Sunday 18 November - Chichester Cross start
A hardy group of four (Adrian, Anne, Phil & Mary) met at the Cross at 10 am surrounded by a massive team from the local Rotary Clubs erecting the Chichester Christmas Tree. We quickly left this exciting scene behind and headed east to cross the Downs by Pillygreen Lodge and bear north towards Duncton Hill. We descended Duncton, turning right at the bottom and taking our ususal route via the CTC West Sussex Downhill course to Petworth. Petworth is in a sorry state for coffee stops. Tiffins was closed, and Saddlers was both closed and up for sale! The coffee shop up the cobbled street was also closed, but we eventually found some coffee in the pub next to Sommefields.
After coffee, we headed west to half-way house, then turned south through Selbourne to Graffam. Contrary to forecasts, the weather had been quite pleasant until coffee, but as we headed west the rain started, light at first but gradually getting heavier so that by the time we reached the White Horse at Graffam it was fairly bucketing down.
The landlord was very welcoming given our rather sodden appearance, and directed us to the blazing wood fire in the corner. We ordered lunch and settled into another corner with our drinks. We were joined by Colin, representing the Walberton start.
After lunch we continued east to Cocking along very wet roads and in continuous rain. We climbed Cocking Hill and descended to West Dean where Adrian continued east to Portsmouth and the rest repaired to the tearoom. From the tea room, Colin, Phil & Mary headed south to the Centurion Way and Anne headed for a hot bath. At Lavant, Colin turned back east and Phil & Mary continued to Chichester and then home.
Sunday 11th November. Ride to Rowlands Castle from Chichester.
The weather today was mixed, starting dry and then with some showers of light drizzle turning to heavier rain and even a little hail while we were inside having lunch. In the afternoon the weather cleared to bright sunny spells. Temperatures were about 11 C.
We had a good turnout for the ride. Richard was the leader and he was joined by myself (Edwin) Alan, Liz, Mike, Harvey, Arthur, Lynn, Phil and Mary. Steve Thomas joined us just as we were leaving Chichester and Ann and Gill joined us at lunchtime making a total of 13 out on the day.
We left Chichester on the Centurion Way and then via Lavant and West Stoke to Funtington. We stopped at 11.00 to observe the two-minute silence for Remembrance Sunday. We continued on up to Compton for elevenses at the shop. We then continued on lanes via Idsworth and Finchdean to Rowlands Castle for lunch. Just as we arrived a large group from Portsmouth CTC were leaving which was just as well as it gave us room to sit down in the cafe. Ann and Gill were waiting for us in the cafe. At the cafe we also met Claire and Vernon and chatted to them about their plans to resume their round the world cycle ride probably in 2009
After lunch we headed back via Westbourne and then the South Coast Cycle Route lanes to Bosham to stop for tea at Hilliers Cafe.
After Chichester we all headed back on different routes and I joined Phil and Mary and Gill to ride down the canal path.
Sunday 28 October. Ride to the Keepers Arms, Trotton. Walberton Start
Good ride even though wet. Quite warm.
Again the ladies out-numbered the men with Anne Kelly and newcomer Deborah Lord, and Chris Turner at coffee plus Harvey.
The Keepers Arms is not really a pub, just an expensive restaurant. We were "well out of place" in our waterproofs and dripping over the smart furniture. At £11 for sausage and mash it is too expensive. The garden centre cafe was also closed! We should avoid the Keepers Arms in future.
We headed back to Cocking for food at the cafe which was good. Place seems to have changed hands. Welcoming nonetheless.
Sunday 28th October. Ride to Stansted Garden Centre. Chichester Start
The planned ride for today was north to Trotton.I led the ride in place of Phil.The weather was dull, dank windy and drizzly and went downhill from there.
I had wondered whether anybody would turn up but two hardy ladies, Linda and Avryl soon arrived at the Cross.We discussed options and as the wind was from the southwest and we would have to go straight into that coming back from Trotton and we decided on a short morning only ride for elevenses at Stansted.
Soon after leaving the rain became heavier and we donned full waterproofs.We took a route on the South Coast Cycle Route via Woodmancote and then straight to Stansted for an elevenses stop in the warmth of the cafe.
The return route was on back roads to Funtington and then West Stoke and down to Chichester on the Centurion Way.
The rain had been heavy for most of the morning easing off to drizzle in the afternoon after we returned.
Sunday 21st October. Ride to the AGM at West Stoke.
This ride was led by a number of leaders.Freda led us to West Stoke, I led the group to tea at Bosham and Arthur led the group from Bosham back to Chichester.
12 of us started from the Cross, Edwin, Freda, Jim, Alan, Liz, Dave, Jan, Adrian Baker, Arthur, Lynn and Jeff.It was a beautiful clear and sunny day with temperatures reaching about 14 C. This made a nice change from recent years for the AGM when it has usually been wet and windy.
Freda led us up to the Centurion Way and then on back lanes lined with trees starting to turn Autumn gold against a backdrop of deep blue skies. We arrived at West Stoke village hall soon after 10.00 and Arthur and Lynn prepared teas and coffees.Colin, Linda, Ann and Eric came direct by bike and Christiane Baker and Phil and Mary arrived by car making a total of 19 at the AGM.
Despite the new provisions brought out by the CTC we got through all the business very quickly in about an hour and 10 minutes.Phil was elected Club Chairman, I was elected Secretary, Alan was elected Treasurer, Dave was elected Social Secretary, Phil was elected Registration Officer, Philippa was elected Promotions Officer (Publicity) Avryl was elected Welfare Officer and Arthur and Linda were elected Committee members. Avryl, Philippa and Linda were new Committee members and Richard decided to leave the Committee.
After a picnic lunch in the hall I led the group on the back lanes to Funtington and then Watery Lane to West Ashling and then down to Bosham for tea. Graham Young met us at Bosham and rode back with us to Chichester via the road round the harbour.
A perfect blue sky autumn day for exploring the developing cycle network on the Manhood Peninsula, the triangle of land south of Chichester blessed with more sunshine than north of the downs , and it's flat!
There were 13 out during the day. At the Cross Jeff was joined by Arthur, Lynn, Alan, Liz, Russell, Adrian, Colin, Avryl and Gill. Edwin joined at lunchtime after a Time Trial and Dave and Jan joined at Sidlesham on the way back
Heading out along Salterns Way, only one wrong turning to West Wittering then along the greensward with the sea on our right to tea and scones at the East Wittering cafe where the 10 mile charity run and walk was finishing.
Cycling along the shingle sea wall to Selsey avoided all the busy roads and lunch at the Lifeboat Inn or on the sea wall was a good place to lap up the sun.
As the Selsey to Chichester cycle route only reaches the Pagham Information Centre (from Chichester at present) a route was followed trying to avoid as much of the busy road as possible. From the information centre, the mainly off road route was a joy to use with a finish at the ChichesterCanalBasin for coffee and jaffa cakes.