Sunday 29 August Bank Holiday Sunday Ride to Cocking

Three of us cycled out from Chichester Cross at 9.10am on Bank Holiday Sunday, Sam, Robert and Michael. Paul was cycling from Land’s End to John O’ Groats (good man!!!) and Bob was enjoying the Festival in Edinburgh.

 Michael led Sam and Robert along Clay Lane and Watery Lane to Funtington and on to Walderton, past Chris Chattoway’s House, arriving at Compton Village Store and Cafe at 10.20am. We spent a good 30 minutes sitting under the gazebo and discussing Sam’s forthcoming holiday plans cycling from Cork to Castletown and all of the Covid related paperwork he had to complete to travel to the Republic of Ireland; and Robert indulged us in his holiday plans for a trip to the Vendee region in western France, once a Royalist hotbed and famed for its cognac, the sandy beaches of the Ile de Re, and the Huguenots defence of La Rochelle. After morning coffee, we ascended the hill and past Uppark where Lady Emma Hamilton once danced naked on the dining room table; and quickly descended into the village of South Harting and past the White Hart Inn and then we followed the lower road through Didling and onto Bepton. We cycled past Bepton Church, with its Black Death plague pit and the grave of the former German PoW.

Sam pointed out the route of the Roman road from Chichester to Cirencester which snakes its way over the Downs, and the ‘haunted’ cottage by the side of the road. We arrived at the Blue Bell Inn in Cocking at 11.50am and we were joined by Jeff who had cycled up from Chichester to join us for lunch. 

Over the course of the morning, Sam kept us highly entertained with his stories and anecdotes about meeting the Duke of Edinburgh at a polo match at Cowdray Park; Edward James’s twilight swims in his private pool at West Dean; helping a certain toff from Stansted House whose car had broken down at the foot of Cocking Hill; and how the Canadian Army billeted at Locksash prior to D Day had virtually trashed the manor house – burning door frames to keep warm. Following lunch, Jeff led us to the Cocking’s History Column which lists local historical events from the Bronze Age to the present day.

Then we cycled up and over Cocking Hill and descended to Singleton. Ploughman’s lunches and cream teas are served at Singleton Village Hall throughout August; and Jeff and Sam were tempted to stay on, leaving Michael and Robert to cycle up Knight’s Hill (Charlton Hill) and down into East Lavant and onto Bersted via Tangmere Airfield. The total distance from Chichester Cross was 36 miles. 


Sunday 15 August Short Ride to Tangmere

There were 2 Rides today and this Report is on the short one the Tea ride via Singleton and Tangmere. Arthur was the leader and he was joined by Maureen and myself Edwin. Weather started bright and sunny deteriorating by the start to a very very light drizzly rain. During the morning it gradually improved back to sunny.

Arthur led us out along West Street and up Centurion Way. Just south of Lavant we took a diversion onto back Roads and then into Lavant from the west and then back onto Centurion Way. The path is closed part way up until October for removal of trees due to Ash Die Back. We diverted via Binderton to West Dean and then on to Singleton Village Hall where they were doing Teas and Cakes.

We returned on the same route to Lavant where Arthur and Maureen continued via the Lavant Straight to the Museum Café Tangmere for lunch. I returned direct to Chichester to make it a morning only Ride


Unofficial Ride to Alresford Wednesday 4th August


Four of us met at the Fishbourne bridge; Sam, Alan, Rod and myself, (Bob) for an unofficial ride to nowhere in particular. A pre-meeting interchange had revealed that nowhere in particular was going to look a lot like Alresford today, and Alan had brought secret knowledge of a new cafe there near the old station. He had also brought new tyres after discussion with Russell, which threatened the integrity of our adventure as not stopping for a puncture might well leave us with nothing to do but ride. Sam has of late re-entered the competition for the most punctures however, and today was eager to impress upon us the assurance that he was using tyres and tubes which had sprouted two holes on Sunday and, he thought, had a dodgy valve, so we were able to set off in an optimistic spirit, confident of a hissing sound at any minute. Russell wasn’t with us as he had ear ache, apparently entirely unrelated to listening to Sam talking, and neither was Paul, who was evidently intending zooming around on his own, training up for his forthcoming End to End and possibly meeting us for lunch.

So off we went down Clay Lane, passing the first two designated places for punctures before Woodmancote without incident. We swept past Rowlands Castle and up to the QE park above Buriton. I was feeling ok but lagging even more than usual at that point, and suggested they go on and I’d go at my pace, possibly overlapping at stops, but Sam wouldn’t have it. Alan meanwhile mused about the possibility of being featured as the next Vogue cover, as he was clad in perfectly matching jacket, shorts and helmet, yellow and black combining in a fetching contrast but with each component referencing the other thus creating a vibrant ensemble evocative of the theme widely celebrated in fashion houses as Bananas on Tarmac.

So we continued down the hill and through East Meon to Cuppacheeno at West Meon, which was very crowded and the lady coping on her own very harassed. But she Battled Bravely On so we got our drinks, and in Sam’s case his lunch after only a short delay. As we waited Sam rang Paul to arrange Synchronised Lunching, but he was still in bed, so was obviously training for the End to End at a horizontal angle to Conserve his Strength. We passed this exercise tip onto Rod who has his own End to End coming up shortly, but he seemed sceptical of the method, having last weekend ridden round the Isle of Wight in an upright position, a full 90° from the posture recommended in the Paul Proposed Procedure (or PPP as it is known in the trade).

And from there we went the usual way past the church and so up to Alresford, where we turned left off the main street down to the station, and so to Alan’s delightful cafe called the Party at the Mill. It had large outdoor and indoor areas, plenty of room for bikes, and gave a cyclist discount. I’ve no idea what that discount was or whether we all got it but it’s worth looking a bit cyclisty when you go to pay. And the food was really nice; I had what I think was a Turkish dish with eggs, yoghurt, garlic, toast and all sorts. The local wasps thought it was nice as well, at least I assume that’s why Alan, sitting beside me, suddenly got up and moved to a different table, but maybe I need to shower more often.

Going home we went through Bishops Waltham via Cheriton, and as Alan mentioned the words “ice cream” on the way we found another delightful foodery that Sam knew in the high street, a sweet shop selling ice cream as well, which we guzzled in a messy kind of way. From there we took a route Sam knew that I don’t think I’ve been on before, through some woodlands eventually ending up between Soberton Heath and Soberton; it was lovely and I must get him to show me on the map.

But by then I was lagging even more, and insisted on the others going on ahead and leaving me to stagger back at my own pace, which they readily consented to once I’d screamed various phrases on the theme of **** OFF, thrown hand grenades, sprayed them with rat poison, shouted LEAVE ME ALONE, and rung nearby military units to request air support. I think we all went back a similar way, through Hambledon and Rowlands Castle, but whereas they stopped (I believe) at Rowlands for a tea at the shop, wondering if I’d catch them up, I had unbeknown to them stopped at the Old Forge in Hambledon for a ginger beer and sausage roll. They had thought the Old Forge was shut, but probably the cafe were just stunned into immobility by the thought of a Vogue Cover model passing within feet of them.

And I thoroughly enjoyed the ride, was 76 miles for me from Chi.


DA Picnic Ride West Wittering Beach Sunday 1 August

For our group the attendance for this Event was quite disappointing with only 3 out, Harvey the Leader plus myself  (Edwin) and Maureen. We were also joined by Peter Wilson from Arun Adur Group who was looking for a shorter ride. The weather was dry with some sunshine with no rain until the return to Chichester.

We headed out via the canal path to Hunston closely followed by Horsham Group though unknown to us as nobody in our group looked behind and they took a different route from Hunston. Meanwhile we took a sharp right onto another section of the canal path first to Donnington and then to Chichester Yacht Basin. These parts of the path tough turned out to be in much poorer condition than the path to Hunston with a lot of vegetation and nettles to dodge..

We had originally intended to stop for elevenses at the Boathouse Café at Chichester Yacht Basin. However this was as busy as usual with a long queue. However Maureen had heard of another place nearby so we went on to the Chichester Yacht Club were they were serving coffee and Cakes from a window.

We continued via Birdham Pool and the Salterns Way Path to Itchenor and after some back roads continued on the Path to West Wittering. The short stretch of main road we had to do was much less busy than usual probably  due to the limited parking which has to be booked (not required for bikes)

We rode to the far end of the beach parking and East Head and the quieter no swimming area and the meeting up area where we found 5 from Horsham Group. About 7 from Arun Adur arrived much later

After a pleasant picnic lunch we headed back via East Wittering and Piggery Hall Lane towards Itchenor and then retraced on the Salterns Way to Birdham Pool and stopped for tea at yet another Café which we had clocked on the way out and not visited before.

We returned on the rest of the Salterns Way via Appledram and got back to Chichester just as the first light rain started.

Mileage Chichester and back to Chichester was 22.