2014.06 June

FGCC rides in June 2014

Saturday 7th June – 08.00am ride.
With the threat of thunderstorms all around the Amberley loop finishing with a brek at Julia’s was chosen.
Another potential newcomer who had contacted via the website was awaited, but had obviously been put off by the weather reports – another fair weather cyclist?
On the ride RK decided to have a little lie down just after Kithurst Hill on the ridge towards Amberley Mount, having got caught in a rut. Just when we were probably as far from shelter as possible, on the way up from North Stoke there was a crash of thunder shortly followed by a massive downpour, requiring full wet weather gear, but by the time we arrived back at Kithurst it had all passed and we started to dry off.
Total 17 miles.

Friday 13th/Saturday 14th June – Isle of Wight and New Forest rides
RT, ZA and PTrode on Friday 13th, ZA and PT were the peloton on Saturday

Assembling was by turns on the train, RT joining PT at Worthing and the peloton was completed by ZA joining at Angmering. It was the weekend of the IOW Festival, but despite dire warnings of packed ferries from the train guard (quickly acquiring the name Frazer), we had a trouble-free embarkation and crossing to Ryde.

At Ryde pier head we joined a 1938-vintage London underground train for the journey to Sandown.

IOW train - 1938 London U/G
IOW train – 1938 London U/G

The train has no bike facilities, and the platforms at successive stations are helpfully arranged to be on alternate sides of the train, so at each stop we had to move bikes from one side to the other, to clear the doors.

A step back in time - train from Ryde to Sandown
A step back in time – train from Ryde to Sandown

Admirable bacon baps and tea were taken at Sandown station buffet, and we then set out along the cycle track to Newport. A tarmac track mostly, following the old railway line, got us to Newport in short order, for a visit to the bike shop prior to lunch at the customary Eight Bells in Carisbrooke. RT provided a floor show at lunch with a demonstration of brake pad changing (with TM hands itching to delve into the task, failing to hold off for a moment and then withdrawing, but continuing to monitor with a heavy frown – these apprentices never get it right do they?) .

The Tennyson trail then had us climbing in the sunshine out of Carisbrooke to the southwest. Sunny warm and dry, a beautiful day marred by the occasional intrusion of “music” from the festival venue.

View towards Tennyson Down
View towards Tennyson Down

A re-enactment of the group rest in 2005 when a phone call interrupted to inform of the lost keys:-

Time for a little lie-down at Freshwater golf course (aka Lost keys notification point)
Time for a little lie-down at Freshwater golf course (aka Lost keys notification point)

but the temptation for a real rest was too much for one:-

Out for the count
Out for the count

but his moment of peace was shattered by PT humming the theme tune to Last of the Summer Wine!

Spectacular views as we descended through the golf course to attend to the memorial celebrating the Lost Keys. Helmets were doffed, and the Ode to the Fallen was recited in honour and memory of Mr Nightingale.

Lost keys memorial maintenance
Lost keys memorial maintenance

RT had sadly to return home, so we proceeded from the golf course along a track to the Causeway, and thence along the dsiused railway to Yarmouth and the Ferry.

As RT was purchasing his ticket, ZA and PT were accosted by Ed from California, who enquired as to where a mountain bike might be obtained at reasonable cost. It transpired in conversation that he was in the UK to stay with his family in Lancing. It would have been the act of a churl not to extend (once again) the hand of transatlantic brotherhood (despite the previous rebuff), and thus we are expecting to see Ed next weekend. No doubt the blog will either reflect a convivial meeting, or confirm past experience and thus solidify the prejudice.

PT and ZA took tea, and then repaired to Sentry Mead by road. Our ostler Jean-Pierre was on hand to lead away the steeds, while more tea and showers were had to the accompaniment of the test commentary on the radio.

Unable to secure a table at the Waterfront (recommended by Jean-Pierre, and under new management) even mentioning that they might wish to reconsult their lists in the knowledge that it was Foundation Members of the FGCC who were being thus incommoded, we repaired to the Highdown Inn and enjoyed “Nipper” bitter with our Fish’n’chips.

phone pics 013a

After a sound night for PT, during which a rogue alarm clock succeeded in waking only ZA, we breakfasted sumptuously and then spread the map to plan a route taking in the Solent Way, skirting east from Lymington and then north through Beaulieu to Hythe, for the ferry to Southampton.

Shortly before passing the D-Day airfield at Shotts Lane, PT took an unscheduled sit down in a patch of nettles. It is to ZA’s credit that his first action was to assist in extricating the now-tingling PT. Some Gentlemen would have got the photo first. The prescience of the Romans in recognising the efficacy of nettles to stimulate blood circulation to the skin became clear to PT as the day unfolded.

More excitement was afforded when ZA spotted one of those new-fangled portable telephone instruments lying in the road. As we wondered what to do it rang, identifying a gentleman caller. We eventually found how to work it (never a teenager about when you need one) and called the gentleman back, whereupon arrangements were made to meet his delightful lady wife a mile or two further along our route at East End. The instrument was returned to its owner (for it was she) with all due reverence and ceremony, and we were again on our way.

Passing the pub in East end, temptation reared its head as cyclists seated outside to enjoy the traditional rehydrational libation raised chilled glasses and called enticingly. Like that greek bloke tied to the mast, we resisted their siren calls and rode stolidly (and thirstily) on.

Passing through Beaulieu we headed east toward Holbury and then struck north to Hythe. In a wooded section of the Solent way just past the Fuel depot (oh the rural idyll), we met Nigel when he caught up with us, despite having a titanium shinbone. We were treated to the full medical history, over which I shall here draw a veil. He led us to the ferry terminal, then continued on his way.

We cycled along the pier just in time to catch the ferry to Southamton, and then rode to the station for the train home.

JR’s theory was once again vindicated, as not a drop of rain fell on us, even though we passed through places recently drenched. And not even a blasteet.

Saturday 21st June 08.00am ride
True to form Yankee Ed did not appear and neither did the latest website applicant.
Fine weather so Shoreham route selected with ride back along the coast.
Nepcote Lane, Lancing clump, the old tollgate bridge and a stop at Truffles for a brek – scrambled egg and salmon on toast plus tea – then across the new bridge to Shoreham beach along the coastal path and return via west worthing crossing and Findon valley.
Whilst riding along the coastal path RT dared challenge TM’s assessment of the cause of a squeak on TM’s bike suggesting oil might be the solution. Suggestion dismissed, but persistence by RT resulted in peace being restored (after oiling suspension bearings).
Total 20 miles?

Saturday 28th June 08.00am ride
Only the oldest and youngest were out due to a little bit of rain – where were you Mark having sent a message the previous evening to suggest a ride?
Decided on a 4 peaks to give the option of finishing early if needed. Cissbury, Chanctonbury and although we thought it looked like clearing up it poured down even heavier. By Chanctonbury the shoes were filled with water so decided to leave it at the 2 peaks only. The track down towards the A24 was a river, even on the top section, becoming a torrent as we descended the steeper section. Left at the bottom to the road to Goring mansion, then back up through the farm to descend to Findon via Stable Lane. A very short ride but felt like a lot further.
6 miles?