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07 Sept, Hinton Ampner, (12,14)

Blog 7th September 2021 – Hinton Ampner- Civil war battlefield tour

Dearest SHABI’s

Its been a long time since we have enjoyed the hospitality of the Hinton Arms but the RM (Smashie) was assured of a warm welcome and food served till 9:00 so what’s not to like.

A good attendance was discouraged by strict instructions from the RM to pre-order prior to pedal off and almost everyone managed this with Dobbie being slightly slower than everyone else but nevertheless the entire Peloton including; Smashie (RM), Chuff (DRM), Faff, Dobbie, Whoops a Daisy, Captn Frackbladder, Slumpy and his carer Tonka, new boy Simon, Strangely, LBD and Genghis …. left the carpark on time at 6.30.

This is the point in the blog where we ignore the riding and concentrate on the riders, but on this night it was not about who had done what, to whom, and had they been arrested yet .. it was about the beautiful warm summer/autumn evening, riding on paths hardened by summer sun, with bucolic views across the farmland and riding with the finest bunch of chaps ever.

Fine Looking Idiots

We start by heading west along the A272 and turn right just as a rather pushy lady driver was trying barge onto the A272. A fine sweeping peloton manoeuvre made sure she had to wait until we had all passed. Towards Alresford and straight onto the Oxdrove tracks. Oh wonderful riding as we bimble on at a medium pace, the RM aware of a slightly longer ride requiring a slightly elevated pace to ensure no disappointment at food time.

A historical note now; Lamborough Fields over which we now rode were the scene of fierce fighting between the Parliamentarians and the Royalist troops in 1644. We enter Cheriton woods and the pivotal area of combat. To save you the trouble of looking up the details, the outcome can be summarised as a Parliamentarian victory and although militarily not significant, the resolve of the Parliamentarians was hardened towards a final military victory. If you want the detail

Early SHABIs made their way around Sussex and Hampshire in a similar fashion to today's idiots

We arrive on Bramdean common and pass a young family with picnic and a kid on a mini trail bike complete with petrol engine. Many riders wistfully enquire if they could swap … but the kid said no and looked pretty tough so we move on.

We then come across Bramdean Common Church which is really rather beautiful; clad in corrugated iron and trimmed with decorative timber facias, its a real beauty.

'Please don't let anyone have a mechanical tonight!'

The RM decided to pay his respects and to demonstrate how diverse he has become, prayed to several gods one after another. Many riders felt the strange contortions exhibited by the RM meant either the drugs need changing or he was having a fit.

Inside the church, looking a bit empty

However, the religious zeal was soon interrupted as Whoops a Daisy reported a major mechanical breakdown. The rear gear changing mechanism had disintegrated with the lower jockey wheel, bearing, nut and bolt missing.

Smashie immediately set to work fashioning replacements out of tie wraps aware that precious time was slipping by.

If we just had the dropped through bolt...

However, Cometh the hour cometh the man. Slumpy, for it was he, went into “bush tracking” mode and set about finding the missing parts deep in the forest undergrowth.

There was tension as Smashie fashioned the tie wraps, Slumpy searched the undergrowth and Faff lectured the other riders on pitfalls of a “Fix when failed” maintenance philosophy being employed by Daze (shame on you Daze).

Eureka, just as the tie wrap solution was unravelling for Smash, Slumpy delivers on his quest for the missing parts in the undergrowth. It’s a modern miracle and a testimony to the incredible tracking skill of our Slumpers. It turns out he can track a billabong in the pitch black from 5 miles away and still make it to the pub before closing time. Good skills.

With most of the missing parts in hand, Smashie lashes Daisy’s bike back together and Daze limps home with Dobbie (hero point for Dobbie)

What a legend! Slumpy found the lost bolt 20m back! Hero points!

Meanwhile the RM hits hammer time and heads towards West Tisted via Clinkley Road. A time check reveals that the ride has to be terminated due to inadequate progress and reluctantly the RM calls a retreat and we head back the way we came. However, all is not lost, and we divert to Bramdean Manor church and over the downs to join the track to the back of Hinton Ampner House.

An absolutely lovely ride along the base of the valley with bats and owls flitting around the peloton. With soft autumn light, smells of the hedgerows and the sometimes-dramatic temperature changes, it makes for unforgettably beautiful riding.

We arrive back at the pub and settle down for a great meal with real “man sized” portions of foods. A great welcome back.

Waiting for din dins...

Smash writes the stats in his “little book” and it comes to New Boy Simon and a “holding Nickname” – after many very good suggestions it was agreed a temporary name of “Lieutenant Dan” after the character in Forest Gump.

So there we have it a great ride and a great bunch of riders.


BINKY BYKEKNUT – A Cycling legend answers your questions

In this feature, Binky will fearlessly tackle any personal or technical issues you might have (these can be submitted via the SHABI Whatsapp group)

Dear Binky,

We all know about the Beaufort Scale so the weathermen can describe wind strength. The Bike parks grade the trails as; green being easy through to black being certain death, so unsuspecting riders can choose which trail to ride

Why has no-one come up with a way to describe the potential for injury from brambles and nettles on a Mountain bike ride in the Hampshire/Sussex Countryside?

Your sincerely

FC of Crondal

Dear FC,

Well actually there is such a methodology, and it was invented by Saint Dobbie Dipstick of Emsworth on 1645.

The scale describes the Torment level in a simple scale 1 – 10 as follows;

I’m not sure as to the historical reason this very handy guide to riding conditions has never seem the light of day as it seemed to fall into disuse in 1646.

I think it high time this useful descriptive methodology is put back in to use and I hope that helps.


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