On a sunny and slightly breezy day, nine cyclists gathered at Chichester Library for a ride to ‘Bracklesham Bay Tea Rooms’, in Bracklesham Bay. Terry, a new cyclist on the Chichester Saturday rides, had come over from Littlehampton on the train. A Spanish couple, Oscar & Beatriz, also joined the ride, giving Philippa an opportunity to try out her awful Spanish on them!
The group set off from the library heading west towards Westgate, crossing over the mini-roundabout and heading straight on before turning left to pick up the cycle path which runs in front of Chichester College, ending at Chichester Railway Station.
After cutting down the side of Chichester Bus Station, the group had to unfortunately wait about 10 minutes for the railway gates to go up. Once they were raised, everyone set off again and turned left into Kingsham Avenue. Carrying on until the end of the road, the group then turned left at the junction with Whyke Road and right, to pick up the cycle path along Quarry Lane which led to the footbridge over the A27.
Emerging the other side of the footbridge, the group then immediately took a track alongside Vinetrow Road, which eventually came out into School Lane in North Mundham. Crossing the road via the very useful pelican crossing, the group then proceeded to go through North Mundham, picking up Regional Cycle Network Number 88 towards Fisher and Bramber Farm.
Just before the junction with the turning to Bramber Farm, Beatriz unfortunately had a puncture in her front tyre. She was keen for everyone to carry on without her, being mindful that the tea rooms closed early at 4 pm. As a consequence, Roy and Oscar stayed behind to help fix the puncture and Philippa lent them her map, after firstly explaining the route.
The rest of the group carried on to the tea rooms by taking a right hand turn towards Chalder Farm, eventually emerging onto the busy B2145 Selsey road. Everyone then quickly crossed over the road to go down the road directly opposite, Rotten Row, towards the junction with Highleigh Road, where everyone turned right towards Mapsons Lane. At the next T-junction, the group turned left down Batchmere Road, Batchmere Road merged into Almodington Lane and, at the next T-junction, everyone turned left down Clappers Lane, emerging just short of Bracklesham Bay Tea Rooms, arriving at approximately 3.40 pm.
To everyone’s disappointment, the tea rooms were closed, even though the board outside clearly stated they opened until 4 pm! Philippa then took the group down to the seafront at Bracklesham to see if there were any seats available in Billy’s On The Beach. Unfortunately, the cafe was packed out with only space for 2 people. The weather was now starting to deteriorate, so sitting outside wasn’t an option.
By this time, it was gone 4 pm, so, as she lives in Bracklesham, Philippa decided the best option would be to invite everyone back to her house and provide tea and cake for them there instead. Steve & Carol kindly offered to go with the group to a local supermarket to buy some cake whilst Philippa cycled home to put the kettle on! When she got there, she met up with Roy and Oscar & Beatriz, whose puncture was now repaired. A jolly time was had by all in the newly designated Bracklesham Bay Tea Rooms!
At about 5.15 pm, it was decided it was time to cycle back to Chichester. Philippa led
the ride back, taking a more direct route via Birdham Pool and then Salterns Way. Those cycling back to Chichester arrived there about 6 pm.