I was the leader and joining me at Chichester Cross were Sam, Paul and Bob for the ride to West Meon. Conditions were cool with a fresh north westerly wind. I led the group up a quiet Centurion Way and then onto Compton via West Stoke. All outside tables were taken but there was plenty of room inside for a relaxing half hour.
Continuing our journey, we rode through Buriton and East Meon, where Sam’s battery started to indicate impending exhaustion. Determined to wring everything out of it, Sam decided to push on to our planned lunch stop at Cuppacheeno, West Meon. Chris joined us, making 5 out. He had left Chichester after Bell ringing and had seen the short ride group en-route.
We arrived just as a large group were leaving and thus enjoyed a leisurely lunch in the sun. Lovely hot buttered crumpets with marmite! (Sam misheard my order and thought I was telling the waitress she was hot crumpet…..)
We where then into the business part of the ride, an ascent of Old Winchester Hill and a fast wind assisted ride along the ridge before descending into Horndean for afternoon tea.
The final 13 miles back to Chichester were very easy cycling, with a strong tail wind.
Total distance for the ride was 51 miles.
The weather today was much improved over previous weeks with sunshine and brisk but not gale force winds. There were 5 out at Chichester Cross for the short Ride to Compton. Arthur was the leader and he was the joined by Lynn, Harvey, Michael and Alan.
The ride out was dogged by a strong NW headwind and the group were glad to stop for an early elevenses at the Woodmancote Inn and a warm fire.
The ride continued against the wind via West Marden for another stop at Compton.
Picture by Michael
The return ride was much faster aided now by a tailwind. 3 of the group stopped off at The Roman Palace Cafe at Fishbourne for a final stop.
Report by Arthur
15 riders came for today’s ride on a dry but blowy day with Steve and Carol leading. We split the group into 2 with Steve leading the first 8 followed by a gap with Mike leading the second group of 7 with Carol as the back marker. As usual Steve and Carol had their radios with them to keep in touch from the front to the back making sure all was OK.
We made our way to the new A259 cycle path turning left at Comet Corner into Yapton. Heading out of Yapton on Northend Road, we turned left in Lake Lane and picked up the cycle path to Walberton where we stopped for a photo.
Heading towards Fontwell we took the underpass to avoid busy A27 turning left then right into Slindon Bottom Road. End of the road turned right into climb reaching Slindon college where we stopped to assemble. From here all down hill to our destination The Forge for Sandwiches, Massive sausage rolls, hot drinks and large portion of cakes. All but 4 sat outside where we took a vote on route back. Majority wanted quick, no hill ride back.
Carol led the first group towards A27 followed by Mike with the second group and Steve as the back marker. We all crossed a very quiet A27 heading towards Walberton village turning right at the roundabout towards Yapton. Through Yapton and onto Comet Corner where we regrouped.
From here we went back to Bognor Library with riders peeling off on the way.
Total mileage 23 miles
Steve and Carol Woods
Seven met at the Cross on a sunny but still chilly morning. I as ride leader was joined by Sam, Paul, Mike, Bob, Michael and Maureen. Expectations were of rapidly rising temperatures in the forecast sunshine. I decided to use a route less ridden, which saw us head east out of Chichester, a quick ascent of Sculpture hill, picking up the Duncton Hill road at the East Dean junction for a rapid descent. The A285 wasn’t too busy at the relatively early hour but I used the first opportunity to turn off and take the group through Seaford College, which was totally empty, being half term. Elevenses were taken at the Graffham village store- by now it was positively warm and it was a struggle to get going again!
Our scheduled lunch stop was Gartons café, Midhurst but the unseasonal warmth was bringing people out, so we pushed on an extra three miles to the much quieter cafe at Rotherhill nursery near Stedham. The single cashier/waitress /table clearer warned us that it might be a long wait but she was very efficient and anyway. it’s a comfortable place to sit and chat. Chris had joined us by now, making eight on the ride.
Keeping with the theme of the road less ridden, the return journey saw us cycle to Elsted, before ascending the Downs at Turkey Island, using the aptly named Hill Lane. This gave Sam and Maureen the opportunity to ‘unleash the amps’, both flying up the very steep lane at unfeasible speeds!
After the pedal powered part of the peloton had recovered their breath, we used the NT road through Updyke. This is now very poor quality in places but still a useful alternative to the fast B road. Final tea stop was a very leisurely one at the Compton village stores. By now it felt like a summer’s day in the sunshine.
On the return Mike and Chris choose a more direct route, whilst the rest of us turned right at West Stoke, returning to Chichester about 3.30pm.
Return mileage to the Cross was 45 miles
The day dawned unusually sunny and warm for the time of year and, as a consequence, a record 20 cyclists gathered at Chichester Library for a ride to West Dean Gardens Café. Interestingly, the same February ride in 2018 only attracted 7 cyclists, as it was extremely cold at the time, with the ‘Beast From The East’ approaching the UK.
We left the library and headed west towards Westgate. Before the railway, we took a right hand turn to go along Centurion Way. We carried on along the cyclepath, using the new extension which brought us out in West Dean opposite The Dean pub. We then used the pavement to do the final part of the journey to West Dean Gardens.
The café was (not unexpectedly) busy; however, we managed to crowd round 2 tables outside and enjoyed basking in the warm sun. Reluctant to leave our suntrap, we stayed at the café for over an hour, until the sun had moved away from us and some of the cyclists started to mention that they wanted to get home in time to watch the England v Wales rugby match.
We took the same route back along Centurion Way and arrived back in Chichester at approximately 4.30 pm.
Four met at the Cross for today’s cycle to the Harrow Inn, Steep. I was leading and was joined by Sam, Paul and Mike. I had already arranged that we would meet Jeff at Rowlands Castle, so that was our elevenses stop. Bumblebee Café was still quiet at 10.00am, so we beat the rush. On leaving the café, it was soon evident that it was going to be an unseasonably warm day, making the ride through Finchdean and onto Buriton almost surreal for mid February! Sam commented that ‘it was like a dream’.
There were hoards of other cyclists out enjoying the conditions.
Petersfield was unusually quiet, so despite our gentle pace we arrived at the Harrow Inn before opening time, along with half a dozen motorists and a few walkers. We found a garden table in the sun and relaxed until the pub door bolts were pulled.
Sam boldly choose their famous Ham and Pea soup, whereas Paul and myself settled for the beef sandwich. As usual, the food was succulent and they certainly don’t stint on the portion size!
By now the pub was quite busy, about 10 mountain bikers had turned up and plenty of motorists. Post lunch the sky was clouding over and a SW wind getting up, so it was a fairly direct ride back using the Petersfield /QE2 cycle path.
We dropped Jeff back at Rowlands Castle, Mike and myself headed back to Chichester whilst Sam and Paul enjoyed a final coffee of the day.
A very pleasant day out, temperatures maxed at 12C around midday but it felt warmer. Return mileage was 46.
The weather today was dry and mild for the time of year at 10C with spells of sun and cloud but staying dry.
Eight keen cyclists set out from the Cross at 10.00am for the easy ride to Wittering: Arthur “the leader”, Lynn, Graham, Tony, Maureen, Bob, Michael and a potential new member, Steve.
We headed for coffee at the Chichester Yacht Club Marina and gave Graham the chance to fix his puncture. Following morning coffee we cycled on for lunch at The Boulevard Cafe in Wittering. The food at the cafe was delicious and I recommend the toasted haloumi wrap. There was a final optional coffee stop at Fishbourne Roman Palace cafe on the way home