Thursday, July 19, 2007

Summer Sun and Modern Morals

We were back to two again this week as Jon H took an evening out to put the final touches to his fancy dress outfit for the weekend's Harley Davidson rally. Jon P and Al fancied a gentler ride after the rigors of the weekend - legs were still aching from the Chichester Challenge - as we set off on a bumble up to a favorite focal point for the TCA; Old Winchester Hill, a site of special archaeological and natural interest. We took the gentle ascent to the ridge of the South Downs by country lane and farm track; the pace was gentle and sociable on a glorious summer evening.

Jon and Al take a shady break in Chidden

We followed the road towards the nature reserve keeping a bird list as we went, although we also admired the flora which we could identify - for example rose bay willow herb in full bloom within the overgrown hedgerows.

Jon rides into the sunset

We turned off the road and onto the track which leads to the summit of the hill. There were a number of other couples enjoying the rare glimpse of the sun this summer (we suspected however that they had different motives to the TCA duo). We hung around to admire the view (that is the vista, not the other couples) and for the customary photos before descended the hill to the west.

On top of Old Winchester Hill

The bridle path off the hill is part of the South Downs way and is an excellent fast descent. The other bonus is that it leads directly to the Shoe Inn at Exton which has arguably the best beer garden of any of our regular haunts. Jon headed for the bar and came back with two pints of the excellent Wadworth's Summersault. We sat in the garden overlooking the mill stream enjoying the essence of a good summer's ride.

Jon gets the beers in: The Shoe Inn (above)
and it's picturesque beer garden (below)

From Exton we had a few hundred yards to do along the main A32 to Meonstoke where one can join the disused railway line. Once on this well-ridden track we cranked the pace up a little for the 3-mile dash to Soberton. We commented on the dark clouds gathering to the east when we were on the hill but the skies had darkened even more all of a sudden. Sure enough, as we emerged from the railway line onto the road at Soberton, there were the characteristic occasional large droplets of rain preeminent of a thunder storm. We did what any man would do: hammered the last couple of hundred yards as if our lives depended on it - up the hill and over the village green - for the shelter of the White Lion's covered patio.

Sure enough by the time we'd ordered our regular pints of Palmers 200 the rain was lashing down as thunder rumbled in the distance - summer 2007 had obviously suffered another relapse. We sat in the shelter of the pub and counted our blessings as we had for once avoided a soaking. By the time we had downed our beer and set of over the hill back to Hambledon the rain had stopped completely and we knew a home made curry waiting at home would complete a near-perfect summer ride.

As we sat in the White Lion with our pints of ale we considered a problem of modern morals that we now canvas our readership to solve: The previous week Al had asked Jon P's permission to take a promotional insert from inside his mountain biking magazine. The flier advertised a special offer for a bike computer that Al thought might appeal to John H. Having passed the details on to John H Al subsequently realised that there was a unique number on the reverse of the flier that could be used to enter a competition for a £4500 mountain bike. Here's the dilemma: Would Al be entitled to keep the bike if he won? Should he give the bike to Jon, or should some compromise be reached? Your suggestions are invited in the comments; how we resolved the problem over a pint will be explained before our next posting...

Route Map
(click to enlarge):
Elevation Profile:
(Posted By: Al)

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At 10:04 pm, July 24, 2007, Anonymous spm said...

First to post a comment. Looking forward already to the next report as I will be making up for the Buriton Betrayal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At 6:15 am, July 25, 2007, Blogger kiwi mother said...

How interesting! Here I am sitting in Ashburton, New Zealand, and I find on your blog a picture of The Shoe where Ju (TCA) and I had lunch with friends just 5 weeks ago! (Is it really that long ago...). As for your moral dilemma, I shall have to ponder further on that.

At 5:45 pm, July 25, 2007, Blogger Big Sis Ju said...

Its an easy one - compensate Jon for the price of the mag and the bike is yours Al!

At 12:13 am, July 26, 2007, Blogger simon said...

I am with Big sis!

At 8:08 am, July 26, 2007, Blogger TCA said...

you noticed the comp mate, keep the mag and the bike - job done. Besides Jons bike is newer than yours.


At 10:12 am, July 26, 2007, Blogger simon said...

I noticed there is a town called SOBERton! haahahahah!

At 11:26 am, July 26, 2007, Blogger Maalie said...

>The bridal path off the hill
I take it this is where the wedding processions proceed on their way to church? Whilst the horses take the bridle path of course.

As for the dilemma, I think it depends on whether the magazine was given or loaned. It seems you were given permission to take it so I don't think there is a problem. But the gentlemanly thing to do would be to come to an agreement. Maybe you won't win it anyway.

At 3:50 pm, July 26, 2007, Blogger TCA said...

Maalie, Comments noted and corrected. Thanks.

TCA Editorial Committee

At 4:30 pm, July 26, 2007, Blogger lorenzothellama said...

I think you should keep the bike and put a child's seat on the back so you can take Jon out for rides.

At 9:34 pm, July 26, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice Blog, well i reckon the very fact that you thought about keeping the bike will bugger your chances of winning, but if you got it you should buy us all a pint or ten and we'll all side with you!


At 7:24 pm, July 27, 2007, Blogger TCA said...

Modern morals resolution: Jon and Al conceived to take the bike to the mountain biking world championships and sell raffle tickets (limited to 500) at £15 a piece. This would raise £7500 which would be split between the pair to buy two £3750 bikes.


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