Thursday pub ride #5

The weather’s STILL holding out and we’re expecting yet another fine day for this week’s slow ride on Thursday 2nd Oct. The ground conditions remain dry and dusty, even after the rain we had Monday night and last night.

Starting at the White Lion on Belgrave Road,  Seaford at 7pm we ride the back way to Bishopstone via Grand Avenue and along the road to Poverty Bottom pumping station. Up the chalky bridleway to Cantercrow Hill and the long fast descent on the back road to the Flying Fish. After some refreshment we take the flatter and easier route home. We expect to be back at The White lion for 9pm.

Last week we had twelve riders with a range of about 60 years between the youngest and oldest ages – that beat the previous week’s record of only 50 years difference in age.

Good bright lights are needed as it’s starting to get dark by the time we arrive at The Fish. Links to route maps are on our first post about these rides. Click HERE to see it.

If you are a regular rider then please be aware that we go very slowly, so you may be hanging around waiting – especially on Cantercrow hill.

See you there?

Andy

andy.lock@cycleseahaven.org.uk

Tour of Britain – Seaford Video

If any of you missed the Tour of Britain as it passed through, or you need a reminder, then check out this video by Christopher Conil. It gives you a marvellous taste of the atmosphere and excitement surrounding this event.

Channel Hopping to Dieppe

Cyclists near Le Treport

Cyclists near Le Treport

Last Friday six of us,  who usually cycle in the Cycle Seahaven touring rides,  hopped across the channel for a weekend of cycling in the countryside around Dieppe.

The ferry crossing from Newhaven only takes 4 hours and is quite cheap so it’s an attractive proposition to hop across to Dieppe and do some cycle ‘touring’ rides in France. It’s something I have considered in the past but Cycle Seahaven isn’t insured for organising rides abroad.

Therefore,  we decided to each make our own ferry and hotel arrangements for this weekend of cycling so that the club wasn’t involved;  hence it wasn’t shown on the Calendar of Rides.

Anyone who has cycled in France will be well aware that cycling there is a rather different experience to cycling on this side of the channel and,  arguably,  a more pleasant experience for road cyclists. Country roads tend to be quieter,  road surfaces in better condition and drivers more considerate towards cyclists.

Cyclists at the start of the Avenue Verte

Cyclists at the start of the Avenue Verte

Over the weekend we cycled just over 100 miles which included some cycling along the Avenue Verte to Neufchatel-en-Bray and along country roads to Criel-Plage,  Le Tréport an Eu. There were also many café stops!

The Avenue Verte,  which starts a few kilometres south of Dieppe and continues for about 45 kms to Forges-les-Eaux,  is part of the signposted route for cyclists between London and Paris,  also called the Avenue Verte. This 45 kms stretch of Avenue Verte to Forges is a superb path for cycling as it’s wide,  superbly surfaced and virtually flat although there are some gradual ascents and descents which are hardly noticeable. We cycled along it for about 30 kms to Neufchatel for a café stop.

Dieppe is a good place to be based for a few days of cycling as there’s plenty of accommodation as well as bars and restaurants. We stayed at the Hôtel de la Plage which has a garage to the rear of the hotel where bicycles can be stored. Also,  it’s in a good location along the boulevard on the seafront and only a short walk to the shops and the marina where there are many of the bars and restaurants. We spent two very pleasant evenings at the marina;  there’s certainly no shortage of fish restaurants!

All in all,  this has been a super weekender in Dieppe. We’ve had some good cycle rides,  the weather has been reasonably good for September and we’ve had a couple of very pleasant evenings in Dieppe;  good food and drink and great company. We must do it again next year.

Our Longest Touring Ride of the Year

Cyclists at Littlehampton

Cyclists at Littlehampton

Our touring ride on Tuesday (9 September) was a round trip of 75 miles which makes it our longest such ride this year. It was to Littlehampton and back,  a ride which has become an annual event as we’ve now cycled it on three occasions,  in 2012,  2013 and now in 2014. Most of our rides are between 20 and 40 miles so a 75 miler is exceptional;  hence we do it just once a year.

The beauty of this ride is that most of the route is virtually flat as it largely follows the coast and makes use of promenades and shared use paths such as the Undercliff Walk between Saltdean and Brighton Marina. There are some terrific sea views to take in whilst cycling.

