10.2021 October

FGCC rides in October 2021

Saturday 2nd October 08.00am ride

For this Saturday, the plots are

JR and ZA:

and MA:

Saturday 9th October 08.00am ride

On a very foggy morning, a pelethree of PT, RT and ZA assembled at Pond Green.
A route to Henfield was settled on, and Mr Mead was advised that brek would be taken at the old Post Office.  Off up the path beside the A24, turning right past North Farm to climb Chanctonbury by the mother-in-law route, then left down and west along a very slippery SDW.
PT then caused the first debacle of the day, prematurely deviating to the right to ascend again towards Chanctonbury (the intention was to skirt round the hill). The error was swiftly spotted, and we returned to the SDW.  The correct turn was taken about 150 yards further on, and the descent through the woods began.  At about mile 3.5, the second backle overtook PT and caused him to adopt a somewhat louche reclining posture amongst the undergrowth.

RT was some distance ahead but was summoned back by a chortling vicar who requested that the pinned down victim remained where he was whilst ZA grabbed his phone for a photo. RT was all set to create a memorial with twitching fingers extracting the paints from his backpack, but was reminded that the decision as to whether there should be a memorial should be determined by the committee. Points for that committee to note during the assessment are that blood was spilt, pride was hurt and it was most certainly spectacular.

Recovering the bike and rider was speedily put into effect, as soon as photographic evidence had been secured, though the rider did remind ZA of captain Mainwaring with his skewed glasses and mud in his helmet.

The descent continued through woods to the bottom of Llama Lane, where we turned north to cross the A283 at Wiston.  East along Spithandle Lane to Horsebridge Common, then continuing east on bridleways to meet the Downslink as it enters Henfield.

Delightful brek with a rapidly-recovering Mr Mead, then a pelethree down the Downslink to Bramber where ZA peels off to go up Maudlin Lane and Steyning bowl, while PT and RT head for “coffee Dave”‘s mobile libation centre to further caffeinate ourselves (missed AM by ten minutes, says Dave).  Along the beach to Grand Avenue and the traditional final approach through Tarring, Becket, Mill Lane and Gallops.  Stopped for a while behind Roger’s Farm to observe a red kite being harried by a crow (or rook) before repairing to Nepcroft for a self-service bikewash (how we miss Rhys).
Have assumed ZA was safely guided home.

Total 32.1 miles & 1,598ft

Saturday 16th October 08.00am ride

PT & RT meeting AM for brek at Arundel and coffee at Edgecumbe.

The peletwo decided on a route through APE while we can before autumn storms turn it into a bog again. Message sent to AM to give an ETA of around 10.00am.

Started off through the crem and then south to pick up the Monarch’s Way at Tolmare, Michelgrove and into the woods by 09.00am. Realising that this would mean a much earlier arrival at Arundel we headed north west to the trig point above Lee Farm and then took the very dry Flying Brit “vroom” route to the westerly end of APE. Using up a bit more time a short loop into the bluebell wood (well it was once full of bluebells before the brambles took over – “the Not-bluebell wood”? – and then dropped to the start of the gallops, then going left past the Budd memorial to Arundel. Incidentally it has been observed that the Budd memorial tree is not an Ash tree, hence it’s escape from the Ash die-back cull.

Arrived at Arundel at the same time as Mr Mead and took brek in the Moat House, just as the rain started, with a heavy downpour taking place while we dined. Plenty of VT in spite of there only being three and AM commented as to how good it was to be released from his incarceration, so we decided to “do a Mr Roche” and have a coffee stop on the way back, Edgecumbe providing the perfect location even though only a few minutes on from Arundel.

Return route for the peletwo down to Climping and past the yacht club into Littlehampton, along the coast and got lost in the Rustington estate trying to avoid the high street only to end up in it. East Preston and the A259, then the usual route home via the gallops.

Total 30.4 miles & 1,385ft.

