Sunday 1st March Ride to Durleighmarsh

Quite strong numbers at the Cross on Sunday for a ride to Durleighmarsh: Sam leading, with myself, Michael, Paul, Maureen, Russell and The Return of the Jeff, after a very long break, during which the Jeff Reconstruction Service has been busy on a general refurbishment, which made us the Magnificent Seven. Maureen pointed out that Sam should enjoy it, as he was leading so wouldn’t need to keep barging in with demands for changes of route, though the rest of us thought he was more than capable of causing an argument about it anyway, though I must admit he did a sterling job of avoiding the myriad of floods.


It was a bit breezy, but actually less so than most of the time of late, quite dry, and though cold it soon warmed up. We set off via Clay Lane and Watery Lane to Compton. Over coffee we formed a committee to solve the coronavirus problem. Russell chaired as he has sat on real committees containing threatened pandemics before, so patiently explained the science behind it all, the gist of which as far as I could see was “We’rrrre doomed”. Paul thought we might be allright as we are fit with cycling, but Russell squashed that with “Noooo Laddie, we’rrre Dooomed I say, Dooomed.”  Maureen thought she might be alright by wearing gloves, while Sam, rather frivolously I thought in the circumstances, concentrated on getting a tiny number crisps from the waiting staff. The First Lady he asked laughed politely, if slightly hysterically, and scarpered before Sam got dangerous, but he repeated his demands even more forcefully to a Second Lady who arrived with my coffee. No he didn’t want a packet of crisps, he explained, as that would be like just buying a packet of crisps (“yes well that’s exactly what you’ve just asked for isn’t it, some bloody crisps?”), NOOO, he wanted one of the little bowls with a few crisps in, like Paul had got with his toast, it wasn’t fair if Paul got a little bowl and he didn’t. This really set the coronavirus discussion in perspective; why exactly were we worrying about The End Times coming when the Catastrophic Crisis of Crisps was so Critical, and definitely in evidence in the Here And Now? However Lady Number Two I think correctly perceived that this was not, in essence a Nutrition Problem but a Sibling Rivalry and a little bowl of crisps was required to stop any squabbling. Thus the Crisp Calamity was Cleared up with the arrival of a small bowl of.….. crisps, the benefit of which was amply demonstrated by the undeniable fact that the mortality rate amongst us over coffee was precisely zero.

Jeff had said he would only come as far as the coffee stop for his first long ride in such a long time, so took his leave of us, while the Surviving Six left for a zoom down to South Harting and thence on the direct route to Durleighmarsh, which we reached in good time by 11.20, not bad considering we had taken control of an international pandemic on the way (well somebody needs to).

The Durleighmarsh tea rooms provided their good fare as usual, enhanced by the fact that they were still serving breakfast, which enabled me to steal a march on Sam, as we both had a sausage sandwich, but I had noticed that you could add an egg for a few pence more, a crushing disappointment which Sam was fortunately able to cope with fortified as he was by Crisps from Compton, so much so that he took a photo of us before we left as Michael was unable to frogmarch any passers by to do the job.


There was a small hold up before leaving as Paul had noticed my wheel was making a noise as we arrived, and in fact by post lunch it had sprung out of alignment. Sam realigned it and tightened the nut, leading to, as it turned out, quite unfair mutterings from me about bike shops not tightening nuts (it had been serviced a couple of weeks ago, but taking it back on Monday the thread had stripped from the relevant nut, which explained why the same nut had come loose a couple of months back).

Anyway Sam took us back through Quebec and turned off at Goose Green (it’s a bit of a Geographical Soup round there, we had to take care to avoid Bologna and Timbuktu) and up the zig-zag road to Ditcham. He came up with some flimsy excuse about avoiding the flooded road towards Idsworth to impose another hill on us, up to Chalton, and then another one by going right up Netherley Down instead of the usual direct route to Finchdean, Russell remarking laconically that this is what happens when you get someone with a battery leading rides, though actually the Netherley hill wasn’t that bad oddly.

