Sunday 15 December. Unofficial Ride via Blackdown

Note from Edwin. Although this was an unnoficial  ride and there are no pictures due to rain this account is more than worth a read due to the excellent prose from Bob with his usual entertainment. Meanwhile 3 were out on the Official ride  to West Marden diverted due to rain to Tangmere. Now on with the story from Bob –


Three of us, myself, Sam and Paul, met at the Cross on Sunday for a ride by mutual arrangement, not a Cycling UK ride, but met Edwin who was there on a Peddler Distribution Mission. As such we had no leader, but in fact Sam had worked out a route so we did follow him. He’d got it apparently from a 1923 (I think he said) CTC ride. It involved at first a journey the same as last week, up St. Paul’s road and down Brandy Hole Lane to Lavant, then along the Midhurst road, where it rained. And rained. And hailed. In fact it bucketed down. We turned off after Cocking as if we were going to Graffham, but went through Selham and Halfway Bridge to stop at Lodsworth shop for coffee and excellent mince pie (Sam), yoghurt flapjack (me) or pastie (Paul). The only problem was that there was nowhere to sit down, and the various wooden objects that might have been used as seats were wetter than we were due to aforementioned tsunami.

So victualed but only passingly rested we went on through Lickfold and thence up to Blackdown, which was a stiffish sort of hill, but really beautiful even in the cold wet weather, The woodland had a damp, wintery loveliness, and it was good to be on brand new roads (I’d never been there before). The weather had dried up pretty well by then, but some of the roads were virtual rivers. We got the Reward of All Our Efforts after the climb, shooting down Tennyson Lane (where the great man did apparently live, so the Charge of the Light Brigade was obviously composed on a bicycle down that stretch) and into Haslemere. Blimey, I thought, it’s nearly the winter solstice and we’ve come to bloody Haslemere. Actually it wasn’t as far as I’d have expected, only 26 miles up to that point, but the thought unnerved me.

The main road through Haslemere was unpleasant and busy, but Sam hustled us into a garage for coffee. Paul and I were mystified by this as we’d already had coffee and it was 12.15, and we were thinking….sort of…. lunchish. But Sam seemed determined (unusual that) and thought the coffee would be good at a Costa in the garage. In fact it was a Greggs, where we got things like sausage rolls or soup and so on that was a bit rubbish. And once again there was NOWHERE TO SIT DOWN. Attempting to sit on a pile of their logs for sale I knocked my mediocre tomato soup over and it covered a pair of someone’s gloves. Paul laughed heartily at Sam’s gloves being covered in tomato soup, then realised it was actually his own gloves and started Gesticulating Wildly. I went into the gents to wash them off but couldn’t dry them as the hot air thing wasn’t working. Fortunately they were waterproof and, as it turned out, soup proof. My sausage and bacon roll seemed to me to have been constructed without inconveniencing any pigs overmuch, and had some odd pink stuff in it. I chucked half of it in the bin. But the general joy and merriment of the occasion was capped when Paul noticed that on the other side of the road was a fully functioning CAFE, with things like SEATS, and HEATING, and probably FOOD THAT WASN’T MADE OF LEFTOVER SAWDUST.

However we didn’t complain in any way, we happy band of brothers, just MENTIONED IT IN A LOUD VOICE TO SAM FOR THE NEXT FOUR HOURS while we continued on the main road for a bit, but soon turned off to go through Linch and Redford, and thence down to Stedham. Sam’s amazing ability to find new and lovely routes I think is a result of the Geographical bits of his brain expanding into the bits that would normally sort out mealtimes, food intake and such like, as he started wondering whether we wanted to stop at the pub for lunch, when it was gone 2 by this time, due to get dark in not much more than an hour, and our stomachs were full of sawdust. So anyway we thanked him for the thought but went to the garden centre cafe, where we got their excellent cakes (in my case a particularly delicious chocolate cheesecake with cream and… well, I won’t go on about it).

We had much debate about the rest of the route, Sam wanted to take Turkey Island, but being lazy and a bit knackered I favoured Cocking, which Paul did as well. So that’s where we went, through Didling etc and a few flooded roads. Paul and Sam turned off to go back down Two Barns Lane, and I went home.

A really lovely ride, new territory for me. My mileage was 53, Sam’s was 54, and we did get back before it was properly dark. Smashing.


Sunday’s Ride 8th December to Midhurst

A short report from Sam the Leader on the Ride to Midhurst starting (9.00 Chichester Cross

. ChiCross8Dec19

Heading out Lavant via Broyle (avoiding very wet & slippery Centurion Way) – Singleton-Cocking- Graffham for (11’s)

Then on via Selham to Midhurst and Gartons for lunch

Then back )- Bepton- Treyford-  Turkey Island ( up the hill). North Marden- Littlegreen School- Idsworth- Rowlands Castle (Tea) & home. 51+miles

4 out: Bob, Paul, Martin Bilham & myself. Bob signed off (North of Singleton). Martin signed off (@ Gartons). Chris ”The Bell” joined south of Midhurst & (signed off @ Littlegreen School).  Bob should have some pretty pics   Humungus squall @ Woodmancote!! Good ride!!

