1996 Annals

Notes on rides for 1996 season


6th January ride

After an extraordinarily prolonged and gruelling planning meeting on January 5th, followed in some cases by a visit to the Findon Tandoori, an unusual calm hung over the Butcher’s on Saturday. No ride ensued.

13th January ride

JR PT Out along the furlong to the pumping station, then turn right to take the road to Lee Farm. Climb up to SDW at Chantry car park, extolling the fine qualities of Sir Colin Cowdray as patron of the Angmering estate, where the gates work so much better than on Muntham land. Overcast but mild, with sunshine as we return to Findon down through Muntham farm and the A24.

20th January ride

Too cold – no-one went at 08:00, but ZA and AM went unofficially at 07:30.

27th January ride

Too cold – no-one went at all.

3rd February ride

ZA MA RT PT and AM being on Hut dismantling, no ride took place.

10th February ride

MA RT PT and AM being again on Hut dismantling, no ride took place. Trek’n’brek chez JR postponed till a more convenient time 17th February – no ride due to it being final hut dismantling day.

23/24 February Family ride overnight to Truleigh Hill YHA

Convene at Devil’s Dyke Pub car park at 4pm on Friday, we set off for Truleigh Hill YHA via South Downs Way for an overnight stay at the youth hostel. Dinner and breakfast included. Returned by a circuitous and scenic route over the Downs through Steyning, reaching Findon about lunchtime. Who went Cycling from Devil’s Dyke to YHA: Allens: Zach Margaret Richard Mark Averys: Mark Jamie Meads: Andy Shirley Sam Ben Jacob Chloe Roches: John Oliver Thomases:Richard Carole Rhys Emily Topleys: Paul Carol By car to YHA Lyn Julie Claire By car from YHA Lyn, Julie, Claire, 2 Carols and Emily Cycling to the Adur Allens:Zach Margaret Richard Mark Averys: Mark Jamie Meads: Andy Sam Ben Jacob Roches: John Oliver Thomases: Richard Rhys (extract by LSV to go to Footie) Topleys: Paul The hard way to the top of Steyning Bowl Allens: Margaret Richard Averys: Mark Jamie Meads: Andy Sam Ben Roches: John Oliver The easy way to the top of Steyning Bowl Allens: Zach Mark Topleys:Paul Meads: Jacob Hot chocolate and bikkies courteously provided to all who reached thus far by the Lord High Admiral of the Findon Yacht and Dinghy Association and his Lady Commodoress (aka Richard and Judy Stutchbury) who had stationed their mobile palace by the Steyning road. Over the top along SDW to pass Chanctonbury, turn south, and descend Stable Lane: Allens: Zach Margaret Richard Mark Averys: Mark Meads: Andy Sam Ben Jacob Roches: John Oliver Topleys: Paul Miserably cold day with sleety rain stinging the eyes during initial descent from YHA. Then it got worse/colder/windier/miserabler. Real character-building stuff.

24 February – no ride due to members being otherwise engaged returning from Truleigh Hill

2nd March ride

RT PT Struggled up Long Furlong to the top and turned left toward Salvington. Bright sunshine and clear views from the ridge of Church Hill; continue to Salvington, pass the Mill and descend Mill Lane to come out into the Gallops at the southern end. Return to Findon round the back of Rogers Farm, stopping to survey the village at the top of the final descent to the A24. 9th March – the morning after the Gala Prizegiving Evening – no Ride