Paul had been saying he wanted to get the miles in, so perhaps the Innovative Route might have helped a little, but despite also taking the slightly longer route down into Rowlands Castle we had only done 31 miles by that stage. Russell left us there while we had coffee, while Sam proposed going back via Compton to lengthen the ride. I was hesitant at first as I was awash with victuals, but the longer ride did sound a nice idea otherwise so I agreed and was restrained at the cafe having only coffee.

There was a small delay before leaving as Sam and Paul insisted on lying on the ground staring up at my chain shifter thingy in search of the Meaning of Life. This turned out to be CTS 500 which was recorded by Michael acting as High Priest and disseminated among the faithful. Then as a Famous Five we went off via Forestside and West Marden in another Flood Avoidance Manoeuvre. After a very nice caramel thingy in the garden at Compton Sam took us via East Marden and Chilgrove to pick up the Centurion Way at West Dean, now restored in my mind as an Approved Route due to the leaves having vanished.

And so back. Sam reckons 51 miles (82 kilometres) and over 3300 ft of climb, and a thoroughly nice ride in an unexpectedly balmy interlude in our Wet and Windy Winter.


Sunday 23rd February Ride to Compton

Well, just what has happened to our weather? I made my way over to the Cross not really expecting to see anyone else mad enough to come out in the 30-40 mph westerly winds with a side order of heavy rain forecast for midday. However,Sam was as usual waiting there with his coffee and we were soon joined by Paul, so three out!
Our scheduled destination, the Harrow Inn at Steep, doesn’t really have much in the way of indoor seating, especially if you don’t want to be roasted by the open fire (not ideal for encouraging post lunch cycling) and anyway, it seemed a long way in the conditions! So one quick planning meeting later and it was off to Rowlands Castle for elevenses and to undertake a reassessment of lunch destination from there.
I think we now know how it feels to be in a wind testing tunnel – we barely made double figures mph against the headwind and the few times that it was a cross wind were ‘interesting’ to say the least……… The roads were very wet in places and the ford at Rowlands Castle was in full spate showing the effects of the week’s almost constant rain, Not surprisingly there were very few other cyclists out and about!
After a very pleasant break at Bumblebee Café, definitely a favourite for the welcome and food, I consulted my rain forecast oracle. It predicted heavy rain in about 45 minutes. This was enough for me to turn tail and enjoy a rapid wind assisted blast back to Chichester, leaving Sam and Paul to ride up through Idsworth ( light rain) onto Compton (heavy rain) for a final stop before heading back themselves.
A very short 20 miles for me with the others managing 27 miles. Despite the conditions it was strangely satisfying to have got out on a quite vile day!

Saturday 1st February bike ride to Rowlands Castle

Fourteen cyclists set out from Bognor Library at High Noon on a quest to reach Rowlands Castle and arrive home before sundown. Michael led the ride and was ably assisted by Steve Woods, who formed the rearguard (otherwise known as the Highland Division). We made slow progress to Chichester partly due to the overgrown cyclepath. The clouds gathered over Chichester, but the sun soon came out and shone for the rest of the ride.

We soon left Chichester behind and travelled through Fishbourne and Woodmancote before riding through Westbourne and on to Rowlands Castle. Everyone was impressed by the quality of the food and the warm welcome we received at the Bumblebee Cafe.

At Rowlands1Feb20

Following the cafe stop, 12 of us left Rowlands Castle and prepared ourselves for the ascent of Idsworth Hill. Lucy was the heroine of the climb up Idsworth and she just kept climbing with great determination. After a photo call on the summit of Idsworth


We all freewheeled down into Compton and on to West Marden and Walderton. The last climb of the day was the ascent from Funtington to West Stoke past the smelly pig farm. We all had great fun riding down Centurion Way; and new member Alan was in his element. We all cycled back to Bognor in high spirits in glorious sunshine, but with heavy legs and great memories. Follows is the route of the day


Michael Eastham

Saturday Ride from Chichester Library to Bosham Walk Cafe 25th January 2020

Seven cyclists gathered at Chichester Library, namely Philippa (leading), Maureen, Julian, Rex, Gill & Bob (on their tandem) and Jean (newcomer from Chichester) for a ride to Bosham Walk Cafe.  The weather was cloudy and a little chilly but, most importantly, 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.  Before too long, the group was greeted with the magnificent view across the water from Shore Road to the village of Bosham, and everyone stopped for a moment whilst Philippa took some photos.


