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.

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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.

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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.

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(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.

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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.


Saturday 28th September 2019 Ride to ‘Bracklesham Bay Tea Rooms’, Bracklesham Bay

On a sunny and slightly breezy day, nine cyclists gathered at Chichester Library for a ride to ‘Bracklesham Bay Tea Rooms’, in Bracklesham Bay.  Terry, a new cyclist on the Chichester Saturday rides, had come over from Littlehampton on the train.  A Spanish couple, Oscar & Beatriz, also joined the ride, giving Philippa an opportunity to try out her awful Spanish on them!

The group set off from the library heading west towards Westgate, crossing over the mini-roundabout and heading straight on before turning left to pick up the cycle path which runs in front of Chichester College, ending at Chichester Railway Station.

After cutting down the side of Chichester Bus Station, the group had to unfortunately wait about 10 minutes for the railway gates to go up.  Once they were raised, everyone set off again and turned left into Kingsham Avenue.  Carrying on until the end of the road, the group then turned left at the junction with Whyke Road and right, to pick up the cycle path along Quarry Lane which led to the footbridge over the A27.

Emerging the other side of the footbridge, the group then immediately took a track alongside Vinetrow Road, which eventually came out into School Lane in North Mundham.  Crossing the road via the very useful pelican crossing, the group then proceeded to go through North Mundham, picking up Regional Cycle Network Number 88 towards Fisher and Bramber Farm.

Just before the junction with the turning to Bramber Farm, Beatriz unfortunately had a puncture in her front tyre.  She was keen for everyone to carry on without her, being mindful that the tea rooms closed early at 4 pm.  As a consequence, Roy and Oscar stayed behind to help fix the puncture and Philippa lent them her map, after firstly explaining the route.

The rest of the group carried on to the tea rooms by taking a right hand turn towards Chalder Farm, eventually emerging onto the busy B2145 Selsey road.  Everyone then quickly crossed over the road to go down the road directly opposite, Rotten Row, towards the junction with Highleigh Road, where everyone turned right towards Mapsons Lane.  At the next T-junction, the group turned left down Batchmere Road, Batchmere Road merged into Almodington Lane and, at the next T-junction, everyone turned left down Clappers Lane, emerging just short of Bracklesham Bay Tea Rooms, arriving at approximately 3.40 pm.

To everyone’s disappointment, the tea rooms were closed, even though the board outside clearly stated they opened until 4 pm!  Philippa then took the group down to the seafront at Bracklesham to see if there were any seats available in Billy’s On The Beach.  Unfortunately, the cafe was packed out with only space for 2 people.  The weather was now starting to deteriorate, so sitting outside wasn’t an option.

By this time, it was gone 4 pm, so, as she lives in Bracklesham, Philippa decided the best option would be to invite everyone back to her house and provide tea and cake for them there instead.  Steve & Carol kindly offered to go with the group to a local supermarket to buy some cake whilst Philippa cycled home to put the kettle on!  When she got there, she met up with Roy and Oscar & Beatriz, whose puncture was now repaired.  A jolly time was had by all in the newly designated Bracklesham Bay Tea Rooms!


At about 5.15 pm, it was decided it was time to cycle back to Chichester.  Philippa led

the ride back, taking a more direct route via Birdham Pool and then Salterns Way.  Those cycling back to Chichester arrived there about 6 pm.


Sunday 22 September. Ride to Selsey


Pictures from Michael and a report created from a few details and a Strava Map from Michael.

Harvey led the day’s short ride to Selsey and he was joined at Chichester Cross by Maureen, Samantha and Michael. It was a fairly good turnout despite an atrocious weather forecast


The heavy rain duly arrived soon after the group left at 10.00 though clearing earlier than forecast mid morning. The group headed out via the cyclepath towards Bognor before turning off for Merston and Runcton. Then south via South Mundham before picking up The Bill Way or the Route 88 cycleroute via Fisher and Sidlesham. Welcome refreshments were taken at The Crab & Lobster Sidlesham.

Then it was on via the Pagham Harbour Visitor Centre and then the main road to Selsey and a stop for lunch at The Riviera Cafe, Selsey


The return route took in lanes via Highleigh and then back via Hunston and then the Canal Path and a stop for tea at the Canal Basin Cafe

Mileage from and back to the start was approx 26. See below for the map of the route.