16/17th March Jaunt to John’s

MA ZA JR RT PT TT Surrey Dave: JC on Sat Assembling at Cranford at 1450 on Friday, we deposited the immaculately labelled luggage in the garage for collection by EN in the LSV and departed in three cars for Partridge Green. Departed from PG at 1600, taking the Downslink ex-railway line north. Cool clear day with sunshine. After half an hour it felt as if we had been away for ages, such was the relaxation enjoyed in the verbal Surrey/ Sussex superiority exchanges. Dave from Surrey was generous in refraining from openly denigrating our beloved County, but was at pains to extol the merits of Surrey even before the border control checkpoint was reached. We rode in along in a changing formation, sometimes bunched, sometimes in three and twos, so each rider spent some time conversing between gasps with the others. The only memorable hill is the ascent over the impassable tunnel, climbing a steep muddy path through woods. Those of us at the rear missed the left turn in the woods (PT’s excuse is that at the time his choice was to fork to the right or hit a tree), and emerged from the wood on to a road about 150 metres to the west of the trail. Luckily the others had waited. Darkness fell at about 1830, prompting the leading riders to stop to wait for the others to catch up (really they were a bit scared to go on in the dark). The last two or three miles were done with headlights, all except for the expedition leader JR who eschewed such gadgetry and relied on a diet of carrots. As we entered Cranleigh, the delicate route planning was thrown into confusion as the intended road had been closed off, and Pathfinder Roche had no alternative route. In the true spirit of marauding heathen from the South (as we are viewed in Surrey, according to Dave), we simply tore the barrier aside and passed on. Climbing on road out of the town, we homed in on the B&B, arriving at 1900ish. Rooms allocated, we repaired to the superior accommodation of the Garden Chalet to partake of the traditional Buck’s Fizz so beloved of (and generously provided by) our trusty LSV driver. The only fault that could be found with the Garden Chalet is that the bathroom is dimensionally challenged to the point where the assumption of a prone or supine position is prevented. PT was thus forced to sleep in the bed provided. A traditional breakfast was taken at the civilised hour of 0900, MA RT JR TT EN and Surrey Dave being victualled at a common board, while ZA and PT maintained their segregation of the previous night by eating in the kitchen. After minor adjustments and replacements to the bikes, we contacted JC to arrange a rendezvous and proceeded to retrace our route. In the daylight, we were able to overlook the gardens of houses adjacent the track, and admired their streams, lakes (with ducks) and islands. Surrey Dave assured us that these were provided by Surrey Council to house unmarried mothers, and that the taxpaying denizens of Surrey did have reasonable houses, by and large. JC heroically rode from Tolmare to the two-tier bridge to meet us, and after a short inspection thereof and a Pooh sticks match thereunder we proceeded to accompany each other to (and through) the station at Slinfold. Leaving the tracks at Christs Hospital, TT and JC took the road to the Bax Castle, as JC was injured. The rest continued, negotiating several gates and a very informal bridgette to sneak up on the pub from behind. EN and the LSV were already in situ. Fortified by solid and liquid fuels we bestrode our cycles for the final push, while JC boarded the LSV, clutching the hard-won T-shirt recently presented to him. A strenuous half hour took us the six miles through Southwater and West Grinstead to Partridge Green, PT spurred on by the response received when phoning home from the pub.

27 April ride

ZA JR PT Up to Cissbury, and skirt the ring anticlockwise to its southern side, from whence we drop down to Lychpole farm. Continuing east, we make the Steyning – Sompting road and cross it to ride beneath the power lines on the west side of the Lancing Ring. Then turned west to recross the road (cycle race in progress here) and continue to Cissbury and home.

4 May ride

ZA JR RT PT A simple but enjoyable ride up to the tank via Long Furlong, Collarbone Alley and the SDW, returning by the same route but cutting off through Muntham farm to the A24 to save time (passes ran out at 09:00 sharp).

10/11 May – Far East ride to Lewes

MA ZA JR RT PT TT EN* Margaret and the assembled tribes of Allen and Mead formed a farewell party as, after having deposited duly labelled bags in the garage, the intrepid five set off to ascend Cissbury and gain the Sompting road. Pausing at the cavity henceforth to be known as “Richard’s Hole”, RT returned PT’s water bottle, which had baled out during the descent. Turning north along the road, we descended the Steyning bowl via the concrete road and crossed the Adur to ascend Truleigh Hill on the SDW. ZA waited until we had passed the YHA establishment to discover a thorn which, when removed, flattened the front tyre. After donning waterproofs against the wind and repairing the hole, we rode on to reach the Devils Dyke hotel at six o’clock. Dropping down to the A23, the site of the Avery link failure was observed and we then pushed up Pyecombe hill. Rain threatened again at the foot of Newtimber hill (another push up) but did not materialise, so from there it is a gentle drop into Lewes. EN had preceded us to the B&B by about two and a half pints, so we immediately set about redressing the imbalance before reporting to our respective base camps that worrying could cease. MA then arrived hot foot from the City, and festivities commenced in earnest with dinner followed by an attempt at mass suicide by overdosing on a cough mixture masquerading under the teutonic appelation of “Jagermeister”. No fatalities, but strange oral sensations preceded breakfast on Saturday. Departing at 10.15, pausing in Lewes to supply ourselves with comestibles for the midday repast, the return route was as usual 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 keeping with tradition, PT refilled his water bottle at the spring pool in Poynings marked “This water not suitable for drinking”, no dog being present on this occasion. Luncheon was taken partly in and partly out of the field near Edburton, and after a second stop in Steyning to obtain buns, we ascended to Chanctonbury with PT pushing up last due to a total chain failure. Arrangements had been made for the llamas to be waiting at the top of the woods this time, to avoid passing on a narrow track. From Chanctonbury to Findon via Stable lane is all downhill, which is lucky since the chain repair was unsuccessful and PT was reduced to coasting. 49.5 miles covered this time, due to absence of detour to Steyning on the outward journey. 18 May – no ride due to Hutting: levelling floor. Drizzley.

