Springtime on the Cuckoo Trail

It’s a great time of year to cycle along the Cuckoo Trail. Spring has well and truly sprung; there’s an abundance of bluebells, primroses and wild garlic in the hedgerows and woodland glades, the birds are in full song and, of course, it’s traffic-free.

Seven of us cycled along it today from Hailsham to Heathfield, a distance of almost eight miles. It’s a gradual climb so nothing too challenging but it probably took us about an hour to cycle as we pedalled along (at 8 mph) admiring the wild flowers and listening to the bird song.

At Heathfield we had elevenses at the café in the Co-op supermarket. It’s not the sort of place where we normally have a refreshment stop but, on Joe’s recommendation, we gave it a try. Great! Good quality food and drink at competitive prices. We’ll go there again.

It was a super ride back via Lions Green and Muddles Green to Exceat; all downhill apart from a couple of lumps.

Happy cycling,
Clive

An Enjoyable Springtime Touring Ride

Was today, 6th March, the first day of Spring? It certainly felt like it as we cycled along the country lanes on our way to Ripe. The sun was shining, the air felt almost warm compared to the chilly winds of last week and there was no hint of rain. The skylarks were in full song, there were primroses flowering in the hedgerows and daffodils blooming in cottage gardens. Yes, Spring has arrived. It all made for really pleasant cycling but the icing on the cake was our stop in Ripe at one of our favourite cafés, Ripe Village Stores.

So cyclist friendly, wonderful service, superb refreshments and reasonably priced; it’s the perfect café stop for us.

Then it was back to Seaford via Chapel Hill; we can’t get enough of Chapel Hill. We usually cycle up it twice on our inland rides; on the Lullington side for the outward trip and on the Wilmington side for the return trip.

All in all, this was a very enjoyable Springtime touring ride; there will be many others over the next couple of months with some including café stops at Ripe Village Stores. And, if you don’t like hills and would prefer some flat touring, watch out for my next post later this week. Dave and me have a cunning plan!

New Funday Ride

Some of you will have noticed that there is a new ride featuring on the calendar this Sunday, the ride entitled “Funday Ride” which will be led by Roy Francomb.

Dropping down to Bishopstone Village

The new ride is aimed to run at a level just below our Sunday Improvers ride. The Improvers group has progressed and raised the bar as to the mileage and terrain we cover, leaving a gap for a slightly lower grade ride on a Sunday.   Roy has kindly offered to run the “Funday” ride. This ride will be for those who want a slightly less challenging MTB with a coffee and cake stop on a Sunday.

Where & when possible we will try to arrange for the Funday & Improvers ride to meet up for Coffee & Cake at some point on the ride or at the end of the ride.

So if you fancy getting out on a Funday ride you can contact Roy via our ride leaders contact page.

Many thanks

Paul Sandles / Roger Lambert / Roy Francomb

Improvers / Funday Ride Leaders

Tourist Section Take on the “Beacon”

This Tuesday, six members of the Touring Section took on Sussex’s most notorious climb.

After a gentle ride along the Ouse  Valley Estuary Trail, we made the dash to Lewes up the C7, warming up our climbing muscles on the hill up to the Prison Crossroads. After regrouping the route took us out past Offham on the A275 and then left towards Plumpton on the B2116, and onto Underhill Lane.

After a short breather to discuss tactics at the end of Underhill Lane it was straight on to the “Hill”. All riders completed the ride non-stop to the top, pausing for the obligatory photo, before descending along Ditchling Road and the back road to Stanmer Village to the Stanmer Tea Rooms for well-earned refreshments.

The homeward journey was via the A27 cycle path, Kingston Village, C7,  Egrets Way and Piddinghoe Village.

There are usually three touring section rides each week, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. The tourist pace of about 12 mph average speed allows us to take in the scenery and will always involve a refreshment stop or two.

Happy Cycling,  Dave Sutton

 

A Superb Long Touring Ride

Following our superb short touring ride on Tuesday five of us cycled to Littlehampton on Thursday, a round trip of 70 miles.

A ride along the coast to Littlehampton is completely different to our usual rides which are along picturesque country lanes. This trip mostly involves cycling along cycle paths and promenades but still very pleasant as we see a variety of seascapes.

We set off from the Martello Tower in Seaford on Thursday morning and were fortunate to be pushed along the promenade by a strong tailwind which made for easy cycling. However, the thought crossed our minds that this could become a challenging headwind for the return trip. We wondered whether we may have to cut the ride short at, say, Shoreham or Worthing.

We carried on at a fair pace. It wasn’t long before we reached Saltdean where we descended down the short steep hill onto the undercliff path. Then it was ‘plain sailing’ and apart from a small hill at Brighton Marina, it was virtually flat all the way to Littlehampton.

We seemed to reach Worthing quite quickly where we had a refreshment stop at the ‘Coast Café des Artistes’ on the seafront. The wind had died down somewhat so we decided to press on to Littlehampton for lunch.

Littlehampton was bathed in sunshine; it usually is when we cycle there! After fish & chips at the ‘Gallery Tea Rooms’ (very good value) on the promenade we started on our return trip. There was a slight headwind but nothing too challenging. However, cycling on flat terrain against a slight headwind means that there’s no opportunity to freewheel; you’re always pedalling! It was a bit tiring so, on reaching Rottingdean, we stopped at ‘Molly’s Café’ on the promenade for afternoon tea. After about 20 minutes and suitably refreshed, we set-off to cycle the final ten miles back to Seaford.

