2020-03 March

FGCC rides in March 2020.

Saturday 7th March – Monarch’s Way ride


The ride commenced with the Findon contingent experiencing a mini-debacle as RT’s faffing meant that he (and CB) was challenging the start deadline – JR, keen to have his breakfast at the station couldn’t wait till the appointed time and set off with JB up Nepcote Lane with ZA setting off along Cross lane in a pincer movement to catch the latecomers. RT/CB met ZA in Cross Lane and then needing to find JR/JB! Slow ride down to the station with CB having to work hard against his binding rear brake. Onto the 08.25 train meeting RK for a good b******s talking session to Havant, where PT also alighted the same train having got on somewhere along the line.

Road route to Rowlands Castle due to time and waterlogged ground on other route for a brek at the cafe there. CB replaced one of his brake pads with an older one to release the binding brake, the only problem being that he was then off like a rocket for the rest of the ride with no one able to catch up.

The peloton set off along Woodberry Lane to soon come across a road closed sign due to flooding of the Lavant stream not far from it’s source.

Flooded Lavant Stream

Nevertheless we ignored the signs and fortunately found a higher footbridge alongside the road enabling us to continue up to the track on the left at the top of the hill, taking us to Stanstead Park. Easterly track on to Walderton where we took a different road to Stoughton missing out the customary route through fields to the north again due to waterlogged ground. Then a right turn onto the farm trek and up a “mother-in-law” hill (one that goes on and on and on…) to the peak between Lambdown Hill and Bow hill, stopping at the top to recover and see the view – except no view this time due to the mist.

Group shot at Lambdown hill

Continuing west along the track we stopped to marvel at some of the UK’s oldest yew trees before traversing (sliding) down the hill to take the track across the B2141 and into Hyters Lane. A couple of miles and then a right turn onto the track up Heathbarn Down at the top of which is the infamous “blasteet” alley with a stop for Team Vicar to pose for a “sermon on the logs” picture.

Down to West Dean to get a light lunch at the village shop, avoiding the now-halloumified pub. Driven on by Mr Budd we then headed off south up the track (100m climb) towards the Trundle (Roche mount) stopping for the view over Chichester before going west round the Trundle and down the track to Goodwood racecourse.

Mr Budd charged off at high speed but Mr Roche had still not appeared from Roche Mount. In another mini-debacle ZA set off across the car park to find him whilst JR appeared round the longer road route only to announce a “blasteet”. Puncture repaired we all set off again westerly along the road, accompanied for a while by a couple of idiot teenagers on their motorbikes showing off with wheelies several times but completely ignored by the peloton, catching up with CB at the A285 junction.

Then straight on along the track past Sutton Down and to the south of Bignor with JR slowing and then discovering that he had another blasteet, this time on the rear. Fixing the puncture with the usual peloton assistance – combination of actual help and banter – as well as ZA’s pump he demonstrated the JR method of re-assembly,

The peloton assists in the usual manner

resulting in the outer coming adrift on inflation of the tyre and only discovered once the wheel had been re-installed. ZA having put the pump away had to extract it for re-use.

Onwards again and the slowest drop through Houghton forest due to the soggy ground churned up by logging vehicles and having to wade through the bog at the bottom. The peloton waited until JR arrived slowed down by yet another blasteet. The same procedure but this time with a very muddy tyre resulting in a very muddy repair and ZA looking on aghast at his much-loved 10-year old pump being immersed in mud, but “wiped clean” by JR on his shorts. As the wheel was installed ZA announced that he wasn’t going to put his pump away just yet. JR about to set off but a quick inspection by Team Mechanic revealed that the tyre was again coming adrift, so ZA had to extract the pump again to the entertainment of all.

We had intended to have a cream tea in Arundel, but due to lost time it was decided that tea at the Amberley tea rooms would be a better option as they should still be open – 4.00pm closure. Zoom down the hill to Amberley to see the “closed” sign already out, but a plea for a cup of tea was answered by the kind staff there. Slice of cake also and we were sufficiently re-charged to set off again towards North Stoke and then west again and the long slow climb to join the SDW at Rackham Hill and then back to Findon via the High Barn and Muntham.

