A27 East of Lewes – infrastructure schemes

Highways England (used to be Highways Agency) are consulting on improving access along the A27 between Lewes and Polegate. All of these schemes appear to include better cycling provision. Cycle Seahaven often runs club rides that need to cross the A27, so this could be great news for both our Road and MTB cyclists, but the devil is in the detail. The cycle provision appears to favour cyclists going along the A27. But if you want to make use of the pedestrian/cycle paths while crossing the busy main road (for example with kids or the less able, with cycle trailers or part of a larger organise ride), the proposals do little to help.
For example:

  • All the crossings state ‘Pedestrian Crossing’, rather than pedestrian/cycle crossing
  • Turning right by bicycle onto the A27 is expected to be done by road, rather than on the shared path. This is evident by the lack of crossings along the minor roads to get onto the walking/cycle paths on the other side of the minor road.
  • Cycle routes are cut short where one exists on the other side of the road at junctions. Short sections of cycle path are required as waiting zones when crossing onto the shared paths, or to facilitate quicker and safer crossings.

The consultation documents are not easy to read on-screen: the photographic overlays and lists of objectives/benefits are awkwardly split across two pages. However, the large 19Mb download of the Consultation Displays are easier to read on a PC screen.  You’ll need to refer to these when filling out the survey, which we urge you to look at.

Cycle Seahaven would also like to see better provision for cyclists to get to these new cycle lanes, for example along the Alfriston Road to Berwick (part of national Cycle Route 2, Avenue Verte, and links the zoo park and Berwick rail station to Litlington and Alfriston). Unfortunately this is outside the scope of the A27 proposals, but once they are completed the case for better access to the A27 is greatly enhanced. This is why we need to ensure that the infrastructure for cyclists joining and leaving the A27 is already put in place, ready for later improvements to allow cyclists to reach these main routes form our villages and towns.

There are still some consultation exhibitions that can be visited by the public:

  • 23rd Nov: Eastbourne – William and Patricia Venton Centre – noon to 7pm
  • 26th Nov: Berwick – Village Hall – 10am to 2pm
  • 28th Nov: Lewes – Town Council – noon to 7pm
  • 29th Nov: Lewes – Town Council – noon to 7pm

More details and the online survey can be found here: https://highwaysengland.citizenspace.com/he/a27-east-of-lewes/

This consultation closes on 8th December 2016.

*** UPDATE ***
The proposed schemes have been published. For full information follow the link to our page at http://cycleseahaven.org.uk/a27e2/

 

Night road cycling, with Aldi, Lezyne and Ituo lights

Since the weekend I have refitted my WIZ20 dual LED, wireless light  on my commuter bike, and this has brought a smile back to my face, this light is good!!!  Since the clock went forward, I have been cycling with an Aldi  240 lumens COB type rechargeable bike light £12.99 and a Lezyne Zecto drive Pro 80l for £38 giving a total of 320 lumens for around £50 in total, I can not make a direct comparison as they are very different and even the price of the two is half the price of the WIZ20, but I think, it worth sharing my findings. The Aldi light is again very good value for money, but this is really a flood light with very little throw, so you end up having good light by your front tyre but not extending forward very much, ok on very well lit roads but not much good if you going at speed on badly lit roads , le Lezyne Zectro drive pro is kind of the opposite with a very fairly narrow beam but reaching a further. Both light are great to be seen but are not much good for you to see the ground and spot pot holes in time to miss them. The Zecto Drive Pro can double up as a rear light so this is quite handy to have a secondary light in case your main front or rear light packs up. The Aldi one in my mind is much better for dog walking or around the house as a torch, very broad beam , ok as a bike marker light or a flashing light. Both are USB rechargable.  Now going to the Ituo WIZ20 1500l for which I did a review for the club last year. Well, as I said, as soon as I turned it on, I had a grin on!   Nice broad light beam reaching far in front of your bike and still putting plenty of light by your front tyre. This kind of reminded me of the type of lighting you get from a car. The beam given by the WIZ20 is nice and safe for you to ride at speed in lit up or dark road, I had to turn it down to its standard low setting  250 lumens which does give you 14h. I have used it off road many time last year and this is also ideal for MTB if you want to go wireless  (this is also the one I usually lend to some of my new riders if they need a light) Like the others, this is wireless and USB rechargeable and its output is programmable. All this of course does come in with a higher price tag, under £100! Price of a Volt 800 or a Lezyne Deca 1500 but once you check the specs and start reading reviews you will see how good the WIZ20 is, specially for a light under £100!
I have not got any interest into this new firm apart from wanting to share what is a very good product with fellow cyclists. Luc. MTB 2B night ride leader

https://www.aldi.co.uk/p/72177/1

https://www.evanscycles.com/lezyne-zecto-drive-pro-light-EV194257

http://singletrackworld.com/reviews/review-ituo-wiz20/

http://forums.mtbr.com/lights-night-riding/user-review-ituo-wiz20-996544.html

http://cycleseahaven.org.uk/ituo-wiz20-1500-lumens-twin-xm-l2-u3-bike-light/

 

 

 

 

Enlighten

The most important item on your bike at night are your lights and this is an often talked subject on night rides. Thanks to the internet, lights are very accessible to every one with a small or a large budget. The requirements for road riders and MTB riders are different, I am far for being an expert but would like to chair my experience with other hopping this will be a little help to guide you through the confusing world of bike lights for MTB night ridding.

