Thursday 25th July Cycle Ride To The Gribble Inn

Was it because the weather was so hot or because people are on their holidays, only 5 people turned out for Thursdays ride. We made our way out to the Bognor Littlehampton cycle path stopping at a rest area to check Grahams signage. After establishing it was still intact we made our way to Yapton via Bilsham Lane. At the T Junction we turned left into Yapton Rd and made our way to Barnham, we turned left into Church lane and at the Wilkes Head we took the Cycle path that takes you into Ivy Ln housing estate, we turned left into Westergate street then Right into Hook Ln it was then a lovely quite cycle out to Aldingbourne, we took the main rd to Woodhorn then took the quite lanes and arrived at the Gribble Inn and a surprise as Chris Merrien from Chichester was waiting for us.

We all had our cold drinks and snacks and a good chat time. Too soon it was time to make our way home. We made our way via the back lanes to Colworth and picked up the Bognor Chichester Cycle path it was a beautiful evening and a lot cooler and more comfortable cycle ride home

Carol & Steve

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Sunday 21 July. Ride to Whispers Billingshurst

Just two of us met at Walberton Pond for the long ride on Sunday to Billingshurst, Sam leading and myself (Bob) providing the backing music. Sam has taken to the idea of leading from the rear, so I actually led while he bellowed directions.

It was actually really hot and sunny as we sat there at Walberton, so much so that I put my patented Lawrence of Arabia cloth under my helmet to protect the back of my neck from the blazing sun. This instantly caused the sun to go in, and we had only sporadic glimpses of it after until late afternoon. We went the usual way through Madehurst and Whiteways and down Houghton Hill to Wiggonholt for coffee, where we were greeted (or Sam was anyway) like long lost friends by the server chap, and indeed by a sparrow which ate out of Sam’s hand.

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From there we continued north through West Chiltington, having to make a right turn at what Sam referred to as “Bob’s corner” where I came second in a ramming contest with a Landrover last year. I actually nearly rode straight past it, obviously an unconscious reluctance to turn there. However I managed it this time without charging at any motorised vehicles at all, and we turned left at the village to Broadford Bridge, then right off the Adversane Road to Whisper’s Cafe at Billingshurst. We had made cracking good time, and got to the cafe before 11.30.

We had a decent lunch there, debating whether to do the whole route as planned, especially as it was quite dull and the clouds looked black enough for rain. But we set off anyway, though of course had to cope with the Billingshurst Problem: that the only decent way into or out of it is the West Chiltington route we had come, so any alternative route is rubbish for traffic. Sam thought the least rubbishy route was the A272, so we took that to Wisborough Green. I’m not sure about whether it was the best route but it was certainly the quickest; we got to Wisborough Green in about quarter of an hour. Then of course we could turn off to use more civilised roads to Kirdford. The original plan had been to have tea there, but we got to the village stores slightly before 12.30. So not wanting a second lunch we carried on through Balls Cross to Ebernoe, where the road crosses through the middle of the cricket field. There we stopped for a breather; the wicket was all set up for a game with stumps in readiness but nobody at all around, so they had obviously been abducted by aliens. We stopped for a breather and made a complete pig’s ear of taking a selfie. We thought we’d take one that was of us in front of the wicket. The first attempt we missed the wicket and looked like zombies:

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The second included the wicket (just), but, we thought, didn’t display our handsome side to the best.

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The third also got the wicket but we still looked like mafia:

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The last we were happy with the cheerful way we looked, but managed to blot out the wicket entirely:

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So we gave that up and set off again, and contemplating the ashes of my ambition to be a photographer I consoled myself with a pic of a VR post box down the road:

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We continued through Lurgashall, Lickfold and Fernhurst, then down to Stedham where we had tea at the greenhouse cafe in the garden centre. Our respective knees had been feeling the strain a bit getting that far, and we contemplated returning straight back from Stedham up Cocking Hill. Sam had in fact planned a hillier route involving somewhere I didn’t quite catch, sounded like Everest but I may be mistaken. But anyway the ice cream and a drink at the Greenhouse revived us and we continued as planned, through Elsted and up the steep hill at Turkey island, and thence down through North Marden to return via Stoughton and Walderton. My mileage from Chichester was 73, so about 65 from Walberton, exactly as advertised! It was a really lovely day out.

Bob Birtwell

Sunday 21 July Morning only Ride to Prinsted

There were 2 Rides today with the short morning only Ride being to Prinsted nr Emsworth. Arthur was the leader and he was joined at Chichester Cross by Edwin, Harvey, Bill Hall and Bob and Gill Marshall by Tandem. Lynn joined us at Prinsted so 7 out in all.

