Wednesday, November 29, 2006

South Chichester Exploration

If the truth be told Jon and Al weren't really 'up for it' tonight. With so much rain in recent days the thought of slogging up the Trundle and getting our freshly cleaned bike all s**t-up (as they say in Leicester) was too much. It had been a long week. The route was well worn. The pubs were getting pretty predictable - the lights didn't have the range in the winter to make the Royal Oak. Perhaps there were more rewarding routes elsewhere... There was no excuse. But in the old days it wasn't like this. It wasn't shameful to take a week 'off'. And so it was decreed that tonight would be a Poof's Ride. Once the words were uttered, in some sort of mutual, disgraceful pact, Jon and Al visibly appeared to relax.

In days of old (when Billy-Bob had a casting vote), a 'Poof's Ride' often meant a night on the couch in front of the TV with a curry; With 'General Ade' barking the orders the TCA regime seems to have got a lot more harsh. We decided that there was no need for too much guilt tonight; we were at least kitting up and getting on our bikes! Our plan was to check out the barren, flat, bridlepathless area to the south of Chichester as opposed to heading north onto the downs. Jon knew the pubs were there, it was just a matter of finding a reasonable route.

The first section of the ride had a surreal quality to it as we hammered down the pedestrianised centre of Chichester in search of a cashpoint. Cash in hand we then picked up the old towpath out of town towards Sidlesham where Jon explained there was a 'cracking boozer'.

[There's no point embellishing the route, it was dull. Mainly road-based, look at the maps, there's no need to bore you with the details, Ed.]

The Crab & Lobster, Sidlesham: "the 300 year old Crab & Lobster is in a superb location on the banks of Pagham harbour close to the nature reserve". Sounds nice, eh? Often we have joked "...closed for refurbishment" as we have neared a pub after a long slog, desperate for a pint. But this time all our nightmares came true. Of course Jon took the stick, this was on his watch after all! Dead as a Dodo.

Crab & Lobster, Sidlesham - what it could have looked like

Perhaps we should have flogged up the trundle - at least the pubs to the north are in no need of a refurb? Anyway, pressing on we headed towards Birdham Marina where there was another mug-shaped icon on the O/S map. Checking the map regularly we made it over the bridge and found ourselves cycling between the expensive yachts. The 'pub' was in fact a nasty Butlin's-style bar complex, wholly unsuitable for the TCA... even if it had been open.

Never fear, one last chance for a pint, the Crown' at Dell Quay. Picking our way through the yachts again and picking up the Salterns Way, a rare 'off-road' section of the evening, we headed north.

Crown & Anchor, Dell Quay - salvation!

Joseph, Mary and sweet baby Jesus the Crown was open! And they served a cracking pint of Charles Wells Bombardier. The evening was saved, much to Jon's relief.

Suitably refreshed we picked up the Chichester Ship Canal tow path back towards town. The reassuring feel of tyres-on-mud and the sight of shite-on-goggles made the boys at last feel at home on the rough track. We soon had to pick up the tarmac again though until the Southern Leisure Centre where, with lack of beer affecting our navigational skills, we got disorientated in a caravan park.

On the whole an unsatisfactory evening, despite a nice beer, and with 20.4 miles on the clock this was hardly a Poof's Ride! As suspected the area south of Chichester holds little for the intrepid off-road biker. We have learnt our lesson - the trundle it is next time.. or a night on the couch with a curry; there's no shame in being a willy-woofter once-in-a-while!

Route Maps:

(Posted by: Al)

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At 2:52 am, December 01, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You say dull, boring, unsatisfactory - but you have once again performed for the fans. Well done - I wonder if the beer tasted better for the effort?

Thank you TCA!!!

At 2:54 am, December 01, 2006, Blogger simon said...

nice for you to come out of the closet...!
Riding in really wet conditions can really ruin a bike.. you get all sorts of crap in the chain and sprokets.... LAst time I did it the bike would not change gears.. and the chain even stuck to the sprokets causing the whole thing to lock up... :o(

At 7:23 am, December 01, 2006, Blogger TCA 2006 said...

