Sunday 25th April: Unofficial Ride (Not To West Meon As It Turned Out)

There being more than 6 on the long ride on Sunday we effectively split into two groups, and four of us (Bob, Sam, Paul and Russell) met at The Cross at 8 for an Unofficial Long Ride ride to West Meon, where we might meet the Proper Long Ride.

So we started off with a glorious ride along the A259, pretty empty at 8.00 o a Sunday and the wind completely with us for pretty much the last time that day. We had the vague idea that we would stop briefly for victuals at Rowlands before going on to Petersfield, thence to Steep and down to the Meons from there. We actually didn’t do any of those things except Rowlands, where we stopped for far longer than we intended as the cafe was open (even though we got there before 9), and things like sausage baps avec fried egg were very tempting. Everywhere has got very organised about contact details so once we’d prised Sam’s name, rank and number out of him the service went smoothly. Unlike my back wheel when we went to go as it had sprung out of alignment , but fiddling about with spanners etc sorted it after a while.

And then we sped off to Finchdean, eager to see the VR postbox there, which I had found was made by Smith and Hawkes of Birmingham, who were the earliest manufacturers of wall boxes, making them between 1858 and 1881, so that the box is earlier than the VR box round the corner at Dean Lane End, which was made by W.T.Allen of London, who had the contract from 1881. Once this excitement had passed we continued up to Ditcham. We saw what looked like a buzzard briefly but I mostly missed it due to a combination of being in the middle of a widdle, followed by a rush to dig my binoculars out of my saddle bag, by which time it had vanished, leaving unresolved the question of whether it was a VR buzzard or a more recent model. The discomfort inherent in such a messily suspended intellectual adventure was dissipated only by wooshing down the zig zag road and into the Geographical Anomaly represented by Goose Green and Quebec occurring half a mile from each other. This, of course, created a Space-Time Dislocation resulting in a hitherto unknown coffee stop suddenly materialising in Nyewood. That posed quite a Conundrum for me as I was still full of a sausage and egg bap from Rowlands Castle, but they were offering a Venison Bap, of which I felt obliged to partake as they were clearly only a manifestation of unstable quantum electrical fields, and I might never have the chance of sampling it again. But those unstable quantum fields definitely came up trumps as it was smashing, even on top of aforementioned Beehive Bap, so we can only hope that the multidimensional transience rampant in the Nyewood Area results in a similar abnormality being Beamed Down in the future.

There was discussion over coffee of Next Steps, which I couldn’t quite hear so did the usual deaf thing of nodding along, but I did hear mention of Liss, which made sense as we were on the way to Liss. So we went on through Rogate, but by the time I had struggled up the hill past Roget Common the others were waiting at the turning which is Not To Liss, which confused me. Apparently we were now going to Milland, but close as we were to the recent Space Time Dislocation I thought it could have been much worse. So we whizzed down through Borden and up to Milland with a brief stop at the Community Cafe which allowed time for Russell to reassure us that even with the vaccine we are all doomed anyway due to India. Cheered by this thought we went south down the Roman Road, waved to the Romans waiting at the Roman Station, and somehow (I’m a little bit vague about precisely how this happened) ended up at Cocking.

And thence back to Chi. Nearly 50 miles on my clock, and a lovely ride, even though we went Completely Awry.


Sunday 18th April Ride to Kirdford

Sunday 18th April. Sunny day and dry and about 14C. Originally due to go to Freewheel but that was cancelled due to Covid limit on numbers. Replacement ride with flexible Lunch stop.

 58 Miles Cross – Cross.  Av. 12.5 mph 3,447’ Climbing. 4 Out & 4 Back: Bob, Kim, Paul & Saem.

Singleton, Cocking, Heyshott Common, Lodsworth (Tea Stop), Kirdford (Lunch?), Bedham Hill, Fittleworth, Duncton Common, Graffam (Tea),  Heyshott Village, Cocking, Singleton, Home

Sam Roberts

Easter Sunday Bike ride

This is a write up of last Sunday’s bike ride to Petersfield:

“Oh, to be in England now that April’s there” (Robert Browning).