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It was a pleasant warm and dry day with temperatures up to 20C and sunny early and late with cloud in the middle of the day.

Arthur led us via West Street and Clay Lane to stop for a preliminary elevenses stop at the Woodmancote Pub.

Then it was on via Westbourne and the path to Emsworth. Then a short stretch of main road before turning off onto minor lanes to Prinsted to the Sea Scouts at Prinsted and our second elevenses. We continued on the cycle route on the A259 to the Bosham roundabout. Arthur, Lynn and Harvey turned off here to go to Bosham for lunch. Bill and myself continued to head for home on our separate routes.

Edwin

14th July. Ride to The White Lion Soberton

Three of us gathered at the Cross for today’s ride to Soberton; myself leading, Sam and Russell. It was dry and quite warm, though the weather forecast threatened some rain mid morning, which didn’t materialise thankfully.

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We set off over the Fishbourne bridge to Clay Lane, through Woodmancote and Westbourne to Rowlands Castle, and thence to coffee at Keydell’s Garden Centre, Horndean. There sadly Russell had to leave us, and he returned home via Compton to a family commitment which suspiciously involved watching the cricket on the telly all afternoon.

Sam and I continued through Catherington down to Day Lane, then Broadway Lane to Crossways, turning left at Rushmere Lane, and down to Uplands Road through Anthill Common. I decided to avoid World’s End as I feel depressed enough with the news as it is, so we turned right into Broad Lane and right again into the Fareham Road, then left to Newtown, taking Liberty Road (bit more cheering) through Soberton Heath, then left and right beside Upperton Copse to stop just before a bridge over the Meon Valley Way.

With a bit of a struggle getting past a car parked by a git, blocking the entrance, we got onto a footpath leading us onto the cycleway, and turned right onto it to travel north. It was lovely, the surface is firm and smooth, the tree canopy over the old railway line high and beautiful and even I cheered up. The engineering of the railway line was so impressive even this long after closure, deep cuttings followed by high embankments, wide trackway and we passed through lovely scenery, especially where the River Meon passed close to the line. After a couple of miles or so we got to a path that lead up to the White Lion at Soberton, where we had a good lunch despite the depressing news that they don’t do their excellent fish and chips on a Sunday. This is obviously Boris Johnson’s fault.

I had intended to go back on the Meon Valley line to continue north to what used to be Droxford Station, before turning off to go through Clanfield and Chalton home. But Sam was so enamoured of the Meon Valley that he wanted to stay on it, and I thought that was a lovely idea as well. So we got back to it and went past Droxford Station, which enabled a better view than I had managed previously: the station is still intact, though a private house now, with platforms and canopy still extant. We took a selfie at the end of the platform, the only bit still on public land

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We continued down the line, past Old Winchester Hill to West Meon where also the platform still stands, though in a less well preserved way. Sam looked down the line bewildered that a train due in 1955 could be so late.

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The line does continue past West Meon, but isn’t open as a cycleway, or anything way it seems, but is as impressive as the earlier sections in its cathedral like tree cover

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Obviously we then had to have a coffee at Cuppacheenos in West Meon

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and then went through East Meon, Sam pointing out the remains of the West Meon viaduct, still amazing when you knew where to look even through the now dense tree cover. After East Meon we turned left down Frogmore to Buriton, up the steep hill and thence to Rowlands Castle for another cuppa at the Bumblebee. And from there back through Westbourne to home. My mileage was 60.

Bob Birtwell

Evening ride Thursday 11 July To the Spur Slindon

A perfect evening for a ride tonight, sunny, warm, and with a light North Easterly wind. There were 6 of us at the Arun Leisure Centre start point….John, Maureen, Harvey, brand new riders Nick, Mandi, and myself.

I led the group round the back of the leisure centre and up to the golf club where we took the traffic free route through the new estate, across the relief road and onto Stanover Lane where we joined the Barnham cycle track through to Barnham church.

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Then it was onwards to Walberton pond where we took West Walberton Lane up to Fontwell. As we did so there was the unusual sight of a police vehicle screaming through this narrow lane at high speed. Before we reached Fontwell the police helicopter passed low overhead. What they were doing became clear later.

After reaching Fontwell we took the subway under the A27 and then an off road track through Slindon Woods to join Park Lane where we had a gentle climb to Slindon village. Then downhill to the A29 and a short sharp climb to the Spur and a welcome stop.

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The return route was a reasonably straight route down Shellbridge Road to the A27 where we crossed on the level. However as we approached it became clear there was no traffic at all. Instead a considerable number of police and vehicles had gathered at the junction, to the West of which was the wreckage of a car.