Sam Roberts

Sunday 1st December Ride to the Club Christmas Lunch

Six of us turned out for the Appetite Improvement Ride before Christmas dinner at the Walnut Tree today.  At the Cross at 8.45 were myself leading, Sam, Rosemary, Jason, Michael and Recently Published Author (of a letter in this month’s Cycle magazine) Maureen. Weather was pretty cold, but clear, dry and sunny.


So off we went down West Street, Compton bound. I had thought it would be nice to change from the usual route down Centurion Way and through West Stoke, and I’ve developed an aversion to Centurion Way until the leaves have all decomposed. Instead I was determined to Seek Out New Roads and Boldly Go Where No CTC Ride has Gone Before. But actually there aren’t any new roads so I just went a slightly different way, down Clay Lane to turn right at Southbrook Road and up to West Ashling, then Watery Lane to Funtingdon, where we couldn’t help but notice a suspicious lack of any alien life at all. After that we were back on the usual route anyway, my adventurous spirit exhausted, so we continued through West Marden etc to Compton.

The weather was so sunny by this time that we comfortably sat outside. Well, reasonably comfortably, the lady gave us some blankets to hold off the worst of the ice and snow, and I don’t think anyone lost more than a few fingers to frostbite. Over coffee I was pleased to excite the company with news of my Amazing New Hearing Aids and demonstrated their superbness by being able to hear Sam taking the piss. Mostly.


After coffee, my Spirit of Adventure rekindled, we reboarded the Enterprise and shot off to Little Green, and thence up and down hills towards Idsworth. Up to there an unwary observer may have been lulled into thinking we were taking the same boring route as usual to Rowlands Castle, but I had another trick up my sleeve. In a swashbuckling act of audacity I turned left instead of right after Finchdean, and we climbed up the long hill to Forestside, where Maureen and Rosemary spotted a pair of Red Kites apparently attacking another, smaller, bird of prey. The brains of the men in the party hadn’t been active enough to do more than watch Sam having a fag, but after the women pointed the birds out we were able to see them wheeling round each other, though they had stopped fighting by then, presumably miffed that we hadn’t been taking any notice. Don’t blame them.

So we turned right and had the Reward of All Our Efforts after hill climbing whizzing down the long straight hill past Stansted, then up again and down Monks Hill to Westbourne, and back through Woodmancote. The party began to fragment going into Chichester; we turned off at St. Bartholomew’s to go through the college, but Rosemary and Jason went back into Chichester for their cars to drive to the Walnut Tree. The rest of us went down Kingsham and Quarry Lane to go over the bridge. As we were in good time I thought we would go the longer route down the cycle path along the Bognor Road to Marsh Lane to avoid the traffic on Vinnetrow Road, and despite Sam’s exasperated cries of “THE PUB’S ABOUT 2 MILES THAT WAY” we did that, Maureen leaving us as she didn’t want any dinner.

And dinner was jolly good, at least mine was. Seemed to be lots of us, not sure how many exactly. (Edwin reports 21) Highlights for me, apart from the good conversation and company, were: my sea bass, perfectly cooked; the successful summoning of the United Nations as a mediator when I realised my name wasn’t on the Pudding List, but Dave obviously dealt with this by telepathy because I grabbed one anyway and then there was still one to spare, which we scoffed between us; me putting Sam right about his Mistaken Political Opinions (though apparently his granddaughter agrees with me so I must congratulate Sam on his grandparenting skills), and Michael shouting from the other end of the table to Sam about next week’s ride, which Sam couldn’t hear but I COULD due to my Amazing New Hearing Aids, so I was able to patronise someone else about their hearing, which was even more delicious than the pudding.


In fact I think it was after 3 we left, so the dinner was well over 2 1/2 hours. The three of us who had eventually arrived together (me, Michael and Sam) left together, going at first down to Marsh Lane again which Sam was now reconciled to, and then he wanted to go on a detour, so in further Spirit of Discovery we turned right instead of left on the Bognor Road. Michael left us to continue back to Bognor, and Sam and I went down Colworth Lane and Woodhorn Lane. The light in the now setting sun was just beautiful, a thrilling golden lambency, making a rural peacefulness luminous and joyful.



Sam pointed out various parts of the old Tangmere Airfield in the arable fields; a place where engines were tested, and where boundaries and old roads had changed. We crossed to go behind Oving and giggling, sneaked up on the Gribble from behind to shake it up a bit, scurrying away before we were caught.

And from there back. My computer seemed to have gone wrong, I think I must have reset it by accident half way through, but Sam reckoned we had done 33 miles up to the Walnut Tree, so I think about 40 in total, not bad for a half day ride and with a jolly good lunch and jolly good company in the middle.


Pictures in order from Michael, Edwin and Bob