It had been a superb long touring ride. The three cafes we stopped at are on our Refreshment Stops list.

Happy cycling,

Clive

2B MTB Improvers via the Coach Road

Fifteen of us completed the ride last Sunday morning. Following a scenic spin up to Bopeep and a bracing brakes-off run down the road from Firle Borstal car park – a first time for some of us – to the track at the bottom, we then turned on to the Old Coach Road and followed our noses to Alfriston. The description of our route as ‘undulating’ was questioned by some, who preferred ‘very hilly!’

The weather wasn’t especially clement – chilly and breezy on the top but then warmer under the shelter of the trees – but at least we missed the rain. Once again it looked like there were plenty of PBs including the road ride to our left turn at the (former?) YHA hostel, before we dropped down to the footbridge and along the Litlington road back to our re-grouping point at the pub.

In Litlington we met, briefly, the 4D and Helen’s Birthday Ride groups, looking purposeful, on a day when there were a further 3 road rides. That’s a lot of rides!

Couldn’t help but notice the sheep field was despatched a bit more casually and with more bunching than usual. Getting faster.

So, if my Garmin would give up it’s secrets, which it won’t for some reason, I’d pass on the ride data – distance, feet climbed, average speed. I’m guessing we did about 16/17 miles, climbed over 1000 ft and averaged maybe 7 mph???

Roger.

A Superb Short Touring Ride

We aim to have three touring rides each week: Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. The Tuesday rides are the shortest at approximately 25 miles; the ride today was no exception.

The weather conditions this morning were ideal for cycling: dry, sunny and virtually no wind. Eight of us gathered at the entrance to the car park in Friston Forest at 9.30 am and it wasn’t long before we were puffing and panting up Chapel Hill. As usual we took a breather at the top and admired the view before coasting downhill to Wilmington, passing the Long Man on the way.

Our destination was Ripe but rather than go directly there we took a more circuitous route via Chalvington and Golden Cross so we could spend more time enjoying the beautiful countryside as we cycled along some superb country lanes.

Ripe Village Stores

The café in Ripe Village Stores is one of our favourite refreshment stops and, as usual, we were warmly welcomed by the staff who are all volunteers. We lingered there for quite some time; elevenses almost became twelveses!

Then it was back on our bikes and, this time, we took a direct route back to the car park at Friston Forest. It had been a thoroughly pleasant morning of cycling, superb scenery and great company.

Our next ride will be to Littlehampton on Thursday, a round trip of about 70 miles. Thursday rides are our longest touring rides and are often over 50 miles.

Happy cycling,

Clive

2B Improvers in Friston Forest

2B Improvers In Friston.

14 of us repeated most of last week’s route up Cardiac and back down the Gallops, with the addition of just a little bit of downhill single track – Snow Run last segment (Final Descent?) – before we picked up the  Galleon Fields slope via the car park.

A really pleasant ride that also shows how repetition can help with technique and confidence. Without prompting, one rider – first time to the top of Cardiac in one go – said how important it was to manage breathing.  And you still kept a whole ‘granny’ ring in reserve. Wow! Someone else said they were traffic phobic to the extent that a year ago the bike was hardly ever used – not so now. And the same rider also found how a bit more momentum over the roots helped with balance and confidence. Our two new  riders really enjoyed the downhills – maybe they’re passing through on the way to 3/4C…?

NB We had the 2-way radios which were very handy for keeping the ride together when we had a mechanical at the back of the group.

It was especially pleasing to have a guest who’d come all the way from Shoreham and 2 other Brighton based riders. We hope to see you all again, often.

Here’s a video that most of us will never emulate but note how the dropped heals at about 57 secs in to the video help with grip and balance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWEMfvfO3DA

16.5 Miles, 1300 feet, average 7.5 MPH.

Roger and Roy

The Photogenic Tourers???

Taking a decent action photo of cyclists can involve a bit of time and effort to set up; far easier to take a photo of cyclists sitting in a café drinking tea and coffee! However, when a group of Cycle Seahaven cyclists are passing the Art Deco inspired De la Warr Pavilion at Bexhill then it’s an opportunity not to be missed. After finding the best spot to take a photo, the cyclists roll past the Pavilion and a ‘burst’ of photos is taken. The best of that ‘burst’ is shown above; I feel it was worth that extra bit of time and effort!

Unfortunately, the cyclists are wearing their winter clobber so it’s not obvious that they’re members of Cycle Seahaven although you may recognise some of them. There was a chilly south westerly blowing so they donned extra clothing to keep warm.

We were cycling back from Hastings where we’d had lunch on the pier. It had been a beautiful Spring morning cycling from Exceat to Hastings and hardly a breath of wind could be felt. It made for easy cycling. As so often happens when we have lunch, a wind develops which invariably turns out to be a headwind for the return leg, or so it seems. Nevertheless, it wasn’t too much of a struggle and overall it was a pleasant cycle ride, a round trip of 56 miles.

The Thursday touring rides are our longest of the week so they usually involve two or three refreshment stops. Next Thursday our touring ride will be to Littlehampton, a round trip of about 70 miles. Perhaps they’ll be an opportunity for another action shot!

Happy cycling,

Clive