Sunday 19 September Ride to Hayling Island

We met for the Ride today at 10.00 at Chichester Cross. I was the leader and I was joined by Harvey, Jason and Maureen. Weather was overcast with very light rain mid morning not enough to require a coat and mainly over lunch

We headed out along West Street and then Clay Lane and the South Coast Cycle Route to stop for elevenses at The Woodmancote and partook of their giant cakes.

Then it was on via Westbourne and Southleigh Road and before the level crossing took First Avenue to back roads to take the footbridge over the northbound railway. Then it was a railway crossing over the combined northbound and Eastbound railway which resulted in waiting for 3 trains each from a different rail  operator.

On the other side we joined the northern end of the Hayling Billy Trail and then on to Langstone  and over the Bridge to Hayling Island. It was then a short way to  Northney Marina and the Salt Shack Café for lunch.

Harvey led the group back via Emsworth with a mileage for the day from Chichester of about 30

Edwin

Sunday 5 September Churches Ride

It was a perfect blue sky day for the ride today. Bognor had the highest temperature for the local southern area at 26C. It made it more surprising that only 9 turned out from 3 Clubs. None attended from Arun Adur and there were 4 from Horsham Crawley. 5 were from Bognor Chichester. There were Harvey, Alan and Bob Birtwell and Bob and Gill Marshall plus myself as organiser. We met at Chichester Canal Basin Café.

A summary of the route with Churches was West Stoke, Compton, Idsworth, Rowlands Castle, Westbourne. Chidham, Bosham, Fishbourne, Birdham, Sidlesham and Merston.  Sidlesham Church is shown in the picture below taken earlier.

 Horsham Crawley did part of the abbreviated short route. Harvey, Alan and Bob did most of the long route and Bob and Gill Marshall won the event by doing all of the long route.

By virtue of not being sure of when everyone would get back I did my own short ride for elevenses to a new Café at Birdham Pool and then back to Chichester for a picnic lunch before returning to the finish at Chichester Canal Basin.

This was the last DA Event of the year. For the full year Horsham Crawley were the winners and Bob Moore of Horsham Crawley was the best individual by taking part in all 3 events. See the full results at https://ctcwestsussex.wordpress.com/da-events/

Edwin

Sunday 29 August Bank Holiday Sunday Ride to Cocking

Three of us cycled out from Chichester Cross at 9.10am on Bank Holiday Sunday, Sam, Robert and Michael. Paul was cycling from Land’s End to John O’ Groats (good man!!!) and Bob was enjoying the Festival in Edinburgh.

 Michael led Sam and Robert along Clay Lane and Watery Lane to Funtington and on to Walderton, past Chris Chattoway’s House, arriving at Compton Village Store and Cafe at 10.20am. We spent a good 30 minutes sitting under the gazebo and discussing Sam’s forthcoming holiday plans cycling from Cork to Castletown and all of the Covid related paperwork he had to complete to travel to the Republic of Ireland; and Robert indulged us in his holiday plans for a trip to the Vendee region in western France, once a Royalist hotbed and famed for its cognac, the sandy beaches of the Ile de Re, and the Huguenots defence of La Rochelle. After morning coffee, we ascended the hill and past Uppark where Lady Emma Hamilton once danced naked on the dining room table; and quickly descended into the village of South Harting and past the White Hart Inn and then we followed the lower road through Didling and onto Bepton. We cycled past Bepton Church, with its Black Death plague pit and the grave of the former German PoW.

Sam pointed out the route of the Roman road from Chichester to Cirencester which snakes its way over the Downs, and the ‘haunted’ cottage by the side of the road. We arrived at the Blue Bell Inn in Cocking at 11.50am and we were joined by Jeff who had cycled up from Chichester to join us for lunch. 

Over the course of the morning, Sam kept us highly entertained with his stories and anecdotes about meeting the Duke of Edinburgh at a polo match at Cowdray Park; Edward James’s twilight swims in his private pool at West Dean; helping a certain toff from Stansted House whose car had broken down at the foot of Cocking Hill; and how the Canadian Army billeted at Locksash prior to D Day had virtually trashed the manor house – burning door frames to keep warm. Following lunch, Jeff led us to the Cocking’s History Column which lists local historical events from the Bronze Age to the present day.