25 May – no ride again due to Hutting: walls and roof erected and weatherproofed. Bob F, Bob E, Bill, David S, John Dew, RT ZA PT JR + Ollie, refreshed by Lyn and Margaret with coffee and tea respectively. Fine day.

1 June ride

8 June ride

MA PT Convening at the appointed hour outside the butcher’s, we awaited the “official” timepiece reaching 07:40 before setting off up to Cissbury. Turning north into the wind, we headed for Chanctonbury where a circuit of the ring was undertaken. PT fell off when chain left sprocket, placing foot deeply into convenient cowpat. Fine and sunny for a rattling good descent to the A24 and back to Findon by 08:35. Reconvene at 9:00 with Bob F to insulate hut roof.

14/15 June – Family Overnight to Arundel

Allens, PT JR and Oliver set off from the vicarage just after 4pm, heading down School Hill and out past the Fire Station. Crossing the A24, we climbed up Muntham Farm drive to turn north for the barn on the SDW. Proceeding along to the tank, we stopped for a refreshment break courtesy of JR. In a truly exemplary spirit of selflessness, Margaret sent ZA back to the vicarage to fetch some soothing eye gel to counter the hay fever irritation. The rest proceeded south from the tank, passing through Burpham to admire the bison and resist the George and Dragon, and on to Warningcamp and the YHA. Lyn and Carol had already arrived by LSV, and ZA reached the YHA two minutes after the main group. We covered 11 miles while Zak did 15! After feasting on pasta and salad, followed by Margaret’s mousse, the ladies retired to bed while the lads retired to the George and Dragon, Burpham, for a swift quart and night ride back. Lyn took Carol home later, a greenishness of the gills having been occasioned by a surfeit of Mr Cadbury’s confections. After early morning tea by Margaret (very civilised) and self-service muesli, Lyn brought the LSV back for loading and returned to Findon alone while Carol rode back with the pack.

22 June

PT stayed in bed. Midsummer revels.

27 July ride

PT RT A brisk ride up to the tank via Long Furlong, Collarbone Alley and the SDW, with the opportunity to watch modern farming in action as a calf was encouraged to move along by Robert Heath and his trusty Land rover. After a short demonstration of rear hub dismantling at the tank (2 broken spokes discovered), we return by the same route, cutting off through Muntham farm to the A24. 3 August ride RT Bereft of companions, the intrepid RT set out by climbing Stable lane and continuing over the top to descend into No Man’s Land. Phoenix-like he ascended, yea even unto the Steyning Road itself, and purposefully turned to the North to Chanctonbury. Here the recollection of your reporter dissolves into soft focus, for indeed the account of this heroic story was received during the EPM which was ZA’s benefit night. RT came down from Chanctonbury the fast way, and into Findon along the A24 by the fire station, probably.

