*****11/01/04 - Pulborough by Liz and Ken Report by Liz and Ken

Our January ride saw 5 tandem crews meeting in Pulborough, at the nature reserve, after a night of heavy rain. Although some would have liked the café to be open earlier than 10:00, it was probably a good job that it wasn't as we were able to set off more or less at he advertised time. Luckily the sky cleared and we set off in sunshine but with a strong and blustery wind.

The morning route was quite gentle along fairly quiet lanes to the north, passing not far from the windmill at Shipley. As we turned westwards – and started to battle against the wind – a huge and very black cloud appeared. Inevitably we didn't miss it and the shower turned out to be very heavy, almost hail, but fortunately only brief. The sun re-appeared and we had pretty much dried off by the time we arrived at the lunch stop in the village of Kirdford.

After the break we had the usual after lunch hill, upwards obviously, which although not very steep did seem to drag on a bit. We decided a democratic decision was required as to the route to be taken back. The options were about the same distance, one on fairly major roads, the other, which we had intended to follow, took us on quiet lanes but through what had been a “not quite up to the bottom bracket” flood the day before. Given the amount of rain in the previous 24 hours we feared that it may be deeper. Everyone was obviously feeling quite adventurous beacause there were no doubts (at this stage) just cries of “lets go for it!” Just as we approached the flood a Land Rover was coming the other way so we all stopped to watch it come through. The water did appear to be up to the top of his wheels, but we thought that was just because he was going quite fast. It was definitely deeper than the day before! One stoker reported that as he looked down at the pedals (without his feet on them) they were only just out of the water at the top of the revolution! (You would think the RO would have a bit more sense of duty to keep pedalling!) We all took it in good heart and it was only a few more miles to go with wet feet back to the welcoming café for tea and cakes.

Group Photo after lunch - Photo by Henry

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