Then we cycled up and over Cocking Hill and descended to Singleton. Ploughman’s lunches and cream teas are served at Singleton Village Hall throughout August; and Jeff and Sam were tempted to stay on, leaving Michael and Robert to cycle up Knight’s Hill (Charlton Hill) and down into East Lavant and onto Bersted via Tangmere Airfield. The total distance from Chichester Cross was 36 miles. 

Michael

Sunday 15 August Short Ride to Tangmere

There were 2 Rides today and this Report is on the short one the Tea ride via Singleton and Tangmere. Arthur was the leader and he was joined by Maureen and myself Edwin. Weather started bright and sunny deteriorating by the start to a very very light drizzly rain. During the morning it gradually improved back to sunny.

Arthur led us out along West Street and up Centurion Way. Just south of Lavant we took a diversion onto back Roads and then into Lavant from the west and then back onto Centurion Way. The path is closed part way up until October for removal of trees due to Ash Die Back. We diverted via Binderton to West Dean and then on to Singleton Village Hall where they were doing Teas and Cakes.

We returned on the same route to Lavant where Arthur and Maureen continued via the Lavant Straight to the Museum Café Tangmere for lunch. I returned direct to Chichester to make it a morning only Ride

Edwin

Unofficial Ride to Alresford Wednesday 4th August

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Four of us met at the Fishbourne bridge; Sam, Alan, Rod and myself, (Bob) for an unofficial ride to nowhere in particular. A pre-meeting interchange had revealed that nowhere in particular was going to look a lot like Alresford today, and Alan had brought secret knowledge of a new cafe there near the old station. He had also brought new tyres after discussion with Russell, which threatened the integrity of our adventure as not stopping for a puncture might well leave us with nothing to do but ride. Sam has of late re-entered the competition for the most punctures however, and today was eager to impress upon us the assurance that he was using tyres and tubes which had sprouted two holes on Sunday and, he thought, had a dodgy valve, so we were able to set off in an optimistic spirit, confident of a hissing sound at any minute. Russell wasn’t with us as he had ear ache, apparently entirely unrelated to listening to Sam talking, and neither was Paul, who was evidently intending zooming around on his own, training up for his forthcoming End to End and possibly meeting us for lunch.

So off we went down Clay Lane, passing the first two designated places for punctures before Woodmancote without incident. We swept past Rowlands Castle and up to the QE park above Buriton. I was feeling ok but lagging even more than usual at that point, and suggested they go on and I’d go at my pace, possibly overlapping at stops, but Sam wouldn’t have it. Alan meanwhile mused about the possibility of being featured as the next Vogue cover, as he was clad in perfectly matching jacket, shorts and helmet, yellow and black combining in a fetching contrast but with each component referencing the other thus creating a vibrant ensemble evocative of the theme widely celebrated in fashion houses as Bananas on Tarmac.

So we continued down the hill and through East Meon to Cuppacheeno at West Meon, which was very crowded and the lady coping on her own very harassed. But she Battled Bravely On so we got our drinks, and in Sam’s case his lunch after only a short delay. As we waited Sam rang Paul to arrange Synchronised Lunching, but he was still in bed, so was obviously training for the End to End at a horizontal angle to Conserve his Strength. We passed this exercise tip onto Rod who has his own End to End coming up shortly, but he seemed sceptical of the method, having last weekend ridden round the Isle of Wight in an upright position, a full 90° from the posture recommended in the Paul Proposed Procedure (or PPP as it is known in the trade).

And from there we went the usual way past the church and so up to Alresford, where we turned left off the main street down to the station, and so to Alan’s delightful cafe called the Party at the Mill. It had large outdoor and indoor areas, plenty of room for bikes, and gave a cyclist discount. I’ve no idea what that discount was or whether we all got it but it’s worth looking a bit cyclisty when you go to pay. And the food was really nice; I had what I think was a Turkish dish with eggs, yoghurt, garlic, toast and all sorts. The local wasps thought it was nice as well, at least I assume that’s why Alan, sitting beside me, suddenly got up and moved to a different table, but maybe I need to shower more often.

