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West Dorset Mountain Bikers

2011 Biking Weekend

horse and groom

This years weekend away was organised by Rod, we went east for a change to West Sussex staying at The Horse & Groom in East Ashling near Chichester. MTB'ing or walking were: Gary & Janet, Ian & Veronica, Ed, Dick & Deb, Colin & Trish, Paul & Liz, Rod, Steve, Mike, Derek, Sue, Gina, Lin, Carolyn - in total 19 souls, our largest group yet! Should have been 20, but unfortunately Jan had to pull out at the last minute due to Kate's hip operation.

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.... and so by various vehicles and routes (as worked out by very confused sat nav's) we arrived in dribs and drabs at the Horse & Groom in East Ashling (West Sussex) for the 2011 biking weekend. This years weekend was organised by Rod who suggested that as we always went west and/or north of Weymouth it was time to explore trails to the east so off we went to West (eh!) Sussex.


Following a healthy lunch of beer, chips and various other fatty foods we set off on Friday's 16 mile (according to Rod) ride. No group photo exists, but those that went were, Gary, Ian, Dick & Deb, Colin & Trish, Paul & Liz, Carolyn, Sue, Rod, Steve, Derek and Mike (eventually, more of him later).




Meanwhile Janet, Veronica, Gina and Lin set off on a short walk to the pub in Funtington, a round trip of 4 miles with excellent maps prepared by GB they couldn't get lost. How wrong you can be!


<<<<<<<<< Veronica, Gina & Janet



racton folly

ian sumby

After 6km of road and shouts of "I've brought a mountain bike not a road bike....." and "should've brought my slippery slick road tyres ..." Mr Hine eventually took us off-road and past the The Racton Monument or Folly (left).

The ever helpful Ian (right) points to the blindingly obvious monument at the side of the track.

ladiesMeanwhile just outside East Ashling the ladies are having directional problems!

The bikers continued past the very nice Stansted House (below right) and then up thru the woods to Lodge Farm thru Haslett Copse and down the hill into Stoughton and The Hare & Hounds (below left ) for a beer or two.


stansted housethe hare and hounds

At this point we met Mike. He had arrived at the Horse & Groom a little late and followed us with the map that Rod had kindly left him. Unfortunately Rod hadn't mentioned in which direction we were going to do the ride and Mike was doing the route back to front!

Here are a few photos from the pub stop ........


ian ian dick deb mike ladies
On his 4th pint of the day Ian goes for the Isogel boost! Ian enjoying a pint, not sure what Deb is about to do to Dick with her pinkie! Mike does his impression of a 'local yokel'!

Meanwhile somewhere in West Sussex. The ladies are still lost!

We left the pub to climb the inevitable post pub hill, Mr Organ showed off by getting to the top first then descending to do it again! After the climb up Stoughton Down (a definite Oxymoron!) to the top of Bow Hill we gratefully descended for 2km to West Stoke before using the road (again!) to return to The Horse & Groom. ladies

Meanwhile somewhere near Funtington .......... the ladies are still poring over maps to find their way back to East Ashling! Eventually they did find their way back to civilisation (the pub) and apparently it was all the fault of the Postman who they asked for directions!

After more ale/wine/cider people started to drift away to their rooms to shower and change before the evenings festivities. Those who left early (that would be me! GB) got nice long, hot showers. Those who tarried a little longer over their ale and wine got to watch a small amount of cold water dribble out of the showers. Although the showers and lack of water aren't specifically mentioned, it is well worth reading the reviews of the pub on, you might recognise the Landlady from the reviewers descriptions!

The evening meal was very good, large portions of wholesome pub grub, and was washed down with copious amounts of ale and wine. The evenings entertainment was provided by Mr Sumby with the Wondrous Hair Restorer sketch in which Mr King went from bald bloke to Liverpudlian look-a-like (" ... calm down ... ") in a matter of seconds after the use of the Re-Gain hair restorer spray. One side effect of the spray was to also removed the few other people left in the restaurant who apparently didn't take tokindly to Ian's over-generous use of the evil smelling concoction. Mr Sumby then demonstrated the Marigold Balloon on the Head feat after he had coerced Taff into having a go, the pictures below tell the story far better than my words.


Veronica, Sue, Derek, Gina and Janet enjoy the entertainment


Deb, Sue, Derek, Gina and Janet enjoy the entertainment


Dick, Liz, Trish and Colin enjoy the entertainment



Ian gets Paul started ....


... more help required .....


....perhaps standing up will help ......


... nope, sitting down is easier!



That's the way to do it! Ian shows Paul how its done.


Steve under the covers before the magic transformation


Post hair spray, perhaps Rod will look like this one day!


Post entertainment some people (names have been noted) crept away for an early(ish) night fearing that further glasses of ale or wine might impair their performance in the following days 32 mile ride around the hills of the South Downs.

