The weather forecast predicted heavy rain this afternoon but despite that it wasn’t actually raining when the ride set out from the library.
To that extent the famous Cycle Bognor “no rain Guarantee” kicked in, even though the exclusions state it isn’t valid at weekends or on any weekday ending in a “Y”.
10 of us met at Bognor library, Kathryn, Maureen, Carol, Steve , Steve, Alan, David, Dave and Lucy.
I led the group round the back of Bognor to Felpham and the golf club where we took the route through the new estate to join the Barnham track at Flansham. The rain had started by now but it was light and with little wind the riding was easy.
From Barnham we continued to Walberton, then back lanes to Binsted and past the Black Horse to the Madonna pond where the tarmac runs out .
The Madonna herself was not visible today due to foliage growth and the unmade road was in the worst condition i have ever known it in some 30 years of using this route. Large muddy puddles, deep ruts from 4-wheel drive vehicles and huge potholes filled with sharp broken bricks make for uncomfortable riding and after heavy rain this route will be unusable. Such a pity for what is an ideal quiet cross country cycle route.
However we pressed on without incident to re join the tarmac, then via the cut through to Torton Hill, dropping down under the A27 and into central Arundel.
By this stage the rain had become steadier and it became evident that the weather had had an effect on trading in Arundel shops especially when we arrived at a deserted Putting Green Cafe to find it had closed early.
Reversing our tracks we went to the Riverside Cafe. Again closed early.
Onwards to Gaskyns where the proprietor was taking the boards in and just locking up.However with his mind focused on the till he offered to stay open and serve our party. As it turned out we did not have the place to ourselves as others walked in after us. So a good decision by our host.
When it was time to leave we found the rain had got heavier and we were now riding into it.
The return route was straightforward down Ford Road to Ford, then Ford Lane to Yapton, Bilsham, Comet Corner and Middleton.
Although not everyone had brought full wet weather gear, the main weather issue was not the rainfall per se, but the huge puddles along all our poorly drained roads which soaked footwear and legs. We all made it back in one piece however, and as is customary on these occasions, it stopped raining as soon as the ride was over.
This is one of our longer Saturday afternoon rides which took an hour and a half or so to get there and about an hour back by a straighter but busier route.
The start to finish mileage was exactly 23.