Sunday 10 November Ride to Pulborough and the DA AGM

On Sunday it was a remarkably sunny day after recent weather. Three of us met at Walberton Pond for a ride to the AGM at Pulborough Village Hall on Sunday 10th; myself, Maureen and Harvey. Our expected leader Sam was not well, so I led and thought as we had time it would be good to go the relatively traffic free route rather than the A29. So we went up through Madehurst to Whiteways, and down Houghton Hill to turn off to Amberley and thence to Wiggonholt. I didn’t know the route from there, but Harvey led us round the bend (so to speak) to Pulborough. We had made good time, arriving at about 10 for the meeting which started at 10.30.

There was pretty good attendance for the AGM, ably chaired as usual by Bob and in an election shocker all the current officers were re-elected unopposed. Edwin plus Dave and Jan Parsons had come up separately; Dave had won the cup for the best Peddler article, and Edwin in his report took the meeting through the trauma of the Great Decision regarding Dissolution-And-Resurrection-With-Affiliation versus Staying-As-We-Are-But-Not-Quite, with the drama of the discussion (the meeting went “Ooooh!”), followed by the tied vote (the meeting went “Erhhhh!”), then the second tied vote (the meeting went  “Eeeek!) followed by the chairman’s casting vote (the meeting went “Aaahhh!”) by which time there was hardly a dry eye in the house.

There were other things going on as well which I sadly couldn’t really hear, so as usual I just clapped when everyone else did.

Afterwards we retired to the Oddfellows Arms. I’m not sure if they were having a temporary crisis or if there has been a change of policy, but there was only very limited basket meals on offer, in contrast to their previous far more solid menu, but it was ok, and good conversation with our Horsham and Arun companions compensated for the food. We returned a different way from the outward journey, travelling west; Edwin joined us as far as Pulborough Station and we continued through Stopham to Fittleworth, where again I wasn’t quite sure of the route, but with Harvey’s help we turned south, then west again through Coates to Barlavington, and up Duncton Hill. I turned right after that to go through the East Dean and Charlton, then up to the racecourse and back through Lavant; Maureen and Harvey continued on the Petworth to Chichester road.

My mileage was 47 (75 kilometres), so about 40 (64 k) from Walberton.


Ride report Saturday 9 November: Bognor to Edgcumbes at Ford

Before we start, let’s make it clear that unfortunately our “no rain guarantee” did not apply to this ride. This is due to the T’s and C’s excluding any pre-existing conditions. It was raining before the ride started which, ipso facto, meant the “no rain guarantee”was void for today’s ride.


Not to worry. There were still six out this afternoon who decided that a Met office warning for heavy rain meant nothing more than a minor inconvenience.

It was the group’s view that we should set out for our intended destination of Edgcumbes Coffee Shop at Ford, so I led Clair, Sam, Steve, Kim, and Maureen under the subway to Upper Bognor from where I took a different route down Mead Lane, through the University grounds to their new Technology Park and out at the new entrance on the Felpham bypass. Then it was up to the Leisure centre and round the back emerging at the rear of  Felpham school.

At this point it was becoming clear that the elements were against us and that getting soaked whilst riding against a headwind was not all it was cracked up to be. We considered what to do and the idea was put forward to divert to the new cafe on the Blakesmead Estate. I’ve been past  “Wishfield Coffee” which is next to the Premier Convenience store several times but never ventured in.

So today seemed like a good time!

A couple of twists and turns brought us to New Barn Lane and the re-surfaced bridleway (well, there’s no sign saying it isn’t) that leads into Blakesmead. Then the cafe was easily found. It’s nicely presented with copious supplies of cake. They also seem to do what might be termed ‘light lunches’ so possibly would be a suitable destination for a short Wednesday ride.



After whiling away time in there, the rain was if anything, getting worse so Sam Maureen and Kim headed straight for home whilst I led Clair and Steve back into Bognor where I ended the ride after an embarrassingly short 5 3/4 miles. But at least we got out there and did it!


