Early Summer Cycling Tour 2011

Photo thanks to: Mariko Whyte

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The Summer cycling tour this year was, despite the initial disadvantage of not being in Dorset, every bit as brilliant as last years. It occurred on the last weekend in July in Horsham, hosted by Tom Sibley and his welcoming parents.

Canna and I arrived on the Friday night with bikes strapped to the roof of the car, having lost only a few bits and bobs along the motorway! Having erected the tent, a welcoming beer was provided almost immediately and both Toms, Peter, Canna and I all settled down for a lovely dinner of lasagne a la Mummy Sibley.

On Saturday morning the arrivals of Jess and Hugh completed our select company and we set off for our first tower of the day at Shipley (6) which had a typical Sussex windmill next door. After a bit of a ring and our first go at (bicycle) Stand Doubles, we continued to West Grinstead (6) where it turned out the Pratts must sit at the back and the Champions at the front! These bells had a rather long draft and were a bit trickier. A 20 minute cycle ride led us to a well-deserved lunch in Cowfold.

After lunch our route took a cross-country turn through some fields and allowed those on mountain bikes a chance to gloat for a bit. In the afternoon, the ringing became more challenging, not just due to the lunchtime pints but also because the number of bells were increasing. Luckily, through the day we had been accumulating local Horsham ringers which allowed us to get the best out of the bells at Slaugham (8), Lower Beeding (8) and Warnham (10).

After a hard days cycling and ringing we returned to Horsham for beer and a BBQ at Tom’s house. We were provided with an impressive array of charred goods as well as outdoor games in the form of a table tennis table (luckily not too many bits to break or lose!)

In the morning, we leisurely wandered to Horsham church where we joined the local band at Sunday service ringing. Bacon sandwiches followed and we set off again on two wheels to the next tower of the day. The cycling today was mostly along a cycle path on the route of an old railway line which made for nice easy cycling. The first tower was Slinfold (6) followed by Rudgewick (8). We had a nice lunch in the Sussex Oak at Warnham before the final tower of tour, Rusper. Here we were greeted by the unusually welcome sight of Garry Barr who was one tower short of having grabbed Sussex. Making up our band to 8 we had a good ring then returned back to Tom’s and from there travelled back to our respective dwellings.

Many thanks to Tom for organising a great tour and thanks to his parents for putting us up!

by Mariko Whyte