Six met at Walberton Pond on a bright but initially chilly morning for the ride to Rudgwick. Sam, Mike, Michael and Maureen joined myself (leader) and Steve, a newcomer. Steve’s bike caused some interest, being a very up to date all carbon machine, complete with lightweight carbon wheel – making some of our bikes positively retro!
After a brief discussion about possible routes and the battery range of the e-bikes, I came up with a revised route of about 60 miles, to ensure that everyone had sufficient amps to return successfully!
Our outward route took us through Madehurst, a rapid descent of Bury Hill (first motorbikes of the season very much in evidence), through Coates and Fittleworth, over Riverhill for elevenses at Kirdford. We didn’t time it too well and had to join a queue with a lot of other cyclists, taking just over 20 minutes to get served our coffees. Sam didn’t waste this time, helping/advising on a broken gear cable replacement.
Leaving Kirdford around 11.30hrs, we took a fairly direct route to Loxwood (using the short bridal way to view the water mill restoration and cross the Wey canal), turning left at the Mucky Duck pub to go towards Hornhill and then ascend Cook Hill before dropping back into Loxwood and the Milk Churn, which was surprisingly quiet when we arrived, allowing us to bag a prime spot on the veranda, in the now very pleasantly warm sunshine. The kitchen staff were ultra efficient and aided by hi-tec buzzers which alerted one to their order being ready, we were all served within 5-10 minutes of sitting down.
A quick check of everyone’s status showed the e-bikers to both have good reserves remaining but our newcomer, Steve, not surprisingly was feeling the hills in his legs. The return ride was therefore almost a rerun of the outwards one, with an ice cream stop planned for Bignor Roman villa before the final decision of the day – the Khyber or Duncton Hill.
Our newcomer left us at the White Swan, Fittleworth while we pushed on to Bignor, where ice creams, tea and coffee were enjoyed in warm mid afternoon sunshine.
Just like Brexit we couldn’t all decide on a route home, so we decided to split the ride and all use the most direct for us individually – I returned via the Khyber, whilst the others took the Duncton Hill option.
My overall mileage for the day was 75 miles, the circular round trip to Walberton Pond would have been 65 miles, our longest so far this season.