Six hardy souls set off from Chichester Cross on Easter Sunday with thoughts of chocolate eggs and hot cross buns, heading out towards Petersfield. Sam, Bob, Ann, Alan, Robert and Michael pedalled their way through the windchill out along Clay Lane and on to West Ashling and Funtington, passed woodlands full of celandines, wood anemones, wild garlic and daffodils. As this was the first ride out since Christmas and the fact that the village stores and cafes were only providing take outs during this third lockdown, we decided to have limited numbers of stops, to keep our leg muscles warm to ensure we could climb over the South Downs.

On leaving Funtington, we started the gradual ascent towards Compton and the first real climb of the day up Idsworth Hill, with views out towards the lost village of Eckensfield one way and the English Channel the other. We experienced cloudless skies at the top of Idsworth and free wheeled down the hill towards St Hubert’s, but we didn’t have time to see the priceless wall paintings in the Church, we were all on a mission to ascend Buriton Hill. The Buriton Valley is a glorious place to ride through with the sun breaking through the Beech woods; and the climb to the Country Park is relatively gentle. We all made it to the top of Buriton Hill in good order and the descent was fast and furious, but the gravel and potholes at the bottom were deadly! 

When we arrived at Petersfield, Bob was the first to break rank as he ventured out to seek a sandwich at the Cloisters Cafe, and he was quickly followed by Sam who was on the scent of a coffee at Caffe Nero. Michael thought – if we stop now, we will never climb over Ditcham Hill! The ascent of Ditcham starts as a hairpin bend, but soon levels off as you reach the farmhouse and begin to climb up to the lodge at Ditcham Park School. At the top of Ditcham we met clusters of jolly cyclists who were about to descend in different directions; and the metal detectorists were busy scanning the ploughed fields for treasure. On ascending Ditcham, we feasted on cereal bars, sandwiches and cookies before the thrilling descent.

Boys will be boys and at the foot of Ditcham we turned right …..! Chalton Hill is not one for the faint hearted, it is a short horror of a hill, but Ann kept up and showed the boys her mettle. We could not cycle into Rowlands Castle without climbing one more hill, the one with the trees on! We almost free wheeled into Netto at Rowlands Castle where Alan stocked up on mars bars; then we cycled back through Westbourne, Woodmancote, West Ashling, West Stoke, Lavant and on to Tangmere Airfield, and finishing at the Blue Brew pop up cafe on the Royal Oak car park in Bersted for Americanos, Chai Lattes and Hot Chocolates. Sheer bliss!

Happy Easter to you all.


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.


Sunday 1 November Ride to Hambledon

The ride today was cancelled due to high winds and rain in the forecast. However the terrible trio went out anyway on a ride unofficially. This was Sam, Paul and Bob. There was very high wind but the rain was much less than forecast. The group went to first Rowlands Castle for a breakfast? Stop and then an elevenses stop at East Meon

Lunch was at The Old Forge Café, Hambledon. Sam was uncharastically slower than usual on some downhill’s due to slippery leaves on the road. The return was via Buriton Hill with drizzle gathering by nearer Chichester.

Mileage was 50 with maximum downhill speed 30.4 and a wind impeded average speed 0f 11.8. Climbing for the day was 2500 feet.


Sunday 25 October Ride to try to get to Petersfield

Sam (leader) Bob and Russell braved the wind and rain today heading for Petersfield. The day was one of scattered blustery heavy showers. En route to Rowlands Castle the first downpour hit and the group took shelter in the Bumblebee Café.

Russell calculated from the rainfall showing on his weather app that they might just beat the next downpour back to Chichester. The ride was therefore cut short just getting back in time.

From Info supplied by Sam