Today was the first event in this year’s series of DA events. As I cycled towards the meet up at Walberton Pond I wondered if we would see a repeat of last year, an increased turn out of Bognor & Chichester riders which had led to us scoping the cup for the first time ever. It was a slight surprise to see Sam (leader), Bob, Mike, Michael, Maureen, Harvey and newcomer Steve ready and raring to go. So with myself and Chris meeting us at Sumner’s Pond, it was 9 in total.
We headed off into a nagging wind via Slindon and Madehurst for a rapid descent of Houghton Hill, then on through Amberley and Rackham to elevenses at the RSPB café, Wiggonholt. This has improved in popularity as a cyclist stop and we arrived just behind one group as another was leaving. The Eccles cakes are particularly good and at £2 great value for money.
From there it was a direct route via West Chiltington, up the Broadbridge Road, across to Coneyhurst and into Barns Green. Enroute we encountered a smaller than usual Horsham contingent (just 3). We also had a mechanical – Michael’s pedal fell off on the road into Coneyhurst. It was fairly quickly replaced but more was to follow……….
Sumners Pond café is now a very popular spot, indeed there are signs warning that unless you book ahead at peak times they cannot guarantee to cater for walk ins. Luckily this early in the season and on an overcast 12C day, there were plenty of tables available outside. In the picture is our newcomer Steve tucking into a burger
Arun Adur arrived as we were tucking into lunch (4) making a very respectable 16 for the post lunch sporting activity. As this involved just freewheeling down a slope and up another, it wasn’t too strenuous. Paul from Arun Adur won, Bognor and Chichester packing the ‘also run’ places.
Honour maintained by virtue of having the largest attendance, we headed back on our return. We had already decided on a mirror route when Michael informed us that his pedal was now unscrewing again – the spindle bearings having seized up. There is just one way around this – pedal forward a few revolutions, then back a few revolutions. Easier said than done but he coped gamely fully until reaching Amberley Station and the option of a train home. Here we split up – a group having a further coffee at the village café in Amberley, before either going over the Khyber and home or more directly over Houghton Hill.
A very pleasant days ride – a good turnout at the DA event (thanks to organizers Arun Adur) and a useful reminder of the need to check the bikes over after winter! Mileage for the day was between 60 -65 miles depending on the end of day route options.