For what it is worth, here is my own experience.
In my early days, I used cheap flashlights-torches putting out a decreasing 200/300 lumens for just a little more than an hour on full power. You had to seriously monitor your usage as the output did drop quickly, of course much more expensive lights with better output were available, but being new to all this, I could not see the point of spending hundreds of pounds on dedicated high power cycling lights.
As I went on riding and Chinese lights like the Solarstorm X2 started to appear on ebay for an affordable price, I got myself a set. This did transform my night time riding experience.
I soon realise that cycling in the forest with a single bar light was a bad idea, specially with a cheap one. I was advised to get another one for my helmet. This does allow you to look around corners and spot hazard on the trail. Also if one battery or light decided to give up, you would not be plunged into darkness.  I got another couple sets from ebay, but the cheap ebay experience did not go entirely smoothly. Out of 3 ebay lights I purchased, the 1st one was fine, the second one was a terribly made copy of a Solarstorm X2 which went back for a refund and the 3rd one the battery lasted 30mn , this was exchanged by the seller. Later one, of the battery pack started to smoke and was disposed of promptly and one of the battery charger packed up within 6 months. I tried also some Yinding YD cheap Chinese copy of the Gemini lights which in my mind were not better than the Solarstorm X2 despite the fact they cost more.

I found all of them to have weak battery pack and not good heat dispersion with no heat management system causing the light output to decrease quickly. So I started looking for a decent battery pack to improve the Solarstorm X2 light head. I came across the Fluxient range and got myself a good battery which did cost me nearly as much as what I paid for the Solarstorm X2. With it, the output was more steady with a better run time.
There is no doubt that lights like the Solarstorm X2 and others similar lights are very good value for money and will do a similar job as expensive branded lights. There is a huge number of riders who swear by these type of cheap ebay lights, some having more success than others, but once you start talking to them or follow forums, you soon discover, that they don’t last very long, first thing to pack up are usually the battery pack and or the charger, so you end up buying another light or a decent battery or a charger with an end result of making your cheap light no so cheap in the long run!

Solarstorm X2 do vary a lot in price and range from £12.99 to £34.50, Output advertised are between 1500 to 8000 lumens 🙂 All I can say is do not believe the massively inflated output, the TRUE LUMEN OUTPUT of the Solarstorm X2 is around 1000 to 1200 lumens according the model of Cree LED used but the output decrease very quickly as the light has no heat management system. It will pay off to switch the light to low mode when you stop moving. Go for the XML-U2  instead of the T6. BEWARE, fake SOLARSTORM X2 are being sold, yes the Chinese even fake there own cheap lights!

After quite a few years riding trails with my Solarstorm lights, I was given the chance to review a bike light from a well established reputable Chinese light manufacturer Fenix. Their BC30 bike light was a mid price bar type twin LED bike light design for cycling and at the time was a great purchase.
I liked the experience of ridding with it, the light was better made, had a better beam, better fittings and behaved differently to the cheap ones so I started looking for a quality dual LED lights that could replace my Solarstorm X2 for a better lighting experience.
After extensive research via MTB forums and reviews, in December 2015,I bought myself one of the best high quality light on the market: the Gloworm X2. I was blown away by the difference between the usability of my new Gloworm X2. The GW X2 rated at 1500 lumens had no doubt more output that my old SS X2 which was advertised with similar or higher output. In short, the GW light had a better beam, a better tint, better run time, better battery, a lower profile, a very useful remote switch, a more secure attachment for the light and battery and was programmable to my own requirements. The light experience was just a lot better, but of course you had to pay quite a lot more for all this.

A couple of years ago, I was contacted by a new Chinese bike light company: ITUO, they had read some of my flashlight and bike light reviews and were looking for a few reviewers world wide for their new range of lights. So, I jumped to the chance of trying something new. With others, we have tested their lights off road or on road and have send them feedback on our experience and they have modified their lights from some of our recommendations.

Their slogan is: Reliable affordable performance bike lights.

Their reliability is only two years old, but from what I and other reviewers have experienced, their products do match their slogan!
And they listen and act on what the cycling community has got to say on their lights.
One of their last product is the XP2 a direct competitor to the Gloworm X2 that I so much love.

For me, the Ituo XP2 is a better option due to the lower price, first class heat management system and removable remote switch, the UK price is £134 for the Ituo XP2 against £179.99 for the Gloworm X2. (Nov 2016)

I do get ask sometime what light would you recommend?

This is based on my own experience:

The Solarstorm X2 for the price is a good but basic cheap light as long as you get a genuine light as copies are being sold on ebay ( you can not tell them apart unless you have a look inside them), so my recommendation is if you want to buy one, get it from a UK reputable dealer.
If your budget can stretch further, have a look to the ITUO range, great value as you are getting purposed made high quality and a high tech bike lights for what is still a reasonable price.

