03. March 2023

FGCC rides in March 2023

Saturday 4th March Monarch’s Way ride – well the Not Monarch’s Way ride this year


Peloton from the village met at OPG to leave at 07.45  sharp riding to Worthing station to catch the 08.25 train to Emsworth with MA joining the same train at Angmering but in another carriage. Debate on the train as to whether to do the traditional ride or the alternative proposed by JR with the latter being chosen. Route map had been provided by PT who could not attend due to the loss of his bench at Three Bridges station and preference to find one in London instead.

Team Chaplain met the peloton at OPG and accompanied the Findon peloton to the station to form a guard of honour.

Headed off into a cold northerly wind to Rowlands Castle Westbourne and the cycle path through Hollybanks Wood (slight diversion from Mr Topley’s planned route) for an excellent full breakfast at the Bumble bee Cafe, just in time to get a table. Refreshed we headed north again on tarmac parallel to the railway with a few “one meeting” call by JR stops to check the map, but driven on by Mr Budd when VT time started to become extended. North via Finchdean and Chalton to the SDW just above Buriton  at which point we joined the SDW heading east coming across many e-bikers on the way.

Just after Burwood Farm ( not much more than a mile on from where we joined the SDW) another “one meeting” to discuss whether to continue on to just south of South Harting or to head south along the originally planned route. Decision to follow the plan. Several occasions when CB kept up the continental tradition of “following from in front”

After a bit of a sticky climb through part of West Harting Down a nice long fast drop joining tarmac towards Compton but turning left just before it as we had missed a turning. Back on the planned route we continued south to Walderton joining/crossing what is our usual monarch’s Way ride. Discussion at this point as to whether to then follow the MW route was quickly quashed in preference to following the plan continuing south (especially with the freezing wind behind us).

To Huntington and West Ashling all on tarmac with further “one meeting” calls to suggest diversion from the plan to take in the Centurion Way down to Chichester. On Clay Lane at the point where the plan took us again south JR yet again suggested that we head for Centurion Way straight down to Itchenor then take the ferry across to Bosham for tea. The peloton again prevailed on the grounds that we might not get to the ferry on time that way needing a return via the same route down with no tea stops in Itchenor.

Again followed the original plan to Bosham for a pleasant tea plus excellent pasties stop. Rung the ferry to be told that they would be there in 15 minutes so we quickly headed there to be able to get one of the last crossings with a surprisingly full boat load.

Then the peloton headed to Chichester station via the Salterns Way almost losing CB, again “following from in front” to the terror of the A27 roundabout.

Tea and snacks taken at Chichester station with all intending to catch the 04.25 train to Worthing. With the message board saying that it would arrive in 5 mins TK clearly thought he had time for a visit to the gents, but a minute later it said 2 minutes. Called to TK to warn him while all headed to the bike point on the train, with TK seen to be running towards the train. Unfortunately his control of station staff was unsuccessful (strike mentality no doubt being behind not showing appropriate respect – don’t they know who he is) and he was seen left on the platform while the train rolled out. To add to his misfortune sudden cancellations meant that he had a further hour to wait before being able to catch a train.


Total 38.7miles and 1,945ft for the ride itself plus rides to and from the station(approx 8 miles extra)

TAMITS: TK – Billy No-mates (or Bad-mates) award for being left stranded by his colleagues on Chi station

– or The trains and drains award.

JR – the Centurion Way award for his fixation on going on that route (maybe another fiancee needing attention there?

CB – the new “Following from in front” award

Meanwhile ZA completed a local ride, after accompanying the main peleton to Worthing station to form a departure guard of honour:

completing 13.85 miles and climbing 531 feet.

And AM (bold red track) covered 26 miles and climbed 443 feet.

Saturday 11th March 08.00am training ride

CB, RT & PT only at OPG choosing to head for Teddies for a least boggy ride. Up Stable Lane to the track from Cissbury to Chanctonbury at which point a  flagging PT informed us that his steed’s power unit had gone on strike. At this point PT decided that a 20mile+ ride without power was a bit too much, bearing in mind the intended journey to Devon in the afternoon and returned to his car to meet us again in Shoreham.

The pelotwo then continued on to the SDW, concrete road, Downslink to Shoreham, with RT having a minor altercation with a pedestrian who believed that he was entitled to use the whole of the track width uttering expletives unnecessarily.

Arrived at Teddies to find AM locking up his steed and PT having reserved the last available table for our brek – LSV service in action again.

Return route via the seafront, W Worthing and gallops with AM peeling off to “have a talk with coffee Dave”.

Total 23.7 miles and 965ft.


Saturday 18th March 08.00am training ride

PT, CB, RT meeting AM & TB at the airport

Wet muddy conditions again so least boggy route selected. Up Stable Lane and then Gallops Farm taking the track up to the main track between Cissbury and Llama Lane. Up to Llama Lane and east along the SDW to Langmead and the Steyning Road. Down the concrete road and to Bramber roundabout and then the Downslink to the airport.

Brek at the Hummingbird cafe where we were joined by Messrs Mead & Brown. Return journey via the seafront, Grand Avenue and the gallops.

Total 22.4 miles and 1,171 ft

Saturday 25th March 08.00am training ride

PT, TK, CB and in part MA and ZA

Wet day but even TK out.

Total 18.4 miles & 1,075ft

Friday 31st March Downslink outward ride


On the day, JR set off by car to Godalming with the bags, while a dogging session delayed the start for our esteemed CCTV.
The peleton (AM, CB, MA, PT, TB) gathered at Nepfield Close for tea, then proceded to OPG to collect TB.  First barkle of the day was an equipment failure of MA’s rear brake, leading to a revision of the planned route to include a trip to Storrington Cycles.  Several attempts to bleed the brake proved ineffective and MA in true kamikaze spirit completed the ride with front braking only.
Continuing north
we reached the little bean cafe in Pulborough, to find it full.  A fortifying bacons sandwich was taken at the Cornstore, on the A29 by the river, before we headed towards the station and then north along the footpath by the railway, to emerge onto Combelands Lane and continue north to Pickhurst.  Here we turned east, away from the soggy areas near the canal, to pass south of the Toat monument and then a left turn onto Toat Lane took us north to Haybourne, where we went off road again, crossing the river and canal just before Harsfold Manor.  Deep puddles and copious quantities of mud were applied to bikes and riders.
Passing the scenic sewage works, we joined the A272 and arrived at Wisborough Green for lunch at the Old Mill trattoria.  ZA arrived at the lunch venue on his road bike, clean and shiny in contrast to the remainder of the peleton, and the peleton was completed by the arrival of JR, who had ridden down from Godalming and spent some time searching for the peleton before resorting to waiting at the trattoria.
The afternoon leg took us by road up to Loxwood, where those equipped for off-roading followed the canal towpath
to emerge at Old Knightons, where we followed Knightons Lane to Dunsfold and rendezvoused with ZA (who took a road route from Loxwood) for afternoon teas at the Post Office.  Again refreshed, and with the rain now intermittent, Hookhouse Lane beckoned.  A short off-road section to the west (gamely ridded for the most part by ZA despite having brought the wrong bike) got us on to Vann Lane to Beech Hill, where Hambledon Lane took us up to Busbridge and thence to the Inn on the Lake.
Bike storage at the hotel (although promised) turned out to be simply piling the bikes outdoors in the yard and padlocking them together.
(See April for return leg information).
TAMITS: MA returning to his Kamikaze tendencies.

Total 33.6 miles & 2,154 ft