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Touring Ride Descriptions: Improvements

Some improvements have been made to the ride descriptions of Touring rides on the Rides Calendar which, hopefully, members will find useful when considering going on any of our rides.

The ride description will now include six side-headings:

  • DISTANCE
  • REFRESHMENT STOPS
  • TERRAIN
  • ROUTE
  • CHANGES
  • RIDE LEADER

‘Route’ has always included a hyperlink to the plotted route on RWGPS (Ride With GPS). This hyperlink will now be a short filename in upper case which will be the main destination of the ride, eg BLACKBOYS E1.

Therefore, if you download the route onto your GPS cycle computer, you should easily find the route in your saved ‘Courses’; Garmin devices do not like long filenames. Don’t worry about the last two characters of the filename such as E1 as they’re just a route identity suffix.

When you look at the plotted route on RWGPS you’ll see more information about the ride, both on the map and in the column on the right-hand side. Google Streetview is available on RWGPS maps so you can do a virtual tour of the route or take a look at any parts of the route that may be unknown to you.

Our touring rides aren’t just about the cycling; the refreshment stops are a key part of our rides. Therefore, if a refreshment stop has a website, there will now be a hyperlink to it.

Also, more details will be added to our list of Refreshment Stops including Trip Advisor ratings. There will be more information in a post later this month.

TIP     To view a RWGPS map on a tablet it’s probably best to view it in landscape otherwise you may only get a description and cue sheet if viewed in portrait.

Happy cycling,

Clive

A record Year for the Tourers

Tourers brave a wet and windy New Year’s Eve for their final ride of 2017: Lakeside Café at Horam

It’s been another record year for the tourers: 120 touring rides in 2017, an increase of 15% on the 2016 total of 103 rides. There would have been more but some were cancelled due to bad weather.

Also, anyone who’d been on all these rides in 2017 would have cycled just over 4100 miles, an increase of 17% on the 2016 total of about 3500 miles. That gives a mean figure of about 34 miles cycled per ride this year.

Most of our rides have been between 25 and 50 miles with Ripe, Muddles Green and Bexhill being popular destinations. However, there have been a few longer distance rides such as Littlehampton (70 miles) and even the Downs Link (100 miles) although, as sections weren’t really suitable for a road bike, it won’t be repeated.

Although it’s very pleasant cycling along the local country lanes and the promenades and cycle paths of the coastal strip we occasionally do some ‘Away-Day’ rides for a change of scenery. The Viking Trail in Kent and cycling over the Romney Marsh are two examples of such rides. We aim to do more of these in 2018.

Apart from the Cycle Seahaven rides many of the tourers have been doing other rides as well. Heather Cheek cycled across Iowa in RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa). Others took part in two Phoenix-CTC rides, a cycling trip to the Loire Valley and a channel hopper to Dieppe. In addition, some did a cycle tour of Upper Normandy as well as cycling through France from the Med to the English Channel. In fact, Joe Hamilton has cycled more than 7,000 miles this year; that’s more than some of us have driven in our cars!

All our rides include refreshment stops and during the year our list has grown to 41, mostly cafés. The following link Refreshment Stops shows the locations and brief details of them; all are welcoming to cyclists.

It’s certainly been an active year for the tourers but we are few in number; we’d like to see more. At present our rides are graded at level 3 so are aimed at those who can maintain an average speed of about 12½ mph; a comfortable pace where one can chat without being out of breath. However, to widen the appeal of touring rides we are considering introducing some at level 2 in the Spring where the average speed will be about 10 mph.

Watch this space!

May we wish you a Happy and Safe Cycling New Year,

Clive Aberdour        Dave Sutton

Tourers visit the Lavender Line

It was off to the Lavender Line at Isfield for the tourers on Sunday, a round trip of 43 miles, to visit one of our favourite refreshment stops, Cinders. It’s the station buffet which is run by volunteers and, as you walk in, you feel as if you’re going back in time to the days of steam. There are plenty of old railway signs and pictures adorning the walls which add to the interest. After getting our drinks we decided to sit outside on the platform and admire the trains; there was certainly plenty happening!

The ride to and from Isfield took us along some very pleasant country lanes passing through Laughton and Palehouse Common on the outward trip, coming back via Glynde on the return trip. At this time of year of course, the leaves of the hedgerows and trees are changing colour so we’ll soon be doing some Autumn Colours rides, similar to last year. As usual, details will be on the Rides Calendar.

Happy cycling,

Clive

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

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

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

 

 

Final Touring Ride of Winter

Today, the 28th February is the last day of Winter; that’s the Meteorological Winter of course. There’s no point in pretending that Winter still has three weeks to run, ie to the Equinox, as it was clear on our touring ride today that Spring has arrived judging by all the daffodils blooming in hedgerows and gardens.

It was a beautiful morning as seven of us cycled towards Hailsham to join the Cuckoo Trail and then head southwards to the Old Loom Mill at Summerhill for a refreshment stop. It was virtually wall to wall sunshine, there was just a slight breeze and the air felt warmer than in recent weeks; ideal cycling weather for this time of year. It certainly felt like a springlike morning!

It’s been quite a good Winter for the tourers. A few rides have been cancelled due to inclement weather but, since 1st December, 23 touring rides have taken place which is possibly the best Winter season the tourers have had.

Hopefully, the number of touring rides during Spring will much greater, starting with a ride to Shoreham Airport on Thursday, 2nd March. Over the next three months there will be rides to all the café stops on our Refreshment List plus a few new ones like Old Loom Mill today.

Happy cycling,

Clive

Third Time Lucky for Muddles Green

It was third time lucky for a touring ride to Muddles Green today (Tuesday); two previous attempts this year had been cancelled due to bad weather. However, the weather today was fine and eight tourers cycled to Muddles Green for a refreshment stop at one of our favourite cafes, the Chiddingly Village Shop & Cafe. It’s a community shop located in what used to be a farmyard at Farley Farm.

Hopefully, the cold weather of Winter is over and we can look forward to more fine days; after all, Spring is just around the corner!

We try to have three touring rides each week: Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. The Tuesday rides are the shortest at approximately 25 miles. Those on Thursdays are the longest and are usually more than 40 miles; sometimes as much as 70. The Sunday rides tend to be between 30 and 40 miles. Our rides are called touring rides as we cycle at an average cycling pace of about 12½ mph, the sort of pace that most cyclists would adopt on a long distance cycle tour. Also, all our rides include a refreshment stop.

Other rides being planned later this month are to Blackboys, Horam, Rottingdean and Bexhill and possibly Isfield. So, if you’re an experienced cyclist and fancy a bit of ‘touring’ then please give our rides a try. Details are on the Rides Calendar.

Happy cycling

Clive

Viva Las Whitesmith

Four riders started at the Martello Tower for this Sunday’s Touring Section Ride to Happy Days Café at Whitesmith. However by the time we got there three other members had joined at various points along the route.

The ride took us along our usual lanes, after the climb up Chapel Hill, where we always take a breather at the top. Our pace was just right for riding as a group in the cool and damp conditions. And the refreshment stop was at café we hadn’t been to before – Happy Days at Whitesmith. The café owner is a big fan of Elvis and we were quite surprised to see he was in the building.

There are regular Touring Section (for riders who like to average about 12.5 mph) rides planned. Please check the calendar for details, you will always be given a warm welcome.

Happy Cycling.

Dave Sutton