Sunday 6th Oct, ride to Wickham

Five of us met at the Cross on Sunday 6th for the long ride to Wickham, myself (Bob) leading, Sam, Michael, Paul and Harvey.

1. ChiCross6Oct19

There was some nervousness before hand about the prospect of riding on the Meon Valley Trail on road bikes. I had been on it several times on a road bike but was also nervous because it had poured down with rain the previous night. But Sam had brought his tractor along with the kind of tyres that would look forward to a day on the Somme circa 1916. We had a slight delay deciding how to start from Chichester, as the marathon was about to start, blocking our road. By co-incidence John Maxim came along and as he had the same problem rode with us briefly as we went down South St, over the bridge towards Waitrose and past Tesco to avoid the runners.

After that we continued as usual to Rowlands castle, then on to Keydell’s at Horndean for coffee avec sausage bap. Then via Catherington and Crossways to Newtown. Sam wanted us to get there via World’s End, but fortunately I was leading so we went on a less apocalyptic route via Bent Lane. This also had the advantage of allowing me to Make an Educative Point about an Interesting Postbox at Rudley Mill (a VR post box where the tree alongside has obviously grown over the last century or so, and the box is therefore pushed over a bit).


Everyone can imagine how fascinated the group were at this stunning information, so in a haze of wonderment we continued through Soberton Heath and squeezed down a footpath onto the Meon Valley Trail.

The going was reasonable, the rain making some mud but not too bad, though Harvey and Paul (who were the reluctant ones before the start) weren’t very thrilled. It was only a short distance to Wickham, where we had a good lunch at the King’s Arms.

3. LunchStop6Oct19

At the Pub there was an interesting sign about its origins.

2. LunchSign6Oct19

Afterwards we returned to the Meon Valley trail to go north to Droxford. But Harvey sprung a puncture on the way. Fortunately Harvey had another inner tube, so was soon mended, and we continued but I turned off the Trail at Soberton to continue to Droxford Station by a road covered in that new-fangled tarmacadam thingy, as the Trail wasn’t proving the critically acclaimed success I had been hoping for.

We turned right to take Watton Lane, intending to go through Clanfield to Chalton, where we could decide whether to take the direct road to Rowlands Castle or go via Compton. But with an ominous BANG Harvey got another puncture. And he didn’t have another inner tube. Sam did have one fortunately but it was obviously worrying that the last one had only lasted a few minutes.


Investigation showed the problem was that the tyre wall had a crack, and the inner tube was working its way through and bursting. Sam’s ingenious solution to this was a ten pound note, used to line the tyre to prevent a recurrence. It should have been a five pound note evidently, but we were all too affluent to have one. The tenner was a bit big, so a bit hung out the side.

And by golly it worked. We took a more direct route to Rowlands Castle, and Harvey rode cautiously to avoid shocking the tyre any more than necessary, but in fact we arrived at the Bumblebee Cafe, Rowlands Castle without any more punctures at all and in still time for tea, over which Sam and I bickered about routes, thus providing more fascinating discussion for the benefit of the others.


So what we learned was:

  1. Ten pound notes are just as good as five pound notes.
  2. Continental should include with their Gatorskin tyres a few ten pound notes as essential repair equipment. I think personally the Club Secretary should write to them making this point, with suitable threats of legal action etc.

And thence back the usual way. My mileage from Chi was 56.


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