Going home we went through Bishops Waltham via Cheriton, and as Alan mentioned the words “ice cream” on the way we found another delightful foodery that Sam knew in the high street, a sweet shop selling ice cream as well, which we guzzled in a messy kind of way. From there we took a route Sam knew that I don’t think I’ve been on before, through some woodlands eventually ending up between Soberton Heath and Soberton; it was lovely and I must get him to show me on the map.

But by then I was lagging even more, and insisted on the others going on ahead and leaving me to stagger back at my own pace, which they readily consented to once I’d screamed various phrases on the theme of **** OFF, thrown hand grenades, sprayed them with rat poison, shouted LEAVE ME ALONE, and rung nearby military units to request air support. I think we all went back a similar way, through Hambledon and Rowlands Castle, but whereas they stopped (I believe) at Rowlands for a tea at the shop, wondering if I’d catch them up, I had unbeknown to them stopped at the Old Forge in Hambledon for a ginger beer and sausage roll. They had thought the Old Forge was shut, but probably the cafe were just stunned into immobility by the thought of a Vogue Cover model passing within feet of them.

And I thoroughly enjoyed the ride, was 76 miles for me from Chi.

Bob

DA Picnic Ride West Wittering Beach Sunday 1 August

For our group the attendance for this Event was quite disappointing with only 3 out, Harvey the Leader plus myself  (Edwin) and Maureen. We were also joined by Peter Wilson from Arun Adur Group who was looking for a shorter ride. The weather was dry with some sunshine with no rain until the return to Chichester.

We headed out via the canal path to Hunston closely followed by Horsham Group though unknown to us as nobody in our group looked behind and they took a different route from Hunston. Meanwhile we took a sharp right onto another section of the canal path first to Donnington and then to Chichester Yacht Basin. These parts of the path tough turned out to be in much poorer condition than the path to Hunston with a lot of vegetation and nettles to dodge..

We had originally intended to stop for elevenses at the Boathouse Café at Chichester Yacht Basin. However this was as busy as usual with a long queue. However Maureen had heard of another place nearby so we went on to the Chichester Yacht Club were they were serving coffee and Cakes from a window.

We continued via Birdham Pool and the Salterns Way Path to Itchenor and after some back roads continued on the Path to West Wittering. The short stretch of main road we had to do was much less busy than usual probably  due to the limited parking which has to be booked (not required for bikes)

We rode to the far end of the beach parking and East Head and the quieter no swimming area and the meeting up area where we found 5 from Horsham Group. About 7 from Arun Adur arrived much later

After a pleasant picnic lunch we headed back via East Wittering and Piggery Hall Lane towards Itchenor and then retraced on the Salterns Way to Birdham Pool and stopped for tea at yet another Café which we had clocked on the way out and not visited before.

We returned on the rest of the Salterns Way via Appledram and got back to Chichester just as the first light rain started.

Mileage Chichester and back to Chichester was 22.

Edwin

Sunday 20 June Short Ride to Salt Shack Café Hayling Island

Arthur was the leader for this Ride today and he was joined at Chichester Cross for the start by Alan, Kim, Jason, Rosemary, Maureen and myself Edwin. Lynn joined us at lunch making 8 out. The weather was dry with cloud AM and sunny spells PM but dry.

Arthur led us out via Woodmancote and Westbourne to stop for elevenses at Emsworth at the Flintstones Café by the Harbour.

We then headed on via the cyclepath alongside Southleigh Road to Havant and the Hayling Billy trail to the Bridge to Hayling Island. On Hayling it was a short ride along the north coast to the Marina and a stop for lunch at the Salt Shack Café

On the return the group turned off at the mainland to head along a stretch of the coastal path by the Ship Inn, Langstone. I left them there to get the train straight home from Havant Station

Alan took a picture outside The Ship, Langstone

Another one nearer to Chichester at West Ashling Pond

Edwin

6 June. Ride to Selsey

As an alternative to the 100 mile Ride 5 of us took part in a short ride to Selsey, Jeff the leader with Bea on Tandem, Maureen, Alan and myself Edwin.

