It was a beautiful day today, sunny and really hot reaching 28C even on the coast with light winds. These were NE on the way out and NW on the way back so head winds both ways but light enough not to matter much. The ride was amended from the original plan of a train assisted ride to Christ’s Hospital, hence the start being at Bognor Station. I (Edwin) was the leader and I was joined at the start by Clair, Alan, Maureen, Harvey, Rosie and Steve. Denise and Mike joined us at Edgcumbes for elevenses so 9 in all out for a full day ride.
From the Station we headed into the Coach Park and across into Hotham Park where we found there was a big event on. Still one of the exhibitors drove a car into the park which we followed in to clear the way of pedestrians. Then it was onto the seafront and later cutting trough the Summerley Private Estate and then into Flansham Park Road and across the main road to Flansham and up the Barnham Path. Then it was Lake Lane and on to Edgcumbes for a much needed break in the shade by 11.15 about 30 minutes late from the ETA I gave Denise.
Clair returned home soon after elevenses so the remaining 8 of us rode the rest of the route. Next it was on to Ford and Littlehampton via the footbridge and then along the seafront with a packed beach very much to be expected for a hot summers Saturday in the School Holidays.
After the seafront we turned off on back lanes and onto private estates. Basically the route through the estates are a real maze. There are roads marked as dead end which can be used by bikes and other roads which are real dead ends. I had planned a route using Google maps highlighted on a printed out copy. It seemed like miles of twists and turns but the benefit is the peaceful absence of the motor car.
Towards the end of the route we found an entry onto the greensward by the sea by footpath with an open gate rather than having to lift the bikes over a gate which we have done in the past further on. Near the sea there was a threatening sign say Cycling is Illegal. This is designed to intimidate cyclists into not using it and ignores the distinction between cycling on a pavement which is a criminal offence and potentially a police matter and cycling on a footpath away from a road which is a minor civil wrong requiring the landowner to sue for damages in the county court, not going to happen.
After a short way we reached our lunch stop of the Bluebird Cafe next to the beach. Despite a big crowd there service was quick and reasonable prices so worth a return visit sometime.
We discussed a different but busier route back but decided to return the way we came with more private estates and absence of traffic.
Back in Littlehampton there was a stop for ice creams. The picture is thanks to Denise, presumably, hopefully these were for more than one person.
We proceeded the short way to The Look and Sea Cafe for a full tea stop.
The return was via the new Cyclepath to Flansham. Return mileage was 30.