Sunday 3rd November, Ride to Durleighmarsh Tea Barn, Nr Petersfield

A good turnout for the long ride to Durleighmarsh on Sunday: myself (Bob) leading, with Mike, Sam, Maureen, Martin, Russell, Michael and Paul, on a cheerily sunny day, if also a bit cold, and Michael dragooned another cycle club to take a picture of us, returning the favour for them:


We went the usual way through Rowlands Castle to our coffee stop at Keydell’s, Horndean, Martin and Sam pointing out a golf club along the way I’d never noticed before, as by that stage in the journey my attention is already focussing on the joyful anticipation of the George VI post box along Links Lane. We sped past both of these notable landmarks however, and made good time to Horndean in the light winds.

After coffee we turned right off the main road to go through Blendworth and down the hill to Chalton, where sadly Martin left us to return home. The rest of us went up the hill towards Idsworth, but at the junction just past the railway bridge turned left to go up past Ditcham School, as it was still half term. The stop for a breather at the top was especially lovely, the bright weather making the stunning views from there quite fabulous. After the downhill to Ditcham we turned left onto the main road; I had a wobble of confidence just before the fork at Nursted, wondering whether I had taken a wrong turning at the junction with the main road (I had ridden the route last Tuesday but had thought I would be able to remember it better than turned out to be the case). Anyway Sam assured me that we were on the right road, and after the fork went round the expansively beautiful countryside to Durford, where the Rother os crossed by a narrow stone bridge, with several arches. Looking it up just now, it seems Durford Bridge was constructed about 1600 and is a scheduled monument.

The good weather had begun to cloud over a little, but was still fine enough for us to eat outside at the Tea Barn; you do get a good lunch and service there. Michael managed his usual trick of persuading someone to abandon their wife and children to take our likeness:


After which we returned over the road back to Durford but then continued through West Harting. I added a bit at the top of South Harting, to turn left instead of right so as to go up and right through East Harting. Sadly my memory wobbled a bit again at some of the turnings, but with Sam’s prompting we arrived at Turkey Island. I had intended to go up the hill there, but was feeling a bit knackered so turned off left to go through Elsted. Russell had intended to leave us and go up the Turkey Island hill if we did that to take a shorter route back, but in the event stayed with us as the hill road surface looked a bit grotty (it had been so last Tuesday and after the heavy rain on Saturday was bound to be worse). But the route through Elsted and Treyford (where I was careful to point out the VR post box to everyone’s delight, encapsulated eloquently by Sam’s comment of “Oh for God’s sake don’t you start”),

to Bepton and Cocking does take in some of the best of Sussex countryside.

The Moonlight tea rooms at Cocking were shut for some reason, so we went up the hill and decided on a split: Maureen and Mike turned off at Singleton to go back via the Petworth road; Michael and Russell at West Dean to take the Centurion Way, Paul and Sam at Hunter’s Lane, but I alone, heroically and steadfastly carried the Flame into the very centre of Chichester where I bought some socks.

My mileage was 47 (75 kilometers).

There follows the Route taken from Michael which was longer as he started from Bognor



Sunday 20 October. Short Ride to East Wittering

In a change from recent days it was dry with some sunshine though cool reaching only 12C with a NE wind. With this being the only ride it was disappointing that only 4 were out. Arthur as leader was joined by just Lynn, Graham Annaly and Edwin.

Lynn joined us later after dealing with an over sleeping Guest. Meanwhile Arthur, Graham and Edwin headed out along Westgate and over the Cycle Bridge. Then it was under the underpass to the edge of Fishbourne before cutting across to Appledram Lane South. To avoid the busy main road we took the Salterns Way cycle route to Chichester Yacht Basin and our stop for elevenses at the Boat House Cafe. This was busy as usual plus a group of 8 walkers just got in the door ahead of us.

Lynn caught up with us just as we were about to leave and in time for a photo.


I left early to head home via Houghton and Merston. The rest continued via Birdham to head to lunch at the Boulevard Cafe East Wittering. My mileage including the distance from and back to Pagham was 25. The full distance from and back to Chichester was probably about the same.


