Ride by Phil and Verna

Unfortunately, due to a badly sprained ankle that needed gentle use only, our leaders for May could not complete the whole planned ride with us. This didn’t present a big problem as the route was sent to us in advance and was about the normal length of about 40 miles. Phil and Verna led the other 4 tandems for the first part of the ride which was partly on the gentle and traffic free Centurion Way starting in Chichester. A couple of starter hills to warm us up followed and then a stop for muffins and coffee (for those that had a functioning flask!).
Phil and Verna left us at the bottom of the next hill and from then on the real hills started and the rough tracks. We were given the choice of two pubs for lunch, the nearest one being the smallest. We made the decision to go on to the second one as it meant one less hill after lunch. The car park was ominously full as we rode in and all the tables inside were booked. Fortunately the staff were very helpful and said we were welcome to eat outside. It was a bit chilly but the tables were sheltered from the cold NE wind, the food was good and the service incredibly quick. In fact we had barely sat down when the food started arriving. After lunch the route went through the QEII Country Park where we rode past many family groups enjoying the barbecue areas along the way. The track climbed gently up to the top of the hill and then plummeted down to the road. I’m sure this bit was fine on Phil and Verna’s full suspension tandem but quite scary for the rest of us, even Christopher reportedly wanted Dave to slow down! The next section was a few miles of the South Downs Way. The views to the north were lovely and the terrain challenging. Traction, or lack of it, was notable on some of the gravelly climbs. It felt like a significant achievement to reach the road where we were to leave the track and we stopped for a while to recover ourselves. Just as promised the next section was a lovely downhill for several miles with only the odd bump to spoil it, not only that but the wind behind too. The lack of cycling available in the Antarctic for Clem was showing by now as he and Caroline were dropping off the back and we even heard that he had to walk up the last tiny little molehill – something about a bad knee! We had a well earned tea stop at the Roman Palace at Fishbourne before returning to Chichester after about 41 miles.
Despite the occasional curses to the absent leaders during the more challenging parts of the ride we all agreed it was a lovely route and well worth the effort. Report by Liz

Tandem ride May 2010 - Provisional Route. To download the .gpx file for use in SatNav and mapping software right click on the link and choose "Save Link As".

Andy and Tish - Photo by Dave

Coffee Stop - Photo by Dave

East Marden - Photo by Dave

Clem and Caroline - Photo by Dave

At the end of the South Down Way section - Photo by Dave

Liz and Ken - Photo by Christopher

Andy and Tish - Photo by Christopher

We made it! - Photo by Christopher

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