The weather on Tuesday was ideal for cycling,  dry with plenty of sunshine and a very light easterly breeze. We started at the Martello Tower in Seaford and,  this year,  we were able to cycle along the Promenade thanks to the trial to allow cycling on it. In previous years we’ve had to use the road which can be hazardous for cyclists. Therefore we were able to cycle the 4 miles to Newhaven without having to go along a road;  much safer.

Unfortunately there still isn’t a cycle friendly route for road bikes between Newhaven and Peacehaven so we took our usual route through Newhaven via Elphick Road,  Valley Rd and then on the narrow track alongside the A259,  which is separated from the road by a kerb,  into Peacehaven. After that it was plain sailing.

There were five of us on this ride who started in Seaford and a sixth member joined us on the seafront at Hove. It wasn’t long before we reached Shoreham and the new bridge across the River Adur. Just before this bridge we went along East Street,  a pedestrianized area with several cafes. This was too good an opportunity to miss;  time for elevenses.

Suitably refreshed we went across the new bridge known as the Adur Ferry Bridge which joins the town centre with Shoreham Beach. It’s a splendid looking bridge with glass sides and is quite wide so suitable for shared use by pedestrians and cyclists. It was opened in November 2013 and replaced an old footbridge.

The remainder of the ride to Littlehampton was as flat as the proverbial pancake so the cycling was easy,  especially with a slight tailwind. On reaching our destination we crossed over the River Arun to the Climping side to have lunch at the West Beach Café.

The return trip was back along the same route albeit at a slightly reduced pace due to a slight headwind. It had been a very enjoyable cycle ride which we’ll repeat next year. Let’s hope that there’ll be a cycle friendly route between Newhaven and Peacehaven by then.

Why Don’t Cyclists Use Cycle Paths

This is a very funny article by Carlton Reid which is posted on motoring.co.uk

Extract:

Because cycle paths tend to be terrible and,  if you haven’t ever ridden any,  here’s why. Let’s imagine a car journey designed by a British cycle path designer. Motorways would become minor roads and then back again before ending at brick walls. At every traffic light you would have to exit your car to press a button then hop back in to wait for a flashing car symbol. Bollards would be smack-bang in the middle of travel lanes. Broken glass – from the smack-bangs – would remain on the road,  unswept. “Motorists dismount” signs would be everywhere. And forget speedy A to B access,  with roads designed by a cycle path designer you would have to travel ten miles to get somewhere two miles away. Oh,  and you’d also have to share the road with cows…

Read the full article here: http://www.motoring.co.uk/car-news/why-don-t-cyclist-use-cycle-paths-_62797

A Perfect Touring Ride

Cyclists leaving the Arlington Tea Gardens

Cyclists leaving the Arlington Tea Gardens

The weather last Sunday was ideal for cycling;  it was sunny and warm with virtually no wind. Eight of us met at the Martello Tower in Seaford of which two sped off to do a sportive type of ride and the rest of us embarked on a more leisurely touring ride to the Arlington Tea Gardens,  one of our most frequented places for a refreshment stop.

They’re quite close to Seaford,  about 8 miles,  so we usually add a loop to extend the round trip to about 20 to 30 miles. On this particular morning we extended it to 30 miles by going via Arlington,  Chalvington,  Golden Cross,  Muddles Green and Upper Dicker before arriving back in Arlington at the ‘Tea Gardens’.

It was a super route as it was mostly flattish and went through some delightful country lanes. The only significant climb was Chapel Hill between Litlington and Wilmington so,  with no head wind to contend with,  we arrived at the refreshment stop a bit earlier than anticipated;  we’d obviously achieved a slightly faster average speed than our usual 12 mph without really trying.

The Arlington Tea Gardens are popular with cyclists and invariably we meet other cyclists there. (It’s in a good location as it’s on a National Cycle Route and the Avenue Verte,  the cycle route between London and Paris). That was certainly the case on Sunday which was hardly surprising as there were lots of people cycling along the country lanes that morning. There’s no doubt that cycling as a leisure activity is becoming very popular,  especially at weekends. Let’s hope it continues that way.

All in all,  this was a perfect touring ride given the superb weather,  a flattish yet picturesque route and a very pleasant refreshment stop.

There’ll be another touring ride next Sunday,  starting at the Martello Tower in Seaford at 8.30 am. Details are on the Rides Calendar.

Clive