Don’t forget if a light is very cheap, there is generally good reasons for this!
It is more than likely a copy of an existing one or one badly designed which had been thrown together with cheap material and with no quality control in some sweat shop. Now I am not saying, don’t buy any of the cheap ebay ones, but I will say be very careful and don’t write off all the other lights!
Some of the more expensive lights have a lot more to offer you!

Lights are like bikes, you can have as much fun in the forest with a cheap Halfords bike or a expensive branded ones, but your ridding experience will be different and it is the same with lights!

Luc, MTB 2b night ride leader

PS
Brightbikelights are the UK distributor of the ITUO range and have kindly offered for our club a 5% discount on the Ituo range after, I allowed them to use photos from my ITUO WIZ20 review. The code is “SEAHAVEN”

Friston Forest 2B Friday night ride report and Video

Only 4 off us could make it this week, the weather was dry on the day but some trails started to show their usual winter coat MUD! Part of the trail network was also difficult to follow at time due to the dead leaves.  But we had a great time as usual. We did 9.2 mls, moving time was 1.23 hour, average speed 6.3mph and max 19.5mph. Our second downhill ride was done with the 3C , see the film below. Hope to see you next week as long as the weather is dry. Best Luc

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Brighton Races Ride Report (4C)

8am on a chilly Sunday morning is not everyone’s ideal start to the day, but a few hardy souls took on the challenge. Despite the low temperatures we were treated to bright sunshine the entire route.

First we climbed up Seaford’s Firle Road to bear left onto the twin-track concrete road around Seaford (Blatchington) golf course. Where the climb flattens out there’s a crossroads with a gate to the left. Go through this and follow the grass track all the way to Bopeep. It’s about 4 miles of steady climbing, but it’s one of the best ways to see the views over the weald, and a great way onto the South Downs Way (SDW).

From Bopeep we turned left and followed the SDW to Southease, the same route taken by the 2B ride later the same day. After crossing the railway and the river bridge we took a left turn to follow Egrets Way along the river banks to the outskirts of Piddinghoe. We crossed the C7 to continue our off-road route to the back of Peacehaven along Valley Road (Peacehaven), and on to Telscombe Tye. Bridleways took us past Harvey’s Cross before climbing up through the picturesque Standean Bottom in Castle Hill nature reserve (one of many local reserves with the same name) to Woodingdean.

The Drove is a recently tarmac-surfaced shared-path from the top of Woodingdean all the way to Brighton Races – so we enjoyed a lovely gentle descent while we got our breath back. Then following the faster descent through Sheepcote Valley to Brighton Marina, we rode on the flat undercliff path to Saltdean. After coffee and cake in the warm sunshine outside Molly’s café we climbed up from the undercliff to ride along the clifftop path to Newhaven, before picking up the A259 shared walking/cycle path to Newhaven then onto Seaford via Valley Road (Newhaven), The Jolly Boatman and the cycle path past Denton Island.

32 miles, 2800 feet of climbing, then ready for Sunday lunch 🙂

Click the link for an aerial flyby of our route with photographs: https://www.relive.cc/view/767731969

Gus.

 

Another Superb Autumn Touring Ride

This morning (Tuesday) was superb for cycling: warm, dry and virtually no wind. Our touring ride was shorter than usual at only 20 miles but it included some gravel tracks where our speed is less than when cycling on tarmac roads.

Seven of us started at our usual place, ie the car park in Friston Forest, and cycled towards Wilmington which, of course, meant cycling up Chapel Hill. It’s a super hill as it provides a reasonably challenging climb and you feel you’ve had a good workout by the time you reach the summit. We always take a breather at the top, admire the view and regroup.

We continued down the other side, through Wilmington, across the A27 and headed towards Robin Post Lane. Shortly after joining this lane we turned right to follow NCN Route 2 through Oggs Wood which eventually leads to the Cuckoo Trail near Polegate. In the past this route through the wood has been quite difficult to cycle along with a road bike as it has usually been muddy with one part being quagmire. There is now a small bridge over the area that used to be the quagmire with a gulley underneath; presumably this allows water to flow through. Also gravel has been added to the path so it’s much easier to cycle along, especially with treaded tyres.

On reaching the Cuckoo Trail we headed north towards Hailsham. The surface of this shared use path is very good between Polegate to Hailsham so, this morning we were able to glide along without being troubled by ruts and potholes, whilst admiring the Autumn colours of the trees and hedgerows.

We have a new short cut through Hailsham so it wasn’t long before we were back on Robin Post Lane and cycling through Abbot’s Wood; the colours of the trees were stunning. The gravel track is in good condition apart from a few potholes at the Hailsham end so it makes for a very pleasant cycle ride if you have the appropriate tyres.

Our refreshment stop today was at Arlington Tea Garden, one of our favourite refreshment stops. Whilst we sat in the garden enjoying our elevenses in the Autumn sunshine we realised that this could be our last ride this year in such brilliant weather. A cold front was due later today with the possibility of unsettled weather next week.

We’ve enjoyed some superb cycling this Autumn but it looks as if Winter is just round the corner!

Happy cycling,

Clive