1997 Annals

Notes on rides for 1997 season


4 January

After a week of arctic cold (cold weather payment triggering cold), no ride.

11th January

PT PT was at the butchers at 08:00, but in the absence of companions settled for a gentle ride round the village in the ice.

18th January

PT In the absence of companions, PT made a circuit of the village delivering notes re Truleigh Hill trip.

25th January

JR PT Bright sunshine melting the frost, PT and JR ascended Cissbury and carried on to the green barn. Turning left to Lychpole farm, we returned along the farm track to the crossroads. After admiring a family of four deer in the field towards Cissbury, we headed back to the car park and back to Findon down the road. RT moving very gingerly with a slipped disc, and ZA (and AM?) convalescing after the particularly virulent flu.

1st February

PT His first ride of the year at 07.30 and only PT turns up. Under strict instructions from the boss not to gad about the countryside by himself, completes a few circuits in the village and goes home for a nice cup of tea.

8th February

PT JR Meet at 07.30 and ascend to Cissbury by road, continuing over to the barn to turn right to Lychpole Farm. Complete the loop through the farm and return via Cissbury car park. Admire a family of deer feeding in the fields to the east of the Ring.

15th February TREK’N’BREK – Cranford

22nd Feb

ZA All alone and by himself with nobody else, ZA makes a solo trip to the Langmead Memorial.

1st March

MA PT In the foggy morning mist, MA and PT climbed Long furlong and negotiated Collarbone Alley to reach the tank, where a puncture delayed our return journey somewhat. Descending along the SDW, we cut through Windlesham to the new bridge and returned for tea at Cranford via the A24.

7/8th March The Second Jaunt to John’s

ZA MA JR PT EN* DB Departing Cranford at 15.20, due to ZA having to answer a last minute phone call from one of the flock, we assembled at Southwater Country Park, disturbing not the lesser spotted but the hitherto unspotted lovers. Surrey Dave Barrett was not in evidence as had originally been arranged, due to an inability to prioritise FGCC events and mere work effectively. (Note: DB’s apparent low regard for FGCC matters will be considered by the Membership Subcommittee, but bodes ill for his application for Associate Membership.) Extracting MA from the low fence bordering the car park, we set off up the Downslink without stopping at the Bax castle. As the mud lay round about, we soon had a covering which was deep and even but not crisp. The cavalier disregard of equestrians for the damage their mounts’ hooves do to the trail was most apparent at the climb over the tunnel at Baynards, where axle deep mud hindered progress. Since we were now on the wrong side of the border, and thus forced to regard all strangers with suspicion if not open hostility, an outbreak of pure pleasure ensued when the gathering gloom delivered of itself the form of Surrey Dave, who although clearly terrified at the prospect of actually entering Sussex, had gamely ridden down the Downslink from Bramley to escort us through the alien county (Membership Subcommittee take note). Darkness fell before we reached Bramley, but all arrived at the digs to be processed in the Garden Annex shower in turn. Excellent planning by JR ensured a reserved table at the pub, and several pints and a serious feed ensued. Next time we’ll take a torch for the walk to the pub. For the record, JR and MA shared the Garden Annex, while ZA SD EN and PT slept in the house proper (PT actually in a bed). Over breakfast, both John and Prema (Mrs John) were adamant that we had been accompanied in 1996 by two women. Not very complimentary to Richard and Tom, that. After a ritual bike fixing session outside the B&B, we arranged to meet SD at Bramley station and set off through the golf course while SD drove to the Downslink. Probably grossly insulted at being rechristened Dave Bartlett, DB then disappeared. A search of the Downslink to the North failing to locate him, it was concluded that he must have set off south so we did too. Lovely day for a ride, and with enquiries to other Downslink users indicating that a lone rider had preceded us by 15 minutes, PT and MA went on ahead to try and catch up. Never did. Pausing to allow others to catch up at the Bax Castle, we eventually arrived back at Southwater to find EN but not SD. Concluding that he was a big boy now, we all went home. Note: Subsequent investigation revealed that despite arrangements to meet at Bramley and Wonersh station, SD went north from there to the top of the Downslink, placing himself beyond the reach of the search party.

15 March ride

MA ZA JR PT Arriving at the butcher’s in style by limousine, JR informed those assembled that a puncture had been discovered. We accompanied him to Steep close and after a flurry of glue chalk and patches, all set off up the Furlong to Church Hill and on through Clapham Woods to the A27 and back up Cote Street.

3 May ride

MA ZA PT Up the Furlong and left to ascend Church Hill, then skirt the north side of the woods to meet the Furlong again by the pumping station corner. Climbing south on an ancient track towards Angmering Park, we turned right towards Myrtle Grove then Lee farm and Tolmare to return down the Furlong.

