Sunday 5 February Ride to Durleighmarsh

A ride led by your esteemed ride leader Adam is expected to have hills.  And just recently it seems water as well.  So on today’s adventure we had both.  There were 8 of us in total with Paul, Sam, Maureen, Alan, Bob, Max & Jeff setting off from Chichester at 9am on a bright and slightly chilly morning. 

The first part of the route was one I’d shamelessly nicked from Cycle Bognor, heading out to Bosham on the A259 and then cunningly cutting across to head up through Woodmancote before stopping at the very nice Pavilion Tearooms at Stansted House.  Even Sam was impressed by the surroundings, pronouncing the coffee to be the best he’d had and when his 2 egg bap turned up, he was even more ecstatic.  Which made a nice change.

Reluctantly leaving the café, it was then a long slow slog up the slope, to then drop down through Deanlane End before brazenly ignoring the Road Closed signs in Finchdean to wade through the water, which did seem to have gone down since a couple of weeks ago.

Then we started climbing again, up through Ditcham Park School.  An interesting addition was spotting a dead white dear by the side of the road.  After stopping to clear our lungs, then it was back down the other side and then after a few miles we crossed the A272 to the lunch stop at The Tea Barn, Durleighmarsh Farm.  I continued my recent tradition of opting for a Ploughman’s which turned up with corn bread and a mini cylinder of butter, whilst others enjoyed the soup and cakes on offer.

In fact, Max was enjoying his soup so much, he didn’t want to turn round for the camera. 

Suitably nourished, we headed off south.  Despite having a headwind in the morning, we still seemed to have some wind around as we rolled along the quiet lanes through West Harting, South Harting, to then head towards East Harting.  For some reason there wasn’t a North Harting. 

At Turkey Island, Max zoomed off home to Midhurst, leaving the rest of us to “enjoy” the climb up the appropriately named Hill Lane.  Which rises up at a gradient of up to 15.9%.  When I last climbed this nearly 2 months ago, I had to stop a couple of times to get my breath back, so I was quite pleased to make it up to the top without stopping.  After regrouping at the top and spotting all the birds and hang gliders enjoying the uplifting air currents, we then turned off at North Marden which is where things unravelled slightly as Paul and Sam got into their aero positions and pointed themselves downhill, but unfortunately they didn’t hear me call out to turn next right.  After trying and failing to catch them and then doubling back to the others, the rest of us followed my original route to then head down through Up Marden before catching up with Paul and Sam in Walderton. 

The rest of the ride was then fairly uneventful, through Funtingdon, where I declined Sam’s suggestion of Watery Lane and carried on through West Stoke before turning towards Chichester where unfortunately Alan discovered that despite his display confidently assuring him that he still had 36% battery left, it was deceiving him as the built-in battery indicator was glowing red.  This meant he had intermittent power and ultimately none, so no doubt his legs got a good workout on the final stretch home.

I took a slight detour on the way back and ended up with 59 miles for the day. For the published route to Chichester it was over 2,800 feet of climbing, so I think we all did well.

Adam Bell