2010.11 November

Saturday 6 November
RT only just making the 07.40 off, owing to a blast-eet, KBS, FL, NW and GD cycled today. In mild temperature, slightly overcast and with a moderate prevailing south-westerly wind the peleton set off bound for Chanctonbury. We cycled north along the A24 and turned right to begin our ascent on the south-west approach bridleway. KBS and FL took off followed by the mere mortals.

The two outriders were in deep conversation at one point waiting for the group and as GD came alongside he was asked if he had a spook adjuster? Having just experienced Halloween and the trick or treat escapades of our local youth GD was not exactly sure where the conversation was going. He looked inquisitively and said, “I beg your pardon.” He was asked again, “Do you have a spook adjuster?” Pause, blank look. For wheels? Ah yes! GD did possess a spoke adjuster. Lovely!

On the second section of bridleway, NW who, it must be said, has not cycled for three months, decided to have a little rest and collapsed onto the soft grass at the side of the bridleway. RT was on hand to ensure the account was duly relayed to the peleton.

At Chanctonbury we decided to travel west into the wind towards Washington and as ever KBS endeavoured to direct the group onto potentially fatal routes. Unconvinced by his rhetoric we retraced our tracks along the SDW and headed off to Washington Church. KBS did manage to break away at one point onto a, close your eyes for a moment, a footpath!

We all met up again in Washington and headed off south towards the barn at the top of the SDW via the gruelling north-side bridleway. (Stop press: NW decided to have another little lie down here as well!) The going was very cloggy, from horses of all things and as we approached the top the chalk was green and slippery and even FL was forced to push for a while.


From the barn we cycled into Chantry Lane car park and turned south towards Long Furlong. This was an unusual route as we normally cycle in the opposite direction. RT excelled by reaching the top of this muddy, cow pat infested uphill climb some 100 yards ahead of the peleton.

The descent into Spearfield Stud and Long Furlong Farm was fast and furious and forgetting ‘cow pat field’ mud and muck was flying everywhere! We turned left just past the caravan site onto the Monarch’s Way and as we cycled from the second field towards Tolmare parallel to Long Furlong, we encountered a chalky, sticky bog, made glorious by frequent passage of cows and tractors. Somehow KBS managed to negotiate this in an upright position but the the remaining peleton was forced to dismount as the glutinous mud took hold of our wheels. Stop Press: Just at this point NW decided to have yet another lie down! Once past the quagmire we regrouped at the top of Tolmare Farm and parted company with KBS. The remaining members returned to Findon via a slippery and dank Church Hill.

Thirteen miles today with some challenging hill climbing.

Saturday 13 November
As Tony the butcher has been known to observe, a good brek always brings out a larger than usual peleton. This morning, for a brek at the Vicarage in Rustington, MR, GD, KBS, RT, PT and FL assembled in the Square under grey skies. (don’t mock, but Mr. RT actually had a ‘spill’ before he left his own drive this morning. While attempting to negotiate the gap between the family car and the east facing wall all failed and RT bit the dust, (fair play for letting us all know!)

The outward route took us up through Muntham and it was as early as this that MR took a tumble onto the unforgiving track just north of the Farm. MR quickly analysed the circumstances leading up to the spill and then explained at some length to those around him the physics of his mishap and said, “If your bike is slightly off vertical and you attempt to pull your foot out of the pedal it has the effect of pulling the bike even further off balance.” And that is why he fell off! Of course that was the reason, nothing to do with just getting it wrong! Brilliant!

We cycled past the barn and turned south to the tank, where the view was captured thus:
The view looking the other way was less inspiring:
Continuing down from the tank we passed east of Lee Farm and Burpham hill to the gallops, which we followed south. Climbing up out of the valley to cross the Monarch’s Way at the west edge of Wepham Wood, we took the road southwest to Crossbush. From there, south by road to Lyminster then west on the 259 skirting Littlehampton and south at the cemetery. Finally east through the built up area, and a final erroneous lunge south as PT took a wrong turn. Some sattelite map, that! All pitched up at the Vicarage at a few minutes after 9:30, as ZA was putting the finishing touches to a bumper brek, to be greeted by Messrs Mead and Roche who had arrived assisted by fossil fuels.
The return leg is a mystery to PT, as he and MR gratefully accepted Mr Mead’s kind offer of vehicular transportation back to Findon. The plan was for a road peleton of RT and FL, and an off-road peleton of ZA, KBS and GD. Others must be relied on for accounts of these ventures. KBS, ZA and GD cycled back past Ham Manor golf club, Highdown and Clapham Woods returning to the village down a damp and leafy Church Hill. ( 8.4 miles.)
The outward leg was 14.6 miles, and a mere 950 feet climbed. A great brek and many thanks to ZA for hosting us all.

