Today’s ride was to the Harrow Inn, at Steep near Petersfield. I was the ride leader and was joined by Sam, Bob and Mike, so four out today. Although the thermometer read 8C, reaching 10C in the afternoon, which is considerably milder than most recent rides, the dampness of the air made it feel cold all day.
We used an all road route to our elevenses at Compton, where it was just about warm enough to brave sitting outside. From there we cycled up the Compton Down lane, avoiding a descending group of sportive cyclists, to join the Finchdean to Buriton road. This road is magical at anytime of year, but it has a quite desolate feel in late winter. It was then on into Petersfield using the cycle path, a few urban streets and shops and out onto a quite muddy Harrow Lane and our lunch time destination. Knowing the ‘petit’ status of the bar room at the Harrow Inn, I had planned to arrive promptly at midday opening, which we did. However a queue of thirsty locals was already forming, so when the door was unbolted and we were welcomed in to place our orders, the bar was quickly filled to capacity. The tiny bar-room was superheated by a lovely roaring log fire.
Post lunch , a hearty soup and wedge of bread, we rode south up the hill through Steep, crossing the busy A272 at Stroud, up the climb to Ramsdean and eventually taking us back to the Petersfield/ Queen Elizabeth Country park cycle path. By now it was threatening to drizzle so it was a brisk ride back to Chichester via Rowlands Castle, where Sam stopped to top up his caffeine intake, whilst the rest of us pushed on. We arrived back at 3.20pm.
Total mileage for the ride was 50 miles.