Ride to Littlehampton

Cyclists outside the 'tea rooms' where we had lunch. A good choice.

Cyclists outside the ‘tea rooms’ where we had lunch. A good choice.

Last Thursday, 26 May, four of us took part in the fifth annual ride to Littlehampton and back, a total distance of 70 miles. Originally, it was never planned to be an annual event but somehow it’s worked out that way. It’s one of our longer rides (most touring rides are between 25 and 50 miles) and probably one of our most interesting as we cycle through a variety of seascapes, much of it on promenades and the like. Therefore, our usual touring pace of 12.5 mph is slightly lower as we ‘share with care’ along these paths.

Most of the route is virtually flat although the part going through Newhaven and Peacehaven is a bit hilly in places but nothing too arduous. The superb ‘shared use’ path between Newhaven and Peacehaven alongside the A259 is ideal for cycling along. Getting this path constructed has to be one of Cycle Seahaven’s greatest campaigning successes in my opinion!

At Saltdean we dive down (not literally but it’s a short steep descent) onto the undercliff path and from here the rest of the route is flat apart from a ‘lump’ at Brighton Marina.

It’s all very pleasant cycling along this concrete path with the sea on one side and chalk cliffs on the other. (This is great fun when it’s high tide and the sea’s a bit rough; dodging the splashes! Today it’s low tide and a calm sea but I wouldn’t want to cycle along there in a storm)!

Then it’s through the hustle and bustle of Brighton and Hove; shame to see that the big wheel has gone but the I360 looks to be nearing completion. Soon we’re cycling along Basin Road South; industrialised but it all adds to the variety of scenery. We pass Carat’s Café Bar. It was tempting to stop at this superb cafe but we decide to press on. Soon, we’re walking across the lock gates at Shoreham Port. There’re no big ships in port today but it’s interesting, nevertheless.

We cycle through Shoreham and across the Adur Ferry Bridge which joins the town centre with Shoreham Beach. It’s a splendid looking bridge with glass sides but, unfortunately, some of the glass panels have been smashed. Vandalism presumably.

Soon we’re cycling along the promenade at Lancing, a lake on one side and the sea on the other. Two light aeroplanes fly over; I’m advised that one is a Chipmunk and the other is a P28. In next to no time, it seems, we’re in Worthing where we stop for elevenses at the Coast Café des Artistes on the seafront. I think we’ve stopped at this café on all our Littlehampton rides.

We continue along the promenade at Worthing but eventually have to come off it and cycle along some roads through Goring and Angmering following the South Coast Cycleway signs.

Shortly after passing through Rustington we’re back on a promenade which we continue along to the end in Littlehampton. Usually, we continue across a bridge to Climping but on this occasion we spotted a place (tea rooms) at the end of the promenade where we stopped for lunch. It turned out to be a good choice.

So, after a good lunch and a bit of a rest we retuned along the same route to Seaford. As usual on our rides to Littlehampton the weather had been superb and the cycling had been quite easy going although 70 miles is still a decent distance to cycle in a day.

I’m aware that a few people had to withdraw from this event at the last minute because of other commitments so my intention is to break with tradition and repeat this event during the summer, possibly on a Saturday if there is sufficient interest. Please let me know if you’re interested.

Cycle Clothing. What to wear

When you’re new to cycling it’s often tricky to work out what to wear. The weather will play a big part in how well you wrap up but a few basic principles will help you stay comfy.

Helmet
Mandatory on club rides.
It’s best to get fitted for a ‘lid’ (helmet) at your local bike shop. The side straps should meet just below your ears and the helmet should stay in place when you tilt your head (chin on chest) even without the chin strap done up. Cycle helmets (crash hats, brain buckets, skid lids) come in different shapes and sizes, so try on a few before you buy. A slight discomfort may not worry you short-term, but on a longer ride it might become really annoying.

Layers
Try to wear thinner layers that are easy to add and remove, rather than one thick garment. You may get hot on a climb but on the flat or downhill you might get cold, so being able to quickly adjust your layers is important for comfort. Be prepared: If you need to add or remove layers then you’ll need a way of carrying unused layers – this could be a rucksack, panniers, or simply tying the arms of the garment around your waist. Be careful of tying clothes around yourself as it’s easier to get them caught in the moving parts of your bike.

Materials
Avoid cotton unless it’s a specific sports weave, as this will soak up sweat and leave you feeling clammy. Instead, opt for polyester or merino wool – both are good at ‘wicking away’ moisture and also at keeping down odours. Sports specific clothing isn’t just a marketing gimmick – the materials are designed to keep you dry and comfortable. Bamboo fibres are becoming more popular, too.

Tops
Long sleeves or short, it’s up to you, but be careful of sunburn as well as the cold. If you’re wearing layers (and you should) then consider something easy to swap – a full-length zip might help, or something less fiddly to remove than a skin-tight layer. A short-sleeved polyester t-shirt or sports top, then a long sleeved one, followed by a jacket will give you plenty of options as a starting point. Adjust this according to the expected weather at the start and end of the ride – thicker materials for the cold and thinner ones for warmer days.

