected 40. I had of course forgotten the 2+ mile return trip to my house from Alison’s- Lol. So I left Steve at Alison’s, where he was going to try and fix the annoying squeak we had to listen to, all the way from Lily’s. At least I could tell if he was dropping back, if I couldn’t hear him- Lol. Mind you, when he was on the front, I was getting target fixation, as I kept looking for his squeak - Lol. He had plenty of time to kill as he had to wait for DH to get back. so it gave him something to do- Lol.


Photos by Neil T

I then rode through the longest flood in the county, for the second time that day- Lol.  Frog Lane has had a 40 mtr flood since Xmas. Fortunately it never gets more than a few inches deep and no pot holes. When I rode through it the previous day I got a clap from a women waiting in her car, as she watched me pedal through- Lol. As usual I have digressed a fair bit- Lol. I got home with 40 miles on the clock and an average speed of 14.6 mph, which with all things considered was a lot better than we expected.

What a lovely day for it as well, probably the best all year so far, as there was no wind and mild. Till next time folks.

PS- For Steve T

That road I was trying to tell you about (Britains highest road and tarmac cul-de-sac). It’s in Cumbria and starts near Knock ( where ever that is). A 5 mile climb up to a 850 mtr summit (radar station) Not only is it a cul-de-sac that deters cars, but it is not actually open to traffic, without a permit. However, it is open to bikes, as an official bridleway. Would make an interesting add on to a special ride, but a toughie ( I can hear DH cringing - Lol- Lol)  

See route map and/or gpx file download

All the best

Neil


Thursday 4 April 2024

4th April 2024 : Market Drayton (brisk)

CER riders were out in abundance at Alison’s today taking over the whole of the outside decking area. While everyone was consuming their drinks, the conversation was focussed on how to  avoid the flooded roads  and the  route options for the day.

The brisk group options were either Ivan’s route to Wetherspoons at Market Drayton or my route to Wem. Both virtually identical but Market Drayton offered a greater choice of lunch venues.  The group of six brisk riders consisting of Nick, Clive, Matt, Ivan, Ray and myself, selected the Market Drayton option.

We were a little late in setting off due to the time taken to share GPX files but soon enough we were climbing over Harthill and onwards towards Cholmondeley. It was here that Nick’s water bottle made a bid for freedom and landed in a large muddy puddle! So we had to call at the Estate farm shop to get it cleaned.

500yds later we turned right into the aptly named Grotsworth Lane to access the crossroads on the A49. This road was the worst flooded road of the whole day. Five large areas of this road were totally underwater, some deep enough to give our feet a good soaking, and what wasn’t underwater, was covered in mud and debris which slowed our progress considerably.

Once over the A49, our  southerly progress continued through the villages of Gautons Bank, Wrenbury and Aston, dodging more debris, potholes, and floods. A straight route due south now took us through Wilkesley before easing round the eastern side of Shavington Hall and leading us to the outskirts of Market Drayton.

At this point light drizzle had started to fall but not hard enough to require waterproofs plus we were only a few minutes away from our destination. Our progress up to lunch had felt brisk as Ivan was on the front for most of the time pulling like a train. However, it was still a surprise to see it was only 12:15 when we arrived at “The Hippodrome”.

Lunch selections were quickly made and, while Matt went off to buy Paracetamol for his toothache, the rest of us settled down with a drink. As usual, the service in Wetherspoon’s was speedy with our food arriving promptly; very  good value at £10 for a main and a pint. Talk over lunch focussed  on the difficulty of accessing NHS dentists and the  cost of dental treatment.

Lunch took less than an hour and then we were back on the road on a very direct route back to Tattenhall. We had a short stop at Morton Say for Clive’s weekly history lesson - a  visit to St Margaret’s Church (see photo ) where Sir Robert Clive aka "Clive of India" was interred. 

Unfortunately the church was locked and a local dog walker confirmed that Clive’s resting place was inside the church and not in the graveyard. His boyhood home was just across the fields. More at Wiki here if you are interested.

At Morton Say Church - it was shut!
Continuing on under brighter skies and still at a good pace, we continued heading north west to pass through the centre of Whitchurch  followed by a short dash along the busy A41 before thankfully turning onto quieter roads leading to Malpas and Tilston.

Nick and myself turned off for home in Tilston leaving the rest of the group to continue on to Chester via Barton and Churton. The posted route today was 51 miles. I think most of us rode nearer 70+ miles and at a brisk 16 mph


KP

Photo NH

Tuesday 2 April 2024

28th March 2024: Bunbury (mod)

It was the sort of forecast that could justify even the more committed cycling club member to think “Nah! I’ll just give this one a miss.” Nevertheless, those sponsored by their partners to get from under their feet every Thursday turned up at Meadow Lea. The bad weather was due from lunchtime, so a short ride may have avoided too many wet hours in the saddle. Dave Matthews and Andy Whitgreave were doing their own truncated outing, and Jim and Trevor were intending to ride to Ness and back. Andy Barber, Big Ray, Keith, Mike Dodd and myself looked like being the moderate gang. However, when I outlined my usual sketchy notion of a ride with a direct, wind assisted route back if required, Jim and Trev decided to join us, along with John Mills who had just rolled in.

We headed in the direction of Morley Bridge on the A56 before taking to the quiet little lanes by Dunham Heath, then south to Broomhill and Hollowmoor Heath, crossing the A54 at Tarvin Sands, passing through Oscroft (home of Dave M.), and reaching Willington Corner. Choices were now available. Cutting straight down for lunch at Alison’s in Tattenhall was a possibility, or perhaps we could wend a more easterly route, get a few more miles in, then head for Bunbury, and make the lunch decision depending on the weather. I took counsel from Trevor and Jim, before deciding on the more interesting option of navigating a route beyond Tarporley to Eaton, and Tilstone.  John was doing a gentle recovery ride from injury, so took his leave, as we turned up Wood Lane in the direction of Cotebrook. It had been good to have John’s company, and reminded me of the enjoyable summer ride that he had with us in the Ribble and Hodder valleys. 

Near Oulton Park there was the roar of engines practising for the Easter weekend race meeting. At Tilstone we rode a familiar route in reverse: down to the pretty canal crossing at Tilstone Bank and up again toward Bunbury. At this point instead of going into the village we made the decision to forget lunch until we returned to Meadow Lea, and turned right for the A49 and Tiverton.  Now the promised rain arrived but with the wind firmly behind us we were flying straight back via Huxley, Hargrave and Waverton. We took a left to Christleton Village, and were rapidly passed by a blonde woman in pink tights who had the look of a top track sprinter; needless to say, nobody even attempted to follow her back wheel. We know our place and it’s definitely not in the medals. The rain had stopped during the last leg, so just perhaps, Andy didn’t have a wet ride home to Mold.  Jim and Trevor were too close to home to lunch at Meadow Lea.  I know Jim would think it a heresy to spend money so close to home on food and service, when he doesn’t even have to leave a tip for Diane. Ray, Mike, Keith and myself ate a hearty lunch. It was good to catch up with Mike after so long, and with Keith and Jim taking part again it was heartening to have trusted comrades to recall adventures past. We covered nearly thirty five enjoyable miles, and were glad we had made the effort.   

DH