The tide was some way out, so the route continued along Shore Road towards Bosham Quay.  Bosham Walk was just a short distance from this point, and the group arrived at the cafe at approximately 2.15 pm.

After tucking into tea and cake, the route back was direct – straight along the A259 cycle path back to Chichester.  The time of arrival back in town was approximately 3.30 pm.


Sunday 26 January Ride to Horndean

Five of us set out from the Cross on Sunday 26th: Sam leading plus Michael, Russell, Paul and myself. I had dusted the cobwebs off my rarely used (about once a year) fat tyred bike as my regular one was in for repair, but more of that anon. Michael did his usual trick of blackmailing someone into taking our photo.


The weather forecast was not that good, with heavy rain predicted from lunchtime, so what had been billed as a long hilly ride to lunch at Horndean turned into a short direct ride, with further plans to be made over coffee. Sam was cock-a-hoop about his chiropractor pummelling his back into some sort of working order over the previous week, reversing a lifelong, but only now discovered, back deformity, so he kept doing pirouettes on the bike to show off. Everywhere was very wet, and the ford at Rowlands Castle still in fast spate, but we made good time, and were at Horndean by 10.15, despite a delay in starting.Russell consulted rain tracking sites over coffee which showed more than one bank of rain hurtling to drown us but not just yet. In fact where we were the sky was actually brightening, so with Sam still preoccupied with developing his Quasimodo-to-Margot Fonteyn story (film comes out shortly, might seem an unusual portrayal of Sam but makes complete sense in the context of his Inner Nureyev) I led briefly through Blendworth, which has become a favourite route for me, and down to Charlton. Then with my gears crashing and sounding like they were only used once a year we went up Chalton Down, across via Littlegreen to Compton for an early lunch, and Sam and Russell kindly mended my handlebars that were showing signs of going in a different direction to the bike.


Lunch26Jan20I had decided to go directly back from there, worried about the rain on my hearing aids as I’d forgotten my hood. But Paul suggested going up through East Marden and back through Chilgrove, which didn’t sound that much further, and over lunch I had cleverly designed a Unique Sartorial Hearing Aid Protection System (known to scientists as USHAPS) which is too complex and sophisticated to explain to the lay person, but involved draping my scarf under my helmet, so we all went via Apple Down to the Petersfield road. Paul had actually meant to carry straight on down the main road to Lavant, but Russell (I think, or maybe it was Sam still doing pirouettes) had the idea of turning left at the White Horse. I thought he fancied a posh lunch, and I was wondering how our stylish elegance was going to go down, but we carried on past the pub towards West Dean, along roads I hadn’t been down before, which were charming but extremely muddy. I was delighted by now that I had ridden my fat tyred bike, as plainly I was more suited to the conditions than anyone else, but when I got to the top of the long hill towards Double Barn everyone fell about laughing.



With no mudguards on my front wheel my fat tyres had hoovered up most of Stapleash Down and plastered it over my face. I couldn’t quite believe how much mud the bloody thing had picked up, and the aim required to get it right on the old boat race was impressive, must have taken Saracen years of R&D to get that right. I spent a few minutes scraping a couple of cubic metres off my glasses at least, drank some very fertile water from my mud encrusted bottle and then we carried on to West Dean, where my bifocals required an excavator to get more mud off.

We didn’t actually get much rain (came on later), which was a shame in a way as it might have corrected the sudden increase in soil erosion between Chilgrove and West Dean. Apparently erosion is so bad Farmers Weekly think we only have 100 harvests left. Sadly I’ve just reduced that to 34, but on the bright side if anyone wants to set up a market garden I’d be pleased to supply them with the raw material.

And so we dissipated along the way leaving Michael on his own to dodge the rain back to Bognor. Not sure how far we went, I didn’t have a computer on the fat tyred bike, or if I did archeologists may rediscover it in years to come, but I suspect just short of 40 miles (64 kilometres).

