Evening Ride - Arun Leisure Centre to The Wilkes Head, Eastergate
A short ride this evening -shorter than planned, as half a mile from the start point your leader came to an abrupt halt with a burst front tyre.
Just making the start only a couple of minutes after the ride should have left, examination of the wheel showed a small split in the tyre, through which the tube had protruded, become pinched, and then burst. My thanks to the only two riders who turned up this evening, Julian and John, for their assistance in effecting emergency repairs, which meant the ride was able to take place, albeit 45 minutes late in starting. Julian had also got a punchure earlier in the day and was worried that the tyre might not make it, but in the event the rest of the ride passed off without incident.
Due to the lateness of the hour, we went on a fairly direct route up to Eastergate, but we did manage a trial run up the partially completed cycle path from Felpham to Barnham. This path can be described as being in three parts - the first part from Felpham school (and ALC) around the golf course to Flansham has not yet been started, and its future revolves around the progress of the 700 homes to be built around it ("Site Six"). The second part, which is where we joined it, runs from Flansham to the bridge over the River Rife. This follows a somewhat rutted, but hard packed and easily rideable farm track, and would be fairly straghtforward to convert to a proper cyclepath, however no work at all has been undertaken.
The final third was the most difficult to engineer and has been fully completed, although lacks any signage or publicity. It involved re-routing the old footpath on a completely new alignment, and then significantly regrading a rough and steep farm track. The surface is is rock and gravel dressed with a compacted sand finish, and makes for a very comfortable ride, although how long the surface will last is anyones guess.
It regains the tarmac in Church Lane at Barnham, from where we proceeded direct to the Wilkes Head. Edwin met us there, although by this time it was well after 9pm and he was about to depart having assumed the ride had been curtailed.
Our return route was straight down the A29 from Eastergate Memorial to Bognor Regis, and some lively running ensued on a very quiet evening for traffic. At Shripney Edwin and John left us for Pagham, whilst Julian and I continued over Highfield Bridge and back roads to the Arun Leisure Centre.
Weather today was cloudy in the morning clearing to warm sunshine by midday.
After a group photo outside the hotel we headed back on a relatively easy ride after yesterdays exertions.
After a short ride on byroads north into the centre of the Island we stopped for elevenses at Amazon World Garden Centre. John left us here to head straight back on an earlier ferry. After a ride up to Newchuch we stopped briefly at the Garlic Farm. Then a sharp long climb up Newport Chute to Arreton Down the Ridge across the centre of the Island.
Then a long downhill via Wootton and on to the ferry port at Fishbourne where we stopped for lunch at the Fishbourne Arms next to the Ferry port entrance.
After the ferry to Portsmouth we rode on Cyclepaths and backstreets out of the City to Cosham and Havant. The plan was to stop for tea at Emsworth. However we arrived at 3.35 and both The Greenhouse and Heidi’s closed at 3.30. We settled for takeaway cakes from Heidi’s. Then back to Chichester on the lanes.
35 miles back to Chichester 41 miles (back to Pagham)
Weather today was cloudy with some spots of rain from time to time but not enough to require full waterproofs. Temperature was about 17C.
We had an early breakfast at the Hillside Hotel and headed over to the Whitwell Randonee Control to sign on for 9.00. John Maxim headed straight off to “do a time” The rest of us stayed together as a group, myself, Gill, Anne, Linda, Avryl and John Wickens. We were also joined by PJ, a Frenchman living in England who was staying at the hotel.
We soon started the climb of Blackgang hill from the easier side with views from the top of the white cliffs near Freshwater in the far distance. Then country lanes a short way in from the coast before coming back to the Coast road to climb the Cliffs and drop down to Freshwater.
Then it was on to Yarmouth for elevenses at a school with tables groaning with food. I told everyone to buy extra for lunch so we could have a short roadside lunch stop. Brian and Sue Howe who were camping near the Alverstone control caught us just as we were leaving and caught us again at Cowes and stayed with us for the afternoon. Many ups and downs before Cowes culminated in a very sharp climb to Guinard. We arrived at the Chain Ferry well timed just as it arrived. We had a picnic lunch in Whippingham church grounds.
Then it was on to Fishbourne where I kept pace with a car for a while on the downhill. At the control near Fishbourne we met Vernon Lewis. Then on via Seaview to the control at Bembridge for tea. I kept the energy levels up with 3 cakes. By this time there starting to be a trace of panic in the ranks about getting back to Whitwell before the control closed at 6.00. I told everybody we would do it ok.
After the Alverstone control it was soon back on yesterday’s route and we arrived with plenty of time to spare, well, 10 minutes actually at about 5.50.
John was back at the hotel and had finished at 2.46, which was what we say in the Time Trialling scene a personal best for him.
The round the Island circuit, from Whitwell and back to Whitwell was 68 miles. With additional miles from and back to the Hotel the day’s distance was 72 miles. There were 3 novice Round the Island riders. Avryl, Linda and John Wickens. The number of hills on the Island makes it a very hard route so well done to all of them especially to Avryl. The ladies in Crete would be really amazed!!
Sunday 4 May. NOTES ON SLIDE SHOW
Pictures of this years Round the Isle of Wight Ride are in the Slide Show below. To view the show refresh the browser to start the show from the beginning. To view the Slide Show with larger pictures click "view all images"
For the first day of the Isle of Wight weekend 5 of us met at Chichester Cross, myself (Edwin) Avryl, Linda, Gill and Ann. I was very outnumbered by the ladies and I did wonder what people might think of one man with 4 ladies following on behind!
