03. March 2024

FGCC rides in March 2024

Saturday 2nd Monarch’s Way ride

TK, CB, JR, PT, MA, RT with ZA on road

Early departure from OPG with a minor debacle as the analogues were meant to head off first whilst ebikes went to find a faffing vicar and JR followed the latter. Ride to station into strong wind and driving cold rain – would it be like this for the day? Lakes everywhere either side of the railway for much of the journey.

Train to Havant with MA joining at Angmering and meeting PT there. Another debacle as to whether to wait for train to Rowlands Castle or cycle there instead, with it being suggested that each do whatever he wanted and in the event all cycled.

Excellent brek at the Bumblebee cafe and a discussion as to whether to go up to Buriton and onto the SDW then down to Bosham and take train home as proposed by JR, or to follow the Monarch’s Way but with road diversions wherever we anticipated almost impossible cycling conditions with the latter selected. Team Chaplain had an all road route to follow, summary from whom is below.

Heavily flooded road just as we set off, though with a footbridge that we could use, indicated the conditions to expect. Through Stansted Park and on the road to Walderton to Staughton. However a trudge through the swamp farm and the triple b*****d climb were avoided, instead heading off road to get to the same summit and then onwards to get to the road into Chilgrove, also avoiding a dangerous slide down to the road that we normally follow.

On road to West Dean to obtain refreshments at the village shop there with the sun kindly appearing for a lunch break in the sun. Shortly after we arrived there Team Chaplain also arrived from his road ride – we should have realised that he should arrive what with the weather change, his reputation further enhanced by the fact that when he left later the clouds rolled over us again.

Fully refreshed we headed up the track to St Roche’s Hill and then onto the Racecourse road alongside Goodwood  and Selhurst Road, before heading off road towards Houghton Forest. However, anticipating another swamp just before Whitewalls we changed course to head up to join the SDW, at which point PT announced that his rear was becoming somewhat deflated. A bit of research on trains and PT headed off at e-speed after some reflation to catch the train at Amberley.

The remaining peloton continued on the SDW pausing at the top of Bignor Hill for viewing of the extensive volumes of water to be observed looking to the east, and then descending to Amberley for a welcome tea stop at the cafe there.

Final leg towards North Stoke and then the long climb to Kithurst Hill and back to Findon. MA parted company on the way to head to Angmering but with low battery level, ending up in Angmering Park with no power and 2 – 3 miles to go.

43.9 miles and 3,245ft climbed (approx 3 miles on train shown on map below before Strava paused)


Map showing ZA (light blue) MA (orange) and Peleton (black)

ZA reported as follows:

From Rowlands Castle I followed part of On-road route 3, from Ordnance Survey Cycle Tours, 24 one day routes in Kent, Surrey & Sussex – ‘Chichester and the South Downs’ (the opposite way round from the route set out in the book) as far as East Dean (8).
Having enjoyed a happy reunion with Le Peloton at West Dean, from E Dean I made my way S, uphill to Pilleygreen Lodges before turning E along Selhurstpark Road.
R onto A285, L to Eartham; thence to Slindon and out via Mill Lane/Baycombe Lane to join A29 before taking detour on quieter lanes through Madehurst to reach Whiteways r’abt. B2139 through Houghton, Amberley to Storrington, R Fern Lane to pass RC & CofE churches R onto A283 to Washington R’abt thru Washington to ascend Bostal to join A24 opposite Glaseby Lane, where SDW crosses. Thence back to Findon, c.15.55

Was amazed how quickly the train journey from Worthing to Havant passed – enjoyed the customary VT 😂 At the Bumblebee Cafe, I had the Bees Knees – Summer fruits, crème fraiche & granola on their home made banana bread: a treat 😋
As you might expect, I paused awhile at St Peter’s, East Marden where there is a memorial – amused to read the concluding sentence, ‘in whose house he was bred up’!

Another memorable FGCC venture 🚴‍♂️

A ride by ZA of 38.26 miles and 2697 feet climbed (light blue line on map above).


Saturday 9th 08.00am ride

CB, MA, J, RT with AM on road.

Cissbury and straight on, Coombes Farm, Botolphs, Downslink to Shoreham. Market taking place so Teddies full and Truffles instead. Unfortunately Mr Mead didn’t have phone so missed the change of venue.. Returning along seafront met up with AM. at Widewater. AM/JR returned north from pier, CB/RT via Grand Avenue with AM onwards to Angmering.

Total. 21.2 miles and 910 ft.

Abroad the Flying dane was out in what looks like a Denmark that is as soggy as here, with a total of  18.5 miles and 627 ft.

Friday 15th/Sat 16th Downslink/NW Passage ride


Day 1 – the North West passage route.

Heavy rain the night before and during the week running up to the ride heralded extremely soggy ground conditions, especially in the Weald. We were not disappointed. Forecast was for cloudy skies with showers, some heavy.

JR headed off early in the “Landy” LSV to take bags to the hotel in Godalming and then ride to meet the peloton. The peloton set off on time without the ten minute rule as had been instructed by Whip Cracker Budd. Muntham route and onto SDW to Kithurst and down the road (instead of a dangerous off-road slide down Rackham hill) to Rackham. Onwards to Coldwaltham stopping at the bridge over the Arun to observe the flooded fields everywhere.

Coldwaltham, Hardham and Pulborough then on the A283 to the Stopham Garden Centre for an excellent brek.

