The plan had been to leave work at midday making the most of flexi-time, to then spend the afternoon for a bit of light biking seeing as I had not been anywhere for a while. It didn’t quite work out that way, after an unsuccessful day in the office I finally left at half four, only one hour earlier than normal! This changed the ride into more of an early evening rush than an afternoon browse. For some reason I notice my front light had stopped working, so I really would have to make sure I got back before it started to get dark.
The destination would be nowhere special or tricky. When looking for somewhere nearby I noticed Pagham which would be somewhere I would never get to pass through on the way to anywhere as it is completely out of the way and a bit of a dead end. Nicely, the route is all completely flat and only 20 miles away.
A late start meant I would have to get a move on, I was hoping that the head on wind against me would mean the ride home would be a lot more pleasant. It was quite nice then after a hard day at work to be on the bike with the wind against me allowing me to have something to work against! Within no time I had gone through Littlehampton and onto Bognor.
The weather was turning and I was starting to get a little bit worried about the light. The sun would not be due to go down for a number of hours, but even so I was sure it was getting dark already. I checked the map to see how much further it would be, it seemed so close and as a place I would probably nether bike to again (so out of the way there would never be a reason). I decided to go on.
A small stop to check the map while the GPS was directing me into a private estate, it turned out it was correct. A curious occurrence within the area between Littlehampton and Chichester it seems, private estates of houses, little oasis of poshness full of walled and gated houses. It suggests they are all private roads, but they are on the map and the gates are mostly open (although warnings all the time that the gates can be closed at any time). There are plenty of signs, no parking on the road, no stopping, no fun etc… but never No Entry. They are though creepy places, walled and gated off from the smelly public. The roads are wide and clean, no cars on the road, large fake houses (thatched in this case) and range rovers on the long drive ways. There is never a person in sight, but you feel like everyone is watching you. It must be a bit like how biking through North Korea must feel like at times. Maybe it is out of an episode of X-Files, or Dr Who…. I soon made my way out the other side, although not before getting lost in the labyrinth, feeling all the eyes behind the posh net curtains watch as I stopped to look at a map…. It felt that if I stopped for too long, something bad would happen, Scully and Moudler would have to be quick to rescue me.
I did escape and continued West to Pagham bay. My visit through X-Files world would soon come back, this time not a posh clean private estate but more like a collection of houses made of old railway carrages and sheds sitting on the pebbles with the road a pot marked dirt track. The sign to this estate suggested there was nothing to see, I continued on slowly along the unmade road. Lots of signs, private property, no parking, no breathing. A bit more interesting this time though, no fake old looking mansions but instead little shacks made into houses, all sitting on the pebbles on the beach. Must be a great place to live, if not a bit strange. Just like the posh estates with their little noddy looking junctions and fake road signs, it was the same here, although seemed more like a refugee camp with road signs made of old bits of wood with badly painted letters. Following these signs I found the last “road” to the edge of the bay, the end of the road Westward, it warned me (with rough painted sign) that the carpark was not open, not a problem for me. When I got to the end of the road, it just stopped with a large locked gate across (the carpark really was closed, and it looked like closed for good). Not a huge amount to see, the weather was not the best, a bit strange and “end of the world” like.
Some photos before I started back. I was starting to notice and get a bit worried about my rear tyre as I was sure it was not as pumped up as it was, I was certainly I could feel the bad unmade road a lot more than I should. All of a sudden, 20 miles from home on what seemed like the estate at the end of the world, I remembered the only tool I had with me was a bike pump. I only hopped if I did have a puncture it would be a slow one. The interesting and strange estate at the end of the world on the pebbles suddenly turned into a dump with an unmade road which seemed to be damaging the bike, I just wanted to get back to tarmac and a normal world….
Pagham itself did not seem like a pretty place, a bit of a rundown amusement arcade and a cafe, a closed down pub and not much else. It did seem now as if it was starting to get dark, I started my way home as quick as I could.
When I finally got home, my rear tyre didn’t have a puncture, I would keep my eye on it and check again the next day. An interesting ride out after a not so productive day at work.