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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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Friday 28 June 2024

27th June 2024: Burwardsley (mod+)

Maggies was the venue for today's meeting and at least a dozen turned up. It soon became apparent that nobody had a route bar me, as there was no SHa or DH today, due to holiday packing or something like that for the latter. However, it sounds like we may get SHa back this summer. This meant the minority of easy riders were left looking at each other for a while. However, I did see George with an OS map in hand (obviously been to the school of DH cycling leadership- Lol).  Elec Ray arrived, somewhat late, perhaps he saved the day- Lol.

Unusually, the majority of the meet were Mod+ enthusiasts. However, there were a few fast boys, also without a leader it seemed. Anyway, what I thought was likely to be a lone ride for me,  became a group of 8 - what!- Lol. I guess I shouldn’t have mentioned that my route was specifically aimed at negating the very strong SW winds, which inevitably meant small hills. This led to everybody jumping on my train-  Lol. So that’s how my group of 8 formed, although I would quickly realise there was a maveric undertone within the peloton - more about that later- Lol, Lol.

Once upon a time in a land, not so far away,  there were 8: Steve H, Steve T, Allan, Ray (non Elec) Shane, Clive and Nick. We headed north up to Aldford with a lovely tailwind start, but as usual with me, I throw in a few little back lanes so we can all admire the scenery and sites in some cases. After slipping around the back of Churton, we then head onto the back of Aldford for our first unusual site, which was the Gnome garden, belonging to a house that also has some of the finest gable end decoration I have ever seen. In fact most of the village have similar decoration, as most of you probably know, although this particular house  seems to have more detail. Most of you are probably well aware that Aldford village is the jewel in the crown of the Duke of Westminster's village estates and hence, the immaculate up keep of these houses. (Never seen the likes in any other village, not to this standard- see photo)

We head out of Aldford, over the Dee bridge, turning right to Bruera and Platt’s Lane beyond. This allows us to get across the A41 via the pavement and keep the tailwind of course, which continues as we turn left toward Tattenhall, although we are by-passing the village via Old Ma’s (alas no more, but the sign is still up)

It was not long before we were passing the ice cream farm, which prompted me to deliberate on a route change, as I realise the tailwind is slightly more westerly than originally thought. Thus we turn left toward Beeston, which not only provides more tailwind, but eventually sets us up for a right turn on to Peckforton Lane, after swinging around the back of Beeston. Our right turn, at the stunning white and red cottage on the corner, is where I consider is the start of the southern end of the Sandstone ridge and the start of a gradual uphill tap- Lol. 

The ridge line doesn’t really end until after Carden Park, somewhere near Tilston in fact, as that’s where one reaches the flat land again. However, the ridge line was now providing surprisingly good cover from the now diagonal headwind, that we were barely experiencing. What we were now experiencing was the steady uphill tap, which led Clive to remark about the burn in his legs, as we bear round another corner and up toward the Bickerton Poacher. 

As I was saying to Nick, later on at lunch, unfortunately the short stretch of the Nantwich / Wrexham road is the only way to traverse the local area of Bulkley (not without at least a 7 mile diversion via Bunbury that is). No sooner are we passing  Copper Mine lane, we head up again on a nasty little drag, which is where the ‘Maverick 5’ decide to show their cards and form their own group, by not turning left to Bickerton with the rest of us, which was now just 3 loyal group members intent on finishing the full ride- Lol.

Clearly the previous few miles of gentle uphill riding had got to the legs of our maverick 5, to the degree that they felt they couldn’t endure the real climbing to come and decided on a short cut over Harthill. Although to be fair, I don’t think we can blame Shane for his part in the desertion. As the newest member of the club, he was probably just following the group. No doubt he was informed, by their ring leader,  that this was how CER ride. I can imagine the conversation; “don’t fret Shane, we often split into groups if the cycling gets a bit tough and take the short cut to our lunch destination. This has the added advantage of us getting our orders in first”- Lol, Lol, Lol.

So!  The loyal remainder of Clive, Allan and yours truly turn left down to Bickerton and then up over my favourite hilly lane (Goldford Lane), which Allan agreed was now his favourite lane as well, once down the other side. We now turn right for another upward haul on Old Coach Road toward Brown Knowl. After a very quick short descent we turn right into a lovely little farm lane that gets us back on course for what I call the easy way around Harthill (still up - Lol and called Bolsworth Hill road)

Not far from our lunch destination, I again deliberate on a left or right turn, deciding on the hillier way to the Poffee cafe. This would be our last climb and the steepest, with an extra kicker in the tail, off Harthill (Ridding Bank). No sooner done and we’re  cruising down toward the Poffee, only a half mile away.

Surprise, surprise, we find the Maveric 5 comfortably seated, waiting on their deserts, well maybe not quite their deserts - Lol, Lol. We greet the rest of the group, who were all providing a different excuse for not completing the ride, but we knew the truth- Lol. Somebody tried to make out that they had missed the turn because they were ahead of the ride leader, who I might say, was feeling the hill in question, after being on the front for the whole ride. Not that it bothered the loyal few, as we still experienced the FULL glory of the FULL route- Lol, Lol.

Lunch, not surprisingly had plenty of conversation and banter, too much for me to remember, although there was one enlightening moment when Steve H demonstrated a new sign language that had us all bewildered as he shook his middle finger in the air (somewhat like the posh folk with a cup of tea). He was apparently trying to order a fish finger sandwich. I’m not sure who was more confused, us or the waitress- Lol.

Photos by Neil T

Mind you, that was not the most enlightening moment of our lunch. I dared to comment on SH’s attempt at sign language, being a northern dialect, when I got a defensive barrage (stronger than the England Euro team) from,  no less than, the maverick 5 - Lol. Who knew ST was such a staunch defender of the North, after suggesting that I should have my lights punched out - Lol.

Lunch over and still with a straight nose, we set off for a relatively short final leg back to Holt, although only a few were going all the way back. We head down in to Tattenhall, via a little unknown lane to most, eventually turning left up the small hill to cross the A41 via Holywell lane and up to Carden Park, which provides excellent cover against the headwind. At the back entrance to CP (Stretton Mill lane) I depart the remainder, as we had already lost Clive & Ray in Tattenhall.

Steve H (aka- maverick 5 leader- Lol, Allan and Nick, I think) head down Stretton lane and I head through the golf course and home via Coddington and Aldersey.

I got home with 74k on the clock and 575 mtrs of assent. Hopefully the rest all made it home safely.

A lovely day out with some great company and even better  banter. The route worked out really well for the wind conditions and one to save. Worth doing a second time, for the maverick 5 of course, so they can enjoy the FULL majesty of the route- Lol, Lol, Lol,Lol.

See route map and/or gpx file download

Till next time, Neil (alias - Lady Whistledown- for those in the know🤪🤣)

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