Another evening of excellent cycling weather with glorious sunny conditions and no wind to speak of, as 4 of us (Edwin, Julian, Janet, and myself) set off bound for Sidlesham. Our planned destination had been the "Crab & Lobster", but we had heard at the last moment that it was closed for refurbishment, so instead the ride was diverted to the nearby Anchor.
We headed west right through central Bognor Regis to meet the seafront at Aldwick. The tide was out and good views were had of the Bognor Rocks, protruding like dragons teeth out of the shallow water in the distance. Then leaving the sea behind, we continued inland to Nyetimber, where we took Summer Lane and a very rural route across fields, crossing the Pagham Rife en route.
From hereon it was narrow roads and farm tracks all the way.
Our route via Chalder and Bramber Farm has been well established by the club for many years, although the "No Cycling" signs and "Footpath Only" notices may give the unwary the impression that cycling is discouraged. On this occasion, as we opened a gate to proceed along the lane to Bramber Farm, we saw the farmer coming towards us in his landrover. Somewhat disconcertingly he pulled up on the track ahead of us, stopped his engine, and got out, heading towards us.
Never one to back away from a challenge, I nonetheless felt it prudent to allow our ever present solicitor (Edwin) to go ahead of me, whilst I attempted to integrate myself at the back of the ride. However any thoughts of confrontation were quickly dispelled as the farmer wished us good evening, commented on the fine weather, pointed us in the direction of the pub, and offered to shut the gate behind us! He then went about his business as we rode across his land, through the farmyard, crossed the route of the old Selsey tramway, and into the pub garden. As is becoming the norm, the Chichester group were already halfway through their beer as we arrived.
We left the pub about 9.20pm and as it was still daylight, we headed south, then crossed the fields to to reach the edge of Pagham harbour nature reserve and cycled along the embankment back to Pagham and Bognor Regis. The harbour is an isolated place at the best of times, but in the silent twilight it becomes a very beautiful spot to cycle around.
From Pagham we returned to Felpham using nearly the full length of the promenade to round off an evening of almost entirely traffic free cycling. Return mileage to Felpham was 18.5.