The Next Ride: Sunday 22 September

10 September 2013

We welcome people who want to try one or two of our rides before joining. If you are not a member, and have not ridden with us before, email us (see the “Contact Us” box) for details of the next ride. If you would like to join the Clarion club, click here to download a membership form.

The Last Ride: Littlehampton Circular, N,W,S &E.

10 September 2013

Extra Brownie points to Linda for arriving at Littlehampton on two wheels. Commiserations to Angela who arrived on four wheels but who was unable to join the ride as she was suffering from tennis elbow. Anne, Mike, Julilan, Roger and Suzanne all opted for letting the train take the strain.


The BBC Weather site had forecast two drops of rain for 11 am and thankfully that is all we saw as we wended (wand?) our way N.-W. through Yapton on to Walberton to have a brief look at the pretty little pond nestling between Barnham Lane and Eastergate Lane. Eastergate Lane then took us W. to Westergate (obvious, really) and on through to Oving (the Saxon village of Uuinges – the territory of Üfe’s people) to a very happy rendez-vous with Angela and welcome lunch at the Gribble (a marine bug that will eat any of your submerged wood if you’re not careful) Inn.


Real rain had fallen during our enjoyable lunch, but the lowering skies had us putting on various layers of waterproof clothing – wisely as it later transpired. From Oving we made a dramatic turn to the S. and managed to avoid busy roads by crossing the perilous A259 and arriving at the intriguing (but unfortunately closed) church of Merston (the marsh farmstead) where Julian tried to take a photo with his new camera, but five soggy cyclists got into the picture by mistake. Now it was time to turn E. Anne and Mick had found a lovely solution to the tricky problem of negotiating the top of Pagham Harbour for our return to Bognor: three bridleways through vast open fields giving magnificent views of the turbulent skies. In what seemed like next to no time we were in Bognor (“bugger” – I quote a king) … which seemed to have battened down the hatches for autumn. We bowled along with, at last the wind behind us. When we arrive at the shared cycle/pedestrian route along the prom there was no danger of getting within about 100 yards of the very sparse sprinkling of pedestrians. This gave us time to admire the sea of colours ranging from the lightest Connmara marble green to the darkest Welsh slate grey. The sky a swirl of blue, white and ominous black.


Linda had a date (with her husband, one hastens to mention) so cycled off alone while the remainging, infamous five were lured into the Lobster Pot café and did not emerge until copious tea and cakes (no ginger beer) had been consumed. It had rained heavily during this scrumptious feast – and it forgot to stop when we came out. After a couple of pusillanimous stops to shelter from the downpour, the decsion was made to spurn the NCR2 and to make a dash along the A259. Not a pleasant experience. Cars were travelling well above the 60mph limit. Julian got soaked by puddle spray. The magnificent rainbow arching over the road was little compensation. Angela’s suggestion at lunch that all car drivers should be made to ride a bike for a week as part of their training seemed very apposite at that moment.

This “short cut” had saved us a couple of miles. Is it not time that a safe cycle route be built parallel (preferable not alongside) the A259? Why do those using their own energy have to go the long way round to protect themselves from those polluting the atmosphere and making noise with their internal combustion engines?

Rather than continue to put our lives at risk, we opted for a trip down to Climping Beach and back N.-E. into Littlehampton (see “Haneton” in the Doomesday Book). Our train pulled in almost as we arrived at the station. The 49 minutes of the return journey sped past in lively chat and “I’ll show you my GPS if you will show me your iPad” conversation.

Many thanks to Anne and Mick for keeping the rain off for far longer than we expected and for organising such a fascinating ride which reached some parts which Clarion ( a cycling club in which Fellowship if Life) had not reached before – always a great achievement.


The Next Ride: Sunday 8 September

23 August 2013

We welcome people who want to try one or two of our rides before joining. If you are not a member, and have not ridden with us before, email us (see the “Contact Us” box) for details of the next ride. If you would like to join the Clarion club, click here to download a membership form.

The Last Ride – Sunday 4 November: Barnham, Boxgrove & back; over & under the A27.

5 November 2012

Jim’s plan for today was thwarted by the lunch venue being pre-booked by hordes & when the day dawned for revised ride the heavens opened – not just rain, but hail & deluge, unpropitious for cycling. However, forecasts foretold of brighter times to follow – after the 24mph headwinds had subsided, & Clarion is not for the faint-hearted. Nevertheless, Mick & I voted for the softer option of taking the car to Barnham, rather than the train, arriving at the appointed time.

My phone rang & it was Jim saying Joyce, Sue, Terry & himself were assembled in the cold & awaiting our arrival. All were eager to start & attempt to warm up, so no photo but as swift a wend westward as headwind allowed, to Oving for the early lunch, passing some flooded lanes on the way. Last bit of the trip was along a peaceful lane, with swollen ditches on both sides reminiscent of the Pevensey Levels, but with more trees & sodden autumn leaves.

