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 24 June 2024

20th June 2024: Aston (mod)

It was a pleasure to see Steve Haywood at Rose Farm and witness the real progress he is now making on his journey back to fitness. We look forward to his company on the lanes before too long. Dave Matthews was very busy organising the imminent Bob Clift fifty-mile ride, so was only accompanying us for a short distance. Our bunch of take it very easy riders consisted of Mold Andy, Dave Pipe, Big Ray, Trevor and myself. We headed out via Cotebrook in the direction of Nantwich but diverted east to Aston juxta Mondrum just to explore unknown little lanes for the hell of it. The village name means ‘Aston near the forest’ and it is mentioned in the Domesday Book. There was one massive farm complex but also a sprinkling of lovely properties down quiet lanes including Aston Hall, and Poole Old Hall as we returned west. We joined the A51 briefly at Henhull Bridge, but were soon back on little lanes at the back of Dorfold Hall estate. Dave had kindly rung The Bhurty to secure our lunch booking.  At Wrenbury large roadworks on the lane to Aston slowed our good progress. We enjoyed a warm reception from the family and their friends who have taken over the Bhurtpore and integrated the ‘18 The Park’ operation from up the road. I didn’t quite catch the start of the lunchtime conversation, but I gather that Trevor must be going on a cruise, because Ray was gleefully telling him that he would return a lot heavier with a big fat face. This was odd because Ray is always trying to convince us that taking a cruise is a wonderful experience, that does you the world of good. We have noticed, mind, that Ray normally returns from a cruise with a big fat head, although that is probably because he started out with one. Dave was in his element being invited to try three different types of beer before settling on one that was acceptable to his veteran boozer’s palate. It felt like going back in time to be in the garden of the Bhurtpore with Dave ordering a curry. Back in 2008 he may well have followed up with a traditional pudding swilled down with another pint.

Our intended direct return was soon extended by missing the roadworks, and working out a delightful diversion to Pinsley Green, Marbury, and Gaunton’s Bank before meeting our normal route to Chorley and on to Bunbury. It was a lovely day, but we were unaccustomed to the heat. Dave and I were going fine but were fancying cake and coffee to restore our energy with climbing to Utkinton ahead. I had drunk too much wine, and had too little sleep the night before, and Dave was feeling it in his legs as he approaches his ninety eighth birthday.  Trevor was easily persuaded, as he could view the stop as acclimatising to eating when you don’t have to in preparation for his cruise. It didn’t seem natural to be filling our faces late afternoon without Andy shovelling it down on the other side of the table. Andy had headed for home earlier, but no doubt would have cycled the extra miles for coffee and a thick,moist cherry and almond slice at Tilly’s, if we had made the decision to stop earlier. Ray didn’t have much choice, as he had no idea how to get back without our presence.   

We arrived back via Tiverton. In my sun-frazzled mind I had entertained Steve Tan bringing the Berlingo down from Rose Farm to pick me up. It would have saved him more waiting time, and give me a better chance to view live the England versus Denmark game kicking off at 5p.m. It seemed like cheating: avoiding the last climbs, but this choice was dashed anyway by my realising that I hadn’t given the car keys to Steve! It was a fast, but not reckless, drive to Runcorn. I needn’t have bothered, because England were as underwhelming as a Costa egg sandwich.  A lovely day on the bike in relaxing company, with about forty miles covered (considerably more for Trevor and Andy).


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