Touring Road Ride to Horam, 29 September

Cyclists at Wessons Cafe

Cyclists at Wessons Cafe

Ten cyclists turned up at the Martello Tower for the ‘touring pace’ ride to Horam. It’s a good place to cycle to on a Sunday morning as there are several good cycling routes to and from Horam,  the round trip is about 35 miles and there is a superb café there,  Wessons. Our route on this occasion went via Hailsham.

It was a typical autumnal morning,  ie a bit fresh to start with but warmed up by mid-morning;  warm enough to sit outside Wessons Café with a cuppa. This café is possibly one of the best cafés in East Sussex and is popular with motor bikers and cyclists;  it’s certainly one of our more frequently visited cafés.

There was only one significant climb this morning,  ie Chapel Hill between Littlington and Wilmington so,  as usual, we stopped at the top to take a breather,  admire the view and regroup. The road between Hailsham and Horam (the one that goes past Blackstock Farm) is undulating but the hills are mild compared to Chapel Hill so not too challenging.

The return journey was via Scrapers Hill,  Muddles Green,  Ripe and Berwick so an easy ride as it’s mostly flat or downhill;  hardly surprising as Seaford is virtually at sea level!

This was another one of those enjoyable rides which went through superb countryside,  mostly on quiet roads and over terrain that wasn’t too challenging except for Chapel Hill. It won’t be long before we cycle to Horam again albeit on a different route.

Cycling on Seaford Prom?

Dear all

Seaford Town Council has been working with East Sussex County Council to try to get shared use of Seaford Promenade for pedestrians and cyclists which was one of the requests popular in the Seaford Community Partnership Seafront Survey. In order to progress our request with ESCC, we are required to have data on current usage. To speed up the process Seaford Town Council are coordinating the data gathering which will take place on the promenade at the end of Dane Road between 7am and 7pm on Saturday 5 October, Monday 7 October and Sunday 13 October and we need your help.

We need at least two people, preferably three, to cover each hour. If you can help, even for one hour, please contact Gemma Hamilton at Seaford Town Council either by calling 894870 or email

Please pass this on to anyone who may be interested in helping.

Kind regards


Mrs Sam Shippen FCIS, Fellow ILCM, CMC

Town Clerk
Seaford Town Council
37 Church Street
East Sussex
BN25 3NH
01323 894870

Newhaven NCN2 changes

It was brought the attention of Cycle Seahaven that National Cycle Route 2 (NCN2) through Newhaven has seen some rather odd signage changes recently. Instead of following the shared path from the Ouse Estuary Trail (OET) and along to B&Q, riders are now directed to the Sainsbury’s side of the road. This rather unneccessary detour requires 8 additional road crossings (four roads with crossing islands). Also, when going to Seaford from Newhaven riders are directed onto the A259 rather than onto the specially built cycle-friendly crossing to join up with the OET. We have raised this issue with our local Sustrans representative who has forwarded it onto East Sussex County Council.

For safety reasons we suggest you consider continuing to use the old route to avoid crossing in front of the very busy entrance to the supermarket/petrol sation/pub-hotel. The old route is still fully signposted as a shared, cycle-friendly route.

Cyclists Dismount signs are advisory. If it is safe to do so then you can continue without dismounting. These blue signs are different to the circular white signs with a red border – No Cycling – which are obligatory and enforcable by law.

New NCN2 Newhaven Which side would you rather negotiate?

2B MTB Friston Winter rides survival kits.