The Gribble Inn is an attractive, thatched pub with pretty garden & Egon Ronay accolades on the windows. The menu on blackboards & paper looked inviting & we all chose different dishes. The waitress took the first group photo of the day.

Lunch at Gribble Inn-exotic menu;roulade,pheasant, clams & game pud.

My butternut squash soup was too salty, but fishcakes with clam sauce were tasty. Jim’s spinach roulade looked good, as did Terry’s game pud. Mick said his pheasant pasta could just as easily have been a less exotic chicken pasta but, at least, it was interesting. Plenty of interesting dogs in the pub too, including this charming lamb look-a-like shivering outside in the weak November sunshine.

Joyce & Sue admire the lamb-like dog in snshine outside Gribble Inn

As we headed North after lunch it was necessary to cross the busy A27 where the traffic was all exceeding the speed limit as if 80 was the new 70mph.

Dicing with Death on the A27

More leafy lanes & lovely lakes followed as we cycled along by the Goodwood Estate with its lengthy stone walls, lush hotel, golf-course & sculpture park, amid woods with Downs on the horizon & the Halnaker windmill.

Halnaker Mill in the morning

As we climbed a small hill to reach the turn to Mount Noddy Animal Centre I was sad to hear that I had missed the donkeys in the roadside field. There would certainly have been some donkey photos if I’d realised. We visited the Lutyens house & garden & gawped until the gate opened eerily & automatically for us to enter – an offer we refused. In the barn cottage conversion nearby I stopped to photo some deer which Terry & Sue were watching, but they had realised that the deer were suspiciously still & unlikely to be living. [Photo on flickr if interested.]

Boxgrove Priory was a peaceful spot where we spent some time assessing how the ruin could be revived by a Channel 4 type makeover, such as some of us had seen the previous evening with an old water tower & Kevin McCloud in the middle of London. Sheep were safely grazing in the meadows around the ancient stone work & the sun shone for some photos.

A few more lanes led us to the splendid Aldingbourne Country Centre where a fine teatime treat awaited us. Nutty, fruity chocolate cakes, toasted teacakes, & hot drinks were quaffed & I explored the farm animals in search of the pigs I’d remembered from a previous visit. Didn’t find the pigs but saw some white peacocks & a sign advertising their alpaca poo as described on GQT as very suitable for adding to the garden neat. We decided not to take any for our bike baskets, Jim telling Joyce she’d have to return by a different train from him if she succumbed.

Last delights were the discovery of a subway under the lethal A27 as we headed south & the sun setting over the numerous puddles lending a pink sheen to the roads as they reflected the setting sun, the autumnal trees & cyclists’ shadows.

Pink road on the way home

Thanks to Jim we’d enjoyed a November ride in cold, damp conditions but among beautiful trees, traffic-free lanes & explored West Sussex’s heritage of ancient & illustrious buildings, inn, priory, manor house, Country Centre & windmill with ample time for tasty refreshments, heart-warming conversations on Clarion matters & healthy exercise on quiet country roads, immaculately planned by Jim & safely executed [thankfully no-one was executed on the roaring A27].


The Next Ride: 4 November 2012: Barnham Circular

28 October 2012

Eastergate – Westergate – Oving – Shopwyke – Westhampnett – Westerton – Waterbeach – Halnaker – Boxgrove – Fontwell – Walberton

This is a hastily-put-together ride to replace the planned  Haywards Heath circular, which has had to be postponed due to non-availability of the lunch venue. Some of the territory may be familiar from previous rides, but I think some of it is new.

The route takes us westwards from Barnham towards the outskirts of Chichester, then back by a different route. We’ll have lunch early in the ride at the Gribble Inn at Oving. The main meals are a bit pricier than I’d have liked, but there are cheaper “light bite” options. After lunch we will have a chance to see the ruins of Boxgrove Priory, and there is a (mandatory) tea stop at the wonderful, cycle-friendly Aldingbourne Country Centre (which also does furniture restoration, although it may be a bit tricky to get a 3-piece suite on your bike!)

Length: 18 miles

Duration: about 5 hours with lunch and tea stops and a short stop at Boxgrove Priory

Terrain: About a mile of Tinwood Lane (classed by OS as “other routes with public access” – green dots – and may be a bit muddy). Otherwise tarmac roads, mostly quiet ones. Short section of A29, on pavement if preferred. NO HILLS.

Start: Barnham Station at 11:50.

Getting there: 10:50 train from Brighton (Chichester train); 10:04 from London Victoria (Bognor train)

Getting home: Trains to Brighton at 16:44 and 17:08 (journey time about 1 hour); to London at 17:05 (about 2 hours)