Avoid T-shirts and tops that have a design printed in thick ink, as this will act as a water barrier to keep sweat in. Logos should be ‘sublimated’ into the material or be minimal.

Watch out for high winds. Even on a hot day a strong wind will dramatically cool down a hot and sweaty body, so take a light wind-proof jacket.

Bottoms
Your legs are what will be doing the bulk of the work, and will get hot and sticky quite quickly. Shorts and/or leggings/tights are a good bet.  Again go for sports materials to disperse sweat; that includes underwear – see our article on saddle sores.

Gloves
Thin gloves for summer, thick gloves for winter. Seems simple enough, eh?

Winter gloves: Be careful wearing thick or ill-fitting gloves as these may interfere with braking and/or changing gear.
Summer gloves: Why wear gloves in the summer? Gloves are not only protection from the elements but also if you fall off. Your hands are often what take the brunt of an ‘unintentional dismount’, and a protective layer will help prevent gravel rash. Fingerless gloves are great for warmer weather as they provide protection and comfort, and they interfere less with gear changes and braking.

Cycle specific gloves sometimes come with padding at key pressure points on the palms, making longer rides more comfy.

Shoes
Assuming you are using normal ‘flat’ pedals, and not ones that are clipped to cycle-specific shoes, then start out with trainers.  After the ride make sure your shoes get properly air dried. To help reduce smells insert a few used, dry teabags or sprinkle in bicarbonate of soda. You can even stuff shoes into a plastic bag then put them into the freezer to help kill bacteria and so reduce smells. Wet shoes can be stuffed with newspaper and allowed to dry naturally.

Specific cycling shoes have very stiff soles that don’t flex when you pedal, which helps transfer energy to your back wheel more efficiently. Most have the ability to lock into special pedals using a ‘cleat’ underneath the sole that engages with a special pedal – they take some practice before you can easily remove your foot from the pedal.

Cold or Wet weather
Avoid thick and heavy coats as they are often too warm. Instead, go for more thinner layers. For short trips you might want to take a thin and cheap rain cover, but for longer adventures it’s better to get some good waterproofs. Cycle specific jackets have a longer back that keep you warm while you are in the cycling position.

There are some high-tec materials out there that will keep you dry from the outside while allowing sweat to evaporate from the inside. You certainly get what you pay for, and it’s worth asking other riders what they like to wear.

Waterproof socks are a cheaper alternative to waterproof shoes, but make sure you dry your shoes correctly post-ride. You may also need to a half-size or full size bigger on your shoes, as waterproof socks (especially thermal ones) may be thicker than your normal socks.

 

As you ride more you will learn what sort of clothing suits you. Got any advice you want to share? Please get in touch using our CONTACT page.

Ride to Horam – report

Cyclists at the start of the ride to Horam. More joined as we were leaving.

Cyclists at the start of the ride to Horam. More joined as we were leaving.

There was a good turnout of road cyclists for the ride to Horam this morning (Sunday). There were three groups: the Sportives (average speed of 17 mph), the Intermediates (average speed 15 mph) and the Tourers (average speed 12.5 mph). The three groups took different routes and arrived at the Lakeside Café within about 30 minutes of each other. The Tourers arrived first but, of course, they cycled the shortest distance.

Judging from the number of cyclists riding along the country lanes it’s clear that road cycling is becoming very popular. A few years ago, we saw very few cyclists on the roads on Sunday mornings. It’s great to see this increase in popularity!

Happy cycling,

Clive

ITUO WIZ20 BIKE LIGHT

ITUO WIZ20  BIKE LIGHT has been reviewed by SINGLETRACK MAGAZINE and has received a recommended seal of approval

I have just found that Singletrack Magazine have reviewed the ITUO WIZ20, a twin LED, 1500 real lumens with interchangeable and USB chargeable batteries that I have been using for months and reviewed for our club back in December.

5 month later, I am still extremely impressed with the WIZ20, this is a fantastic light, with a high build quality and  loads of power. You will get your 2hours + on high from this light and if you need more you can just drop in a couple of  18650 batteries!

Singletrack review is at http://singletrackworld.com/reviews/review-ituo-wiz20/

I would also like to remind people that the UK distributor www.brightbikelights.com is giving cycleseahaven members a discount by using the  code “SEAHAVEN”.

Please note that the light is only been sold via Appointed Distributors across the world, some of the Chinese mail order bargain websites are advertising the light (with some stolen photos of my review), but they have no stock as Ituo does not deal with any of them.

The wIZ20 is my resident bar light, so if you see me on the trails, have a look!

Luc
2b MTB ride leader

 

In case of an incident

From time to time members have raised the question of how best to deal with an accident in which they or friends or co-riders have been involved.

