A fairly short ride tonight, frm the Arun Leisure Centre at Felpham, to the Black Horse at Climping, a pub the club has not visited "officially" for some years. Nice to see it back in the fold.
Four of us departed ALC on a very pleasant sunny evening, alan, Julian, John (R), and myself. Very little wind made for good cycling conditions.
We proceeded via the Roundle and Flansham down towards Elmer, leaving the road at Ancton for rougher tracks through Ancton Wood, joining the A259 just short of Climping turning. We have not used the track through Ancton wood for a while, but despite recent heavy rain the ground was hard-packed and firm. The main obstacle en-route, and the reason why we have not been this way for a while, is the broken bridge over the Ryebank Rife; however this has now been replaced with a very solid metal structure.
Back on the tarmac again, we continued to Climping roundabout, then to the pub via the school and the trackway into Climping Lane.
Return route was down to the beach and straight along the shoreline to Elmer and Felpham, at the request of John, who had not been that way before.
The beach was better than when i last ventured this way, but still required a bit of pushing across some of the looser pebbles.
The morning started with a sumptuous breakfast including dried fruit and strawberries. Weather was clear warm and sunny with some cloud later.
Linda made some enquires with the help of the hotel and found out that Cherbourg remained closed with no ferries going there from England but Caen was open. The decision was made to get a train to Caen from a Station at Valognes, 6 miles away. We would then get the 17.15 ferry today bringing forward our ferry from tomorrow. Linda made the calls, got the ferry tickets changed and cancelled tonight's hotel in Cherbourg.
A text from Phil indicated he was still waiting at Cherbourg so Linda rang him and advised him to head for Caen. We later heard he and Mary caught a ferry from Caen at midday after getting an early train.
We cycled the 6 miles to Valognes and booked ourselves and 11 bikes on the 13.15 train to Caen. We then had a few hours to wait around at a nearby café having coffee or hot chocolate and wandering around town.
A military operation was planned for the bikes with luggage taken off on the platform, and the ladies loading the luggage and the gents loading the bikes. There were 6 hooks for front wheels to hang up on and the others were piled against an entrance. The guard was very accommodating.
At Caen there was an exit down steps but Linda persuaded the station staff to lead us across the tracks.
Linda navigated us across Caen to the Cyclepath to Ouistram. This is a long paved path alongside the river with views of a ship being towed down the river and also passing PegasusBridge.
We were greatly relieved when we got on the ferry which sailed without incident.
My mileage, to Valognes, to Ouistram and after a train from Portsmouth to Chichester the ride home to Pagham totalled 27 miles.
Normandy. Thursday 22 May. Periers to Bricquebec The day started bright and sunny with clouds building up later but staying dry. Temperatures reached 19C. Phil and Mary left after breakfast to head straight back to Cherbourg for an earlier ferry home. On Linda's group we headed up the cyclepath and stopped for elevenses at a sunny pavement café in the small town of La Haye du Puits. Richard decided to stay there and wait for Avryl's group. The rest of us headed out of town and then on the outskirts we heard a voice from above and saw Peter visible on the cyclepath embankment and the rest of their group looking for a way down. We continued on pleasant lanes. As we cycled along a dog spotted us and did a mad dash towards us ending with a very loud bang as it collided with a solid wooden gate. We expect it ended up nursing some nasty bruising for its trouble. We continued on more lanes with ups and downs and encountered another dog at a brief stop which just stared at us with a doleful expression. We stopped for lunch at a town above the coast. While there Linda received a text from Phil telling her that strikes had closed down the Cherbourg port and stopped all ferries which gave us some worries for our return on Saturday. In the afternoon we headed straight to Bricquebec, a medieval French town. Our accommodation was at L'Hostellerie du Chateau, one side of the courtyard of the towns central castle. This had luxurious rooms converted from the medieval building. We arrived at 3.15 and went into town for tea and were joined by Avryl's group when they arrived.Avryl had managed another accident on a Normandy trip when a car passed much too close and the mirror hit her elbow. Luckily she escaped with minor bruising and grazing. 43 miles for the day. Edwin
Thursday, 22 May 2008. Evening Ride - Arun Leisure Centre to Binsted
5 of us met for this ride - Julian, John, Ann, Val, and myself.
Very pleasant evening, sunny and warm.
We took the usual well worn trail out to the Black Horse at Binsted, via Yapton, Ford, and down into Tortington woods past the Madonna pond at Tortington priory where the tarmac runs out.
Breaking the cover of the woods at Binsted, we re-joined civilisation and the tarmac at Binsted, for an uneventful run to the Black Horse.
The route has always been quite challenging to cover in an hour or so, and with the new start at the ALC that bit further from the old start point, plus a slightly later start time, we just made it to the pub for about quarter to nine. Had there been any less experienced riders with us, the going would have been slower still.
The return route was via Hedgers Hill to Walberton, then back through Yapton to Felpham and home.