Knackered chain, gears brakes, sprokets etc. is par for the course here - it is more unusual for us to have a DRY run! That's why we generally run disc brakes, the Shimano XT are pretty robust too but essentially we have to aslo spend a lot of time cleaning the bikes as well as riding them!


At 7:27 am, December 01, 2006, Blogger TCA 2006 said... the way, although we have coined the unfortunate phrase 'poof's ride' we do not mean to be disparaging towards anyone, whatever their sexual persuasion. No offence intended...


At 4:38 am, December 02, 2006, Blogger TCA 2006 said...

Sofa and curry next time eh! No seriously at least you got on the bikes and checked out the flat pan of Chi!if only to rule it out of the TCA list. The Crown and Anchor is a fine pub and is where we launched the BillyBob Kayak...expensive prawns if I recall. I hope John cooked a suitable meal to make up for the pub disaster.

Good works fella's.


At 10:55 am, December 02, 2006, Blogger TCA 2006 said...

Jon's staple ration of chilli from the slo cooker. Steamed syrup sponge for pud (no custard! Cheapskate). As you know tough wil eat anything after a long ride, barely tasted it -didn't touch the sides.


At 1:19 am, December 03, 2006, Blogger simon said...

I guess wet conditions would be "normal" for you guys... What do you use to clean the bike? wd 40?

What i have found with more expensive components eg XT/R is that, whilst being a better "performer". They are more fragile (perhaps because its all about weight saving)..and seem to go out of tune, especially in wet conditions).

I do use XT/r cables and find these require no adjustment for at least 12months...

I thought a poof was a cushion....

I agree about discs.. amazing in the wet..

At 9:05 am, December 03, 2006, Anonymous titchfield2006 said...


We have two great products here for bikes: Muck Off and Bike Spray. The MO is a powerful detergent for cleaning the bike and Bike Spray is like a less oily version of WD40 which is used on the whole bike to repel dirt (used in addition to usual lube). We also have some special chain oils designed to work for extended periods of time in wet/muddy conditions.

I disagree to a certain extent with your review of XT/r components - I think they are MORE robust than others in the range - I have had both my front and rear mechs upgraded to XT after wearing out my Deore group set, never had any problems, love them!

The trade secret is to hose down your bike with plain water as soon as you get in from the ride but here at the TCA we are a lazy bunch so usually have to resort to hours of scrubbing caked on, dried up crud!


At 9:07 am, December 03, 2006, Blogger TCA 2006 said...


Did you read my last comment on the previous post about securing you with a ride with the TCA in May?

Post follow-up comment here if you like. Have discussed it in more detail with MK and think we have a plan!


At 1:07 am, December 04, 2006, Blogger simon said...

Flying back to UK for a week after Spain. SO lets do it as well as a ride in Spain.. I will try to bring my bike.. if not I will bring my gear and hire one!


At 1:10 am, December 04, 2006, Blogger simon said...

ps re Xt... I have never tried another brand but have used various Xt, Xtr.. My point was XT is just as robust as the XTr.. the weight saving is negligable.. and XT seems very robust.

I was gong to change my front derailer to XT/r but descided against it.

Certainly the Shimano range is better name most brands...

Saw a cannondale with carbon fibre brakes.... it did not think they would get that hot!

At 10:56 pm, December 05, 2006, Anonymous Sverige said...

This turns out to be a quite different picture of you compared with going on joint customer visits to pharmaceutical manufacturers. I am impressed. Nice focus on pubs and brew I think. Not being an all terrain biker I cannot relate to all biking details. However, next time you are in Sweden I promise to let you borrow my old army bike. It was made in 1920. We might be able to remove a few kg (on the bike) by removing the head light. In Feb-march the weather will be terrible or plenty of snow so you might need spiked tires.

How about that Larsson going to Man U? 35 years, used to play for Helsingborg? Success?

At 5:44 pm, December 06, 2006, Blogger TCA 2006 said...

Hi Sverige

Your Army bike sounds great - sounds purpose-build for the TCA!

Yes, I hear about Larsson - I have a tendancy towards (Glasgow)Celtic so know all about him.

Maybe a good buy if he scores some goals eh?

See you in Week 3 for a do on that bike, including headlamp... do you have photo?



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