Cycle Seahaven does not have the expertise or infrastructure to provide legal or procedural advice on such matters. The club is however affiliated to Cycling UK (rebranded from the CTC or Cyclists’ Touring Club). Their website – http://www.cyclinguk.org/ – has a section dedicated to legal and insurance matters under the heading of  Our Services.

British Cycling and other groups, organisations and companies also provide such advice.

Shammy Shorts and Cream

Well, this is all a bit embarrassing – time to talk about ‘barnacle bum’ syndrome.

As riders get more experienced, and find they are spending longer in the saddle, a few problems can occur in the ‘lower regions’. Sores, in the form of spots or even abscesses, can occur around the ‘saddle area’ of your body. This is caused by a combination of friction, sweat and/or grime that builds up during the ride.

To combat saddle sores you should wear freshly laundered cycle specific clothing and change out of your sweaty gear as soon as you can – even if there’s no shower nearby. Keeping cool and dry will certainly help things post-ride.

If you are doing longer rides, or even just riding a lot more frequently, then consider getting cycle shorts with a build-in padded area. This padding used to be made of chamois leather – like the stuff used to clean car windscreens – hence the name shammy (or chammy).  The chammy liner is there to wick away moisture, reduce friction and to provide a bit of padding. Getting the correct fit is important too, otherwise you’ll be missing out on getting the most comfortable ride. You mustn’t wear underwear beneath your padded shorts, either – it’s important that the ‘chamois’ is next to your skin so it works as intended.

Even wearing shammy shorts may not be enough to ensure comfort for longer hours in the saddle, so consider getting some chammy cream. This cream is applied to your skin around the contact points of your saddle, reducing friction and providing an antibacterial barrier. Apply it liberally to your skin, and possibly also the padding: you’ll have to learn by experimenting on yourself. It feels a bit odd when you first start using it, but it can dramatically improve your comfort.

There are lots of shapes and sizes of chamois shorts: bib shorts; ladies specific; built in armour, and creams come with different formulations too – from £20 tubs of cycle specific goo, to nappy cream (Bepanthen), or even a humble tub of vaseline. If you find that you’re getting post-ride problems, or you are simply looking for a lot more comfort, then pop into your local bike shop and get some well-fitting padded cycle shorts and a tub of chamois cream.

Even with chamois shorts and cream, remember to change out of your damp stuff as soon as you can – even if you can’t get to a bath/shower right away.

Happy riding.

 

29/04/16 FRISTON 2B Friday night ride video

Video as promised, this time from a different angle as chest mounted instead of helmet mounted camera. Unfortunately, the camera was pointing a little low, but you can still experience the 2b Friston MTB ride. Choice of music is always very hard due to the fact that copyright free music is not easy to find, but I hope you will like it. Luc

 

Friston Forest Family Ride – April 2016

31 riders took to the forest for the April Forest Family Bike Ride. We started at the Exceat Forest car park and headed down to Friston Pond. Then along to the Candy Canes where we did a short section of the Red Route before rejoining the Family Trail. We headed up towards the Lookout where the group split with the more adventurous going down the Snow Run, while Mark led the calmer group down to the fire road. We paused where the Snow Run ends and cheered the more adventurous riders on as they crossed the fire track and headed down the Final Descent. We all met up at the bottom to head back towards the car park. On the way we had a short pause at Friston Pond for the kids to have a go shooting down through the trees on the opposite hill, slamming on their brakes to stop going head-long into the pond.

The weather was great and it was a really enjoyable ride. We had two new club members join us for their first club ride who brought their kids along with them, so hopefully we will see Tim and Karl out again soon.

GroupShot GroupShot2

See these pictures and all the others in hi-definition on our new Flickr site: https://flic.kr/s/aHskvP33NW

 

29/04/16 FRISTON 2B Friday night ride report

Only two of us again this week , we set up with the 3C riders until the Cardiac hill assent when they left me behind, I can’t follow as they are much fitter than me! 🙂  I was leading our 2b from the back as Elisabeth is a much better climber than me.  The weather was ideal for forest cycling and the trails on the west side of cardiac were amaizinly dry in comparison to my last forest rides two weeks ago.  The only muddy part was the top section of the bomb crater run. We did 10.3 miles in 1h 32 moving time, reached a max speed of 25.3 and average 6.8mph.  Spending a couple of hours cycling in Forest on forest on a sunny Friday night is certainly a good way to wind down to start your weekend, so I would strongly recommend it. We are looking for more riders, the 2B is a good way of experiencing many of the Friston forest trails and the ride can always been adjusted to the new riders abilities.  There is a big hill to go up, but this can be broken into segments with stops as required, and the downhill trails can be done to your own speed level. 3/4 of the ride is now done in daylight, and you can experience some lovely forest sunsets. I did another short video – from a different angle this time, as the camera was chest mounted . I will be uploading a short film later on. If you are interested in riding with us, drop me an email. Contact Form

Luc

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