Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Two Lions (and a Vine)

The name of the game for this week was a gentle spin to keep the legs limbered up before the onslaught of the weekend's Chichester Challenge. With Jon and John out of action it was decided that the tandem would again be the weapon of choice for a relaxing summertime cycle. What's more Al had suggested the prospect of a new TCA pub, so this was an adventure of sorts - a pub exploration. It was the warmest day of the year so far therefore nothing particularly strenuous was at the forefront of either rider's mind.

This ride would take us in a southerly direction following the quiet country lanes towards Southwick, a villiage occupied entirely by tenants of the Southwick Estate, with no private ownership, which overall gives the place a rather 'Wicker Man' feel to it. The off-road bug did go to the rider's heads at one stage, but they thought better of a short-cut through Creech Woods after the well-maintained track turned into a ill-defined, heavily rutted wooodland path after a few hundred yards.

Two reasonable pints of Bateman's Combined Harvest were enjoyed at the Golden Lion, Southwick, whose beer garden is orientated perfectly to completely miss any of the remaining sunshine on a glorious evening. We were soon back on bikes and, after a lucky trip around the Southwick Brewery building adjacent to the pub (or was it Billy-Bob's dodgy steering?) we were off again, through Newtown and on to the Bold Forester.

A Toast to Absent Friends at the
Golden Lion, Southwick

The tandem made steady progress despite the easy pace and (after keeping their heads down for an injection of pace past Billy-Bob's boss's house) soon delivered the riders to a pub only visited occasionally by the TCA. However, it was Fish & Chip Van night at the 'Forester, which had attracted a horde of self-indulgent biking types, clogging the carpark with their chrome-coated monstrosities, choking the air with the exhaust fumes and shattering the tranquil summer evening with the roar of their engines. This was clearly not for the TCA so we set the controls for the the heart of Soberton.

The Bold Forester on Fish & Chip night

Having parked up outside the pub, paid our respects to the locals and ordered our beers we sat on the benches outside the pub enjoying the last few rays of the setting summer sun as it sank over the village green. The church bells chimed gently on practice night to add to the idyll. Some delightful local children asked insightful and educated questions about our contraption before being whisked off in their parents quiet, economical Lexus. We finished our drinks satisfied with that our local knowledge had spared us the monosyllabic conversations we would have had to endure at our scheduled stop.

Al gives a sunset seminar on the
vagaries of tandem technology to
local children at the White Lion, Soberton

We turned for home but decided on a more unorthodox route to Hambledon, turning North from Soberton as opposed to retracing our step, or a straight up-and-over option. The main advantage of this choice was that our ride would now take us straight past the door of local pub the Vine in Hambledon. Temptation was too much to resist on such a balmy evening.

En Route to the Vine, Hambledon

The short hop home followed and supper of ...not just any curry, this is M&S chicken jalfrazi! We were ready for the Chichester challenge.

Route Map (click to enlarge):

(Posted by: Al)

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At 8:33 am, July 28, 2008, Blogger simon said...

I am worried about your breathing worzel!! perhaps one less pint at the end ;o)

At 9:32 pm, July 28, 2008, Blogger TCA said...

it was the thought of the M & S curry that probably accounted for the heavy breathing, I would not worry Simon.

At 8:07 am, July 29, 2008, Blogger TCA said...

(that last comment was from Billy-Bob by the way...)

I like to fake the heavy breathing to give the impression we had worked very hard on the ride. Clearly it did not work....


At 7:42 am, July 31, 2008, Blogger simon said...

mate- at least you are out there.. I was going great an now my knees are on fire :o(


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