Normandy. Wednesday 21 May. Granville to Periers. Today Gill was back in Linda's group having acquired in Granville new pedals to solve her foot problems. The day was again clear blue skies with a NE wind. Temperatures reached 18C. We headed out of town and were soon away from the busy traffic and onto quiet country lanes. There were views of many trees festooned with mistletoe. We stopped for elevenses at a bar in Couderville with outside tables in the sun and a patisserie next door which we raided for a collection of cakes including Tarte aux Pomme, Pan aux Raisin and chocolate eclairs. I had started a trend the others found hard to resist. We continued on more lanes and stopped at one stage by a cattlemarket with local farmers selling calves. As we were about to leave Avryl's group arrived and we gave them our chairs. After more lanes we had a long downhill to the Cathedral dominated town of Coutances for lunch. In town there was a very steep uphill to the Cathedral square. We had lunch in the square at a restaurant and then visited the Cathedral. In the afternoon we followed a signed cycle route on lanes to the start of an old railway cycle path with a good surface and a slight downhill. We stopped at a village on the route to search for ice creams without success and continued on the path to Periers. After parking bikes and luggage at the hotel we had our tea stop with ice creams across the road. 47 miles for the day. Edwin
Today Gill was back in Linda's group having acquired in Granville new pedals to solve her foot problems.
The day was again clear blue skies with a NE wind. Temperatures reached 18C.
We headed our of town and were soon away from the busy traffic and onto quiet country lanes. There were views of many trees festooned with mistletoe. We stopped for elevenses at a bar in Couderville with outside tables in the sun and a patisserie next door which we raided for a collection of cakes including Tarte aux Pomme, Pan aux Raisin and chocolate eclairs. I had started a trend the others found hard to resist.
We continued on more lanes and stopped at one stage by a cattlemarked with local farmers selling calves.
As we were about to leave when Avryl's group arrived and we gave them our chairs. After more lanes we had a long downhill to the Cathedral dominated town of Coutances for lunch. In town there was a very steep uphill to the Cathedral square. We had lunch in the square at a restaurant and then visited the Cathedral.
In the afternoon we followed a signed cycle route on lanes to the start of an old railway cycle path with a good surface and a slight downhill. We stopped at a village on the route to search for ice creams without success and continued on the path to Periers.
After parking bikes and luggage at the hotel we had our tea stop with ice creams across the road.
Normandy. Tuesday 20 May. St Jean le Thomas to Granville. Today would be a very short ride going direct so Linda decided on a loop inland. We had a change in the groups with Gill joining the slower riders due to a sore foot and Richard changing to Linda's group for a faster pace. Weather was again clear blue skies all day with temperatures up to 15C and a gentler NE wind. We headed out up the climb along the coast with views across the bay to Mont St Michel in the far distance. We then headed inland on quiet country lanes to stop for elevenses at a bar in La Haye- Pesnel. I found a patisserie for a snack to take back to the bar. We returned on more lanes intending to visit an Abbey but it had closed a few minutes before we arrived. We continued and joined the main route into Granville with a long downhill and tailwind. We arrived at the hotel just after the others who had reached town earlier and had elevenses first. In the afternoon after lunch we split into groups with most visiting a bike shop and the old town on the promontory with views over the bay and harbour. 28 miles for the day. Edwin
Normandy. Monday 19 May. Pontorson to St Jean de Thomas. Today's ride was first north to Mont St Michel, then east to Avranches and then north at the base of the Cherbourg peninsular to the small coastal town of St Jean de Thomas. Weather was bright clear blue skies all day with temperatures of 14c and a strong NE wind. Avryl's group were taking a more direct route while the faster group had an earlier start to give time for a brief visit to Mont St Michel. We had no preplanned meetings during the day. There were some great views as we approached the Mont. Linda watched the bikes and gave us 30 minutes for a quick visit. I followed Phil and Mary on a fast route march to the top. We didn't pay to go into the abbey. I explored some of the rampart paths round the base of the Abbey with views across the sands of the bay. We headed on turning east with more views of the Mont seemingly floating on a sea of grass. We went to visit a German cemetery and a few minutes after we arrived Avryl's group joined us having left the hotel 45 mins later and cycled direct to the Cemetery. We continued on lanes taking a signed cycle route to Pontaubault forelevenses in the sun on a pavement café. Avryl's group arrived to join us 20 minutes later, we couldn't shake them!! After elevenses Avryl's group headed on direct along the coast while we headed inland into the hills on a loop via the village of St Loup. We rode along a very good old railway cyclepath with a good dry surface. Then some ups and downs on lanes and a descent into the town of Avranches. We came down into the central square and found Avryl's group settled by a Patisserie. We joined them there for a picnic lunch on seats including large Baguettes and fruit flans. After lunch we headed on byroads via Bacilly where Linda decided we were going to get there too fast and headed inland on a diversion into the hills and a stop for tea at Sartilly. The hotel was in a small village spread between 3 buildings. There was a sun terrace and pool and Phil and Anne braved the cold waters for a swim. 44 miles for the day. Edwin