What a beautiful day it was today – these sunny early winter days are some of the best of the year. And so it was out on the bike, heading for the hills.
I started at the “Old Toll Bridge” over the Adur – it has held a fond place in my memory since I was a small boy – I remember waiting for a train in my Grandad’s car back when it was still a toll bridge. The Railway has been gone for over 45 years but the house next to it where my mum lived when she was a girl is still there.
And it always feels good to down at the rivers edge. Anyway off over the bridge, over the A27 and onto the mud! Puddles, slippy mud, dogs stopping dead in front of you … After climbing out past Lancing Ring I heard a bike coming up behind me and wanting to pass as I was slowing down to assess the route through the mud. Not for this chap on a cross-cycle, dropped handle bars et al – whiz past he went and promptly went splat!
No speed records today – just enjoying the moment in the winter sun. The rolling hills looked just the same as the photo’s I took as a teenager.
My plan was to do the three Rings but once at Chanctonbury it felt good and I just carried on west towards Storrington and Amberley.
The effects of the torrential rain recently can be seen with the flooding of the fields in the Arun Valley. The path took me down to river level where the mud had been churned by cattle, water stood just below path level and cycling though it sapped my energy quicker than you can say.
By the time I got to the road at the top of Bury Hill I had had it, 17+ miles of glorious off-road paths. I just love the views. After the long downhill descent to the A27 I continued into Littlehampton and jumped on a train back to Shoreham. All told it was 26miles, not quite 2000ft of climbing, and half a field of mud stuck to my bike – as one traveller on the train pointed out.