Weather was fine, sunny and warm at about 18C and a SE tailwind.
We took the South Coast Cycle Route to Westbourne and then Havant for a 10 am coffee break and for me a giant slice of bread pudding.
Then on down to Portsmouth taking Cycle paths and backstreets to the Fishbourne ferry where we were joined by John Wickens.
After the ferry crossing we rode up the hill to Havenstreet and the Steam Railway Caf? where we met up with Brian and Sue Howe who were camping for the weekend at Newchurch.
After lunch more hills over the ridge and down a narrow winding lane to Newport. Then a cyclepath on the old railway route followed by lanes to Godshill for tea. Here we met John Maxim who taken an earlier ferry and kept us updated on his whereabouts with text messages.
We said goodbye to Brian and Sue and headed for our hotel in Ventnor. After a few miles John Wickens punctured with a nasty thorn and we helped with repairs.
Sunday 27 April. Ride from Chichester Cross to West Marden.
After yesterday's warmth and sunshine the weather took a sharp downturn being cool and cloudy with a mixture of periods of rain, showers and brief dry intervals.
Arthur was unable to lead the ride today and asked me to take over.At the Cross I met up with Phil and Mary, Linda, Harvey, Keith and Robin, a newcomer out for the first-time. At lunch we met up with Gill, Ann and Adrian who rode direct.There were a total of 10 of us out on the day.
The weather was dry when we met at the Cross but as soon as we left the first spots of rain started.We headed out via Clay Lane and after a few miles the rain was heavy enough to require waterproofs.We headed on with the rain constant but not too heavy via Westbourne to stop for elevenses at Stansted.
There was a period of heavy rain while we were inside.We continued on with bits of light rain up the hill from Stansted and then direct across to West Marden for lunch at the Victoria Inn. Adrian was waiting for us having cycle direct from Portsmouth and Gill and Ann soon joined us after a longer ride with a stop for elevenses at Queen Elizabeth Country Park.Phil and Mary headed back early.After lunch the rest of us headed back in the dry via Funtington and West Ashling. We stopped for tea at Hilliers Garden Centre near Bosham.
Just as we were leaving an enormous clap of thunder rang out overhead and another one followed shortly.We rode back to Chichester with the rain just on the edge of being really heavy and we seemed to be just on the edge of the heavy shower.
Saturday 26 April. Spring ride, Swans, Bluebells and ducks.
Today the forecast was for dry sunny and warm weather and we were all advised to make the most of it before the rain resumed on Sunday.
I headed out on my own ride up into the Downs Riding in shorts and short sleeves for one of the few occasions this year (since returning from Lanzarote) I was able to take the short route crossing fields which were sufficiently dry and then lanes up to South Mundam and then the Chichester Canal path up to Chichester.Just before the Canal Basin I saw the two swans who had made the Canal their home for some time now with a new brood of cygnets, looking very fluffy and spring like.
Then it was the cycle path through to West Street and then the South Coast Cycle Route along Clay Lane.There soon followed the first of many stops to photograph Bluebells in the woods.I decided that the day really amounted to interval training being intervals of cycling followed by intervals of photo shoots.
Just as I was leaving the woods a good-sized group of cyclists came along.I chatted to them and gathered they were an informal group based in Hayling Island who went for rides regularly on Saturdays.
I continued across to West Ashling and then Watery Lane.As I turned into Watery Lane there was a Duck having a sit down in the road and not inclined to move and a Goose on the other side of the road which only moved after some protesting.A few yards further on a lady cyclist was looking down into the stream and pointed out to me a duck with about five little ducklings paddling along behind it.The sign up the road "caution, ducklings crossing" was pretty appropriate.
Then it was on to the West Stoke Road and another stop for bluebell pictures before riding on to West Dean Gardens for lunch.The return ride was along the valley via East Dean and then up to Eartham and down to Slindon Bottom Road.This is a beautifully quiet road through the woods with no traffic and the noise of the A27 in the distance.Then on to Walberton and down to the coast via Yapton and Middleton.
I stopped for tea or rather an ice cream at the cafe on the Front in Felpham.The beach was packed with people seemingly all at once released from their winter indoor life.
At 10.00 at Chichester Cross 5 people started the ride - Phil and Mary, Edwin, Colin and myself. Phil and Mary left us at East Dean and for once they did seem a little jaded having done a 300k Audax ride in cold and rain the previous day from 3a.m. until late evening. We met John Maxim who was doing hill climbs in preparation for the IOW Randonee.
We followed the valley and after a short stop at Droke for refreshments continued to Upwaltham, down Duncton Hill, turning left at the bottom, through SeafordCollege grounds to Graffham and The White Horse. We were joined for lunch here by Ernie, Gill and Linda.
After lunch the six of us continued to Heyshott and then along the rough track to join the main road at Cocking and then up the hill and down to Singleton and East Dean. We stopped for tea at EastDeanGardens and sat for an hour outside enjoying the warm sunshine. It was then back to Chichester along the Centurion Way.
Despite an East or North East wind It had been sunshine nearly all the way which was a real bonus after a previous wet and miserable day. We even shed our jackets for the first time this year!