Six of us gathered at the Cross on Sunday 19th July for the ride to the Parrot Inn, Forest Green: myself (Bob) leading, with Mike, Paul, Sam, Maureen and Harvey. I’d put on last week’s blog that it was good to start early as due to the booking system we knew everyone had arrived, so everyone turned up early this week, except me, consequently I got effusive thanks for my Unpredictable Creativity.
We sped off down East Street just like last week, but unlike last week went in the right direction first time, thus disappointing the crowds gathered in the hope of seeing more Synchronised U Turning, a new Olympic event for which our esteemed club should be chosen to represent Britain (or by then possibly England, or maybe just Bognor). We took the usual Oving Road route to Walberton, making dignified progress at a steady 14-17 mph, with Sam shouting “We are all here Bob, you don’t have to wait”, which comments I ignored feeling that Patience is Good for the Soul, and that a bit of Good forceably injected into Sam’s Soul might come in handy.
During a stop for a swig of water at Walberton Pond I was able to vouchsafe that the Damsel and Gentleman we had rescued last week from being punctured on the Kirdford Road had wondered, in an email, whether Sam had been a bass guitarist in a 1970s rock band. He claimed not, though (as he put it) Keith Richards looks like him. I wasn’t sure whether the Rolling Stones counted as a 1970s band, as they’ve occupied every decade since the 1850s, but Sam’s claim gives a new and under explored meaning to the 1967 Chichester drug trial which doubtless afforded Richards the opportunity of modelling himself on a local metal-working cyclist.
It was delightful crossing the A27 after Walberton, with not one car in sight in either direction, and thence up to Madehurst and Whiteways, which was almost empty presumably because last week’s Massed Ranks of Bikers had all died of Covid 19. But there our copy of last week’s ride ended and a Brand New, Avant-Garde ride emerged as we whizzed down Bury Hill, through West Burton to Fittleworth and up the Fittleworth Road to Wisborough Green. There were a lot of cyclists at the cafe and we had a long wait in the queue. We are also becoming connoisseurs of Track and Trace methods, but the one at Wisborough Green was the most innovative yet, of not doing any as far as I could see.
Even before this it had begun fairly piddling down, and didn’t look like stopping that quickly. Which in turn meant the prospect of sitting outside the Parrot Inn eating soggy fish and chips, when we were already pretty wet and cold left us distinctly unenthused. I already knew they were allowing only bookings for indoor tables, so looked at the website and luckily found there was a table available. Unluckily it was at 4.15. So it seemed pointless to go there and have to cycle somewhere else to eat, and the garden centre cafe at Cranleigh would be indoors and warm, characteristics which most of us found alluring though Sam prefers to be outdoors so he can complain about being too cold.
So we went up Drungewick Lane to the Loxwood Road, but instead of going through Rudgewick as I had intended we veered left at the Mucky Duck and went straight to Cranleigh, where the cafe was very organised, visible protections in place, and we had a decent cooked meal, the tables restricted to four as it is well known that the coronavirus can’t be bothered with such small numbers, requiring at least seven before getting excited.
Replete with our good food we grabbed our bikes from the car park
and took the Elmbridge Road through Dunsfold and Plaistow to Kirdford, where we hoped to sample again the coffee from their new coffee caravan. But we didn’t as they weren’t serving coffee. This was, to say the least, a bit of a let down, especially as both caravan and coffee makers were out and about, so everything was in place except the actual coffee. There was some talk of going back through Petworth to grab a cuppa, but I decided against this on the logistical grounds that I couldn’t be arsed, so we went the usual way. Half the group left us at the Welldigger’s Arms to return via Houghton Hill, despite my screaming “NOOOO you will die”, leaving myself, Sam and Paul to return whence we came. Lovely ride, 71 miles for me back to Chichester.