Sunday 15 September. Ride to Dundridge

Four of us met at the Cross last Sunday (15th Sept) for the long ride to Dundrige. Actually six of us met, as we were joined briefly by Chris on his way to bell ringing, and Edwin giving out Peddler copies and facing a long wait for the short ride. Those embarking on the long ride Sam (leading), me (Bob), Paul and Roger, and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect.

So Sam took us through Westbourne to Rowlands Castle, where we turned right before the bridge to go through Finchdean and up New Barn Lane to the hilltop by the Queen Elizabeth Park above Buriton. There Roger began feeling the strain rather: he had returned from cycling in France on the previous night’s ferry, and the lack of sleep caught up with him. So he sadly left us to find a quiet spot to have a kip before returning, while Paul, Sam and I continued to East Meon.

As we approached the village, the road had a “Road Closed” sign up. Of course this meant nothing to a stalwart group such as the Bognor and Chichester CTC, so we carried on down it, finding near the end that the road was indeed impressively blocked. A digger had dug a large hole to get to some pipes on one side of the narrow road between high banks and dumped the wet chalk on the other side. Paul led the way in clambering with his bike over the chalk, and helped Sam and I do the same. The chalk pile looked much the same afterwards, but I couldn’t understand why as most of it was on our shoes and tyres.


we spent a lot of time with sticks etc afterwards and I found a spot to walk about a bit in the River Meon. Fortunately being hot and dry most of the chalk fell off after a while. We had coffee and flapjacks at the village shop perched on their windowsill, wondering why they didn’t capitalise on the demand from cyclists more than they seem to: several passed us even while we sat there. Then we turned left and up a long hill to Teglease Down I hadn’t been up before, that formed a very direct route, then turned right to go through Droxford, up the hill and then a long satisfying downhill (Reward For All Our Efforts) stretch down Dundridge Lane to the Hampshire Bowman, who served their usual satisfying food in the now very hot sunshine. Sam’s machine claimed it was 30 degrees, though I think it was exaggerating for attention..


After we went on over Damson Hill and, I was pleased to see, Cut Throat Lane, and back under the Meon Valley Trail and through Soberton Heath to Newtown and thence to Hambledon, where we stopped again for an ice cream at the Old Forge.


I was reluctant to try the steep hill through the village, so we took the alternative route up through the old estate, down Rushmere Lane and Crossways and then up the hill to Catherington. But turning off as usual after Horndean towards Rowlands Castle I got a puncture. This was Sam’s fault as that morning he’d asked me about my tyres and I’d said I didn’t change them as the back wheel arrangement was an unusual one invented by Reg at Fishbourne (combination of hub and derailleur set up) so I just used fairly puncture proof tyres to avoid having to take the back wheel off. The puncture, of course, was in the back wheel.

Then I found I didn’t have my spanner on me, which I always carry so obviously had been removed by a poltergeist the previous evening, though Paul and Sam made comments mystifyingly implying it was my fault. Sam however managed to get the inner tube out without removing the wheel, we found the leak, and with a combination of my patches and Paul’s cement mended it. We got the Impossible Tyre back on with my Koolstop tool which Edwin had recommended to me ages ago (he also wrote a piece in the Peddler a while back); first time I’d used it and worked excellently.


Sam by this time had got himself wound up into Totally Obnoxious Mode (or TOM as it’s known to anthropologists), all the more so as when we arrived at Rowlands Castle the Beehive was closing. I did buy them both a coffee from the shop opposite as a thank you and Sam calmed down briefly before Paul and I wound him up again with Sensible Political Discourse (or SPD as it’s known to anthropologists). So we rode back the usual way through Westbourne with Sam shouting out “ ******* MARXISTS” to entertain passers by.

And it was a really, really lovely day out actually, the combination of excellent weather, good company, wonderful route over some invigorating hills, Holes in The Road, good lunch, ice cream, a puncture, TOM mode and Marxism making a potent and delicious mixture. Thanks to Sam for the excellent route and puncture mending experience and Paul for his cement and political good sense. My mileage was about 60 (my computer wasn’t working between The Puncture and Rowlands Castle where Sam got it working again).

Bob Birtwell