Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Adventures In Modern Cycling: To Pagham on the Raleigh Chiltern (Barry the Bike)

I'm beginning to like the Raleigh Chiltern, I temporarily gave the name 'Barry', quite a lot.
Barry's a bit of a plodder, but reliable, unfussy, does what it says on the tin.
Barry goes along.

Barry's taken me to two different Post Offices, my garden watering job, and an enjoyable aimless drift through the burbs of Bognor Regis.
I enjoyed the aimless drift so much I thought I'd give it another go,
Not so aimless this time perhaps.
A plate mission to...
Then on to...
With as little contact with cars as possible.

Along the prom, which is now nearly fully open to cyclists, toward Bognor.
Just because one can cycle on the prom doesn't mean one should, especially on the narrow bit.
The wide bit can be as bad:

I left the prom before the human/bicycle tolerance ratio became to close and someone got a Raleigh Chiltern parked in their backside.

Through quiet unglamorous streets behind the main drag back toward the pier to photograph Barry.
The above picture was taken once I'd crossed at the pelican.
I'm glad I didn't try to negotiate a path through that teaming hoard.
I don't think mixing it up on that stretch of prom is a particularly good idea.

On to the pier.
Plate placed and recorded.
It's high-tide and several hairy fishing types are casting from the end of the pier.

Here's the Barry p0rn:

There's still a significant amount of cosmetic work to do on Barry, but mechanically he's as sound as a pound.
The mudguards make a satisfyingly familiar rattle when the bike's ridden over bumps.

I turn to leave the pier and witness this sequence of events unfold:

  • 01) There is a loud splash as something hits the sea.
  • 02) There is a young girl dressed in a blue t-shirt bobbing about in the water whilst shouting encouragement to her friend who is hanging above the sea from the outside of the pier deck rail.
  • 03) The young girl hanging from the pier deck rail seems reluctant to jump until her friend below is out of the way.
  • 04) errr,, now this is about where I got a bit of a conflict going.

This was obviously dangerous behaviour, all sorts of things can go horribly wrong.
Jumping from the pier is expressly forbidden by large ominous signs, and some more polite requests of yesteryear painted in a jolly seaside font.

Y'know know what child?
F%#k the law:
And in that moment she was free.

There's lots of 'tutting' and 'well I nevers' from the few people walking on the prom.
(The guys in the picture, leaning on the rail, might not have even noticed the adolescent child launching herself into the, almost, unknown).

I hung about on the pier looking toward Pagham.
The two girls reappeared on the deck.
I called across to them, holding out my iPod displaying the picture.
They came over and took a quick glance and went back for another jump.

I'd wanted to tell girl number 2 how brave I thought she was, but noticed a few people were now eyeing me sternly.
I left the pier and hit the burbs again aiming vaguely for Pagham harbour.

I rode through street after avenue after way after close then turning round to go back because there's a clue in the word 'Close' that I chose to ignore.
Bungalow land, Death's waiting room.
That's a cliche, but only because it's true.
Oh, I seem to have drifted to the entrance for Pagham Nature Reserve.

It's a footpath which means Barry must be walked not ridden.
Some times laws are sensible and should be obeyed.

I took a while to stand and stare:
I wondered if Tara and Kevin were still an item?
I took more pictures of Barry:
and Elvis:

Barry certainly is an adventurous one.