A record of rides in 1995 featuring in particular:
January 7th inaugural gala ride
AM JC JR MA PT ZA. All but JC assembled on time, and all but AM departed at 08:15 up stable lane and on to the Cissbury/Chanctonbury track. Pausing for breath, the sun glinting of the horses in the gallops was admired. On up to Chanctonbury, where a backward scan revealed AM and JC approaching, AM revelling in a newly acquired ability tochange gears. All met, and apologies to JC for CYCLENET hitch re Planning meeting on 5th. Down to A24, where MA ZA & PT desert for home; after a detour to inspect the football pitch at Washington, AM JC & JR ascend to the barn along the SDW, then return via Long Furlong and Church hill to Roger’s Farm. Cold and dry, with icebreaking opportunities on puddles at top of Stable Lane.
MA PT AM JR ZA Out via Long Furlong to the top. Then south along Church Hill to Salvington. Down Mill Lane to A24, then past Offington roundabout to Warren roundabout. Cut north up alongside the golf course to Cissbury ring. Mud so thick on track down from ring to car park that MA and PT suffer wheel seizure and fall in it. Down road to village.
MA AM PT Rain stopped at five past eightish. Up to Cissbury by road, then over to the Steyning road and up to the SDW, wind blowing us up the road. Had to pedal down southwards from Chanctonbury to A24 and back into village by the Fire Station.
JR ZA. Out of Findon on A24 to Muntham, then up through Muntham farm and northwards to join the SDW at the Barn. Along Westwards to the top of Chantry Hill, from where the floods could be seen in their full splendour. Return to Findon by retracing the outward route. Dry and clear, the first morning without rain for some time.
AM. PT appears at 08.00 to find himself still alone at 08.10, and disconsolately returns home to sort bottles and then open an account at the bottle bank. Meanwhile AM, having discovered two punctures at 07.59, furiously mends tubes and reaches the Butcher’s at 08.24. Being of a more intrepid nature than most, AM sets out to cover the four peaks ride, ascending to Cissbury and thence to Chanctonbury, across the A24 to Sullington Barn, and returning via Church Hill. A thoroughly splendid solo effort. Strike that man a medal.
11 February TREK’N’BREK Steep Close (JR)
ZA JC JR PT. Convening in the drizzle at 08.00, ZA and PT set off to ascend Church Hill via Roger’s farm. A half-naked JR loomed up the High Street, sans helmet, sans outer jersey, but still smiling with (as it was to turn out, premature) triumph from a close encounter with a flat tyre. In concert, Church Hill was duly ascended despite the mud. ZA rode, the rest walked in stretches to the top, where JR’s treacherous tube was replaced. Progress was brisk towards and across Long Furlong, but then The Great Mud Lake was before us. Wading (no exaggeration) through the residues left by the cattle, and spurred on by occasional zaps from the electric fence, we passed through the gate and on to firmer terra. Up to the SDW with no further problem save the strengthening rain, we cut north across the field of Sullington bar and descended to the A24. Luckily ZA was in front, and successfully averted disaster by warning us of the gate, thoughtfully galvanised grey to blend into the mist, on the downhill stretch. Back to Findon along the A24 against a blustery wind. Nobly overcoming back pain, Angie laid on a feast to warm those bits we had forgotten we had.
18 February ride
JR MA. Out of Findon along A24, turn right at the bus stop opposite Muntham, then up the long climb to Chanctonbury. Turn off SDW to go along the top track towards Cissbury, and branch right to return to Findon by Stable Lane.
25 February ride
ZA MA PT. Up to Cissbury by road, then over to Steyning road and up past Steyning bowl to Langmead memorial. Tense discussion, which it would have been better if we had not have had to have had it. Along SDW to Chanctonbury, and repair puncture in lee of water trough while wind raises spray from the water. Hurtle down to A24 at Muntham, and home at 9:30. Very windy, from West, but not as muddy as recent amounts of rain would have indicated.
4 March – no ride
11 March ride
PT. Out of Findon along Long Furlong, cut South at top and follow on towards radio mast. Left at fork and down through trees to join track from Gallops to Roger’s Farm. Back to Findon via Roger’s Farm.
18 March ride
ZA MA PT. Out of Findon on A24 by the Fire Station, turning right opposite Muntham to climb the long hard way to Chanctonbury. Down from Chanctonbury to the A24 the short steep way, cut south through Windlesham School to drop down Muntham drive to the A24 and back to Findon. Sunny, and windy from SW.
25 March TREK’N’BREK Pelynt Cottage
AM JC MA PT JR TT? EN* ZA. Quick ascent to tank via Long furlong, north round the back of Muntham and on up to SDW. Back same way for Brek at Avery’s. First official outing of the latest Zakmobile; up to 31mph coming back down from SDW. EN at brek, and JR receives award belatedly.
01 April – no ride.
08 April ride
ZA. Over Cissbury to turn North before Steyning Road, and climb to Langmead memorial. Continue on to Chanctonbury and down to A24 by bus stop and back to Findon. PT arrived late, and went on an “unofficial” ride up Long furlong, north to Muntham and down through Windlesham School to SDW, crossed A24 and climbed to Chanctonbury, returning along top track to Cissbury then to Findon on road.
15 April ride
PT RT. RT’s first club ride. Gentle climb up the road to Cissbury, then along toptrack to Chanctonbury and down the quick way to the A24 opposite Muntham. Richard loses rear light in an emphatic manner during high speed descent from Chanctonbury, but still appears game for more rides in future!
22 April TREK’N’BREK Cranford
MA AM PT ZA EN. After a beautiful morning on the Friday, Saturday was miserable, cold wet andwindy. However, this being the first time the FGCC had been promised atransatlantic visitor, members assembled with extra kit at the appointed hour only to discover that Americans are not in fact stupid, but tend to stay in bed when faced with inclement meteorological situations. Dropping off the excess clothes, bike etc. at Cranford, we climbed up through Muntham to the SDW and on to the tank. Low cloud and rain, but the wind was with us. On the way back, however, with the slow and remorseless deflation of the Avery tyre to contend with, progress against the elements was only possible by focusing on the reward to come. This mental effort took us into the wind round Myrtle grove and by road to, and then along, Long Furlong. Lyn had laid on a brek that made it all worthwhile, and awards were presented to AM and to PT, to complement those given at the curry evening.
29 April ride
MA Climb up the road to Cissbury, then along top track to Chanctonbury and down the quick way to the A24 opposite Muntham. Cuckoo heard at Chanctonbury, and daffodils and tulips out among trees in the Ring. Out at 07:42, back 08:20 approx.
6 May ride
MA TT RT. Over Cissbury and on towards Steyning road, but cut north up to No Man’s Land and climb out of there towards Chanctonbury.
12th to 13th May LEWES TRIP
MA TT PT JR AM EN* ZA**. We assembled at Cranford at 1550pm to await the arrival of AM, delayed at work. Overnight bags left in garage. Riders (MA JR AM PT TT) departed at 16:25, climbing over Cissbury, and head straight on. TT breaks saddle bolt on the steep bit before Steyning Road. A nearby car wreck failing to supply a bolt of the correct calibre, a jury rig was lashed up and a detour to Steyning made to purchase a replacement bolt. Headed south out of Steyning by road to pick up South Downs Way. Proceed to push up Truleigh Hill, the battle on into the rain past the YHA and on to Devil’s Dyke. As we crossed the A23 the Avery chain broke, and a repair effected by using the wrong size spring link. East Sussex is all uphill from there. Superb sunset as we breasted the last hill before dropping down into Lewes, where b&b was arranged at the Kings Head Hotel, Southover High Street. John and Anita (the Boss) Bagshaw made us very welcome, and after a joyful reunion with EN at 8:30, there ensued a feast during which a loving cup made several laps of the table.
On Saturday, royally breakfasted and reinforced by ZA, we set out on the return route along the foot of the downs through Plumpton, Westmeston, Clayton, North of Woolstonbury Hill, Poynings, Fulking, Upper Beeding, Steyning, round the north side of Chanctonbury, and home in sunshine. Refilled a water bottle at the spring pool in Poynings marked “This water not suitable for drinking”, once a decent interval had elapsed after the dog left the water. Sign wrong. Luncheon was taken in a field near Edburton, and after a second stop outside Steyning bike store to place another link in the Avery chain, we ascended to Chanctonbury. Passed by a caravan of pack-laden llamas descending the track. From Chanctonbury to Findon via Stable lane. Total mileage 54 for return trip.
**denotes return journey only
20 May ride
PT RT. Up to tank, via Long Furlong, north round the back of Muntham and Windlesham, and the barn on the SDW. Returned through Myrtle grove, Lee farm and rejoined Long Furlong at top of hill for the downhill run into Findon. Bright sunshine, 11 miles round trip.
2/3 June Truleigh Hill YHA
MA ZA JR PT + MA j or r ma ct. By car over to Devil’s Dyke Hotel, then ride to Truleigh Hill YHA along SDW. Dinner and overnight at Hostel, then Margaret joins us for breakfast as Jamie leaves for a swimming session. Set off along SDW over Shoreham road then cut north to ascend Steyning Bowl on a concreted tack. Stop at top for cake, and discover Jamie has decided not to rejoin the ride. Follow SDW past Langmead memorial, and head for Chanctonbury, cutting south before the last rise to take the track south toward Cissbury. Turn West to pass Mill Farm and descend Stable Lane into Findon.
10th June ride
ZA JR PT. Up to Cissbury and over past the green barn towards Steyning road, but cut south at the crossing of the tracks just after the steep upslope. Down a concreted road into Lychpole Farm, bearing left through farm and then take a right just before the end of the concrete at Beggars Bush to lead on to a track north round the eastern slope of Lychpole Hill towards Cissbury. Rejoin the outward route at the green barn, and retrace steps home. Poppies out in the corn, bright sunshine. Back by 08:30, 7 miles.
17th June ride
MA RT. Out to Cissbury and then north to Chanctonbury, meeting eastbound llamas to the west of Chanctonbury ring.
24th June ride
AM JC PT RT. Up to Cissbury, then along top track to Chanctonbury. PT leaves the group to descend the quick way to the A24 opposite Muntham. The rest go down to A24and up to the barn, turn South to Long Furlong and back to Findon via Church Hill.
1st July BREK at theTank
JC JR MA PT TT ZA RT EN*. Out to Tolmare via Long Furlong, then West to Lee Farm and Myrtle grove, then cut North to the end of the trees and then west through rape field to the tank. Cross northwest through corn to Car park to partake of Bucks Fizz courtesy of EN and collect the brekstuff. Three course brek (medals were worn) at the tank on disposable barbies, courtesy of JC. Menu includes fruit juice, sausages, eggs, bacon, black pudding, mushrooms and beans followed by toast and marmalade, washed down with tea and coffee. Back to Findon along SDW, south to Tolmare, and then down Long Furlong again except for TT who headed off towards Horsham from the tank to search for his family. Fine, dry and dusty after a very hot week.
27 August ride – The “Collarbone ride”
JR PT RT. Convening at the appointed time, JR and RT were able to wave farewell to ZA as he passed en route to Mead Towers to join the LSV for Queen Elizabeth CountryPark, the plan being for ZA AM and JC to ride back to Findon on Saturday and proceed to Eastbourne on Sunday. The official ride, after some debate, was settled as the “Amberley Loop”, and a smart pace up Long Furlong was set by JR in the bright warm sunshine. The barn was reached without incident, and passing the summit of Springhead Hill, we branched left to begin the loop. Regaining the SDW after a reaching the top of a longish flat stretch, brisk progress was made with the wind at our backs. All was well until we reached the turn off to Muntham, thirteen miles into the ride.
Disaster, and an ashen appearance, overtook JR on the rutted stretch of track South from the Farm turn. PT went on to Cranford to fetch an ESV***, and JR was delivered to Worthing A&E at 10am, and in keeping with an instruction pinned on the wall food and drink were denied to the patient. The resources of the NHS swung into action, and to counter the agony of a broken collar bone JR was given a sling and a small bottle of tablets with instructions not to take any until he had eaten. JR finally reached home at 12:30pm, but it is expected that the standard of personal freshness and sartorial elegance of FGCC rides will be below par for some weeks.
NOTE: ESV*** = Emergency Support Vehicle
Extracurricular activities 27 August
AM JC ZA & anr.
The ride from Queen Elizabeth Country Park to Findon (supra) was completed; ZA AM and friend and JC arrived back in Findon on Saturday and proceeded to Eastbourne on Sunday 28th August. Proceedings on Sunday were enlivened by a terminal rear hub failure on AM’s bike, necessitating the delivery of a complete set of spares, viz a spare bike, from which the rear wheel was cannibalised. Mechanical gloom was dispelled, however, by the inner glow of achievement as AM ascended a more than usually arduous flat stretch only to discover that he had done it all on the middle ring, labouring under the impression that the smallest ring had been selected. Recounting this later, club members evinced little sympathy, it being cruelly observed that for two years or so AM had routinely ascended, descended or ploughed through everything on the middle ring since this was the only selection available to him.
2 September ride
AM PT. Convening on an overcast but dry morning, it was decided to revisit JR’s beloved Cote Street, as a mark of respect to the injured man. We departed at 07.35, ascended Long Furlong and turned south for Clapham Woods, sighting two deer on the crest of Church Hill in the cut corn to the left of the track. Continuing down through Clapham Woods, we came into a recently cut clearing beside the track, and saw two young deer. Continuing to the A27, we turned left and left again at the Happy Eater to ascend the hallowed confines of Cote Street. At the top our attention was drawn to the seasonal accumulation of burned out cars adorning the Downs, and conversation turned to the aesthetic enhancement they bring to this otherwise desolate area of the country. Descending to Roger’s Farm, we reached chez Mead at 08.33.
9th September ride
MA RT PT. Up to Cissbury and over, bearing right at the green barn on to a track south round the eastern slope of Cissbury towards Lychpole Hill. Mend puncture and remove thorn from RT’s bike. Down through Beggars Bush and then take a concreted road into Lychpole Farm, bearing right through farm to lead towards the Steyning road, but cut west at the crossing of the tracks to descend the steep slope and continue towards Cissbury. Rejoin the outward route at the green barn, andretrace steps to Cissbury car park. Inform RT of our current position, remarking on the row that sheep make enjoying themselves at the fair. Met ZA and boys at Nepcote, out on a sheep-spotting expedition. Bright sunshine, after Friday’s rain. Back by 09:10.
15/16th September REG2 and the inauguration of the first memorial
MA AM ZA RT PT TT EN* JR*
Departing at 16:15, SDW was reached via Long Furlong, after a short ‘kit-kit break’ to mark the spot where JR had his recent break. Continued on along SDW through Amberley, over new bridge and up to the road, then down in drizzle to Westburton and up to Bignor Hill. Deer herd (12 animals) crosses SDW as we drop down to meet and cross A285 at Littleton farm, and push up through endless field up Littleton Down. Jaffa cake stop (courtesy ZA) as sun sets. Head into setting sun through wooded upland, dropping down to meet A286 as darkness falls. Very slippery on moss-covered chalk, as PT found. Turn North to Cocking and deposit bikes at Chez Reg after a swiftie with EN and JR at the Pub (19.55ish). EN and JR had arrived by ewartmobile with bags and delivered them as required, so Pub contingent headed back to Pub for showers etc, while Regites abluted. AM ZAMA RT PT and TT arrived by bike (about 8.15).
Heroic dinner at pub, breakfast 08.30 and five set off at 09.30ish, MA and JR accompanying EN in the LSV. East from Cocking, then south of Graffham and through Seaford College to Barlavington, all on minor roads. Kept on road to Bignor village, West Burton and Bury, where we stopped for the usual tea at the School Fete. Rejoined SDW briefly at Amberley then took the riverbank and cut south to North Stoke and climbed gently up the road to the Burgh. Lunch was taken at the now turretless tank, having beenprepared by the respective B&Bs. Marked tank with FGCC Colours. Home via SDW, as light rain starts. 45 miles approx.
23rd September ride
RT. Gamely setting out alone, RT climbed to the top of Long Furlong. Meeting no-one, he turned and rode back to Findon, overshooting as far as Cissbury car park, from whence he returned home.
30 September ride
RT. Solo ride again. Game as ever, RT tackles Cote Street as a downhill, and takes the A27 to Clapham to return home. In keeping with his truly considerate nature, RT gives encouragement to a jogger by selflessly allowing himself to be overtaken.
7 October TREK’N’BREK – Broadbanks
JC ZA**** MA AM JR* PT RT. Up to Cissbury and over, bearing right at the green barn on to a track south round the eastern slope of Cissbury towards Lychpole Hill. Skirt round Cissbury, climbing up steep muddy slope to summit. Head south, ZA and ben heading West to be home for the Winchester trip. Reach A27 and turn Right to Offington and continue to ascend Mill Lane to top of Salvington Hill. North to descend into Findon via Rogers farm for a lavish brek by Shirley.
* JR for brek only
**** ZA with Ben (the dog) came for ride only
14 October ride
MA ZA JR RT PT. North out of Findon on A24, then turn East up the drive to North Farm. Up quiet valley (Buddington Bottom) to ascend towards Chanctonbury, Ben the dog going temporarily AWOL in the trees chasing assorted small animals. Back along top track towards Cissbury, then turn West to descend into Findon along Stable Lane. Ben disgraces himself again by chasing horses on the Gallops, but fails to catch any. Misty and mild, back by 08:50.
21 October ride
MA RT. Up to barn via long furlong, doff hats at Roche memorial in Collarbone Lane, then along to tank. Continue down along Wepham Down to Lee Farm, skirting Angmering Estate. On to Michelgrove, and cross A280 to ascend to Clapham Church. Through Clapham woods to Church hill, and down by Roger’s Farm. 13.5 miles, dry and warm, considering.
4 November ride
JR and AM. Up to barn via long furlong, then down to A24 at Chanctonbury. Cut round back of Windlesham School and cross over new bridge to return to Findon. JR provides entertainment by acquiring a puncture.
11 November TREK’N’BREK Nepcroft
AM MA ZA JR PT TT EN*. The arrival of each rider was greeted with groans from the Butcher’s, bemoaning the likely dearth of brekoid leftover sausages. Ignoring this, the four peaks ride was proposed and accepted, and six set off up towards Cissbury, turning left along the top to Chanctonbury and then dropping to cross the A24. Ascending the other side, we paused to marvel at the skill which had been exercised in repairing punctures on Andy’s spare tube. Despite suggestions that we simply call the shop and have them come out and repair it under the warranty, the tube was changed and all continued to the barn, whence we set off for collarbone lane, where a respectful pause was made, and Long Furlong.
Time being shortened by a spate of Will Carling jokes, we contented ourselves with the observation that the circuit had been ridden in the wrong direction, since by leaving Findon along the Furlong, we would have returned down from Cissbury and thus have been spared the extra climb up Steep lane to the Brek venue. RT had no sympathy for this view, as he always (stoically) endures the extra climb, and that usually at the end of a ride. Four peaks were thus reduced to three, and we returned to Findon down the Furlong with a pause at the Gun to chat to JC passing in his car. After climbing to Thomas Towers, a deluxe service from Rhys as bike-hoser to the FGCC separated the assembled bikes from the adhesive substances littering the countryside, while riders settled like a swarm of mud bespattered locusts on a brek of Viking opulence. With some assistance from EN, Carole had prepared a feast of a brek to further enhance the day.
