Sunday 20 December Ride To Petersfield

This is the write-up for today’s bike ride to Petersfield:

‘A cold coming we had of it.

Just the worst time of the year

For a journey, and such a long journey:

The ways deep and the weather sharp,

The very dead of winter.’ 

(Journey of the Magi, by T.S. Elliott)

Four likely lads cycled out from Chichester Cross at 9.30am today seeking the bright lights, the beautiful people and the cafes serving delicious food in Petersfield. Bob, Sam, Paul and the leader, Michael pedalled out along Clay Lane to West Ashling and on to Funtington in a 6 degree wind chill. We soon passed the Neo-Classical mansion between Walderton and West Marden which was occupied by the Canadian Army in the Second World War; which was threatened with demolition after the war; was re-built and almost became a casino; but it is a private residence today. Sam was involved in the rebuilding of the mansion. We stopped at Compton Village Store for lashings of hot chocolate and marshmallows, scrambled eggs on toast and chocolate cake; and the main topics of conversation were the new E-bike by Ribble which houses the battery within the frame and is a give-away at £3,000; and the Sky Documentary: “Armstrong”, which was all about the drug taking and the aggressive manipulation of the Festina Team by Lance Armstrong. After the mid-morning stop we headed out over Idsworth Hill and climbed up over Buriton Hill, which must be one of the finest valley and hill rides in West Sussex. After admiring the fabulous view at the top of Buriton Hill, Paul led the group down into Petersfield. 

We had lunch at The Cloisters Cafe, in Petersfield and we enjoyed the tomato and basil soup and the turkey and cranberry paninis. The lunchtime conversation included Sam’s experiences working at heights; his confrontation with the wife of the lead singer of Depeche Mode when he was constructing a mezzanine floor for her; and the engineering marvel that is the Forth Rail Bridge, which Sam manufactured rivets for.

After lunch, we climbed up over Ditcham Hill and cycled down passed St Hubert’s Church in Idsworth, which has some amazing wall paintings and was built in the 11th Century by Godwin of Wessex, the father of King Harold who died at the Battle of Hastings; and we cycled on through icy cold flood waters to Rowlands Castle. We could not cycle through Rowlands Castle and not stop for afternoon tea at the Bumblebee Cafe. We helped the staff at the cafe by finishing off the caramel shortbread. We talked about the miracle of the 3 day week; the fact that Delicate Sound of Thunder is probably Pink Floyds greatest live performance; and the dynamic creativity in popular music, art, fashion, films and photography that was 1960s London, which was depicted in “My Generation which was televised on BBC2 at 9.20pm on Saturday night.   

After tea, we cycled on home through Westbourne, Woodmancote, Fishbourne and Chichester. The entire circuit measured 41 miles from the Cross; we gained 2,013 feet in elevation and the maximum speed was 32.9 miles an hour.

Michael Eastham

Sunday 13th December, Today’s Mission Impossible

Code: CTC Club ride to Gartons. Doesn’t Club ride mean more than One up to maximum 6?

A Failure due to adverse weather conditions.  Aborted at Greenham School.

Great difficulty was encountered negotiating the banks of the Mississippi (known locally as the Ems Valley) to the point beyond Greenham School where all trace of a route north to South Harting  via Chilgrove, Gone!!  With no access to the banks.  An executive decision was made at this point to abort the adventure. Forgotten to pack & wear Flippers and Snorkel & lost 2 bladed oar en route to Rowlands Castle!!  However this was a human failure.  To continue to persevere  to lead an abnormal life!!  No motor failures were encountered (different bike) to yesterday’s reconnoitre, and no punctures (The “Birtwell Gossamer” Durano dumped)  and a Marathon plus fitted.  Due to speedos going for a swim! ! Only total mileage recorded. 39 Miles Thank you for your company  and look forward to our next “Triathlon” 

Sam Roberts

Editors Note This is what happens to Riders who ignore the cancellation of a Ride due to adverse weather!!

Long ride to West Meon, Sunday 6th December

Just four of us met at a pretty cold Cross at 9.00 on Sunday for the long ride to West Meon. Leader was meant to be Russell, but he sadly suffered a car puncture on the way, and as apparently modern cars don’t come with a spare wheel he had to wait for a breakdown van. Someone else had had to cancel so that left myself (Bob), Adam, Sam and Paul. Sam was suffering having been out cycling in the torrential rain the day before and didn’t know if he would go the whole way, so suggested I lead. That was fine but as soon as I said so he brightly suggested “shall we go to Arlesford?” The explanation for this, of course, was that if he’s the leader he can’t interfere with the planned route, so getting someone else to lead is the perfect solution, and cheered him up no end.

So we set off for West Meon as planned, intending to go via Rowlands Castle via Clay Lane and Westbourne as usual. But along West Ashling Rd Sam sprung a puncture in his back wheel, apparently the latest in a run of them. Perhaps it’s just me, my mind firmly on Marathon Pluses and the like, but it didn’t look that surprising, the tyre nice, smooth, gossamer thin and looking absolutely ready for riding on thin air, provided there wasn’t a wind. But it was soon mended and we continued to Rowlands and coffee at the Beehive. There we got in a muddle as we automatically went in to order as we had been doing during Son of Lockdown. Three of us got the message that we had to go outside and sit down to be served, but Sam had ordered and got his coffee at the counter which meant he wasn’t allowed to sit down, which he was surprisingly compliant about leading me to feel worried for his health. I had a bacon roll in case there wasn’t much available at West Meon, as there was a lot of cyclists about; I thought the West Meon cafe might get very crowded.

