Seven met at the Cross on a sunny but still chilly morning. I as ride leader was joined by Sam, Paul, Mike, Bob, Michael and Maureen. Expectations were of rapidly rising temperatures in the forecast sunshine. I decided to use a route less ridden, which saw us head east out of Chichester, a quick ascent of Sculpture hill, picking up the Duncton Hill road at the East Dean junction for a rapid descent. The A285 wasn’t too busy at the relatively early hour but I used the first opportunity to turn off and take the group through Seaford College, which was totally empty, being half term. Elevenses were taken at the Graffham village store- by now it was positively warm and it was a struggle to get going again!
Our scheduled lunch stop was Gartons café, Midhurst but the unseasonal warmth was bringing people out, so we pushed on an extra three miles to the much quieter cafe at Rotherhill nursery near Stedham. The single cashier/waitress /table clearer warned us that it might be a long wait but she was very efficient and anyway. it’s a comfortable place to sit and chat. Chris had joined us by now, making eight on the ride.
Keeping with the theme of the road less ridden, the return journey saw us cycle to Elsted, before ascending the Downs at Turkey Island, using the aptly named Hill Lane. This gave Sam and Maureen the opportunity to ‘unleash the amps’, both flying up the very steep lane at unfeasible speeds!
After the pedal powered part of the peloton had recovered their breath, we used the NT road through Updyke. This is now very poor quality in places but still a useful alternative to the fast B road. Final tea stop was a very leisurely one at the Compton village stores. By now it felt like a summer’s day in the sunshine.
On the return Mike and Chris choose a more direct route, whilst the rest of us turned right at West Stoke, returning to Chichester about 3.30pm.
Return mileage to the Cross was 45 miles