Bob with pictures by Michael

Saturday 18th January. Ride to East Preston

This was the first Cycle Bognor ride we (Dave and Lucy) have led, so we were very pleased it was such a sunny if somewhat chilly day.The no rain guarantee (hidden in some T & C somewhere) didn’t have to be consulted at any point! We took a register and started with 16 riders– it was good to see Dave and Sheila Barton who we haven’t seen on a Saturday ride for a while


We divided into two groups with Dave leading the 1st group (Claire as back marker) and Lucy led the second group (with Dave Barton at the back). The group left Bognor Library just after 12.00, from Bognor Library, went through the underpass near Hotham Park and headed towards the Leisure Centre.

We passed the Golf club and joined the cycle path to Littlehampton. At Comet Corner we met up with Steve, Carol and Sam, making it 19 altogether on the ride. We took a group photo and started off again.

Sadly, almost immediately Rosie pulled up with a puncture. This is her third puncture in the last couple of weeks, so let’s hope – if these things come in threes – that this is the last one for a long time. She abandoned the ride and waited for her husband to pick her up.

We turned down towards West Beach,crossed the swing bridge over the Arun, then down to the prom, where we rode along the prom managing to avoid numerous children on scooters. Perhaps something to avoid another time?

Both groups continued along the sea front towards Rustington turning away from the sea up Sea Lane then cut through to Broadmark Lane. We turned right into the various private estates in Rustington, admiring houses and seeing how the other half lives.

We stopped at East Preston at Grub and Gumption a lovely little café. Sadly, they’d had a run on their bread in the morning and only had one savoury meal on the menu left, so most of us had cake for lunch.

Whilst there we met up with Michelle Scott and her daughter who joined us for a cuppa.

Bob and Gill decided to cycle back independently on their tandem – it was lovely to see them again.

Having been replenished, Lucy left first with her group to return to Bognor, meandering through the private estates and then through the back roads of Rustington and Littlehampton.

Somehow on this journey Robert and Alan, very generously, stopped to help a lady park her car. It is good to see the age of chivalry is not dead!

We left the cycle path at Comet Corner, cycled through Middleton andby the time we cycled round George V most had filtered off with the remaining cyclists going back to Bognor along the Sea Front.

Below is the map of the route.

It was a round trip of 23 miles. Lucy and I really enjoyed leading the ride, it was a pleasure to cycle with such supportive and friendly people. Thank you!

Dave and Lucy

Sunday 12 January Ride to East Meon

Herewith a report on last Sunday’s ride, my pic below and Michael has one of East Meon

Seven of us met at the Cross on Sunday for the ride to East Meon, with good if windy weather. Myself leading, with Sam, Russell, Maureen, Alan, Michael and Harvey.

We sped off down West Street to go via Clay Lane to coffee at Horndean, but these plans were rudely interrupted. Harvey’s light disintegrated on the Fishbourne Road, but this was only a trivial problem and Our Policy Is One of Continuous Improvement so we came up with a bigger snag at Westbourne namely a puncture visited upon Michael. Or rather, Michael’s wheel. The repair might have needed the now world famous use of a five or ten pound note, but Russell came up with a Tyre Boot or some such, a lining for tyres obviously intended for those occasions where, due to the decline of cash, a five or ten pound note just isn’t available. Being American they had misspelt the word “tyre” but it seemed to work anyway.

We had warnings about the ford at Rowlands from John Maxim coming the other way, but I had noted it wasn’t that deep the previous week, and there is a pathway beside. In fact it was deeper than I expected (heavy rain the previous night), but I couldn’t resist going through it anyway and didn’t get wet boots by some miracle. The rest took the Sensible Option.

But of course when we got to Rowlands Castle we were later than intended and some were suggesting stopping. I thought they wanted to stop for coffee, but actually Michael just wanted to stop and pump his tyre up, as the Bumblebee have a pump (useful to remember), which wouldn’t take long. So I thought we could continue to Horndean, but some actually did want to stop. So I went into the cafe, but Alan came and said the consensus was that it would be better to continue to Horndean. So I went back outside where Harvey asked what we were doing. I said I understood from Alan that there was a consensus to continue on, so I went back to my bike where Maureen was, as I thought, just packing up her bike to go. Then when I was on my bike waiting Maureen had disappeared into the cafe for coffee, the consensus obviously not have included her or Harvey. So we stopped for coffee at the Bumblebee. Good job we aren’t one of those cycle clubs that can’t make up their minds, or there might have been confusion!