Fully refreshed we then set off to Stopham, past the church, on to Woodcoate Lane and then onto an excellent well laid old track which may have been a coach road in its time. Little in the way of boggy sections – brief look at a diversion rejected due to bog – and we had a good ride through the woods up to a road to  Cold Harbour and to our lunch stop at the Old Mill cafe for an excellent lunch of home made Italian specialities accompanied by wry humour from our host. Light home made pasta and other delights – definitely a 5 Llama rating. Mr Roche arrived shortly after the peloton and then we were 5.

Fully refreshed we headed off North up Kirdford Road and onto Skitt Lane, then west on a track firstly through woods and then onto a very boggy field, which enabled MA to demonstrate his bog charging skills whilst the rest trudged through it all.  Further section up to Plaistow lane was even worse with all having to walk (sink) through the mud through woods. Then another track with conditions almost as bad – eventually calling for a change on types of ride on CB’s cycling route app. Arrived in Plaistow – why hadn’t we simply stuck to tarmac rather than getting exhausted.

Back on tarmac we headed towards Dunsfold and then Hambledon with a short diversion by RT to see relatives former home. We continued northwards to finally get to Godalming and the house of a friend of TK where we were able to hose down the bikes. Whilst there we were taken on a tour of a WW2 gun emplacement on his property and enlightened as to plans to convert it to a 2 storey house. Hotel a short distance down the road.

Gathering in the bar prior to dinner some libations taken leading to Mr Roche informing us about a hot button that he had found, much to the amusement of those present. Pub food and drink enjoyed at the Cricketers before turning in.

Total: 38.4 miles and 2,506 ft

Day 2 – The Downslink ride.

All gathered on time at 08.30 as had been commanded by Mr Budd and we loaded up JR’s Landy LSV before cycling to the brek stop – another find by Buddadvisor. Clearly a popular cafe as there was insufficient space for us and we had to take a table outside. It would have gained 5 stars on Buddadvisor but the stingy quantity of hot water for his tea resulted in a half star downgrading.

After brek JR parted company from the peloton to drive the LSV to the car part at the bottom of Llama lane and take the Kersly track to Steyning to then head up the Downslink to join us somewhere.

Chivvied on by CB who wanted to get back to Findon around 2.00pm, the peloton headed off down the Downslink in much welcome sunshine with the intention of stopping at the Cheese Factory. However when we got there  it was so busy that we carried on.

Shortly after Slinfold RT was wondering if he was seeing correctly as horse with no rider coming towards him. Needless to say the FGCC peloton left into action with RT & TK blocking the path with our bikes whilst MA walked round to take its reins and calm it down by quietly talking to it and stroking it. Eventually another horse, this time with very grateful rider arrived clearly exhausted by trying to drive her dobbin of a horse to go at other than a sedentary pace. It turns out that the runaway was being ridden by a young child and it decided that an open gate into a field was far more interesting especially with an opportunity to roll in the mud and to discharge its rider. It had then spooked itself by crashing through a hedge back onto the Downslink.

Onwards to the new Christ’s hospital section of the Downslink and on to Southwater Country park where snacks and drinks were taken.

Continuing on southwards we soon came across Mr Roche who did an about turn to join the peloton. Arriving in Steyning TK and JR peeled off with the reduced peloton heading up the Bostal, Lytchpole, Cissbury and Findon at around the targeted time. Congratulations to CB for setting the pace on an analogue which suitably drained the batteries of the e-bikes.

Total: 38.2 miles and 1,473 ft


TAMITS: Whipmeister Budd cracking the whip to keep us on time – no time to stop and stare!

Horse whisperer Avery catching and calming a runaway horse.

Hot button seeker Roche – what goes on a ride stays on a ride

Saturday 23rd 08.00am MA Septuagenarian Ride and Avery brek

MA, RK, ZA, CB, TB, RT part and meeting AM at brek. Planned route was up to SDW and down to Burpham and on to Arundel. Then south to Climping and along the LA seafront, Rustington and to Avery Towers, with RT going for jab at Limetree and then heading off to meet them on LA seafront.

Needless to say but that a debacle arose in the form of a blasteet for RK at Kithurst Hill, resulting in a change to the latter part of the ride in order to arrive for the brek at the appointed time. Burpham, Crossbush, Lyminster , Toddington Lane, Windmill bridge and onto the cycleway by the A259, coming across RT at the Rustington retail park. Finally up through. Ham estate, Angmering, Arundel road and into Avery towers.

A splendid brek provided by those in charge followed by the traditional birthday cake.

All off in different directions for the return to Findon.

Total 24.6 miles and 1,449ft for MA, 25.8 miles and 1196ft for CB TB RK and ZA, 23.8 miles and 1,006 ft for RT

Saturday 30th 08.00am ride.


A challenging and early start from Steyning for TK on analogue in preparation for France but arriving on time at OPG. MA had arrived on e-bike from Angmering via HIghdown. A tsetse message from AM indicated that he would join the peloton for the brek.

MA summarises:

It was a different ride for several reasons…
– lovely sunny day with little wind (even from me) for a change
– we chose the Coombes Farm route to the airport and it took Chris until we got the hill from the farm to the SDW turn off to the bridge for him to realise he was cycling without his backpack. A phone call to Jo confirmed it was still hanging up at home…
– Tommy was suffering from a slow puncture in his front tyre which he decided to fix just before getting to the coastal path. After an entertaining few minutes for us watching him trying to get the tyre off the rim, he produced a replacement inner tube only to find it was the wrong size. Bringing his experience of quelling African revolutions to the fore, Roy stepped in with one of the correct size and with the bike returned to working order we happily cycled along the seafront.

Peloton: 18.6 miles and 900ft

MA: 29.2 miles and 1,291ft

TK: 30.9 miles and 2,083ft

TAMITS: CB doing everything to limit bike and accessories weight.

TB: stretching tube limits.