Touring Rides Galore in 2016

There were over a hundred touring rides this year; there would have been more but some were cancelled due to bad weather.

Our last touring ride of 2016 was this morning (Thursday) which included a refreshment stop at the Luna Rossa Italian Restaurant in Newhaven, one of our favourite places to stop for morning coffee. We had intended to go to Rottingdean but the weather conditions suggested the risk of black ice on the higher ground between Newhaven and Peacehaven. We decided it was safer to cut the ride short at Newhaven; the thought of an excellent cup of coffee at the Luna Rossa helped with the decision making!

As usual we had a warm welcome at the restaurant, practised our Italian and drank some superb coffee. Then, before returning to Seaford we cycled along Fort Rd to West Side Promenade; there’s a good view of Seaford Head from there.

This was our 103rd touring ride of 2016 and was one of our shorter rides at just ten miles. Most of our rides this year have been between 20 and 45 miles; the total distance covered by all our rides being about 3,500 miles.

Our longest rides, all round trips, have been via Littlehampton (70 miles), Hastings Pier (51 miles) and Worthing Pier (also 51 miles). There was also a 200K (125 miles) Challenge Ride which comprised numerous laps around a Figure of Eight route passing through Arlington, Chalvington and Ripe.

One of our most enjoyable and easiest rides of the year was a tour of Romney Marsh, a ride of a tad under 50 miles. We simply put the bikes in the backs of our cars and drove to Rye Harbour; it took about an hour to drive there. We’ll do more of those ‘drive and ride’ trips in 2017.

All our rides include refreshment stops and during the year I’ve been updating a map (Google Maps) to show the locations and brief details of those we’ve found to be welcoming to cyclists. There are now 25 refreshment stops on the map. The link to it is: Refreshment Stops

This map may be of use to anyone who is planning a ride and looking for somewhere to stop for a rest and some nourishment. But, please don’t arrive in mud splattered clothing and footwear as the welcome may not be so friendly, especially at restaurants.

Our next touring ride will be on New Year’s Day, weather permitting. Hopefully, this will be the first of another 100+ rides in 2017.

Happy New Year,

Clive

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

Easy Cycling on Romney Marsh

If ever you want somewhere flat to cycle with plenty of quiet county roads then try Romney Marsh. Three of us did precisely that last Thursday. We put the bikes in the back of our cars and drove to Rye Harbour where there’s a large car park and, it’s free! It took just over an hour to get there.

Joe had plotted a route of a tad under 50 miles for our Romney Marsh Tour; it proved to be the easiest half century I’ve ever done on a bicycle!

We cycled into Rye (there’s a cycle path for most of the way between the harbour and town) and then along a fairly straight and flat road to Appledore for a refreshment stop at Miss Mollett’s High Class Tea Room. It was excellent and has been added to our Refreshment List.

Then, we cycled on some very quiet and narrow roads to New Romney where we crossed over the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch narrow gauge railway line and on to Dungeness; nice view of the power station! There was a gentle breeze which wasn’t a problem but it did cross my mind that on a windy day it could prove quite challenging. Being flat, Romney Marsh is rather exposed with little in the way of shelter; it’s similar on the Pevensey Levels.

A few miles later we entered Lydd Airport for a spot of lunch in Biggles Restaurant and watched a biplane practising landings and take offs. There were plans on the wall for a future expansion of the airport with a longer runway and more terminals. Perhaps we won’t need that third runway at Heathrow after all!

Then it was back to Rye Harbour and one last refreshment stop at the William The Conqueror pub (super little pub) before driving back to Seaford.

Certainly, Romney Marsh is a good place for cycling if you don’t like hills although not on a windy day!

Happy Cycling,

Clive

New Café Stop

Cyclists outside Ripe Village Stores

Cyclists outside Ripe Village Stores

Our Tuesday touring ride today was to a village through which we’ve often passed but never stopped. There was a pub but it never seemed to be open when we passed; it’s now boarded up! The village is Ripe and just opposite the old pub is Ripe Village Stores which, apart from having a Post Office inside, also has a café.

The café is fairly new so we gave it a try this morning. We were greeted with a warm welcome and invited to sit at a large table where our orders were taken. The staff were really cheerful and the service, food and drink were excellent. It’s certainly a cyclist friendly place so I’ve added it to my map of refreshment Stops. The link is:

Refreshment Stops

We’ll definitely be going back there soon.

Happy cycling,

Clive

Refreshment Stops

The following link will take you to a map (Google Maps) showing the locations and brief details of some cycle friendly places for refreshment stops on rides. These are places, mostly cafes, which we use on our touring rides and have found them to be welcoming to cyclists.

Refreshment Stops

This may be of use to anyone who is planning a ride and looking for somewhere to stop for a rest and some nourishment.

I’ll endeavour to update it fairly frequently.

Happy planning,

Clive