Total: Satmap 34.2 miles and 2,460 ft – Rowlands Castle to Findon

Strava 41.2 miles and 3,024 ft – Havant to Rowlands Castle, to Findon, to Lancing

JB app 36.2 miles and 5,636 ft – Havant to Rowlands Castle to Findon

TAMITS: JR for his method of tyre installation resulting in the tyre coming over the rim

ZA – pumpmeister.


Friday 13th/ Saturday 14th March – Downslink and NW Passage ride


Setting off from “World HQ” at 10.00am to go to the Mead Mansions to get late arrival Mr Mead, we met him at the bottom of School Hill. He immediately started sounding forth on the loss of his cycling gloves, this time for once not blaming it on his off-spring.

Up to Muntham, High Barn and on to the SDW to Kithurst car park. Eschewing the slippery plummet from the SDW at Rackham hill we elected instead to take the fast drop down the road, then right onto the Amberley road and then on road to and through Parham Woods to the track up to the Pulborough RSPB site for lunch. However, we were 20 minutes too early (that’s a new one) and headed off to Jackies alongside the brooks that CB reckoned was rideable! CB had been given the option of going to the Tote cafe instead but for some reason refused.

Pulborough brooks

After an exhausting couple of miles through the mire at the edge of the brooks we arrived at “Jackies” for a splendid lunch. Then up and over the A29 onto Coombelands Lane then Pickhurst Lane and to Blackgate Lane and onto the usual route. To our surprise we were able to cross the canal, though a short section involved a trudge through the bog and then onto Harsfold Lane and across the A272, albeit with a short diversion into a cul de sac. Following the track north-easterly direction the ground got boggier and boggier leading to the decision to follow a footpath across fields. Unfortunately these turned out to be even soggier, with Mr Mead’s valiant effort to close a gate resulting in his bike sinking almost down to its axles. Eventually out by the school at Wisborough Green and then north on Durbans Road. A short section of the B2133 and onto Drungewick Lane to the bridge over the canal and onto the towpath. Ground conditions surprisingly good for the most part enabling a quick ride to the Onslow Arms. Mr Budd having set a departure time of 4.00pm we had 20 minutes for a pint, to Mr Roche’s relief it having been said earlier that we wouldn’t have time.

Last of the summer wine moment.

Revitalised, we set off on the Loxwood Road and then onto the horribly busy Guildford Road for a short section before turning right onto the Alfold Road towards Cranleigh. Just before the bridge over the Downslink AM experienced a blasteet. Whilst the assembled peloton attended to the matter, RT rode into Cranleigh to acquire cash and to try to obtain Mr Roche’s much desired chips. However the chippy was not open yet – too early again!

On to the Downslink but it was only a short while before Mr Mead suffered further rear end deflation. However, we couldn’t find the problem and resorted to continuing the ride with regular reflating of the tyre. Washed bikes at Mrs Deeks, but maybe we needn’t have bothered as the overnight rain would have done the same job.

RT & JR went to the Wheatsheaf pub in Bramley to their accommodation for the night, taking a pint (2 for John naturally) in the Jolly Farmer while waiting for a taxi to the Victoria in Shalford to join the others for the evenings fine dining and drinking, with Mr Roche intending to go for his brewer’s gallon but struggling at the end falling asleep in his beer. The entertainment for the others at this time was to call John’s name to observe him come to and immediately take another gulp of beer before falling asleep again.

Nearly the golden gallon
Meanwhile RT spent about an hour trying to get a taxi, including trying unsuccessfully to set up an account with the infamous Uber, but to no avail. As a result RT and JR had to walk back to Bramley – probably about 1.5 miles, but 2 for John due to the degree of sideways stagger.
The reward for RT & JR was a fine breakfast at the local cafe while those at Mrs Deeks were treated to tinned sausages and beans with lightly cooked bacons resulting in a poor review on Buddadvisor – with RT taking the opportunity to mention to Mr Budd how RT had had such a nice breakfast with excellent bacons.
The first action of the day was to inspect Mr Mead’s rear tyre, discovering that the offending hole was on the rimside opposite the hole that had been found previously, the pressure against the rim being such that deflation had been slow. Tyre fixed we set off south on the Downslink whilst JR drove the LSV to Southwater to cycle up to the Cheese factory at Rudgwick.
By the time the peloton got to Cranleigh Mr Mead’s rear end was causing difficulties again so the shrader inner tube was replaced by a Presta provided by RT and fortunately no further blasteets experienced for the rest of the ride.
PT actually at front of peloton at Baynards climb up and over hill, probably due to ignoring the blasteets of others, arrived at the Cheese factory to find Mr Roche’s very muddy bike in front of banks of shiny road bikes and sitting amongst crowds of flashy road bikers eating his cheese puff.
The peloton joined for cheese and bacons on toast to the approval of Mr Budd.
Off again down the Downslink to Southwater at which PT and JR peeled off for JR to take PT back to Horsham and then to join the reduced peloton at Stan’s bike hut in Partridge Green for tea and cakes.
JR then took AM to Findon leaving CB and RT to complete the ride via the Bostal at Steyning.