13 September REG3

ZA JR PT EN* Dave Barrett from Surrey Assembling in the traditional manner to leave bags in the garage at Cranford, labels having been prepared and distributed, a certain structural infirmity was noted in the aferportions of the vicar’s mount. Discussion ensued until a consensus was reached to the effect that the panniers were unlikely to keep in close touch with the rest of the bike for the whole trip, and all adjourned to the vicarage to transfer load to a backpack. Delayed only 15 minutes by this mishap, we set off up Long Furlong to turn north at Collarbone Alley. Dave was shown the hallowed spot, and a silence was kept. Gaining the SDW at the barn, we toured along the top in sunshine, until the Zak’s rack cracked at the top of Amberley Mount. Efforts at a jury rig to salvage the wreck proving ineffective for want of a welding set, it was decided to remove the rack, which was given a suitable disposal in a skip. Loosely in pairs we sped down into Houghton, and took the new bridge across the Arun. Pushing up past the A29, the sheltered west side of the hill kept the wind off and allowed the Roche nose to counteract the greenness of the landscape with copious quantities of blood. Since making him laugh only worsened the situation, we all told jokes. We dropped down to meet and cross A285 at Littleton farm, and pushed up through endless field up Littleton Down, stopping at the mounting stone (haystacks not having been provided this year) for ZA to produce a ton of Jaffa Cakes. The next excitement was PT’s front light spectacularly detaching itself from the handlebars and exploding into pieces, just as we began the descent to the Cocking road. All parts except the bulb were recovered, from a 20 yard stretch of the SDW. Arrived at pub without further incident, to find EN taking root in the bar. Presenting him with a commemorative tankard, we joined him in its initiation. The usual three course dinner at pub, breakfast 08.30 and four set off at 09.30ish, EN in the LSV. East from Cocking along a track beneath the foot of the Downs to pass south of Heyshott, then through Manor Farm, Tagents Farm and skirting the south of Graffham. Through Seaford College to Barlavington, on minor roads. Kept on road to through Sutton to Bignor village, West Burton and Bury, where we stopped for the usual tea at the School Fete. Revictualling at Bury stores, possibly for the last time, we took the road to Houghton and Amberley then cut south to North Stoke and climbed gently up the road to the Burgh. Lunch was taken at the now turretless tank, its FGCC Colours showing signs of age. Home via SDW

26 October ride

JR RT To Rackham Hill trig point via SDW, and back somehow.

2 November ride

ZA AM JR Up to the tank, then back via Lee Farm and Long Furlong.

7 December ride

JR PT Departing the butcher’s on a cold clear morning, we wound up Long Furlong and bore left on to Church Hill, the intention to head for that hallowed but recently neglected cycling Mecca which is Cote Street. We should have known better than to attempt such a surprise assault on the 45th anniversary of Pearl Harbour. As we were about to enter the cover of Clapham woods for the final attack, a loud report issued from PT’s rear tyre, followed by all the air and a lot of chalk dust. A buried flint had slit the tyre and exploded the tube. Removing clods of mud and changing the tube ensued, with unfeeling fingers due to the cold. Useless. The replacement tube ballooned out of the split tyre and burst. In the silver lining department, the walk back provided ample opportunity for conversation.

27 December ride

ZA AM JR To Chanctonbury via Cissbury and back down to the A24 opposite Muntham to enter Findon by the Fire Station.

28 December Family ride to Amberley

MA ZA RT PT JR Margaret Mark Richard Gemma Ollie Rhys Setting faces into a bitterly cold wind, riders left via the fire station to ascend Muntham drive to the SDW. First casualty was Ollie Roche, overdoing his return to cycling (plaster cast just removed from arm) and collapsing half way up Muntham drive. JR escorted him home, and ZA returned from above Muntham to accompany JR during his catching up. Reaching the SDW the windchill was more noticeable, but all made the distance to the Black Horse at Amberley by cutting north after descending Amberley Mount to cross the main road and enter the village. Lyn, Julie and Carol accompanied by Carol, Claire, Jamie, and Emily sensibly rendezvoused at the pub by car. JR and ZA arrive about 10 minutes after main bunch. Due to execrably inadequate planning, support vehicles were not equipped with cycle racks, and could not be used for logistical extraction. Margaret Mark and Gemma had to ride home. Enough said. This will not be forgotten, and the unpleasantness of the combination of cycling up through North Stoke to the Burgh, cold, a northerly wind and darkness will be avoided in future. Honest, Margaret, it really will. After a convivial lunch and more pints than usual (causing PT to fall off bike at least once), all reconvened chez Julie and Mark for hot chocolate and cakes.