John Peet, former General Secretary of L'Arche UK, is hoping to raise £30,000 by cycling 1500 miles around the UK and visiting every L'Arche Community and Project on the way. The money will go to L'Arche in Zimbabwe, where funds are so desperately needed just to keep the Community going, and to the Projects in Glasgow and Manchester that, with your help, will soon become L'Arche Communities.

Thursday 3rd July

Route: Winchester to Bognor
Distance: 44.24 Miles; 1400 so far (I reckon another 300 to go!)
Weather: Early cloud dispersed to give a hot sunny day

Another sound night's sleep. I haven't slept so well these last few weeks for a long time. Thank you, Tessa, for a great stay, and your generous support. I'm really grateful.

I found my way out of Winchester on the right road as instructed but was glad to find the quieter A272 Petersfield Road. The turn off is not as simple for cars which have to go up the the next roundabout and back along the other carriageway. There's a bit of a climb up onto the South Downs but once up, it's a great ride. The weather looked very promising too. For a time there was no traffic, and I stopped and marvelled at a sky lark rising in song, then descending into the ripening wheat field below. Magic. It reminded me of the birdsong Classic FM transmitted before going live. Odd how the sound of a distant lawnmower and a bumble bee are so evocative of summer.

This was a short day compared to others so I stopped again at a McDonalds, this time on the outskirts of Petersfield, to do yesterday's blog. Sorry not to be getting any photos up recently, but they take an age to upload, and my Asus software doesn't allow me to look at picture thumbnails.

Then onto South Harting where I had agreed to meet Tjeerd, Luigi and Peter, assistants at L'Arche Bognor who wanted to ride the last stage with me. A minibus full of Community members arrived at about 2.20 pm as I was finishing my lunch outside the Ship Inn. Time to hear about Fred's broken bone in his foot before leaving the non-cycling party to head off to Petersfield lake for a bit of boating.

I was very glad to hand over the panniers to Geoffrey, as the climb up to Harting Hill was tough, but well worth the effort for the view at the top. Here we asked a man to take a photo of the 4 of us. “You've asked the right person – I'm a professional photographer!” Phil replied. He was covering a cycling event for Cycling Weekly, so he soon had one of my sponsorship form in his hand and offered to send the info to the magazine.

Apart from another less strenuous climb, the route to Chichester was easy riding in fabulous weather – a real joy. A Sustrans cycle path took us around the west of Chichester, through what was a Roman amphitheatre I believe. From here there's a petty good cycle track all the way to Bognor even though alongside the busy A259.

The 20 mile or so ride got us to Bethany, the Bognor house where I was staying at around 4.30 pm. in the garden of the next door house, Jericho, the new Community meeting room was taking shape – a low profile log cabin design which blends remarkably well into its surroundings. It was a couple of years ago when I was last here, discussing the project with Chris and Luigi, so its great to see the tangible fruits of all the planning and fundraising.

I really appreciated having no agenda other than to spend time enjoying everyone's company and conversation over a good meal in the evening. Thanks Sahlee for the cooking!

No comments: