The group gathered at Chichester Cross at 10.00 for the start of the ride led by Arthur. Lynn joined the Group later. Also at the Cross were myself (Edwin), Maureen, Bob, Rosemary Burfoot, Jason Downs, Martin Hind and Graham Annally so 9 in all out on the day. Sorry no pictures due to a technical problem with the Phone. Weather was warm and dry up to 16C
We headed out via West Street and then on via the bridge over the railway to Fishbourne. Then we picked up Clay Lane and on via lanes near West Ashling to stop for elevenses at The Woodnmancote with large portions of cake.
While everyone else went on to the Salt Shack Hayling for lunch I turned back for home from The Woodmancote. I took a less direct route home to avoid the large amount of mud on the Bognor Chichester Cyclepath alongside the main road cause by an inconsiderate farmer running tractors between fields along the cyclepath.
See the picture below by Member Adam Bell and placed on Facebook.
Ride to Hayling Island
As Edwin points out we went down West St and over the Fishbourne bridge to pick up Clay Lane, but I felt he did not do justice to the innovatory nature of the route, as far from turning right into Clay Lane directly from the Fishbourne Road, Arthur took us under the bypass, along the cycle path next to the Roman Palace, turned right into Salthill Road and left after the level crossing to go up to Clay Lane. Apart from avoiding the unpleasant junction between Clay Lane and Salthill Lane, it was a revelation that a route I’ve done frequently returning to Chichester was possible in the opposite direction without at any point having to cycle backwards.
At the Cross there had been an enquiry, I think from Edwin, about where we were having coffee, which had left Arthur bemused, as the chances of him passing the Woodmancote without a coffee have been officially rated as lower than the chances of the Highways Dept mending a pot hole, that is to say it has been known but you have to believe in reincarnation to expect to see it twice. So stop we did and sadly, as Edwin has described, he had to leave us there, but the rest powered on through Westbourne and so down the old railway cycle route. There we encountered lots of people out with dogs, most of which were under reasonable control but one dog, obviously competing for Stupidest Dog of the Year, with owners supporting the dog in this endeavour by acting as role models, decided Graham’s bike was shaped a bit like a bone (knobbly bit at each end) and was therefore a good thing to play with. Graham decided to save the dog’s life by putting his own at risk, a generosity which might be reciprocated by Stupid Dog-and-Owners being more careful in future, but on the other hand might… just possibly… not be.
Once Graham had recovered we continued as usual over the Bridge of Death before reaching the sanctuary of the marina and Salt Shack Cafe, where Lynn joined us after what must have been an impressive ride to catch us up. They do good fare at said establishment but warn very reasonably that they do not do fast food, but good food slowly. That meant waiting for my takeaway salad for a bit and taking it to the picnic tables where the Peloton was established. I was appalled to see that no-one else was eating, though Maureen at least has a tendency to bring sandwiches so there may have been some lunching while I was waiting for mine (I keep myself calm with that reassuring thought). Possibly also the large cakes at the Woodmancote mentioned by Edwin might have helped in achieving what I feel confident in estimating as a 100% survival rate over lunch. At any rate the salad I had bought was excellent, though eating it was a two man job, me eating and Arthur holding the box it came in on the top of the table rather than on the lawn where it was trying to go.
Over lunch we formed a committee to review Road Safety for Cyclists and with Maureen acting as Expert Witness we came to the unanimous decision that the safest thing to do was to be a woman. Several of us felt a little challenged by the adoption of this tactic, especially those of us with beards, but I’m sure it was the right decision, and will doubtless be put to a vote at the next AGM.
We returned the traditional way, at least at first, past the beautiful Langstone Mill Pond and back via Westbourne again. But at the right hand turning after Edith Cottages Arthur again introduced dangerously radical innovation and carried straight on. This enabled us to discover that someone has nicked West Ashling Pond, just a trickle of water into a largely empty space, which is either outrageous or impressive depending on whether you are a duck.
I sadly had to leave the group there as I had to get back for a family Zoom thing, and my departure was made all the more abrupt by an urgent need to do something that I think might have filled up West Ashling Pond again had I stayed. Instead I stopped by a ditch along Clay Lane and filled that up, enabling the Assembled Company to catch me up, so I had to leave them a second time. I thus do not know exactly how the adventure ended, but if I were a betting man I would lay odds on a stop at Fishbourne Roman Palace for tea.