Weather on Sunday was dry with cloud in the morning clearing in the afternoon and reaching a pleasant 21C. Sam was the leader on a ride due to go to The Shoe at Exton. There were 7 of us at the start of the Ride which had its share of problems starting with Jeff having a puncture after parking near the Centurion Way.
At Chichester Cross Sam was joined by myself, Mike, Russell, Bob and Mark for the first time this year. A cyclist from the West Country joined us briefly for a chat who originally hailed from Ireland and exactly the area Sam visits every year
We headed out to via West Street to pick up Jeff whose puncture was now mended.
Then it was on via Clay Lane and the lanes via Woodmancote to Westbourne where Mike had to turn back having realised he left his bag back at Chichester Cross. Problem no 2. We heard from Mike later that he had retrieved his bag safely and then headed home.
Meanwhile we headed on and stopped at Rowlands Castle for an early elevenses. A generally welcomed decision was made to have a shorter ride to lunch changing it to the Cafe at Hambledon and do a longer ride in the afternoon.
We headed on via Horndean and a lane to Cathrington where Sam decided to go off piste on a rarely used route on a lane to Hambeledon . However nobody had a paper map for the area so Google Maps was consulted as we huddled at a junction being buzzed by a moped rider going up and down. We headed out up a steep hill and then along a quiet narrow lane.
After some more ups and downs we came out by the Bat and Ball Pub and then a long downhill to Hambledon to lunch at the Old Forge Tea Rooms, formerly Lotts Cafe, much improved after being taken over by new owners.
The Sam loop for the afternoon started off as is traditional by heading the opposite direction from home up an exceptionally steep cruel hill. Then it was more pleasant lanes across rolling hills with beautiful views.
We took more lanes across to Chidden. At this point I wanted to avoid a long climb up to the Ridge and Jeff wanted to avoid some off-road Sam had planned so we split off and took a route of similar distance but lower. Our routes converged at the Hampshire Hogg and then across to Chalton and down to Finchdean and we met up for tea at Rowlands Castle. Jeff and I got there at least 20 minutes earlier than the rest mainly due to the off-road which proved more difficult than expected.
After tea in the bright sunshine we retrace our outbound route back to Chichester via Westbourne and Woodmancote. Mileage from and back to Chichester was about 48. My mileage from Pagham was 60.