Herewith a report on last Sunday’s ride, my pic below and Michael has one of East Meon
Seven of us met at the Cross on Sunday for the ride to East Meon, with good if windy weather. Myself leading, with Sam, Russell, Maureen, Alan, Michael and Harvey.
We sped off down West Street to go via Clay Lane to coffee at Horndean, but these plans were rudely interrupted. Harvey’s light disintegrated on the Fishbourne Road, but this was only a trivial problem and Our Policy Is One of Continuous Improvement so we came up with a bigger snag at Westbourne namely a puncture visited upon Michael. Or rather, Michael’s wheel. The repair might have needed the now world famous use of a five or ten pound note, but Russell came up with a Tyre Boot or some such, a lining for tyres obviously intended for those occasions where, due to the decline of cash, a five or ten pound note just isn’t available. Being American they had misspelt the word “tyre” but it seemed to work anyway.
We had warnings about the ford at Rowlands from John Maxim coming the other way, but I had noted it wasn’t that deep the previous week, and there is a pathway beside. In fact it was deeper than I expected (heavy rain the previous night), but I couldn’t resist going through it anyway and didn’t get wet boots by some miracle. The rest took the Sensible Option.
But of course when we got to Rowlands Castle we were later than intended and some were suggesting stopping. I thought they wanted to stop for coffee, but actually Michael just wanted to stop and pump his tyre up, as the Bumblebee have a pump (useful to remember), which wouldn’t take long. So I thought we could continue to Horndean, but some actually did want to stop. So I went into the cafe, but Alan came and said the consensus was that it would be better to continue to Horndean. So I went back outside where Harvey asked what we were doing. I said I understood from Alan that there was a consensus to continue on, so I went back to my bike where Maureen was, as I thought, just packing up her bike to go. Then when I was on my bike waiting Maureen had disappeared into the cafe for coffee, the consensus obviously not have included her or Harvey. So we stopped for coffee at the Bumblebee. Good job we aren’t one of those cycle clubs that can’t make up their minds, or there might have been confusion!
But they do jolly good cakes at the Bumblebee and we settled down on sofas, those who didn’t want to breathe the refined air of nicotine. Then Sam entered IOG (Interfering Old Git) mode (though not, I was pleased to see, TOM, or Totally Obnoxious Mode), demanding a change of route to go via Buriton to save time. That was actually the way I’d planned to come back, but I gave in, partly because I was a bit knackered and had been struggling more than usual, and the Buriton route is easier than the way I’d planned. So we set off making good time, down the hill at Buriton towards Oxenbourne, where Alan took his turn at springing a puncture. Russell and Sam gathered round to help him fix it, while the rest of us helped out in a more indirect, background sort of way, by leaving them to it and going on to have lunch at the Isaac Walton.
When we had been joined by Alan and the Puncture Crew (should be a decent band there I think) I thought we might return the way I’d planned to come, so took us down to the shop at the west end of East Meon, and turned left to go through Coombe up to Teglease Down. Which was a jolly good idea but a jolly steep idea, so at the top I couldn’t be bothered to go back via Chidden as I’d intended, so took the direct route along the top of the downs, which also meant we got the wind more or less behind us. That took us through Charlton, and back down to Rowlands, where Russell left us but the remainder scoffed more tea and cake at the Bumblebee again.
And so back the way we had come. My mileage was 47 (76 kilometres) back to Chichester.