Seven of us gathered at Chichester Cross this morning for the ride to Midhurst: myself (Bob), Harvey, Linda, Mark, Paul, Trevor and Steve. This was despite it being dreary and with rain forecast, so is a magnificent testimony to the hardy adventurousness of the CTC. (Pic)
The rain was forecast to fall mainly between 9 and 11, and it began on the dot at 9. As we set off for the Centurion Way it got harder, and by the time we got to the bottom of Westgate it was fairly bucketing. We took the usual route via West Stoke and Funtingdon aiming for coffee at Compton, but between West Marden and Compton, Linda sprang a puncture, just far enough away from Compton to make walking the bike up to the coffee stop impractical. Thankfully the rain eased off just at that point, so Linda, Mark and Steve gathered round to mend the tyre while the rest of us went off and helpfully made ourselves comfortable and warm in the village shop.
When we were all gathered I opened a debate about the route post Compton (or rather post South Harting), but there was some difference of opinion. Some preferred a shorter route with better roads through Elsted due to the weather, while Paul suggested cycling on through Rogate and doing a loop via East Anglia, so I compromised in favour of going up through Nywood and then turning right through Trotton, Chithurst and Woolbeding. The road surfaces were as poor as usual and with wet mud and puddles added, so providing further proof of our sturdy ruggedness, but we arrived at Garton’s cafe in Midhurst in good time for a pretty good lunch despite an almost cataclysmic shortage of sausages.
Further debate produced a route home through West Lavington and Selham, to use quieter roads, but veering off at Graffham (thus avoiding a tea break and Duncan Hill), to go through Heyshott to Cocking, though Harvey left us at Graffham preferring the Duncton route. The Heyshott to Cocking road was of course even grottier than usual, but was no problem for our stalwart group, and we took Cocking Hill in our stride and regrouping at the top. (Pic)
That left a ride to Centurion Way at West Dean and back, though sadly Linda suffered another puncture at Lavant, this time dealt with by Mark going home to fetch the car.
My mileage from and back to Chichester was 48.