Friday's biking route is below:

fridays route



group photo

Saturdays photo call before we set off;

L to R - Carolyn, Sue, Liz, Ian, Steve, Rod, Dick, Paul, Mike, Gary, Ed, Deb, Colin, Trish, Derek.

Following an exceptionally good and very healthy (Not!) breakfast of many things fried, there was a lot of bike fettling going on in the pub car park. Fettling should definitely not be confused with 'furtling' which is the now lost Victorian art of suggestive hand manipulation, although some say that it is not lost and that some members of the group, along with of course 'The Stig', still carry on this ancient art form.

Before leaving there was a tribute paid to Dick's short shorts ...........

shorts shorts shorts

With bikes fettled, bellies full of eggs & bacon and legs ready for the off we left the pub to follow the route as scouted by Hine & Summers (that well known company of Cartographers!). While Mr Summers has much experience of creating routes, reading maps and leading from the front the same cannot be said of Mr Hine and getting lost was definitely 'on the cards'! Sure enough while the main peloton was happily cruising along the road only a few hundred meters from the pub, those at the front suddenly re-appeared and were going in the opposite direction!, Surely we can't be lost already, errr yes we were. After much milling around and confusion a new trail was found to get us where we should be, wherever that was! Unlike Friday's ride it was only 1km or so before we were off road and heading into the hills up Stoke Down (why are so many ups called Down? answers on a post card please).

Having come down the hill past Crows Hall Farm we came to a road junction at Binderton House where we came across the ladies in Veronica's car on their way to West Dean gardens. Veronica then almost caused a pile up by stopping to chat and then a traffic jam as the cars had to stop behind her. We moved swiftly on parting company to a chorus of car horns and going our separate ways. Hopefully the ladies would have a lot less map reading problems today!

The climb up the grassy meadow that is Haye's Down was quite tough and didn't finish there as the trail went on up The Trundle (very well named!) to the ariel's at the top of St Roche's Hill (206m ASL). From here we had fantastic views in all directions as seen in the photos below.

Ed, Liz, Trish, Derek and Dick Deb, Mike, Sue and Colin Ian, Rod, Ed, Trish, Liz and Derek at the top of St Roche's Hill Ed knocks Carolyn flat in order to get his bike into Ian's artistic photography (see below), Trish and Liz look on.
photo goodwood goodwood photo
Goodwood Race Course, looking east from the top of St Roche's Hill Rod and Ian share a moment while looking out over the race course The race course from St Roches Hill Looking north from St Roche's Hill
goodowod goodwood roches hill
Goodwood Race Course from Charlton Park The race course from St Roches Hill Ian's artistic pics
roches hill roches hill roches hill roches hill
St Roches Hill Ed doing lunges for some reason or in the words of the late David Coleman, "...... he's opened his legs and showed his class...." Ian's artistic pics Ian's artistic pics

The descent from the hill took us around the race course, thru the woodland that is Charlton Park and into the village of Charlton. At the top of North Down we saw some Red Kites and Colin saw that he had a puncture. While everyone else pushed on, Gary and Ian stayed behind to offer helpful advice (as in "you don't want to do it like that!") and also retrieve various puncture repairs bits and tools from Colin's backpack, as he couldn't be bothered to take it off. Trish having already gone down and up the other side of the valley before Colin discovered his predicament, came back very concerned as to why Colin hadn't arrived at the top of the opposite hill (note this for later when Trish had an issue or two!). Having got Colin mobile again we headed across the valley to Singleton Wood and up on to the South Downs Way.

After 1km of the SDW we headed north across Bepton Down to the village of Cocking ("oh er missus!" ... stop the very childish jokes please!). The descent thru the woods of Bepton Down turned out to be the highlight of the ride, if you happened to like steep off camber descents, on loose stones and dirt, with a a log or two thrown across the trail every few yards, ... errrr that excludes all but a few of the riders then! With the woods echoing to various shouts and screams, GB, Ian and Ed waited for 5 minutes at the top of the trail so it would be clear and they could get a good run on the descent, it wasn't to be! After only a few hundred yards they came across various people pushing bikes instead of riding them and Trish in a heap after clipping a tree and unable to get up as she was lying with her head pointing down the steep slope and her bike on top of her. We did note that Colin did not come back up the hill to aid his wife as she did when all he had was a puncture! Having got Trish back on her feet we set off again and thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the descent, big wide grins all around. Ian liked it so much that he went back up and did half of it again. Rod also came off on this hill as his rear wheel tried to overtake the front wheel due to the off camber track and Carolyn fell over while walking (how do you do that when sober?) and trying to get her bike over a large log!