North West Passage ride


Downslink ride

TAMITS: AM loss of gloves having had them in his hands in the garage and then searched high and low. Also for once not blaming it on his off-spring.

Saturday 21st March – 08.00am training ride

PT reports:
A virus-defying quintet comprising Jake, Chris, Richard, Zach and self assembled this morning to demonstrate that proud members of the FGCC will not be cowed into submission by anything other than our wives.
A bright morning with a brisk easterly wind saw the Peleton climb up through Muntham farm to the barn, then get blown along to Chantry car park.  Descending to Lee farm on a track drier than of late, we again turned west and were blown up to the top of the gallops. Down beside the gallops and on to the Budd memorial, where essential maintenance was effected by the club war artist.  The ode to the fallen was solemnly recited, in memory of Mr Budd’s digital disaster of 2009. At the same time attention was paid by Team Mechanic to Team Chaplain’s rear brake on which the pad spring had become mangled. After much  banging and other manipulation in a freezing wind along with a replacement spring from Mr Budd the problem was solved and we were able to proceed again.
Maintenance of CB memorial
Continuing down the valley we reached the road and turned north to Wepham and Burpham, climbing past Peppering High Barn to the KBS memorial.  Again, the war artist gave Mr Bang-Sorenson a much needed touch-up, and the Ode to the Fallen was again recited.
Touch up for the KBS memorial
The peloton then climbed up to Kithurst hill to the musical accompaniment of Jake’s pedals, which had the acoustic complexity of several quarrelling seagulls trapped in the chain.
The avian recital continued along the SDW and through the crematorium back to the Square.
The virus has however scuppered plans for breks in the foreseeable, due to the closure of pubs and eateries.
Another grand day out, with 17.6 miles and 1259 feet climbed, according to Satmap.
Interestingly Sträva recorded 18.9 miles and 1550ft, albeit from Nepcroft.

Saturday 28th March – 08.00am training ride

Separate rides and reports due to the current restrictions.

  1. ZA reports.I followed more or less the same route as Le Peloton took, 21 March – except that instead of turning S at Chantry Post, continued to the next L turn off the SDW, i.e. down past the site of the Tank and across the field you wouldn’t wish to cross on a hard-tail …On reaching the road (Burpham to A27), took a L down to the A27; followed same up to Crossbush, thence A284 towards Lyminster, before turning L following bridleway (along course of Roman road) to St Nicholas, Poling – which, like almost all churches, closed due to Covid-19 … Marking once again splendid inscription on Lord Cowdrey of Tonbridge’s memorial, followed lane up to A27; kept to cycle path on S side of same before crossing the road (much, much easier than usual 😊) to go up Dover Lane. On reaching car park, followed the track through Angmering Park Woods, emerging N of Patching. Took ancient sunken track down to Myrtle Grove corner, and came up the Long Furlong – something one would usually avoid, but today there was little traffic. Just as well, because two-thirds of the way up, I got a blasteet! Luckily I was able to inflate the tyre (even without John’s help!) sufficiently to get me home. Mileage unrecorded, but I imagine it was 17-18 mls: was out for 3hrs 20 mins.Kim contacted me to say he’d like to join me, but we missed each other on this occasion (debacle?); a great ride, albeit solo …
  2. KBS reports.I chased – in vain – our fast riding Club Vicar until I too had the pleasure of the bumpy field past the ‘invisible’ tank south of Chantry Post. As I couldn’t see the Club vicar along the gallops, I gave up. Admittedly, I departed late, spending far too much time localising a missing cycling sock. At that time, I was sure my youngest daughter had mislead it when clearing our utility room. However, later I realised I probably mislead it myself. Furthermore, I choose to take the Monarch’s Way route up to Southdowns Way which further delayed me.After giving up my chase, I went instead on my normal morning loop  Climbed the hill but instead of going straight into APE, I went for the second Brooom route that took me to the south west corner of APE. From there I took the Bluebell route and then home via Dover car park. Out of APE and Monarch’s Way home as it was too late to go through Clapham as I have done previously.On the last  climb home, I noticed a rider in front of me and it was only was only because of him that I bothered to ride up this newly ploughed  field. It was really difficult. When I eventually got up to this ride, I was surprised to see, he was older than me but obviously very fit. After a little wait while the dairy cattle were let out across the bridle way I ended home, happy to be away from that strong and noisy north easterly wind.
  3. Kim’s ride