But they do jolly good cakes at the Bumblebee and we settled down on sofas, those who didn’t want to breathe the refined air of nicotine. Then Sam entered IOG (Interfering Old Git) mode (though not, I was pleased to see, TOM, or Totally Obnoxious Mode), demanding a change of route to go via Buriton to save time. That was actually the way I’d planned to come back, but I gave in, partly because I was a bit knackered and had been struggling more than usual, and the Buriton route is easier than the way I’d planned. So we set off making good time, down the hill at Buriton towards Oxenbourne, where Alan took his turn at springing a puncture. Russell and Sam gathered round to help him fix it, while the rest of us helped out in a more indirect, background sort of way, by leaving them to it and going on to have lunch at the Isaac Walton.

When we had been joined by Alan and the Puncture Crew (should be a decent band there I think) I thought we might return the way I’d planned to come, so took us down to the shop at the west end of East Meon, and turned left to go through Coombe up to Teglease Down. Which was a jolly good idea but a jolly steep idea, so at the top I couldn’t be bothered to go back via Chidden as I’d intended, so took the direct route along the top of the downs, which also meant we got the wind more or less behind us. That took us through Charlton, and back down to Rowlands, where Russell left us but the remainder scoffed more tea and cake at the Bumblebee again.

And so back the way we had come. My mileage was 47 (76 kilometres) back to Chichester.


Saturday Ride 11 Jan 2020 Bognor library to the Brick Kiln

The first Saturday ride of the new year and an astonishing 22 riders with 21 bikes … yes Bob and Gill came on their tandem. The numbers surely a record for January.  This is possibly partly due to publicity around the cyclebognor Facebook group now affiliating to CyclingUK from 1st January and becoming a new group in West Sussex, from which there were many members and supporters.


The weather was windy and dull with rain constantly threatening and in fact a few drops fell before we set off but in the end the whole ride was completed there and back with the wet weather gear unused. So the no rain guarantee held again!

We split into two groups with nominated leaders and back markers for each team and set out down a few Bognor side roads to join the prom at West Street. Here we encountered a strong headwind which made it hard going.

However we came off the prom at Marine Park and took a more inland route after which the wind was a lot less noticeable.

I took the group via Chawkemere across Aldwick Green and then the duck pond where we joined the lower Bognor road for a short hop to Parigo Farm where we took the concrete off road farm tracks to Lagness.

From there a short hop along a busy B road took us past Manor Nursery and a right turn towards Merston.

11jan20Oo the road

where we turned again down Green Lane and the Bridleway through the food park to reach the Chichester road.  We were slightly delayed reaching the Chichester cycle track as Andy pulled up with a puncture. But he had slime in the tyres, and so he pumped up the flat, it inflated, the slime did it’s work and it gave no trouble for the rest of the ride.


Then down the cycle track to the Brick Kiln where the restaurant was quiet and had plenty to tempt.

On the way back we first crossed the road to the cycle track near Merston


The return trip was straight down the cycle track to Colworth where we took the loop round the village, then estate roads and tracks to North Bersted, South Bersted and central Bognor, with riders dropping off all along the way to make their own ways home.


The round trip mileage was a modest 13.2



Sunday 15 December. Unofficial Ride via Blackdown

Note from Edwin. Although this was an unnoficial  ride and there are no pictures due to rain this account is more than worth a read due to the excellent prose from Bob with his usual entertainment. Meanwhile 3 were out on the Official ride  to West Marden diverted due to rain to Tangmere. Now on with the story from Bob –


Three of us, myself, Sam and Paul, met at the Cross on Sunday for a ride by mutual arrangement, not a Cycling UK ride, but met Edwin who was there on a Peddler Distribution Mission. As such we had no leader, but in fact Sam had worked out a route so we did follow him. He’d got it apparently from a 1923 (I think he said) CTC ride. It involved at first a journey the same as last week, up St. Paul’s road and down Brandy Hole Lane to Lavant, then along the Midhurst road, where it rained. And rained. And hailed. In fact it bucketed down. We turned off after Cocking as if we were going to Graffham, but went through Selham and Halfway Bridge to stop at Lodsworth shop for coffee and excellent mince pie (Sam), yoghurt flapjack (me) or pastie (Paul). The only problem was that there was nowhere to sit down, and the various wooden objects that might have been used as seats were wetter than we were due to aforementioned tsunami.

