Three of us met at the Cross at 8.00 last Sunday (7th June) for the World Premier screening of:
The Bognor and Chichester CTC Ride Again
Starring Sam, Paul and myself (Bob). We each carried a fly swatter so we could Stay Alert and swat any Covid 19 viruses that came along. Sam and I also had suitably lockdown length hair, but Paul had obviously been wielding some scissors at some point.
So we measured out 10 metres and in a suitably distant manner Sam led us down West St, Four Marks bound. We went over the bridge towards Fishbourne, which I’d been avoiding as it’s hard to socially distance yourself from other users without throwing them onto the railway tracks, which might be less healthy for them than catching The Plague. But the bridge was OK except the buddleias had heard about nature recovering during lockdown and had taken this obligation very seriously. We went the usual way to Rowlands Castle as there is a convenience shop there open early, so Paul and Sam bought a coffee while I had my flask. That didn’t take long, and we continued via Buriton to Petersfield and then Steep, and so up through Hawkley. It is pretty steep round there but really lovely, and you go through delightfully named places like Newton Valence, where we went past a family out for a spin in their horse drawn carriage.
I wondered if we were, in fact, still on the map or if the area was just marked “Here Be Dragons”. Just to encourage us, every 5 miles Sam said “only another 2 or three miles”, and Paul and I began to feel Somewhat Sceptical of Sam’s Geographical Acumen, though the actual explanation was probably that we had entered a time loop, where horses and carts were the up to date transport option, and the last 2 or 3 miles were being endlessly replayed. Fortunately we know from Einstein that space-time is curved, and thus we veered round westerly to arrive at the garden centre at Four Marks in pretty good time, well before 12.
Paul and Sam braved the queue to get something to eat, and joined me as I ate my sarnies at the picnic tables, Paul and I sat at opposite corners and Sam stood to make a triangle. Social Distancing actually takes quite a bit of sorting out, but it was quite noticeable how automatically people are adjusting to each other. Afterwards we continued westerly then down through Hawthorne and the A32 for a bit, the traffic still reduced enough to make it more bearable than usual. Thence down to the Meon Valley and East Meon, so we could have a coffee, arriving at 1.20. at the shop. Which closes at 1.00 on Sundays.
So we didn’t have a coffee but took a Socially Distant Selfie instead (pic)
and continued up to the Bat and Ball. As we went Sam’s e-bike started to play up, and he got stuck some metres short of the top of the hill above East Meon, having to push it to the top. It continued being a bit flaky, and we were in quite hilly territory, down from the Bat and Ball, then up the hill to Catherington and thus Rowlands Castle. So we arrived triumphantly at the Beehive, which is open for takeaways, at 3.03. And it closes at 3.
So we took another selfie. (Pic)
Sam wheedled the owner into serving us anyway, and then having got them to make coffee for us when they were shut cheerfully presented his loyalty card to them. I was braced for him asking them for a discount for bulk purchase, but fortunately things didn’t get that bad and we had some nice coffee. Sam examined his faulty bike. He seemed to think the problem lay in the switch. I forget the technicalities, but the gist of it was that the switch had got wet recently and was sulking, so wouldn’t let the motor go at more than 7 miles an hour.
This required some innovative thinking on Sam’s part, and he solved it by taking the e-bike concept to a new level, inventing a means of electric propulsion called Turning The Pedals With Your Feet. Thus we took the usual route back, Sam I must say not being delayed by this sudden need for a manual method of travel.
A really nice re-start to riding again after so many weeks, 68 delightful miles.