    13.4 miles and 1,325 ftOn my way to Southdowns I saw this Bridle way sign but no bridle way. For the third year in a row AngmeringParkEstate has either shorten or cancelled this bridle way.

    A challenge for the Flying Brit
  4. RT & CB report. With the Italian stallion taking his customary position at the head of the two-person peloton (and more like 20 metres ahead as usual rather than the regulatory 2 metres) our route was Cissbury car part and straight on across the Steyning road and on to Coombe Farm (with sign saying that it was closed for viewing lambing and see you next year!). Onto the Downslink down to Shoreham, across the footbridge to Lancing College and up to Lancing ring and back to Nepcroft via Cissbury.
    Coombe farm and Lancing ring route

    14 miles and 1,161 ft cllimbed.

  5. Jake reports
    Jake’s ride

    11.44 miles and 1,129 ft

  6. Paul reports
    Also managed a ride ( and a point on the Bulldog Blingometer)!
    Road route out to Rudgwick, then Downslink back to Horsham – 16.4 miles and only 301 feet climbed.

    And a brek from Truffles horsham to boot.

    Paul’s ride
  7. Roy reports
    Does a long walk count? I thought not.
    Unfortunately I don’t have my bike here and have had to stay up in the 2nd worst Corona hit county due to work. Not sure when I will be back.
    Glad to hear everyone is fit and well and getting out.
  8. Tim reports
    Another case for review.. my ride..
    1. I rode only 4 miles , climbing 300 feet.. Findon to High Salvington and return
    2. Twas on a ladies bike
    3. The bike was an e-bike..
    For any COvid-19 police I can confirm
    A. This was my sole exercise for the day
    B. It was a mercy mission to deliver food to octogenarian in laws
    C. I confirm that no breakfast was involved
    I would suggest that there’s enough rope above to ‘hang’ any hope of a bing claim ( another ’not’ for me ) also a small case for inclusion
    what say the FGCC awards committee ?
  9. Mark reports.

    Definitely agree that the 10 minute rule is only a virtual one, especially as I followed the FGCC tradition and left at 08:12 myself…

    Turning East out of my drive, I travelled for approx 100m to the T-Junction with Shardeloes Road whereupon I turned North and travelled a further 100m to the next T-Junction with Chantryfield Road whereupon I turned East again…

    Too much detail?

    OK,  on to Dappers Lane, Swillage Lane and into APE continuing roughly North along the track above Lower Barpham Farm and cross the top of Barpham Hill, along the Wepham down track and up to the track that forms the usual Amberley Loop back up the Springhead Hill whereupon  I rode straight across on towards Rackham Hill taking the left fork after approx 200m and then the v old track that joins the SDW at the point where the wonderful drop down to Turnpike road starts.

    East on the SDW to High Barn, usual route to collarbone alley, up Church Hill and into Clapham Woods, staying legal on the bridleway down past Holt Farm to the A27.  As with Long Furlong, Zach, I was passed by only one vehicle while cycling to the start of Titnore Lane where I turned right up to the top of High Down then home via Ecclesden Manor, The Spotted Cow (closed) and Weavers Hill.

    A splendid if banter-less ride of 17.69 miles with 1083 ft ascended.