Saturday 23rd October 08.00am ride


A grand turnout and Shoreham Airport selected as the only brek stop for such a large number. Up to Cissbury, towards Chanctonbury and round to Langmead Memorial. Down the concrete road for inspection of the PT x 2 memorial which is still in good condition. On to Maudlin Lane and the Downslink to Shoreham. Across the footbridge for a brek at the airport, though we had to be split into two due to the numbers. Return via Lancing clump.No major incidents or barkles.

Total 18.8 miles and 1,398ft

MA’s ride:

Meanwhile RK enjoyed a ride (probably a minor peacekeeping mission to suppress an uprising in the zoo at whipsnade) up north in the Herts/Beds borders:


Saturday 30th October – Orchards Ride PT & JR

TK, RK, ZA, CB, RT, MA, PT & JR with AM not riding but at brek.

The peloton met at Pond Green in the pouring rain and a not-rain weather riding TK clearly demonstrating his happiness especially because his orange waterproof jacket had leaked more than a little. His state was further advanced by helpful commentary from RT which for some reason didn’t make him smile.

A slightly ambitious target of arrival at Orchards had been set by PT, so the peloton (not PT or JR who were taking alternative routes) managed to set off promptly for once. Up Stable Lane, round in heavy rain and strong cold winds to Langmead and down the Bostal to Steyning, where we came across PT in King’s Barn Lane. PT and JR had planned to meet at the Orchards and ride down the Downslink to meet the peloton, but when PT passed the meeting point JR was absent (though his car was in the car park) so PT pressed on, making good progress with the assistance of EMF.

Driven on by a time-aware PT the peloton hastened on up the Downslink and past Henfield. At the end of the field after the Adur crossing we came across JR who had kindly rushed there to open the gate. JR had initially cycled north from the Orchards up the Downslink with the intention of meeting PT coming the other way, but they clearly didn’t see each other so he turned round to head south to meet the peloton. The speeding peloton was called to a halt by JR’s request to borrow a pump, but inspection by the Team Mechanic concluded that the problem was a little more serious and we  were encouraged to carry on to the Orchards whilst the e-bikers attended to JR’s barkle.

Arriving at the Orchards the riders parked bikes and removed soaked outer layers, by which time PT & MA caught up. It turned out that JR’s rear had split and the tube exploded through it, so JR had to walk to Partridge Green to the bike shop for a replacement to join the brek later. Spouses plus MA and the young Mr & Mrs Avery had arrived by car and a splendid brek was enjoyed by all – thank you PT & JR.

For the return journey the peloton was reduced to TK, RK, CB, ZA & RT and route through Knepp Estate was determined. JR having ridden short distances north and south of the Orchards joined us for a short ride west returning to the Anglia when he reached the A24. The return was in an easterly direction meaning that JR had ridden in all directions by the end.

Across into the Knepp Estate we were directed onto a bridleway across a marshy area including a “bridge” consisting of 5 consecutive slippery railway sleepers, with a step down and up where one sleeper led to the next. Crossing with bikes involved pushing them along on the rear wheel only, but the interconnections of each sleeper presented opportunities for imbalance and potential landings in the water below, so RT fished out the camera. Regrettably for RT all crossed without major incident and just a few close wobbles.

Onto tarmac heading down towards Ashington we came across a van in a narrow section and to RT’s surprise the passenger turned out to be his brother. Short conversation only due to other traffic and we headed down and through Ashington and then a short section of the A24 and under it to Washington. Up the hill and back across the A24 to take the usual route round the back of Windlesham and Muntham. However an intention to go through the wooded section, with the Italian stallion leading the charge, was brought to a sudden halt by a notice that game shooting was taking place in the woods. Even CB said he wasn’t going to risk that and we went through the field and down to the village.

Total 30 miles and 1,600ft.

MA had ridden from home in Angmering but didn’t join the returning peloton – his route as below. Total 22miles and 1,290ft.

Following a report about returning the closed Monsal railway line back to use, our rail consultant Mr Kersley commented: “Interesting .. very expensive and not universally popular … makes this very unlikely as other lines will have more compelling arguments..

