At 7am on a so called summer Sunday we gathered in a completely deserted car park, beside Burger King in Guildford. Most of us had arisen for our cosy beds while it was still dark, but nevertheless a dozen bikes arrived. Some coffee was consumed, and one of us felt the need to partake of an oddity from the culinary repertoire of Burger King, namely a 'Sausage Bap with hash browns', which was apparently needed to supplement a wholly inadequate earlier breakfast of just a banana! At 7.15 we set off for Portsmouth and the IOW ferry. It was cold, grey and misty for most of the journey, and I'm sure some of us were quietly wondering what we'd let ourselves in for!

We arrived in Portsmouth and crossed the water on the ferry. The sun came out and proceeded to shine gloriously for most of the rest of the day. After a short ride, we stopped at the 'Bay Watch Cafe', beside the beach at St. Helens bay. It was slightly blustery, but sunny and with lovely panoramic views of the sea. Sadly, despite the name of the cafe, there were no panoramic views of bikini-clad beauties running in slow-motion along the shore line!

Hearty breakfasts were consumed by all and after some intellectual chatter about Saturday night's Dr Who episode, (which was a bit confusing,) we walked back to our bikes for the next stage of our journey to The Needles. The views along the way were spectacular, the sun shone and the roads were mostly clear of pot holes!  On the way we managed to herd most of the members into a group photo on the cliffs.

Arriving at The Needles we parked up just inside the Pedestrian Entrance as pre-arranged by John.

We were given a warm greeting over the Public Address system and then were advertised as a new attraction for the visitors to admire! 

In case you don't know, dear reader, The Needles are a formation of razor-sharp rocks that jut out from the colourful cliffs in this bay. 

To get a closer look at the colourful sand the brave amongst us took a cable car ride down to the beach and back.

For some unaccountable reason our esteemed Director decided to pay to go inside a smelly giant inflatable globe that was floating on a pool of water. Perhaps it was delusions of grandeur, but for sure walking on it she didn't master!

The video of Annette's comical and undignified attempts to just stand upright inside the balloon will no doubt be on the SCUK photo gallery and if there is any justice in the world should go viral!

After all the fun of the fair, we rode our bikes to Calbourne Mill for a cream tea and a walk around the many historical exhibits there, ranging from a World War Two museum, to a collection of old fridges, cookers and typewriters. We rode back to the ferry in good time, queued up, still in glorious evening sunshine, got the Ferry back to the Mainland and, after negotiating though Portsmouth, made our own ways home.

The whole day was a great success, with lovely rides, sunny weather, good food, fantastic views, interesting places and great company. Thank you so much to the back markers and to John and Glenda Hedger for arranging such a great day out for all of us.