the unicord pubWith a few of us (GB, Ed, Derek, Mike, Ian and Carolyn) stopping at the village shop in Cocking for supplies of fluids, eats and ice creams, Rod pushed on to the pub with the rest of the group. The village shop owner didn't seem that happy to see us and watched suspiciously as we took various items from the shelves and cabinets. Ian's joke about Post Office inspectors fell entirely flat and was met with a very serious sounding answer! Meanwhile the rest of the group were getting lost in the village and were (or so I have been told) doing multiple circuits of the church and graveyard, well Rod was leading! bicycle repair man

Eventually we followed the road into Heyshott and the lunchtime stop which was at The Unicorn pub (left). A very nice place which was granted its first licence in 1839 and with a very large garden for us to spread the bikes all over the place. While many ordered food, Ian and GB purveyed themselves of the free pastie that came when you bought two pints of the local ale. The post lunch hill climb (there always is one) must be hard as Messrs Summers and Hine were drinking cordial not beer! Colin and Liz decided it was a good time to repair their punctures. Paul did try to help Liz, but he will never be the superhero that is Bicycle Repair Man (man in the flat cap (right) helping Superman 1 & Superman 2). After much kerfuffle and lots of advice from various people (not much of it any good!) Liz's bike was ready for the trail again, or so she thought!

unicorn pub

Colin and Liz repairing punctures with Paul helping (sic!) Liz

unicorn pub

Trish decides to help Colin


Ian, not drinking beer for a change!
But is that a UFO in the picture!


Lunchtime ale ... for some!




...................... still doing puncture repairs

Meanwhile over in West Dean gardens the ladies were enjoying the flowers, the trees and cream teas.

ox eye daises ladies cream tea

Above left - A field of Ox Eye Daises

Above centre - in the Arboretum

Above Right - Vi and Lin enjoying their cream tea

Left - Lin stealing Poppy seeds from the West Dean gardens

Right - Gina playing peek-a-boo in the round house


Having finished lunch (those pasties were delicious and free! GB) and with the bikes re-fettled, we set off again. Dick, Deb and Paul decided that they had had enough of tracks and forest trails and were returning via the road, given what happened later with Liz's bike Paul made the right decision. Sue persuaded Carolyn not to go back on the road which, 500 meters later, Carolyn regretted as we climbed thru the woods up the very steep Heyshott down. The woodland climb was a very steep track with lots of loose stuff and only Ed & Mike managed to do it without a walk at some point. In the field at the top it was time to repair Liz's flat tyre (again!), she swears she would have made it to the top with fully inflated tyres. Paul's ears may have been burning at this point. It was then an easy ride along the SDW while dodging the runners doing the The South Downs Way Relay Race going in the opposite direction! The SDWRR race has teams of 6 runners, doing the 97 miles of the SDW split into 18 legs, the winning team's time was 10hr 51min.

Coming off of the SDW we went thru the large forest area around Tegleaze. While pootling along in the woods GB and Ian slowed down to let Rod and Carolyn go thru a narrow obstacle on the track. However they (Rod and Carolyn) somehow contrived to knock each off of their bikes and fell over into a mess of nettles and brambles. GB and Ian looked on slightly bemused as to how this had happened, but as they were both ok the bemusement the royal oak gave way to full on hysterical laughter. A bit further on in the forest, Carolyn, Sue and GB were cruising along some way behind the main group when they came to a fork in tracks with no indication of which trail to take and no one in sight (poor leadership by Rod, you should always leave someone at a junction until everyone is thru, basic trail leadership Lesson 1!). Having taken the left trail we continued on, but with no one in sight we stopped to phone and find out where the others were, however GB then discovered that his phone was kaput. Shades of Bravo Two Zero! Fortunately a voice from the woods shouted, "Oi, over 'ere", and behold it was Mike 'the cockney' Organ who had peddled back to see where we were.

Re-united again we continued on to Droke, round the outside of the race course again and back up to the top of St Roche's hill (again!). The reward for doing this was a 3km descent on a fast stony track down to East Lavant. No crashes this time, but Rod did have a puncture half way down. While waiting for Rod at the bottom we noted on the map that there was a pub just around the corner, 'nuff said so off we went to The Royal Oak (right) to wait for Rod. A very nice, but expensive pub. A quick taster of the Betty Stoogs ale made it an easy decision to drink the Arundel Gold instead (very nice, but £3.70 a pint tho'!). We then sat outside on their very comfy chairs and watched a plane do aerobatic stunts over the village, very nice of Rod to arrange this display.

royal oak

At the Royal Oak

royal oak

Carolyn enjoys a cider

royal oak

the Aerobatic plane ... could be a photo of a Seagull for all I know!

royal oak

Liz & Sue

royal oak

Liz & Sue (again)

royal oak

Trish, Colin, Steve and Rod enjoy a pint while Mike dozes off during one of Colin's nature ramble lectures .........