Sunday 13th October Long Ride to Milland

Three of us met at the Cross this morning for the long ride to Milland, Sam (leading plus Paul and myself, with the weather forecast threatening high winds and rain, the latter especially between 11 and 1.

As there was a lot of wet around, and with quite a lot of leaves already, I was relieved when Sam suggested missing out the Centurion Way as that was where I’d had my accident in similar conditions last year which had put me out of cycling action for quite a few weeks. He instead took us down St. Paul’s Road and turned off to Lavant, then straight down the Midhurst Road to Cocking Hill, where we set off the speed warning flashing sign telling us to slow down to 30. Actually as the wind was with us, we had been going at nigh on 20 up the hill. In fact although damp and cloudy, it was really quite fresh and enjoyable.

At the bottom of the hill we turned left and later right into Bepton Rd, and thus to Midhurst where we had coffee at Garton’s.


We left there about 11, and indeed it started raining. We turned off to stay on the A286 after the bridge and stopped to don hoods etc. Then we turned left towards Woolbeding, then up the long climb through Woolbeding Common and Redford to turn left at the junction to Milland. Our excellent speed had continued and we were there before 12, which meant they hadn’t run out of food.


We were pretty sodden by then, but dried out a bit in the Community Cafe which makes up in hospitality what it often lacks in food. But afterwards we didn’t feel much like making too long a thing of it, and took the south road from Milland, which was a Roman Road. Sam pointed out the site of a Roman Station as we passed it. We didn’t see any Roman Trains at the station, possibly due to draconian cuts in the network by Gitfacius Richardius Beechingus. Anyway we carried on through Iping and over the Rother. I’ve obviously got Sam well trained, as he pointed out an interesting looking post box by the bridge. Actually only an ER, though with an unusual raised border, and the “next delivery” sign had been put in upside down, thus appearing to promise a next delivery in November.


Once we had calmed down from this Epistolatory Thrill we continued over the main road towards Elsted but turned off beforehand to go towards Didling. Along the way Paul suffered a mishap with his gear transmission, which Sam helped him fix with a screwdriver Paul had handily brought in his saddle bag.


Paul made pointed comments about the problem being caused by Certain People (me) taking him on Rough Trails (last week’s sublime Meon Valley ride), but personally I think his gear transmission should toughen up a bit. Though he did make veiled threats pointing out that Northerners (himself) had seen off the Ninth Legion, though I suspect that might have been a Paul Forebear who did that as it was a while back I believe. And the Ninth were stationed in York and he is from Stockport. Really I felt the narrative integrity of his argument seemed to crumble the closer it was examined, leaving its status as a Philosophical Discourse in considerable doubt. However Sam deepened the discussion at this stage by pointing out the South Downs Way in the distance and saying it was being wrecked by 4x4s disgracefully churning it up, and it was obvious that in the coming War Against 4x4s it would be a great advantage to have someone who had single handedly defeated the Ninth Legion on our side, provided the battle plan didn’t involve too much use of Rough Trails in the Meon Valley area.

Despite our conversation falling a little short of the apex of Platonic Dialogue, we continued through Didling and thence left into Bugshill Lane, and thus through Bepton and Bell Lane to Cocking. There Sam led us to the reopened Moonlight Cottage, a B&B with a cafe open Fridays and weekends. It was really nice, if a bit small, and actually looked as if they would do a nice lunch from the menu, though they aren’t well placed for us for a lunch stop. Nice dogs as well.

5TeaCocking 13Oct19

Then up the hill and back. My mileage was 41.


Saturday 12th October A Cycle Ride To Willows Tea Rooms

10 Brave cyclist turned up for today’s ride from Bognor library, with Steve leading out and Carol leading back. There was rain in the air when we got to the meet point which got steadily worse on our way to Willows Tea Rooms but that didn’t manage to dampen our spirits.

