The weather dawned cloudy but dry with sunny spells for a ride to The Quarterdeck Café in West Itchenor.
An unprecedented 22 cyclists gathered at Chichester Library for the ride. As a consequence, Philippa split the group into 2 smaller groups with Steve Woods leading the second group, which set off 10 minutes after the first group had left.
The first group set off and headed west towards Westgate, over the Fishbourne crossing and then carried on until the end of the road, before heading through the A27 underpass towards the A259. After emerging from the underpass, everyone then took a sharp left to take the cycle path alongside the A259, crossing the road in order to then turn right down Appledram Lane.
After a few yards, the group turned left onto Salterns Way, and carried on along the cycle route via Dell Quay Road and through Salterns Copse, eventually emerging at Chichester Marina. The bridge over the lock wasn’t due to open for another 10 minutes, so the group took the long way round the marina, eventually crossing Salterns Lock over the old Chichester Ship Canal, to emerge into Birdham Pool.
After regrouping with the second group at Birdham Church, the first group then set off again, with the route going along Salterns Way down Westlands Lane and towards Westlands Farm. Salterns Way then continued west towards Itchenor Road. As Philippa wasn’t keen on a large number of cyclists travelling down the bendy, narrow road through Itchenor, she decided instead to go straight on towards Westlands Copse which came out in Spinney Lane. After admiring some very expensive mansions (most of which looked uninhabited), the group took a short path along the coast to Itchenor Sailing Club, eventually emerging onto The Street at Itchenor.
From there, it was just a short cycle to The Quarterdeck Café. Philippa had considered splitting the group between the café and pub, but in the end, the café coped admirably. Fortunately, it wasn’t very busy and they seemed more than happy to accommodate us.
By this time, the sun had come out and the group enjoyed sitting outside with their drinks and food. After staying for about 40 minutes, everyone got back on their bikes and the same route was taken back to Chichester. At Chichester Marina, those wanting to go back to Bognor branched off to take the canal home. A great time was had by all, and it was great to see so many new faces.