We started off along Route 88 alongside the Chichester Canal to Hunston. The surface is very good but definitely could do with a lot of cutting back of the vegetation.  At the end we stopped for coats as the only rain of the day came down, quite light and brief.

Then another cycle path to North Mundham and quite lanes south to Fisher. Then it was gravelled paths south to Sidlesham and a very narrow path towards the Visitor Centre where we squeezed past another group of 2 couples and their many children on bikes . We crossed the main Selsey Road to the Medmerry Cycle Path and stopped to divest coats and a picture.

 We were glad of a local leader as we made our way along the Medmerry paths and then through the caravan park and local roads through Selsey to our lunch stop at The Boulevard Café, Selsey where we got one of the few outside tables.

For the way back Jeff took us on a  different route through the caravan park and on to the Overlook  viewpoint looking out over the entry to the Medmerry Managed realignment of the coastline.

Then it was more of the Medmerry paths to Ham Lane. At the end we split up with the main group headed back via Witterings and Salterns Way back to Chichester while I headed home direct to Pagham via Route 88.

Edwin

Ride to Amberley 2nd May 2021

Today’s ride was to Amberley via the off-road route known as the ‘Khyber Pass’. Well, that was what the leader and rides organiser Jeff had in mind, but Sam Bob and Paul had other ideas-NO OFFROAD as they had skinny tyres. They were to later regret that, however they were in the majority and the leader aims to please.

A few back streets navigated gave an almost traffic free ride to Edgecumbe’s for their superb coffee &sustenance and we were off by 10.30 to Arundel. We avoided the busy A27 roundabout by using the river path then up Parson’s hill to the Catholic Cathedral (more attractive inside) then down to the A284 for the climb to Whiteways. A bank holiday combined with lockdown staycation gave us a horrid ride with fast traffic passing too close for comfort. A choice had to be made whether to go outside the edge raised cat eyes and risk getting hit by a Maserati or inside and risk falling off the tarmac. I did a bit of both and came up last relieved I had made it.  A fast descent on the Houghton Hill running with recent rain and overtaking traffic was just as unnerving as the uphill but with less effort.  As we arrived at the Bridge Inn 30 mins before opening, tried the café across the busy road only to be told (very nicely and apologetically) they were full, so back across the busy road to the pub by which time it was near noon. 

The pub garden was pleasant, but I had had enough of bank holiday traffic and I headed to Amberley Station and Bob agreed to lead back. Bob takes up the story …

Jeff Lander

Long ride to Amberley, episode 2.

Jeff had guided us to his choice of lunch destination in The Bridge Inn at Amberley despite being miffed that we became revolting over his planned route over the Khyber, but as a result of taking the quicker road route we were early at 11.30. He thought we might go to the cafe instead, but they were fully booked. He had found out that the garden tables at the Bridge were not bookable, but first-come-first-served. Well we were certainly first come, and the very friendly staff let us sit at a table and took our order, even though they couldn’t serve us till 12. At this point Jeff cheerfully announced he wasn’t staying for lunch but catching the 11.59. We pointed out that he could catch the 12.59, and that we were noted in the county as being Jolly Nice People, but despite agreeing with this he was adamant and scarpered. This placed me in a Conundrum of Principle. I had agreed with Jeff that I would lead the ride back so he could catch the train, but not that I would lead the ride over lunchtime, as I assumed our Official Leader would shoulder that responsibility. So under the terms of my contract I resolutely refused to offer any guidance over lunch, leaving Sam and Paul all at sea, and in consequence they chose silly things like ham and cheese baguettes, whereas I chose the Grown Up option of a prawn baguette and got covered from head to toe in pink sauce. I was satisfied that I had Made My Point, as I pushed a snorkel up through the pink tide to snatch a breath and dug a channel to take the rose coloured condiment down to the river which is now six inches deeper with a suspiciously blushing hue. This didn’t stop our Learned and Philosophical Discourse over lunch: even before Jeff skedaddled we had an argument about being Woke (Paul and I proud, Sam sniping and Jeff being tactful, possibly so he could make his getaway unimpeded), but Paul came up with a joke about knowing a transvestite who had a Wigan address (wig-and-a-dress; yes it was just as bad live), and we concluded our deliberations by discussing the route back. We had thought of returning along the bottom of the Downs past Bignor and going up Duncton, but this was revised to going further west to return up Cocking, which gave us a longer ride and a choice of tea stops; Graffham or the Post Office at Cocking, or even possibly Bignor where they do very nice ice cream.