1. Start12Oct19

We made our way out to Brooks lane and a nice muddy little track so as to get Grahams lovely new clean Dawes Discovery nice and dirty. (payback time for all those fellow cyclist he as dragged through the mud on previous rides)

Then it was onto  Arun Leisure Centre then out to Downview Rd  into Outerwyke Rd then Westmorland Rd and onto the Littlehampton Cycle path stopping and checking signage at the rest point, some of us took this opportunity to put more waterproof clothing on before we carried on to the Oyster catcher pub where on advice from fellow riders we turned left towards Ford airfield then making our way through Yapton to Windmill Shopping Village and Willows Tea Rooms, we all got out of our wet clothing then ordered our tea coffee and cakes.

2. Teat12Oct19

(I have to say the cream teas were great) and the staff as usual were really good. Time soon past and it was time to leave, the group were taking different routes some turning left to go across Barnham cycle track and some turning right to go through Yapton by road Carol led the main group through Yapton and back to Bognor by road.

Thank you all for joining us on our ride

Carol and Steve

Sunday 6th Oct, ride to Wickham

Five of us met at the Cross on Sunday 6th for the long ride to Wickham, myself (Bob) leading, Sam, Michael, Paul and Harvey.

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There was some nervousness before hand about the prospect of riding on the Meon Valley Trail on road bikes. I had been on it several times on a road bike but was also nervous because it had poured down with rain the previous night. But Sam had brought his tractor along with the kind of tyres that would look forward to a day on the Somme circa 1916. We had a slight delay deciding how to start from Chichester, as the marathon was about to start, blocking our road. By co-incidence John Maxim came along and as he had the same problem rode with us briefly as we went down South St, over the bridge towards Waitrose and past Tesco to avoid the runners.

After that we continued as usual to Rowlands castle, then on to Keydell’s at Horndean for coffee avec sausage bap. Then via Catherington and Crossways to Newtown. Sam wanted us to get there via World’s End, but fortunately I was leading so we went on a less apocalyptic route via Bent Lane. This also had the advantage of allowing me to Make an Educative Point about an Interesting Postbox at Rudley Mill (a VR post box where the tree alongside has obviously grown over the last century or so, and the box is therefore pushed over a bit).


Everyone can imagine how fascinated the group were at this stunning information, so in a haze of wonderment we continued through Soberton Heath and squeezed down a footpath onto the Meon Valley Trail.

The going was reasonable, the rain making some mud but not too bad, though Harvey and Paul (who were the reluctant ones before the start) weren’t very thrilled. It was only a short distance to Wickham, where we had a good lunch at the King’s Arms.

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At the Pub there was an interesting sign about its origins.

2. LunchSign6Oct19

Afterwards we returned to the Meon Valley trail to go north to Droxford. But Harvey sprung a puncture on the way. Fortunately Harvey had another inner tube, so was soon mended, and we continued but I turned off the Trail at Soberton to continue to Droxford Station by a road covered in that new-fangled tarmacadam thingy, as the Trail wasn’t proving the critically acclaimed success I had been hoping for.

We turned right to take Watton Lane, intending to go through Clanfield to Chalton, where we could decide whether to take the direct road to Rowlands Castle or go via Compton. But with an ominous BANG Harvey got another puncture. And he didn’t have another inner tube. Sam did have one fortunately but it was obviously worrying that the last one had only lasted a few minutes.


Investigation showed the problem was that the tyre wall had a crack, and the inner tube was working its way through and bursting. Sam’s ingenious solution to this was a ten pound note, used to line the tyre to prevent a recurrence. It should have been a five pound note evidently, but we were all too affluent to have one. The tenner was a bit big, so a bit hung out the side.

And by golly it worked. We took a more direct route to Rowlands Castle, and Harvey rode cautiously to avoid shocking the tyre any more than necessary, but in fact we arrived at the Bumblebee Cafe, Rowlands Castle without any more punctures at all and in still time for tea, over which Sam and I bickered about routes, thus providing more fascinating discussion for the benefit of the others.


So what we learned was:

  1. Ten pound notes are just as good as five pound notes.
  2. Continental should include with their Gatorskin tyres a few ten pound notes as essential repair equipment. I think personally the Club Secretary should write to them making this point, with suitable threats of legal action etc.

And thence back the usual way. My mileage from Chi was 56.