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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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Monday 13 May 2024

9th May 2024: Ellesmere (mod)

Because I don’t wish to receive a contribution to petrol costs when driving to a start venue with Steve on Thursdays, he buys the coffees. But, where had he disappeared to? I wasn’t sure which  type of coffee he preferred. I guessed that he would have liked a cup of Camp Coffee, the one with a kilted Gordon Highlander on the label. It would, perhaps, have reminded him of his Yorkshire tyke childhood, but Maggie’s didn’t stock it, so I chose an Americano for him in his absence. It was probably cold when he turned up with Steve Hughes. Evidently, as highly tuned athletes they had require a twenty-minute warm up ride before the main event! I know, I ask you! You would think that they had been approaching Stage 8 of the Giro d’Italia.  

The non-athletic group consisted of Dave Pipe, Large Ray, George, Mike Dodd and myself. It was good to have George back who had been doing a helluva lot of walking recently including from Bologna to Florence. It was a beautiful warm day, so I rang The Boathouse at Ellesmere to reserve a table for lunch beside the edge of The Mere. I regretted that Dave didn’t cross the start line at Rose Farm last week but this time it took one mile before he became detached, with Mike keeping him company. I rode back near Crewe-by-Farndon fearing an accident or a mechanical, but it turned out that I had just taken off with a hint of briskness and they didn’t know where we had headed to. No harm done. Our route out was via Farndon, Tilston, Chorlton and Lower Wyche, crossing the A525 at Eglwys Cross. In the distant past we have used sticks to clear our mudguards of thick mud here, but this welcome hot and dry weather meant that the notoriously messy lanes to follow shouldn’t have been a problem. Well! The lanes were quiet, and I tried a route past Llyn Bedydd just to explore, but soil and potholes meant that I won’t be using it again. From Bettisfield we cut across to Hampton Bank on the Llangollen Canal, but before long realised that George, Ray and myself were on our own. We sorted things out on our mobiles, but unfortunately Mike and Dave missed the more attractive route via Lyneal, Colemere, and Spunhill, although we arrived nearly together at The Boathouse. It was so sunny, that we changed our table to one in the shade on the veranda. The service was friendly and efficient, the food was very good, and the setting idyllic. Dave didn’t fancy German beers, and his favoured Shropshire brew, ‘Black Frog’ or something, was only available in a bottle, and at a 2024 price (Dave still thinks in 1960’s prices when he was a young man). Nevertheless, after all the bad weather we have tolerated this winter, it was all exceptionally enjoyable in this company.  It was very tempting to just stay there drinking to slumber in the warmth with the gentle lapping of water nearby.  

Photo by DH

On unlocking our bikes we met about six male and female riders from the Wirral. I’m not sure if they were couples, a friendship group or swingers, but they were very pleasant and intending to stay overnight in Shrewsbury.  

The route back was direct, heading up left from just past the cemetery, crossing the course of the old railway before heading for Penley. At Penley we could just see the charred hulk of the Dymock Arms, set on fire in 2010. Part of the pub dates to around 1550, and the building has been Grade 2 listed since 1962.  Worthenbury was the next target, and then up to Shocklack and Farndon. Inexplicably, we managed to lose Dave and Mike again, but again having our mobiles on sorted things out, as the route was now obvious and familiar. I met Steve Tan at the car park in Holt, as Big Ray’s appearance had heralded our arrival.  Steve had been waiting some time, so I turned down Mike’s invitation to join him and Dave at Maggie’s for a late coffee. My leading had obviously been as unaware as Notts Forest’s defence, for which I apologise. I suspect that the situation was compounded by Dave deliberately not using his electric motor in order to strengthen his legs. Anyway, the inquest will probably be settled over coffee next week, but I think that we all had an enjoyable ride in great weather. I guess that we covered about forty-three miles.


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