9/10 May Overnight ride to Streat

PT ZA JR TT RT EN* Dave Bartlett? Launch from JR=s garage, in a departure from established ritual. Overenthusiasm and a reluctance to exercise judicious control of the brakes leads to PT reaching 48mph down Steyning bowl and crashing. Embarrassment mitigated by absence of eye witnesses. The digs – enormous house full of the most unexpected paintings and objects, and run by Captain & Mrs Birdseye The route march to the Pub along an alleged Roman road in the dark, made more eventful on the return journey by typical Roman lack of surface maintenance – no EC funding available. Godfrey Broster=s ale eventually, and Godfrey Broster himself! The moonlit walk back from the Pub Breakfast in the bay window overlooking the garden Lunch with a madwoman in Steyning Llama shortage shock

17 May ride

MA RT PT A sunny day, we climbed up to the tank and returned the long way down by the line of trees to Myrtle Grove then Lee farm and Tolmare to return down the Furlong. Hares were seen.

24 May ride

MA ZA JR PT RT DT Having been contacted by David Tomalin re FGCC membership the previous evening, PT was not surprised to see him. Giving (unnecessary as it turns out) deference to DT’s eligibility for FRGC membership, we ascended to the tank via Muntham. Stunning views to north and south on this clear sunny day. Since passes were short for PT RT and JR, these retraced the outward route. Others returned the long way via Myrtle Grove then Lee farm and Tolmare and finally down the Furlong.

31 May ride

DT PT PT having detained ZA overlong at the singularly ill attended and hence inquorate EPM called for the previous evening, no ecclesiastical presence was in evidence to guide the depleted flock. While not explicitly owning to any internal fragility, PT considered an abbreviated excursion to be appropriate, and a climb of Cissbury ensued. People in cars should try harder to avoid the wildlife, since foxes are especially pretty animals when young. Turning north toward Chanctonbury, we cut off down Buddington Bottom to meet the Park Farm drive and follow it to the A24 and home. Wind from the east was strongest along the top track, in clear sunshine.

7 June ride

MA MA rides alone to Cissbury and Chanctonbury and back down to the A24.

14 June ride

ZA RT Over Cissbury to Steyning road, round Langmeads memorial and back down Cissbury (or was it Stable Lane?) – admire poppies to the South-west from Cissbury

15 June 8pm extra-curricular

PT ZA Up A24 scattering baby rabbits, then up Muntham drive, mourning ex-badger. Find people actually sitting on the tank (such effrontery!), with strangely familiar-smelling ciggie. Continue south from tank, down through seemingly endless cornfield, then left and left again to Lee Farm, Myrtle Grove, Tolmare and back down the Furlong. 12 miles

A gap in the records here is due to a catastrophic failure of the electronic medium on which notes had been kept. Abject apologies from the editor. The world will now never know…..

29 Nov ride

RT PT The intrepid two climb Cissbury and gain the Steyning Road north to Langmead. There foolhardiness sets in, and a traverse of No Man’s Land is attempted. Much gasping from PT unable to match RT’s treatment of the haul out of No Man’s Land. Straight on at the crossroads brings us back into the village down Stable lane.

6 Dec TREK’N’BREK Nepcroft

ZA RT PT JR DT; AM ride only Out via A24 past Park farm drive, and right up the track to Chanctonbury by the long ascent. On to SDW to Langmead memorial, and down Steyning road against the wind to climb Cissbury. The Roche tube gave up and was excused further duty, while PT’s spare was given a chance to prove itself (Cheers John for the new tube that appeared on the doorstep shortly thereafter). Carol as ever mastering the minutiae of a splendid brek with cheerfulness, despite being sadly bereft of her usual kitchen “Johnny” due to EN’s absence.

13 December – no ride, due to PT, RT, DT and John Bradley forming a party to lay a cable across in the churchyard.

27 Dec Family lunchtime ride

PT ZA Margaret ra ma AM sm JR or CC jc A two-pronged assault on Cissbury hill saw Richard A Sam and Ollie climbing Stable lane, while others took the road to Cissbury. A rendezvous with Charlie and Josh Costelloe at the crossing between Ciss and Chancton burys was effected, and all proceeded north. The main group stopped short of the SDW, but the Stable lane contingent were enthused to climb to the ring itself, and had to be retrieved by JC. All then descended to Buddington bottom, during which descent little MA made a particularly zealous application of the brakes on his new bike, and big MA suffered bruised ribs and broken fingers in the unsuccessful attempt to avoid him. Avery and Roche squads repaired to the Gun for lunch, after descending Park farm drive . PT had to bale out early, to set about stubbying up for the evening bash at Cranford