Setting off back up to Houghton we were passed by Chris going the other way so he turned round to join us, just in time to hear a not very interesting tale about Galsworthy’s house at Bury (apparently built by the family of my work colleague, after someone burnt down the thatched cottage that had previously stood there by throwing a fag out of an upstairs window. Ooops.) Passing Bignor Villa the gates were still firmly shut, so we clearly weren’t going to be offered any Roman ice cream. Chris was only intending to ride with us a short way before turning back to go home, and he in fact left us at Sutton before we went down the steep hill as he sensibly thought climbing back up would be a Bad Plan, but it was nice to see him briefly.

We meanwhile continued to Barlavington, where we noted heavy looking rainclouds in the offing. We turned right at the hill, went down to the turning towards Seaford College, and started to get wet. We waited under a tree at the college for a bit,

but it seemed to be getting worse, and fairly tipped down as we tried for Graffham. We chose to stop there as at least they do have the covered veranda, and partook of tea and coffee with temperatures having plunged to 4 degrees, Paul in his shorts shivering like a …. thing that shivers. We contented ourselves with the thought that however bad the conditions, we were better off than Geraint Thomas after his crash in the Tour de Provence. But we viewed the obvious torrential rain over both Duncton and Cocking with a mixture of trepidation and heroic determination, steeling ourselves for the ordeal ahead, grimly resolved to face the onslaught with true British Grit.

“We’re going outside and we may be some time” we said to a lady drinking her tea.

“Pardon dear?”

But on we went, and I took us down the road directly opposite the shop as I wanted to see the VR postbox again. I’ve mentioned before that I have a postcard sent to my great aunt in 1912 that was probably posted there, but it really is a most interesting box. It was made by Smith and Hawkes of Birmingham, which dates it to before 1881, but the firm introduced a Number 2 (small) Improved design in 1861, with a door pull and the crown and cipher at the top. This box has no door pull, and the crown and cipher lower down than usual, leaving me to wonder whether it is one of the earliest rural wall boxes, thus possibly dated between 1858 and 1861.

Due to the weather Sam wanted to avoid the cart track that laughably gets called a road between Heyshott and Cocking, so we joined the Midhurst road further up and toiled up Cocking Hill. We were actually very lucky, it had more or less stopped raining, but they must have had a terrific downpour just before we arrived; Cocking hill was a river, and loads of debris had been washed part way down. At the top the fields surrounding were covered in what Sam called snow, but I think was hailstones that were thick enough to turn the land pretty white.

So the Heroic Trio, having battled freezing temperatures, monsoon like rain and Arctic snow/hail sped down the hill and split up at Lavant. 47 miles.

Bob

Sunday 2 May Half Day Short Ride to Edgcumbes

Today there were 4 people out on the long Ride and 6 on the short Ride. Harvey was the leader of the short ride and he was joined at the start at Chichester Cross by Maureen, Jean, Richard Smith a newcomer, myself (Edwin) and Alan.

It was decided at the start to make it a half day ride as the destination was quite close. Despite threats of showers in the forecast and threatening clouds nearby from time to time we steered clear of the rain save for a few spots.

Harvey led us via Westhampnett and the cyclepath cutting across to Tangmere. Then the path across the airfield and backroads to the Oving Straight. Then a minor road  across to Woodgate and after a sort stretch on the A29 we took a path cutting across to the Wilkes Head , Eastergate and Church Lane round to pick up the Barnham Road.

We soon left this rather busy road to turn off onto a private estate to bypass Barnham. We then picked up Lake Lane to Yapton before taking Ford Lane to Edgcumbes Café which is not far from Ford. I got in first and as a crowd moved in I had to wait a while for everyone to join me round the back where it was initially fairly quiet.

We headed back via Yapton towards Middleton where various people peeled off en route. Mileages will have varied a lot but mine was 24 for the day.

Edwin