So victualed but only passingly rested we went on through Lickfold and thence up to Blackdown, which was a stiffish sort of hill, but really beautiful even in the cold wet weather, The woodland had a damp, wintery loveliness, and it was good to be on brand new roads (I’d never been there before). The weather had dried up pretty well by then, but some of the roads were virtual rivers. We got the Reward of All Our Efforts after the climb, shooting down Tennyson Lane (where the great man did apparently live, so the Charge of the Light Brigade was obviously composed on a bicycle down that stretch) and into Haslemere. Blimey, I thought, it’s nearly the winter solstice and we’ve come to bloody Haslemere. Actually it wasn’t as far as I’d have expected, only 26 miles up to that point, but the thought unnerved me.

The main road through Haslemere was unpleasant and busy, but Sam hustled us into a garage for coffee. Paul and I were mystified by this as we’d already had coffee and it was 12.15, and we were thinking….sort of…. lunchish. But Sam seemed determined (unusual that) and thought the coffee would be good at a Costa in the garage. In fact it was a Greggs, where we got things like sausage rolls or soup and so on that was a bit rubbish. And once again there was NOWHERE TO SIT DOWN. Attempting to sit on a pile of their logs for sale I knocked my mediocre tomato soup over and it covered a pair of someone’s gloves. Paul laughed heartily at Sam’s gloves being covered in tomato soup, then realised it was actually his own gloves and started Gesticulating Wildly. I went into the gents to wash them off but couldn’t dry them as the hot air thing wasn’t working. Fortunately they were waterproof and, as it turned out, soup proof. My sausage and bacon roll seemed to me to have been constructed without inconveniencing any pigs overmuch, and had some odd pink stuff in it. I chucked half of it in the bin. But the general joy and merriment of the occasion was capped when Paul noticed that on the other side of the road was a fully functioning CAFE, with things like SEATS, and HEATING, and probably FOOD THAT WASN’T MADE OF LEFTOVER SAWDUST.

However we didn’t complain in any way, we happy band of brothers, just MENTIONED IT IN A LOUD VOICE TO SAM FOR THE NEXT FOUR HOURS while we continued on the main road for a bit, but soon turned off to go through Linch and Redford, and thence down to Stedham. Sam’s amazing ability to find new and lovely routes I think is a result of the Geographical bits of his brain expanding into the bits that would normally sort out mealtimes, food intake and such like, as he started wondering whether we wanted to stop at the pub for lunch, when it was gone 2 by this time, due to get dark in not much more than an hour, and our stomachs were full of sawdust. So anyway we thanked him for the thought but went to the garden centre cafe, where we got their excellent cakes (in my case a particularly delicious chocolate cheesecake with cream and… well, I won’t go on about it).

We had much debate about the rest of the route, Sam wanted to take Turkey Island, but being lazy and a bit knackered I favoured Cocking, which Paul did as well. So that’s where we went, through Didling etc and a few flooded roads. Paul and Sam turned off to go back down Two Barns Lane, and I went home.

A really lovely ride, new territory for me. My mileage was 53, Sam’s was 54, and we did get back before it was properly dark. Smashing.


Sunday’s Ride 8th December to Midhurst

A short report from Sam the Leader on the Ride to Midhurst starting (9.00 Chichester Cross

. ChiCross8Dec19

Heading out Lavant via Broyle (avoiding very wet & slippery Centurion Way) – Singleton-Cocking- Graffham for (11’s)

Then on via Selham to Midhurst and Gartons for lunch

Then back )- Bepton- Treyford-  Turkey Island ( up the hill). North Marden- Littlegreen School- Idsworth- Rowlands Castle (Tea) & home. 51+miles

4 out: Bob, Paul, Martin Bilham & myself. Bob signed off (North of Singleton). Martin signed off (@ Gartons). Chris ”The Bell” joined south of Midhurst & (signed off @ Littlegreen School).  Bob should have some pretty pics   Humungus squall @ Woodmancote!! Good ride!!

Sam Roberts