5 met at the Cross for the scheduled ride to Hambledon. I was leader and were joined by Sam, Bob, Mike and Maureen on her recently acquired e-bike. Both Sam and Bob were feeling under the weather but decided to give the ride a go.
The mercury stated 7c but it felt cooler in a nagging NE wind as we took the direct route through Woodmancote and Westbourne towards our coffee stop at Horndean. At the top of the climb out of Westbourne, Bob declared that his ailment was not making the ride enjoyable and decided to return home. So it was just 4 that arrived at a very busy Horndean garden centre – I don’t think I have ever seen the car park so full. They even had a parking attendant directing cars to any available spaces.
Luckily the café hadn’t got too busy ( it was only 10.20hrs)so we managed to find a table and were quickly served. During coffee it was very apparent that Sam wasn’t his normal self and it wasn’t really a surprise when he also declared that unfortunately he wasn’t feeling well enough to continue.So now down to just 3!
Leaving the café Mike discovered that he had a flat front tyre, the ride was now taking on a touch of Agatha Christie’s ‘Then there were none!’ . Luckily Mike had a spare tube and was quickly sorted, although the tyre itself looked to be nearing its last legs.
A short reappraisal of the scheduled ride then took place,the wind was by now quite unpleasant and the decision was for the remaining 3of us to return to Chichester, but via Finchdean and Compton, whilst we still had some riders left. This stretch proved to be the best of the day,as we weretreated to some slightly warming sunshine and there was very little traffic inthe lanes. Maureen was clearly enjoying the e-bike’s assistance on the climbs!
Arriving back in Chichester at 12.45hrs , I was relieved to find that I still had 2 companions on the ride! I already have a reputable fora high percentage of the rides I lead being wet – I don’t really need the addition of ‘he never finishes with the starting amount of riders’ , as well!
The ride mileage to and from the Cross was 31 miles.