Perhaps we should reopen the Partridge green to Orchard line, thereby providing an alterative should a gentlemen be stranded due to a technical ..”

to which JR replied and reported on his ride as follows:

Tim: I can confirm that the line between Partridge Green and West Grinstead remains in perfect condition and ready for a return to service as a railway – but of course only under the control of an FGCC man. The ground remains in such good condition that:
1. Sadly, we shan’t be able to invest in Mark T’s very reasonable consultancy services to sort out its surface condition, and:
2. It is sufficiently flat that a chap can carry his bike the two odd miles from the crossing of the Adur to the excellent bike shop in PG.
I should know the latter fact as it formed part of the debacle that was Saturday.
This all started for me by parking the Anglia in the Orchard car park, deciding to ride north in light and clear conditions and yet managing to miss PT innocently riding in the opposite direction. This takes a degree and level of incompetence never before encountered. Add to this my attempt to steal the crown of Mr. Mead by later trying to repair a puncture – caused by an explosion (of the back tyre) to which Roy would be proud to associate himself – and using what turned out to be a brand new tube with a ready made puncture! Truly inspirational debacle-ing!
The epilogue: The problem was correctly diagnosed by the man in the PG bike shop as a failure to follow the guidance of Mr. Mark Avery FGCC TA when tolling up the tube for storage. I had attempted to roll up the tube with the valve facing inwards and thereby leave it touching the rubber. This meant that as time progressed the valve conducted drilling operations in several points in the tube. Time for a rerun of MA’s masterclass.
PT report:
A straightforward day from your correspondent’s point of view, until the barkles started.  My plan was to cycle down to the Orchard, meet up with JR, and head south to meet the main peleton where the Downlink leaves Steyning.  I took a road route, joining the Downslink at Copsale (mile 4), as follows:
Arriving at the orchard (mile 6) at 07:50ish, I found JR’s anglia in the car park but with fewer crew than the Marie Celeste.  A rookie error lead me to conclude that JR had headed south to intercept the peleton.  However, that spark of organisational genius which single-handedly keeps the wheels of industry spinning had inspired JR to head north on the Downslink and intercept me.  Which would have been fine, except he passed Copsale going north before I arrived there going south, with the result that he kept going toward Southwater.
I continued alone, keeping up a reasonable speed in the hope of catching him, and arrived at Steyning at about 08:30 without seeing him.

Meanwhile MA had ridden from home to join the main peleton at Findon and all had proceeded to Steyning where we met at about 08:45 and proceeded up the Downslink, collectively scratching our heads as to the whereabouts of JR.

All was revealed when we came upon a deflated JR with a deflated rear tyre, just after the river bridge between Henfield and Partridge Green. Greetings were exchanged in the rain, which had been unrelenting up to this point and kept on being unrelenting.
Concluding that the tyre was too far gone for a field repair, MA and PT stayed to reassemble the JRmobile to make it pushable, and despatched the peleton to the Orchard and JR to the bike shop in PG for a lasting solution in the form of a new tyre.  MA and PT then cranked up their respective wicks (Ooh Matron!) and headed for the brek venue, passing a jogging JR south of PG.
The Orchard did us proud with a brek of excellent quality and copiousness.
The story of the post brek part of the ride must be told by others, as I took an LSV home to Horsham after the convivial brek, enlivened and adorned by more ladies than we have seen in one place for quite some time.  There were two Budds, two Meads, two Allens, two Kersleys, two Thomases and two Topleys, one delayed but unbowed Roche, a rare sighting of The Crocodile, and just over 4 Averys present, and much catching up was achieved.  Sadly James, Lauren and their children could not make it, and a our wishes for a speedy recovery are sent to the family.
The rain stopped and skies cleared after brek, so a sunny ride home was enjoyed by those who rode, who were TK, RK, CB, ZA & RT – see above.
JR’S all points of the compass ride or the going everywhere but nowhere ride.
TK’s Not-fair-weather cyclist award for demonstrating his happiness at being out on a cold wet and windy ride.
JR & PT observation award for riding past each other without meeting as intended.