(It has become known to your correspondent only recently that the original Fanny and Johnny were in fact unmarried until 1965, when they both subtracted several years from their respective ages for the benefit of the marriage certificate.)
18 November ride
AM MA ZA RT PT. Partially to remedy the effects of the Curry Night which preceded this ride, and partially as a result of macho exaggeration indulged in thereat, four assembled to dispel cerebral fuzziness on a crisp clear morning. Declaring a temporary suspension of the ten minute rule, the gang of four set off at 8:05 up Stable Lane, meeting the horses coming down past the gallops. Continuing on to the top track, we turned left for Chanctonbury. MA caught us just before the turn, and lodged a sharp protest at our premature departure. On reflection it was decided to blame ZA, but MA ‘ad us bang to rights and we’ll never do it again guv, honest. ZA turned back for lack of time, but four carried on, cutting off the corner to take the SDW to the Langmead memorial, with Lancing College chapel silhouetted in the sunshine reflecting off the Adur to the East. Down the Steyning road and then right to descend the steep bit and then climb up to Cissbury car park and on into Findon.
Ice on the puddles for the first time this winter.
25 November ride
2 December ride
9 December ride
AM MA JR RT. Out past Roger’s Farm and down the gallops to Salvington, climb the hill and return along the top to descend Church hill and re-enter Findon by Roger’s Farm.
16 December TREK’N’BREK – Vicarage
AM JR RT TT PT ZA*. Up and over Cissbury heading for Steyning Road, pausing at top of Nepcote green for JR to catch up after fetching more clothes, we turned north after the green barn towards No Man’s Land. The chilling wind was lessened in the shelter of the valley. Climbing westwards out of the head of the valley, we regained the top track and headed north to Chanctonbury, right ears frozen in the breeze. Down the quick way, with AM removing an impromptu roadblock built by local pranksters in the tree-covered stretch near the A24. All back to the Vicarage for a bumper brek by Margaret. ZA recovering from flu, but heartily participatory in a brekking capacity.
23 December ride
PT RT. Up Long Furlong and cut north towards Muntham, wading through the muddy lagoon formed by cows feeding near the path. Continue north to SDW and then west to the tank, to check it was still there. Now sans tracks and turret, but still bravely bearing FGCC colours. Retrace steps home, resolving to exit Findon via Muntham on Boxing day.
26 December ride: The Margaret Allen Boxing day extravaganza and ear-freezing convention, or Mince Pies at the Tank ride.
Blossoming from an idea originally promulgated by Margaret, riders set off en famille (or en as much famille as they could persuade) from the butcher’s at 10:30ish, after the ransom had been paid to release the “Nepcroft One” (Aunt Joy) from her incarceration in the bathroom. Following the A24 north to turn left for Muntham Farm, we gamely ascended the drive, passed through the farm and on to the SDW.
Rendezvous with LSVs was made at Springhead Hill car park, and copious supplies of mince pies, mulled wine, hot chocolate and non-riding camp followers were transported to the tank site where feasting ensued until the novelty of holding a party in arctic conditions wore off. Clearing the site, camp followers were escorted back to the car park to depart for home, while riders retraced the outward route.
Those riding out were: Margaret, Zak, Mark, Richard, Gemma and Ben Allen; Mark and Jamie Avery; Andrew (from Canada) Jackson; Andy and Sam Mead; John and Ollie Roche; Richard and Rhys Thomas; Paul Topley. Those riding back were all of the above, plus Carol Topley and Ben Mead.
The camp followers swelled the total to a magnificent 28, and were: Julie and ClaireAvery; Mr Bill and Mrs Margaret Avery (senior); Shirley, Chloe and Jacob Mead; Carole and Emily Thomas; Aunt Joy (Mutt and Jeff) Thomas; Lyn Topley.
Serious consideration must be given to making this an annual event, and possibly repeating it in Summer.
30 December ride
JR was the only soul to brave the elements, but in the absence of anyone else riding he opted to tackle the year end VAT return and rode only as far as the Forge.