Thursday, July 12, 2007

Fuel Tank Fun

Al was on holiday this week therefore a TCA duo left Jon's house at 19.00 on a rather gloomy, grey night. Unfortunately this was after a somewhat delayed start as John was late - complaining of a dodgy fuel gauge on his new van - running out of petrol on the A27. After a mercy dash from Mrs. John, jerry can in hand, the pair decided to acquaint themselves further with Downs terrain - in readiness for the impending Chichester Challenge - by using parts of last week's epic ride. Sections described previously as phases 1, 8 and 9 with a cross country bit in between were order of the day: The poofs equivalent of the 'long Chichester ride', and an excellent opportunity for Jon to try out his spanking brand new camera!

Jon told tall tales of flooding and knee-deep mud on the track approaching East Lavant but this week the Goodwood perimeter was as dry as a bone; it was amazing how quickly the water had disappeared after some dry weather. Consequently the Jo(h)ns got to East Lavant and Chalk Pit Lane (leading to the Trundle) a little less wet and muddy. In fact by this time the sun had even began to come out and they had good views of Chichester, in contrast to the previous TCA outing. Turning west and, departing from previously established routes, the pair cycled alongside a cornfield in the direction of Kingley Vale. The descent generated a lot of speed but this was curtailed midway down at a stile. Once through the stile though the steep grassy slope continued until a stop for... another stile. Yet another stile - why put stiles in the middle of a decent downhills?

Towards Kingley Vale - John disappearing ahead at the stile

Up and over a bridge traversing a disused railway line, they dropped down into a valley and a stream where John disturbed a Little Egret as the pair headed up to the A286. They crossed the main road and cycled up-hill joining the bridleway leading off Bidderton Lane. On first appearances the downhill ahead looked easy but the overgrown grass camouflaged ruts below which occasionally took the riders by surprise. The track joined South Harting Road where some urgent maintenance of derailers and associated jockey wheels was required, tightly entangled with long strands of grass.

Kingley Vale

Once on the road the boys toddled along past various farmsteads looking for a bridleway sign but had to refer to the map to find the exit hidden away in the vegetation. The bridleway was similarly overgrown but the last descent was soon completed, again miraculously dry compared to last week's ride. The final slog home was completed in super-quick time spurred on by thoughts of Jon's 'spag bog' [Sic.? Ed.] and quality TV in the form of 'Supersize Kids - Britains Tallest Teens' (involving a 7ft 3 inch kid called Paul, with huge feet and still growing - any relation of the Bowman clan? - we wondered). We have to report that we committed the TCA cardinal sin of omitting a pub visit; are we getting too serious? [No, you just didn't have adequate supervision! Ed.]

John, posing astride his magnificent machine

(Posted by: Jon)

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At 9:05 pm, July 16, 2007, Anonymous Mrs John! said...

John was already running behind schedule before he ran out of fuel! He'd inadvertently locked himself out of the house, with me (Mrs John) stuck in traffic he had no choice but to proceed without keys! Fortunatly the VW was already loaded (with the exception of the important fuel)!

At 7:36 am, July 17, 2007, Blogger simon said...

mmnnn nothing worse! A dry tank and a dry ride!

At 11:17 am, July 17, 2007, Blogger TCA said...

Mrs John you are a true friend of the TCA. We thank you for your refueling services.

At 11:19 am, July 17, 2007, Blogger TCA said...

Simon, I'm sure you would not have made such an amateur error.


At 5:29 pm, July 19, 2007, Blogger Maalie said...

I can find no reference to any pub in this account. I thought this was the one inviolable clause in the constitution of TCA. Maybe foregoing the pubs was the deal made with Mrs J in return for the mercy-bid petrol dash?


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