Sunday 31 March Ride to East Meon

Six of us met up at Chichester Cross on a fine but blustery day, with a stiff north easterly wind; Sam, Michael, Rosie, Russell, Harvey and Bob leading the ride scheduled for Fort Nelson. The picture includes Chris as well, on his way to bell ringing at the cathedral.

Start31March19

We made good progress down Clay Lane through Westbourne and Rowlands Castle to the garden centre at Horndean for coffee.

But by then the wind seemed more of a problem than the forecast had suggested (to be fair, it had said it would be worse in coastal districts). The worry we had was not getting to Fort Nelson, but returning along the top of Portsdown Hill; the wind threatened to be both a headwind and a cross wind, and potentially dangerous on the busy and narrow Portsdown Hill Road. We considered going anyway but returning on the coastal route from Portchester to Havant, but that isn’t a very pleasant ride with the M27 thundering just alongside. Russell, who had pointed out the problem, suggested East Meon instead, which seemed the nicest idea, so we set off through Catherington and Clanfield, up to Chidden Down. We joined the road from Old Winchester Hill which was very exposed, and the wind was terrific, which made us glad we had altered the plan. After Sam’s chain came off and he’d got it back on, we had the pleasure of zooming down the hill to to the Issac Walton at East Meon for probably a better lunch than we would have got at Fort Nelson.

Lunch31March19

LunchTwo31March19

Afterwards we cycled towards Petersfield, but instead of the usual route up past the Butser quarry next to the A3, we carried on to Buriton and up the steep hill at Kiln Lane. From there we returned via Rowlands Castle where Russell left us but the remaining five had a cuppa at the Bumblebee cafe with another cyclist, who kindly took a pic.

Tea31March19

Harvey left us soon after to go home by a more direct route, and the remaining four returned to Chichester the way we had come, through Westbourne and Woodmancote. My mileage to and from home (Chichester) was 48.

Bob Birtwell

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