Staycation Ride

11th May 2014

Sun, sea, sand and sparkling chrome

By the time of the Road Captain’s planning meeting last November, it was obvious that I wasn’t going to get to St. Tropez in 2014. I decided to put on a ride in the UK for other C&F Riders who couldn’t get to St Tropez either; obviously we had to go to the seaside. The ride had to be easily accomplished in a day and to include proper fish and chips. I was also reassured that there would be other Road Captains in the same position, so I was able to plan quite an ambitious ride, which would include a conducted ride back in the afternoon, as I realised that it was very likely that we would have new riders with us.

So the planning went ahead - the destination was Selsey, a town (or village?) I knew well. The route involved Stane Street on the way down (the first Roman road in the United Kingdom, linking Chichester and London) and a part of the legendary bikers’ road, the A272 on the way back. Add in glorious views of the South Downs and the Weald and warm sunny weather and it should be perfect.

You know who you are

Meeting up at Warr’s was complicated slightly by accommodating some filming, but Les soon got the shop open and the coffee on and supplied croissants and ‘pain chocolats’. After the usual attention-grabbing briefing we were off on the dot of 10.15am. Indeed the group, which numbered 30 people on 27 bikes, all kept up very well and the day’s timings all worked perfectly. At the final recce on the previous Wednesday, Mick Newstead and I discovered that the fish and chip shop was bizarrely closed on Sundays, but that a warm welcome awaited us at “The Riviera Family Restaurant”, in Selsey’s (only) main street.

The usual route down the A3 followed until we got onto the A243 through Chessington, past the World of Adventures and on along the A24 to Ryka’s café at the foot of Box Hill. Although we had been warned of a cycle event in the area, no issues arose and there were more Harleys in the car-park than sports bikes.

After a 30 minute leg stretch, the trek to the coast continued; A24 to Beare Green, right on to the A29 through Ockley, and on to quite a few miles of almost straight roads where the national speed limit was easily attained. There are some modern alignment changes where the current road avoids steep gradients, river crossings and boggy bits that didn’t trouble the Roman foot-soldiers. Enough to keep the interest up, and I never seemed to run out of drop-offs so everyone else was staying alert as well. I only heard one report of a drop-off who had gone into relax mode by the time the last man turned up, but no names, no pack drill.

We had changed the route slightly after the final recce to have less A27 and more countryside, but we pulled into the Selsey car park at exactly 1pm. The return ride left at 3pm so participants had plenty of time for a proper lunch and a look at the sea. When there is a return ride, the rule is no alcohol at lunch (Harley’s rule, not mine).

Who needs St. Tropez

The pictures give a good impression of how nicely the day turned out, despite some poor weather forecasts. It was never really warm, but waterproofs weren’t needed.

First task on the homeward route was the obligatory Sportster fuel stop, then back to the A27 for a quick blast along the Chichester by-pass before turning off onto the Petworth Road, the A285. The national speed limit signs were again studiously obeyed until slowing for Petworth, where we turned right on to the A272, through Wisborough Green (the home of lawn mower racing) to pick up the A29 again at Pulborough. A slight detour from the outward route to maintain interest involved some of the 70mph bit of the A24 until all too soon we were back at Ryka’s where the ride ended.

The C&F Facebook page helped prior to the run to gauge the level of support, and since of the 30 or so people who attended, more than 20 had indicated on Facebook that they were attending, it seems that we are getting good information out to our members. It also helped in being able to give the restaurant an accurate estimate of how many of us there would be. So if you’re a C&F member, and a user of Facebook, why not look for the C&F Riders page? It is a closed group, so anything you post is only viewable to other members.

Special thanks go to: Mick Newstead for help with the recce and being last man on the homeward route; David O’Flaherty for being last man on the outward route; Les Channing for acting as roving marshal. Emine San for some of the photographs.

So that was 27 bikes x 150 miles for the Chapter Challenge = 4050 miles. You are all registered, aren’t you?

Michael Howers - C&F Road Captain