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

 

 

Brilliant Easter Egg Ride

Saturday saw the most successful Cycle Seahaven Easter Egg Ride yet.  Seventy one riders of all ages joined in the ride in Friston Forest and our thanks go to Mark Woodgate and his team who organised the event.  It was also the first event to use the newly acquired Club Trailer.  We’ll let the pictures speak for themselves:

Tourers clock-up the Miles

Over the past week there have been five touring rides and anyone cycling in all of them would have clocked-up 250 miles. It provided a good opportunity for cyclists to get some decent mileage in their legs, especially for those going on long distance cycle tours soon.

It started with a ride to Heathfield on Sunday which always proves mildly challenging as there’s a fair bit of climbing involved to get there. However, as usual, the return trip via Lions Green, Muddles Green and Chalvington was very pleasant as it’s mostly downhill or flat and goes along some very picturesque country lanes. That was 42 miles completed.

The following two days (Monday and Tuesday) were birthday rides for Joe and John. Each ride was 70 miles so no prizes for guessing how many years they were celebrating! The rides involved cycling a few laps of a route based on a ‘figure of eight’ circuit starting at Arlington Reservoir and passing through Ripe, Golden Cross, Chiddingly, Laughton, Chalvington, Arlington and Upper Dicker. There were many refreshment stops at some of our favourite cafes such as the Ripe Village Stores, the Village Shop Café at Upper Dicker, Chiddingly Village Café at Muddles Green and the Arlington Tea Garden.

Cyclists at the entrance to Lydd Airport

Wednesday was a rest day but on Thursday six of us loaded our bikes into the backs of our cars and drove to Rye Harbour for a 48 mile tour of the Romney Marsh. This area is a cycling paradise as the terrain is virtually flat and the country lanes are extremely quiet. Lunch was at Biggles Restaurant in Lydd Airport and afternoon tea at Miss Mollett’s High Class Tea Room in Appledore. It was certainly high class: bone china crockery and pots of leaf tea; no tea bags here and, yes, we were provided with tea strainers; remember those?

Friday was another rest day but on Saturday morning, some of us cycled to Molly’s Café on the promenade at Rottingdean for morning coffee; no bone china here but the Americano was superb. This was a round trip of 20 miles which raised the total distance for the week to 250 miles.

It was a great week of cycling and all of us now feel a bit fitter and ready for those long distance cycle tours.

Happy Easter,

Clive

Warmest ride of the Year

A very enthusiastic 11 of us enjoyed our warmest ride of the year. The concrete road was ‘dismissed’ by the Improver group and a new rider with CS, new to riding the Downs too, who just went for it and happily listened to, and, eventually, acted on, advice about dropping your heels in the ready position. And that was before we reached the trig point….! Outstanding.


We did the usual trundle through Firle Borstal car park but turned left at the masts and headed down the grassy track past America farm for South Heighton and Denton. But we regrouped near New Barn and decided another climb was called for before we hit 'town'.

It was one of those days when the South Downs are slightly hazed and hard to leave, especially on a bicycle. So back up we went to a properly dry introduction for a number of our riders to the single track down through the tunnel of trees, over the roots and avoiding random lumps of flint to Poverty Bottom.

Then back through Bishopstone and along the seafront to the Martello for the now traditional coffee & cake.

17 miles and 1250′ of elevation at an average speed of just over 8 mph.

Windmills and Rivers – 4C MTB ride report

The warm sunshine and sheer numbers added to the excitement of the Thirty One (yes, 31!) MTB riders who met up at The White Lion for an 8:30am start on Sunday 2nd April. Our group of 20 club members who were riding the longer 4C route left first to head up to Bopeep, then onward past the two aerial towers above Firle Beacon. The views were still partly shrouded in mist, but this gradually cleared throughout the 28-mile ride.

Heading towards the aerials above Firle Beacon

Our usual route (after dropping down to Southease) is to follow the Egrets Way rider-side trail to Piddinghoe then up through Peacehaven via valley road, but this time we stayed on the South Downs Way (SDW) for the more challenging climbs up Mill Hill, Front Hill and Iford Hill – that’s a lot of hills. At the top we stopped for a quick refuel before heading further West along the SDW.

The chalky descent to Ashcombe (Kingston) is rather technical, with deep ruts and rain gulleys to negotiate. Despite this, everyone rode with skill and confidence to Kingston Ridge and the Juggs Road, pausing for a photo-stop at Ashcombe windmill at St Anne Without. From this half-way point we had done all the climbing and could now look forward to drinking in the views on the flat return journey.

Warm sunshine and great views at Ashcombe windmill

After crossing a narrow bridge high above the A27 we took some back streets (Morely Close & Cluny St.) to The Cockshut, then we followed the river banks to Egrets Way back home to Newhaven & Peacehaven.

This ride was really great fun with some marvellous personal achievements, wonderful weather and great company. Thanks to Tim & Chris for co-herding such a large group.

You can see the route we took by clicking on this link. https://www.relive.cc/view/924817674

Terrific Turnout of Tourers

One of the strengths of Cycle Seahaven is that it caters for a broad range of cyclists: mountain bikers, hybrid and road cyclists, varying from beginner to experienced. A glance at the Rides Calendar shows that there’s a wide selection of rides on offer for them

Some of those rides are shown as ‘Touring’ which are aimed at experienced road cyclists who prefer to cycle at a touring pace, ie an average of about 12½ mph; a comfortable pace where one can chat without being out of breath. Numbers on these rides are usually modest but have been creeping up recently; the ride on Sunday to Chilley Farm Café attracted ten such cyclists, the highest number for many months.

As we congregated at the Martello Tower at 8.30 am on Sunday morning it was heartening to see a similar number of Sportive and Intermediate road cyclists (the faster riders); they were bound for the Lavendar Line at Isfield.

The weather on Sunday was superb and, judging from the number of cyclists on the roads, it was certainly tempting people to get out on their bikes. In fact, as we cycled alongside the dykes on the Pevensey Levels, it felt as if we were cycling in Holland!

It therefore came as no surprise to find the Chilley Farm Café busy with cyclists and walkers but, although we had to wait a little bit longer than usual for our ‘elevenses’, it didn’t matter. We were content to bask in the wall-to-wall sunshine and chat about sprockets, chain sets and all things cycling!

It was a great Sunday morning ride, a round trip of approximately 40 miles. Hopefully, we’ll have lots more of them this year!

Happy cycling,

Clive