Saturday 20 November 2010. Saturday morning ride.
PT, RT, FL and GD ventured out today. It was a strange morning, grey clouds and dank from the rain over the past couple of days. The stillness of the village was in stark contrast to the fog, drizzle and moderate easterly winds awaiting us at the top of the downs.
We cycled via Nepcote to Cissbury and there paused momentarily to discuss mudguards and political correctness with a chap in a Range Rover who puffed purposefully on a hand rolled cigarette. It was felt he probably had a point of view on most things in life.

Moving on, we took a chalky and tricky track down down into the valley, PT fell victim to a particularly deep rut and ended up having ‘a little lie down’ on the grass. Picking himself up he rejoined the peleton and we were off again, turning north just short of the Steyning road to climb to Langmead and on to Chanctonbury.
As we rose up from the valley the fog became thicker and the easterly wind began to bite, FL relishing the challenge assumed his ‘uphill’ mode and was off. We stopped on the track from Bostal Road to New Hill Barn for a quick photo shoot
and again when we arrived at Chanctonbury. Visibility at the top was about 30 paces and the spinney on Chanctonbury Ring looked remarkably eerie in the greyness of the morning.
From there we headed off on the fast downhill section of the South Downs Way towards the A24, RT flew down like a 14 year old and on his descent he came across a fellow cyclist travelling in the opposite direction. Only seeing him at the last minute RT just managed to avoid contact, this resulted in said fellow being thrown from the saddle and suffering an unscheduled break to his uphill struggle. He was seeking protection behind a tree when GD passed and to rub salt into the wounds GD asked him if he was ‘alright’. He replied, “Well, I was.” GD, gone in a flash, failed to catch the rest.

Crossing the manic A24 we took the bridleway past Windlesham School. It was here GD ran over something in the road and said to RT, “What on earth was that?” RT, exploiting the comment to the full, said, “Oh, it’s only a sleeping policeman George!” Feeling like a donkey GD carried on up the track and we all finally returned to the village cycling through the crematorium grounds and back to the butcher’s were we bade each other farewell for another week.
About 10.5 miles today, with 1177 feet of climbing.

Captain’s Blogg, 271110.
DS, MR and GD all wrapped up in winter woolies cycled this morning. It was minus three in the village and the breeze on the downs gave it a minus five factor. Before leaving, DS checked the cricket score and broke the sad news that the ‘Aussies’ had reached 481 runs!!! Quite a depressing start to the morning. (Later, BBC news reported the score and announced, “despite the Australians’ early dominance, the teams are evenly matched!” Really? We shall see.) DS writes – Well we did see and what a great result for England!
Anyway, it was cold and we needed a hill to warm ourselves up and decided on the nearest one which was Stable lane, From there we carried on up towards Chanctonbury where we met the north east breeze head on.

We saw several deer on the way up running nervously across the fields, they stopped briefly from time to time for reassurance in each others’ company and finally, one by one, they glided over a distant fence and disappeared into the morning.

Visibility from Chanctonbury was good today and we stopped for a moment to admire the views and decide on an onward route. We agreed to go west to the barn on the SDW and began by flying recklessly down the west side of Chanctonbury reaching the A24 in a matter of minutes. DS, leading, vanished into the distance leaving GD to hinder MR’s attempts to catch him up!

Crossing the road we began the mile or so climb up to the barn and Chantry Lane car park and from there we took the bridleway across the fields towards Spearfield Stud. As we began our descent to the farm DS called us back to point out another larger group of deer in a field about a quarter of a mile away.
(DS to elaborate) DS writes – For the third time on the ride, we saw a mixed group of Fallow Deer including both Melanistic and Menil varieties of the species. See below…

The special moment though, came as I realised that there was also a White Hart amongst their number, the first I have seen in about 7 years:

After admiring the deer for long enough to feel the cold biting again we set off to Spearfield Stud at some pace and then, back into the breeze, we turned east toward Tolmare Farm on the Monarch’s Way. Thankfully the route was frozen solid this morning and the quagmire of two weeks ago rested in suspended animation waiting for a warmer day on which to trap another unsuspecting off-road cyclist.
Passing Tolmare Farm and crossing Long Furlong our last climb was to Church Hill and another speedy downhill section saw us safely back into Findon where we parted company.
Not too sure of the mileage covered but it was about 9.5. We were home in the warm by 9.35am!

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