It was a cloudy day with a light SE wind and relatively mild at 11C. The fly in the ointment was a spell of rain in the afternoon after 1.00.. Sam was still out of action so Russell stepped in as the leader and he was joined at Chichester Cross by Bob, Edwin, Mike and newcomer to the Sunday Rides, Rosie who had been out before on some of the Saturday Rides.
We headed out on West Street and then up Centurion Way. The route extension was much dryer than it has been thanks to a few sunny days. At West Dean we took the loop through the village. Then it was a few miles of main road including the climb to the top of Cocking Hill. In Cocking we turned off on lanes via Bepton with a nice tailwind.
At Bepton we turned off on Severals Road a pleasant Lane between heather and trees. At the main road the A272 west of Midhurst we took a short stretch of cyclepath before crossing to a lane into Stedham.
We were soon in Rotherhill Nursery Cafe settled into a collection of lounge chairs for hot drinks and cakes. At the Nursery Bob had taken a shine to a 7ft tall Olive tree available for a snip at £1800. He eventually decided it was a little big for his saddlebag.
I had decided to make it a half day ride and headed home from the Cafe retracing the outbound route.
Leaving Edwin to return home after elevenses at Stedham, we climbed the long hill up to Woolbeding Common and then on through Redford, giving Mike an opportunity to see the vintage petrol pumps at the village garage. Throughout the morning, part of the conversation had concerned the apparent disparity between the BBC and the Met Office forecasts, the Met Office one implying heavier rain , earlier in the afternoon. This influenced my decision to shorten the ride slightly and at the Rake/Fernhurst T junction we duly headed west instead of east.
This road was quiet traffic wise until we turned off to climb and then descend into Rogate. There is a downhill mountain bike course on the north side of Rogate Hill, at the steepest section. A hundred plus MTBers were enjoying the delights of careering down hill at great speed – the associated vans and cars that had transported them there lined the ascent roadside.
On arrival at Rogate recreation ground, our pre-selected picnic spot, there was a ‘Well Being Fayre’ going on in the community hall. Sniffing food, Bob went to investigate and before he knew it he had been whisked inside, lightened of 2 pounds for entry and told to enjoy a wander round. He was then thwarted in his progress towards the food counter by a lady having a ‘spiritual moment’. Eventually he managed to order a ‘beano burger’ before joining us on the benches outside. Unfortunately the beano burger wasn’t as exotic as it sounded but it did give Bob energy for the hills ahead.
Leaving Rogate we rode through Nyewood to climb Telegraph Hill ( after convincing Rosie that this would be akin to climbing the Mattterhorn, apologies for any consternation caused !) and rode through the very quiet grounds of Uppark House. The promised rain then started bang on cue and it was heavy. Met office 1-0 BBC . The rain stayed with us all the way back to our return to Chichester at 3pm.
Mileage for the ride was 45 miles from Chichester and back to Chichester.
My mileage from Pagham was 42 and it would be a fair bit longer for the full ride.
One of my latest pictures was taken on a recent London Trip. This is Redbridge Underground Station towards the eastern end of the Central Line and a first visit for me. It is one of the few stations with a central platform where 2 tracks can be viewed at once
For a bigger picture and more details see