After that we went up via Finchdean to Buriton, and thence to East Meon and along the Meon Valley to West Meon, getting there about 12.30. There were a few other cyclists, though it wasn’t as crowded as I feared. But they weren’t in full gear yet after Son of Lockdown, and had run out of soup that I had been looking forward to, and sausages, so only bacon and egg sandwiches were left, but they were very good even though I didn’t really want two lots of bacon. Before we left, Peter from the Adur/Arun group turned up, and they had by then run out of bacon as well. He asked for ham but that was off, so I think he had a cheese sandwich.

We left to take the least objectionable route up the Downs, over the old railway and up Old Winchester Hill, then along the ridge towards Clanfield, turning left at Petersfield Lane. There Sam sprung another puncture, same wheel.

Adam used his long experience to examine the tyre, but couldn’t find anything lodged in it, just the myriad of holes where outside bodies had visited, Sam’s familiarity with the colander like surface reflected in his various comments of “ooo, haven’t seen that one before, that wasn’t there yesterday”. Again the puncture to my untutored eye seemed not very much of a surprise; completely unblemished by a tread and looking like it could easily have rivalled a three-ply Kleenex for thickness, the tyre looked as if taming winter roads would be as easy for it as paying the trombone. If there was nothing in the tyre I imagined it could only have been that the holes let stuff out as easily as in, a list of the road debris that might have entered needing to include shingle, dead rabbits, left over kerbstones, small bridges and the occasional roadside burger van. I thought it would be easier to list the things that we would be less likely to find in Sam’s tyres, prime among which would be “air”.

We stopped again at the Beehive for tea, the discussion over Sam’s punctures and associated matters continuing with close examination of the now burgeoning number of spent inner tubes.

Mediaeval scholars, it is said, would sometimes debate “How many angels can fit on the head of a needle?” Some say that this is a story invented to mock those theologians, but it seems that some speculation along those lines may have been part of academic dialogue, and while the answer could never be found beyond “an infinite number”, the question provoked a realisation of deeper meanings, a sense of the spiritual gulf between physical measurement and metaphysical contemplation.

In a direct descendent of this scholarly endeavour, we in the Philosophical Department of the Bognor and Chichester CTC developed our own version of this discourse in exploring the question: “How many holes can be found on the surface of Sam’s Inner Tubes?” In parallel with our forerunners of the middle ages, a precise answer can never be found beyond “an infinite number”, but the question provokes a change in the way of thinking, a fundamental shift to a new plane of consciousness. Suddenly new insights become manifest, and revelatory thoughts abound, such as “perhaps it would be a good idea to buy some new tyres that have a semblance of a tread and more puncture resistance than a desiccated tomato skin”.

What will come of this enlightenment? Only time will tell, and meanwhile we left for the last leg of our journey apprehensive about a possible Third Puncture along the way. But we were in luck! Just as we were starting out down Woodberry Lane what must have been a large bird of prey took a mighty dump on Paul. At least I think Paul said “luck” but that might not have been the exact word he used, encrusted as he was in a thick and slowly congealing layer of albatross poo, but the aforementioned excrement undoubtedly did the trick, and No More Punctures happened at all.

And so our Odyssey came to its triumphant close, after 51 miles, two punctures and a bucket load of ornithological whoopsie.


Sunday 6 December Short Ride to Blossoms Café Stansted

The maximum of 6 were out on this ride today. Arthur who was the leader plus Lynn, Maureen,  Jean, Lawrence and myself Edwin.

We met at 10.00 at Chichester Cross next to Santa’s Grotto. The weather was dry but cold starting out at 2C and rising to the dizzy heights of 7C.

We headed out along West Street and on to the Cyclepath past Fishbourne Roman  Palace. Then a stretch of the cyclepath beside the main road before turning off on back roads to Bosham. We stopped there at Wendy’s Café in the Arcade where there is a handy outside area.

Soon after elevenses I headed home and Jean did the same. Lynn headed home from Westbourne. This left just Arthur, Maureen and Lawrence to continue to Stansted. There they found Blossoms Café to be far too crowded so they made use of a coffee van near the car park.

On the return to Chichester the mileage for the day was 25. My mileage although cut short was also 25 after including the miles to get to and from home.


Saturday Ride from Chichester Library to Wendy’s Cafe, Bosham Walk Saturday 5th December 2020

For the first Cycling UK ride following the second lockdown of the year, a small group of three cyclists gathered at Chichester Library for a ride to Wendy’s Cafe in Bosham Walk: Philippa Neville (leading), MaureenFlint and Ray Savage.  The weather was cloudy and chilly but, initially, dry.

The group set off and made their way towards West Street and Westgate.  Crossing over the roundabout at Westgate, they continued down towards the footbridge over the level crossing, to take them into Fishbourne Road East.  The route then continued under the A27 and along the cycle path past Fishbourne Roman Palace and soon emerging onto the A259.  A left turn was then taken down Old Park Lane providing much relief from the busy traffic.

At the first t-junction, the group turned left to go down Hoe Lane in a southerly direction.  The road then bent round to the west to change into Smugglers Lane and north, changing into Lower Hone Lane.  The group reached Shore Road just in time before High Tide obscured their way.  Further along, everyone was greeted with the magnificent view across the water to the village of Bosham.

The route continued along Shore Road towards Bosham Quay.  The water covered the road at this point, so everyone was forced to take instead the higher level footpath, walking the bikes as pedestrians approached.Bosham Walk was just a short distance from this point, and the group arrived at the cafe at approximately 2.15 pm where they met Roy Wasdell, who had cycled up from Emsworth.  


Due to the Covid restrictions, the group was forced to buy takeaways and sit outside in the cold!  Whilst sitting there, the rain started to come down and gradually got heavier and heavier.  By the time everyone was ready to get back on their bikes, the rain had become torrential!

Needless to say, the route back to Chichester was as direct and quick as possible – straight along the A259 cycle path back to Chichester!  The time of arrival back in town was approximately 3.30 pm.