2011.09 September

Saturday 3 September – Brek in Arundel
MA, CB, RT, PT, ZA and KBS went up through Muntham to the SDW, and over Amberley Mount. ZA had to peel off and return via North Stoke and the Burgh (executing an “Amberley Loop”), while the remainder reached Arundel bridge via the riverside bridleway from Houghton. KBS then departed for home, pressed for time and with a wobbly crank. Four brekked royally, if a shade more expensively than is our wont, al fresco at the Edible. The homeward leg took the peleton through Crossbush, Poling, Angmering, the back alleys of Durrington, a bit of A27 and the Gallops.
23.5 miles, 1906 feet climbed

Saturday 10 September – Brek chez FL on Sheep Fair Day

Saturday 17 September

Friday 23rd September and Saturday 24 September REG 18 Coming of Age

Friday 23rd September 2011 Reg 18.
1.30pm JR, PT, RT, ZA and GD met at Tudor Close for tea and tyre check prior to setting off on Reg 18.
Le Peleton
KBS arrived on the appointed departure hour at 2pm and the peleton set forth, west to Cocking. But, just before doing so ZA attempted to take a team photo with his super lightweight camera, lightweight as sadly ZA forgot to reinstall the battery after a charging session, a classic FGCC moment. Watch this space, there may well be a medal there somewhere! Thankfully PT was on hand as first substitute, with his fully charged model, to record the moment for posterity.

We, the peleton, headed out of Findon, past the crematorium and to the first stop, the JR memorial, where RT spruced up the tired paintwork. A recital of the FGCC requiem and we were off again following the ‘traditional route’ to Cocking, west, past the tank turn off and on to Amberley and the grueling Bury Hill. The weather was kind to us, a gentle south westerly breeze failed to impede our progress and after conquering Bury Hill we continued toward Bignor ‘the muscle burn’ out of Amberley a distant memory! Another ‘mother’ of a climb awaited us on the ascent to Bignor, that was until it was suggested we, look away now if you are faint hearted, veered from the ‘traditional route.’

We did and a strange but predictable sequence of events then followed; JR, PT and of course the intrepid KBS led the breakaway group, followed some minutes after by the wary RT, ZA and GD. The lovely woodland bridleway quickly turned into a 1 in 2 climb on a chalky and slippery track. PT assuring the unconvinced that the road we were looking for was a mere 300 yards in, ‘that direction’. We of course followed, KBS being KBS disappeared into the distance and re-emerged from time to time before disappearing again.

We found ourselves in the middle of a wood, no tracks, private land and of course, in far too much undergrowth and gradient to possibly cycle, so we pushed, and pushed, and pushed. Eventually after pushing for half an hour we came to a barbed wire fence and following the instructions of our navigator we negotiated the obstacle and carried on, pushing, towards the elusive road. A lone white van was spotted speeding through the middle of the wood some 500 yards in front of us and it was with cheers and relief we slid our bikes down the steep hill, navigating trees, bushes, and rabbit warrens before we finally emerged. Even KBS was pleased to see tarmac!

It was an ‘FGCC’ moment and not a murmur of discontent! Marvelous! That road took us skyward to Bignor, back to the South Downs Way and thankfully familiar territory. At the cross we stopped for a rest and ‘traditional’ jaffa cakes kindly supplied by ZA in the absence of MA.

Refreshed, we continued on our way, one more mammoth climb to negotiate and after the descent from Bignor to the A285 Petworth Road we gritted our teeth and ascended skyward again climbing 700 feet on rough terrain before we finally levelled out puffed, hot and ready for another rest. Thankfully, ZA suffered a ‘blast eet‘ at this stage and we were able to regain our breath. The blast eet was quickly repaired and we were on our way; talking of ZA, it was just after this our illustrious TV, answering a call of nature, found an old South Downs Way sign post discarded in the bushes and quickly ‘bagged it’. The sign, which incidentally, had been replaced with a shiny new one was suffering from dry rot but a little TLC will restore it to it’s former glory and it will be a fine trophy for our member to display.

Before no time we were commencing our final descent towards Cocking. Just one more task for RT to conduct before we arrived and that was the renovation of the Budd memorial which was followed by another heartfelt rendition of the FGCC requiem.
At 6.20pm we arrived via the challenging back route into Moonlit Cottage Cocking, to tea followed by a hot shower and some fresh clothes. It was a great ride and thoroughly enjoyed by all. Our hosts at Moonlit Cottage, Steve and Sue did us proud, typically in keeping with their five star ‘lama’ rating. AM joined us for dinner and we were treated to a hearty meal, a barrel of Harveys beer and a bottle vintage port to aid digestion. We reminisced, chatted and relaxed until the wee small hours and tiredness overtook us, AM and KBS made there way back to Findon for early morning duties and the remaining members took to their beds for the night.

Saturday 24h September 2011. Return from Reg.
The ride home from Cocking is ‘traditionally’ less physically demanding than our outward leg which follows the challenging climbs and descents of the South Downs Way. The peleton enjoy an amazing meander back to Findon through some of the most beautiful villages and countryside of West Sussex on the north side of the South Downs.

ZA, RT, JR and GD made the trek home after tucking into a full English breakfast at Moonlit Cottage and bidding farewell to Steve and Sue and, of course, our esteemed member and friend, PT. We left Cocking on the country lane and travelled east to Grafham, then negotiating the woodland path around Seaford College we entered East Lavington, Sutton, on to Bignor and then Amberley where we stopped at the tearooms by the river for a well earned rest and essential refreshments.

We left Amberley at 1.10pm continuing easterly, ZA parted company with the already depleted peleton just before the South Downs Way and it was not long before JR, RT and GD returned to our starting point in Tudor Close. Reg 18 has come of age and before we finished Reg 19 was already being planned.

Another great ride which I am proud to record on our site, photos to follow, well photos from PT anyway!