A lovely evening for the ride, dry, Clear and sunny, with the wind dropping making perfect riding conditions. 13 riders at the start point: with Graham as the leader. Steve and Carol met us near Summer Lane, Pagham making 15 out in total.
We took the promenade route to Fish Lane at Aldwick, then dropped into Barrack Lane. Edwin directed the Group on the new route through the Aldwick Bay Estate making use of a footpath connecting Apple Grove on the Estate and Greenways off Carninals Drive outside the Estate. We then emerged eventually at Nyetimber, where we took one of our regular routes down Summer Lane and across the Pagham Rife to Honer Lane and up to South Mundham. Most of this route will become officially recognised as part of National Cycle Route 2 if Sustrans lobbying is successful. No shortage of midgies across the fields, but the ground was hard and not quite as lumpy as I’ve known it, so no-one had any problems negotiating it and we regrouped at the end of the track on Honer Lane
Then it was north through South Mundham and south via Fisher on waymarked Route 88. After crossing the cattle Grid on Fisher Lane we came across a large herd of cows enjoying a rich pasture and had the occasional excitement of cows caught on the wrong side of the lane making a sudden dash across the road to avoid being cut off by to them this strange procession. One cow even though it was on the right side was definitely eyeing up Steve with suspicion.
After riding across 2 more field on a good gravelled surface we rejoined tarmac on a lane passing Chalder Farm before emerging on the main Selsey Road right next to the Anchor pub. This particular route probably has more off-road riding than any of our other routes, but the scenery and absence of any other road traffic at all between Pagham and Sidlesham more than makes up for it.
The Pub Cat was happy to see us but is Harvey about to hit it or stroke it.
For the return route, we had a bit of a dilemma – whether to return by road or take the shortcut around Pagham Wall and the Harbour. It was on this route that Julian and his bike once took an impromptu mud bath in the harbour. However it was quite a bit lighter tonight and after some discussions we decided to go for it. John, Russell and Harvey headed home by road. The rest of us took a short stretch of main road before turning off on Rookery Lane and across tracks to Halseys Farm to reach Pagham Wall which was accessed by an awkward gate (maybe meant to stop bikes using the footpath) We were soon through after some bike lifting helped by Steve
On this occasion the Wall path was negotiated entirely without incident though in parts it was too overgrown to clearly see the route which might have been the cause of Julian’s incident. At the end of the wall we negotiated an easier Gate.
We headed back through Nyetimber and then back along the prom, with people peeling off along the way. Mileage for the route from and back to the Leisure Centre was about 20.
Edwin for Graham