royal oak

Ed, Derek, Liz & Sue

It was now an easy 5km road ride back thru Mid Lavant and West Stoke to The Horse & Groom, what could possibly go wrong, well quite a lot actually! Coming out of Mid Lavant Rod's tyre was rapidly deflating and it was fairly obvious his repair wasn't up to the job, so he and GB stopped to put some more air in. Catching up to the main group, much quicker than we had anticipated, we found them stopped in the middle of a fairly busy country road and milling around someone laying on the ground. The someone turned out to be Trish who had taken quite a tumble as someone (no names, no pack drill) in the fast moving peloton had over braked and caused a bit of a pile up. Bikes were moved out the road, Trish was carried over to the verge on the other side of the road, Mike was dispatched to bring his car back to pick up Trish, first aid kits were broken out and quite rightly someone (Ed of course) started taking photographs (should have done that first! GB).


Trish on the grass verge, not sure why her foot is in Ian's groin


Steve breaks out the band aids....


... at last Colin pays some attention to his wife! .....


I think Ian is enjoying this .................


Not sure why Colin is laughing ......


.... blood on the road!


... later at the pub, the damaged knee ....


.... and damaged elbow

With things under control some of us decided not be road hazards and set off back to the pub, after all there was ale to be drunk! Gradually everyone got back to the pub, where Dick, Deb and Paul were in the car park drinking wine (the pub was shut) and watching the horse racing (it was Derby day) in the camper van. Trish was a bit shaken up, but it was scratches, cuts and a bruise or two, nothing a few glasses of wine wouldn't numb. After more drinks in the garden we meandered off to watch the water dribble out of the shower heads again before returning to the bar for the evenings festivities and dinner.

Before dinner GB and Ed set up a slide show of various biking weekends and other rides that we have done, although after a while this was met with some derision by certain parties, mainly because that don't get out enough on their bikes to be in any of the photos! Next years slide show will be Snow Shots from Mont Blanc by Colin and My Girl Friends by Rod.

Dinner was very good again with most people going for the shoulder of Lamb each of which would have fed a small family! Dinner was served, as it was on Friday, by very nice young lady whose name escapes me, but who did a great job on both nights and hopefully appreciated the large tip we left. After dinner we had the usually speeches, thanks and awards. This years winners are pictured below.

And the winners are ........................

The Golden Peddle The Wine Bottle Holder The Golden Helmet
mike carolyn dick
Mike: For showing off going back down hills just so you can go up them again!

Carolyn: errrr .... why did she get this?

Dick: For services to men's cycling apparel or just for wearing his wife's shorts!

route part 1

route part 2



There are no known photo's existing of Sundays Wall Walk around Chichester, but those who went were: Rod, Steve, Derek, Gary & Janet, Lin, Sue, Gina and Carolyn. After a walk around the outside of the town supposedly following the city wall during which Rod got us well and truly lost. We did find a Blackberry phone though. We then went to the Cathedral to watch the Peregrine Falcons which are nesting there. While in the cafe we managed to locate the owner of the Blackberry and hopefully she is now re-united with her phone. After coffee and cake we meandered back into the town centre before going our separate ways and heading back to Dorset (or in our case to the in-laws in Hastings (oh deep joy!). GB).


Thanks to Rod for all his hard work in making the weekend a great success.


By a unanimous vote, i.e. Rod shouted loudest (doesn't he always! Ed), next years ride will be organised by Dick & Deb.


Other photos from the weekend:

Gary, Mike and Steve at The Hare & Hounds

Ian on the Trundle

halfway up The Trundle

atop St Roches Hill

Somewhere in West Sussex!


Rod ... doing what comes naturally ....

By Racton Folly on Friday afternoon

Mike opens the gate for Sue at the top of Heyshott Down

coming down a track somewhere

Mike talks to the cows ...

........ cows are boring!

atop St Roches Hill

halfway up The Trundle

halfway up The Trundle

Ian trailing his balloon up the track to the top North Down

Ian whizzes by ............

Ian, Carolyn and Gary whizz down the grassy slope

Getting ready, Ian shows Steve his massive thighs

Steve and Colin emerging from the woods at the top of Heyshott Down

Rod emerging from the woods at the top of Heyshott Down

Gary emerging from the woods at the top of Heyshott Down

group on a track somewhere

ready to go ...

On a trail somewhere

Ian still showing off his thighs ....

Gary on a trail somewhere ....

ready to go ... one last photo ....

Dick on a trail somewhere

Derek and Dick on a down slope



Colin and Trish

stopping in the forest

Colin and Trish stopping in the forest on Friday

Gary going thru Cocking Churchyard
(only the once, unlike the first group!!)

Carolyn going thru Cocking Churchyard

Ian going thru Cocking Churchyard

Derek going thru Cocking Churchyard

Mike going thru Cocking Churchyard


Trish Steve and Rod
.... are we lost again Rod?


Dick's presentation


what can you add for next year?


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