We started to cross the carriageway and got shouted at by an officer who said we had spoiled the “reconstruction” that he was photographing. He directed us to go a bit further down behind him. I asked how we would know where to cross and he indicated I should have asked one of the 4 or 5 officers apparently not doing very much who were some way away on the opposite side to us. It seems to me that one of those officers would have been more usefully employed on the side of the road that unwitting cyclists may be likely to approach from.

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Once finally across the A27 we briefly assisted another group of cyclists waiting on the other side and in need of a spare 26 inch tube. Then it was straight down to Yapton, Bilsham, and Comet Corner to the cycle track that took us back to Felpham and then back where we started.

The round trip mileage was 16.5

Graham

Saturday 29th June Awayday…Ryde to Newport Isle of Wight

The hottest day of the year so far for our awayday ride on the Isle of Wight (again reinforcing the value of the Cyclebognor “no rain guarantee”) saw 7 meeting up at Ryde for our potter around the north of the Island.

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I led Sheila and Andy (both new to the island), Andre, Chris, Alan and Bill, from Ryde pier eastward along the promenade where we stopped briefly at Appley Tower for a picture and to admire the view across the Solent.

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Then continuing on a traffic free route we reached Seaview and headed inland, where the hill climbing started.

A bit of up and down followed before a stop for elevenses at Rosemary Vineyard, a favourite port of call hidden away south of Ryde.

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Suitability refreshed it was time for more hills And I think on balance, more down than up as we made our way via Havenstreet and Firestone Copse to Wootton, then more traffic free riding to Wootton station where we were able to see the steam engine on the preserved line running round it’s train.

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Then it was down onto the old railway track for a more or less level ride into Newport.

Last time we came this way, we had to leave the railway trail at Whippingham and take the cycle path along the main road, due to an unsafe bridge that crossed the old railway.

Today I found we were able to carry on the track for another 2 miles or so. The unsafe bridge had been demolished and replaced with a “level” crossing, but we had to leave the trail again near Belmont Farm as another dodgy bridge was clearly visible.

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We dropped down to the main road cycle track where we were delayed as Bill got a puncture…. quite incidental to the off road track, I am sure. Not too much delay as the tube was quickly changed.

After a mile or so we rejoined the railway trail all the way through Newport Tunnel into Newport itself.

A pleasant lunch followed before it was time to head back. We took a recently completed cycle track (oddly constructed of a rubber mesh netting covering a pebble underlay)

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This took us along the East bank of the River Medina for nearly 3 miles to the Island Harbour marina, home to the paddle steamer Ryde, now a sad decomposing wreck. This boat ran between the island and Portsmouth from 1937 to 1969, and also saw service at Dunkirk, being requisitioned in 1944.

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Intended for restoration, the funds could not be raised and it now lies very seriously decayed, beyond hope.

From Island Harbour we ride via Alverstone down a seriously steep hill and up an even more seriously steep one, to Fishbourne and then on cycletrack to Quarr Abbey, our afternoon coffee stop.

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Following this we made great time back to Ryde and the ferry.

Arriving at Portsmouth just after 5pm, we found the trains in utter chaos with three successive ones towards Chichester and Barnham all cancelled. Some of us cycled to Portsmouth &Southsea station where trains were terminating short, and from where we got to Havant only to progress no further until the others had caught us up.

To cut a long and not very interesting story short, Chris Sheila Andy and Bill left us at Chichester, Andre left at Barnham to cycle home and myself and Alan waited over an hour for a train down to Bognor, of course it would have been quicker to cycle. I think the  Southern Railway delay and repay team will be hearing from us.

The mileage on the island was about 24, I had done over 30 when I got home.

Graham

June 27th Evening Ride to the George at Eartham

Our summer evening cycling schedule continued with a ride to the George at Eartham on a sunny but blustery evening. I as leader was joined by Carol & Steve, David, Lisa and newbie Tessa. I decided to take a fairly direct route, hopefully minimizing our exposure to the strong north easterly breeze. So it was out to the Bognor relief road, down a very dry but bumpy Barnham cycle track, onto the Walberton cyclepath before using the A27 underpass. It was then rolling up and down roads to the pub. At this stage Tessa was wondering if she had made the right choice of destination for her first Thursday evening ride!

By now the evening air was cooling fast but it was just about ok to sit outside in the beer garden and enjoy a refreshing drink.

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The return journey was as promised, as mostly downhill affair via very quiet roads past Mount Noddy and Aldingbourne, crossing a deserted A27 before going our separate ways at Eastergate memorial.

Apparently a lot of people were watching the England ladies football on TV!

A very pleasant evening ride and well done to Tessa for coping with her first hills!

Total return mileage would have been 19 miles

 

Russell