Bike kit:

compact hand pump (from £12.99)

glue less patch kit ( from £2.49)

glue type  patch kit  (from £2.99)

2-3 tyre levers (from 99p)

inner tube (from £3.49)

a few zip ties

old credit/club card (to clean mud from tyres)

small rag  4×4 ” to clean punctured tyre

1pr latex gloves

small plastic bag  (sandwich bag to stick in muddy rag, gloves etc)

Power Links, 9 or 10-speed, depending on your bike

piece of card or cut-down Biro casing wrapped with a length of duct tape

a cut down flat piece of plastic milk bottle about 2×2 inches (for emergency repairs on slash tyre)

Personal kit:

Small camelbak or back pack

water bladder or bottle

charged mobile phone

eye protectors (cycling, safety or military glasses, to stop mud getting in your eyes, from £6)

emergency rear marker/flashing lamp, (cheap dangly type from £3.99 if you have no rear light)

a spare jersey or gilet, a buff tube or similar (for those who ride hot you will cool very quickly if we have to stop for any length of time)

lightweight rain jacket according to weather condition

you own small medical kit with a few wipes and a few plasters (any personal medication, please make the ride leader aware)

 This is in addition to your normal riding kit, ie  helmet, jersey, gloves etc

 I have placed a few (from) prices to show that you can kit yourself up quite cheaply!

These are not must for our 2b rides but I would encourage riders to carry most of the items listed for a safe and easy ride.


2B Friston Friday night 27/09/13 ride report

What a fantastic ride, weather and trails conditions where spot on. 5 riders on the night , the 3/4c also had plenty as we did meet them on the trails. We took the same route as last week but our small pack managed to get separated in two packs due to wrong turn on the “snow run”,  we kind wasted a little time trying to find each other  but luckily enough, we all regrouped on the top of cardiac. This highlighted the need for ride members to have each other mobile numbers to be able to communicate if need to.

We did  just under 10mls in 1.33h (pedaling time) and where out for about 2 hours.Best


Update on 2B route thanks to the FF ST MAP

From the gates we took “family trail”, “Jamie’s back passage then snow trail” where we go separated, falling back on the “secret trail/stumpy” then rejoined  the “final descent” back to the “family trail”,” candy canes”, up “cardiac” where we regrouped then down “Secret trail/stumpy”, “snow link”, “snow trail”, “final descent”, “family trail”, up the “gravel track”  and down the “red route” to the car park.

A1 RIDE!!!

trail ID thanks to:


Friston Forest cycling discussion

The Forestry Commission are seeking the views of all visitors to Friston Forest about the way bike trails are accommodated within the forest. They are particularly interested in what people feel is working well, what isn’t and suggestions on how to move forward.

You can contribute online by going to this website:

There’s a lively debate going on, and the discussion will run until 18th October 2013.



New Cycle venue opening – 28th september

After months of testing and refining, UK Cycle Labs are now ready to let you see what all the talk is about. We’ve received an invition for Cycle Seahaven members to go and have a look:


All Cycle Seahaven members are invited to come along to the UK Cycle Labs open day this Saturday afternoon, 28th September. Drop in and take a look at our indoor cycling studio, we have group sessions with real bikes, great videos & useful fitness stats. It’s the FIRST studio of its kind in the UK!

We hope to see you there!!

When: Saturday 28th September (after 1pm)

Where: UK Cycle Labs, Unit 17, Newhaven Enterprise Centre, Denton Island, Newhaven, BN9 9BA

Free admission, refreshments available


FaceBook link:

London to Brighton Off-Road Ride Report, 2013

4am is never an easy start to a full day of cycling, but with a belly full of porridge and a well prepared bike I rode the half-mile from my house to meet up with Marina and Chris Sparks for the drive to London. We picked up Jim Wells and Simon at Pease Pottage and drove onto the start at Roehampton University, SW15, arriving around 7am.
We met up with Richard Dickens at the start point and listened to the amusing safety briefing, then Jim, Richard, Chris and I pedalled out into fairly quiet London traffic at 7:23am along with about 200 other riders. We were the second group to go, and about 3000 more would be following us, released in groups of a few hundred every ten minutes. Here we go…
Chris and I were both running singlespeed (no gears) mountain bikes, and we’d had much discussion on the best gearing for the journey – high enough gearing for the long flat sections, but low enough to tackle the climbs. We’d gone for similar ratios on our 29inch wheeled bikes. I’d gone for 34:18 and Chris had gone for the slightly higher (harder) gear of 32:16. I’d opted for the comfort of front suspension whereas Chris had gone for the lighter but more tiring option of rigid forks – respect! We were both keen to see how our choices would play out over the next 125km.
We soon arrived at the gates of Richmond Park and enjoyed a leisurely paced through its rolling landscape and green spaces. That’s the problem with singlespeed bike – unless you pedal furiously you are limited to a single speed. No problems to be had with Trade Descriptions, then. We were overtaken by quite a few riders, but we were happy at this forced speed restriction as we felt it would save our legs for later – tortoise and hare style. A third the way through Richmond Park a stag decided to walk right towards us with the intention of crossing our route. Those animals are big and the mass of spikes on its head were not at all comforting. Luckily it slowed a bit and we passed just in front. I didn’t dare look back, but I guess it must have stood in the road because we weren’t passed by other riders for quite a while after.
We left the park and followed the Thames Cycle Track on through Hampton Court Park (10 mile mark) and onto the first water stop at Weybridge, 15 miles into the ride. This was my first supported event and I’d never considered how water would be delivered to 3000 riders. The answer was an ingenious use of a large water boswer connected to a pump and two rows of four push-taps over a large sink. It reminded me a little of a communal urinal. I’m glad I had some fruit flavoured energy powder to mask any stale taste there may have been.
A lot of thought had gone into our nutrition. My approach was to carry the aforesaid high energy powder: it was light to carry and would be mixed with the water that was available from the bowsers every 15 miles or so. This high-tech food source was supplemented by some decidedly low tech chocolate covered biscuits and three of my favourite Tunnocks Caramel bars. I had planned on the ride taking around seven hours so I took 8 sachets of powder, one for each hour (or ten miles) plus a spare. I also took two energy gels, also for emergencies. I’d never tried one before so I left them for last, just in case they didn’t agree with me. I also took a couple of high-tech energy food bars. I didn’t like them as I found them too dry, so I’m really glad I took the choccie biccies.
We joined the road to Byfleet then, after what seemed like ages on tarmac (this was after all an off-road challenge) we got onto some real ‘singletrack’. This is where the singlespeed bike came into its own – ascending climbs and tackling dirt trails at a confident and steady pace, reigning in the road warriors from earlier. I’d lost the others by now, as I was having too much fun playing in the dirt trails. 30 miles in and we came across the first real technical challenge –a very steep descent on slippery, rutted mud. I’m pleased to say that I passed a lot of people on this section, and made up plenty of ground. I love my singlespeed!
At the bottom of this descent was our second water stop. I refilled both my bottles (500ml and 750ml) and topped them up with three sachets of powder. I had used up three sachets in the last thirty miles, so my plan for one every 10 miles seemed to be working. Taking a regular supply of water and fuel is a key skill in long distance riding, and I’m glad I seemed to be keeping to the plan. I had no idea of timing as I wasn’t racing – just keeping a steady pace and keeping myself fed and watered. Luckily Chris appeared before I was ready to leave, and he too was grinning from that technical descent. We had already agreed not to stop. If we needed rest then it’s better to keep active – either walk for a bit or pedal gently. This method of ‘Active Recovery’ has worked for me on other long-distance rides, and we were keen to put this into practice; we were both fired up for the next 45 miles.
More bridleway was followed by a narrow path through heathland. The narrowness appeared to make it difficult for some riders, and with nowhere to pass many of us were obliged to ride at a slower pace. This is not usually an issue because one can simply select a slower/easier gear. Chris and I didn’t have that option, so the going was quite hard for what should have been a relatively easy section. But hey, it’s all part of the fun.
At the 40 mile mark we refilled with water and joined the Downs Link. I’d only ridden a short 3 mile section of this before, and I was surprised at how long and flat it was. This would make a great venue for a club family ride. We took in about 20 miles of relatively easy cycling all the way to Steyning, then a short hop to the water station at Bramber. The burger van smelled fantastic, but I knew that a stomach full of fried onions and minced beef would do me no favours on the climb up Truleigh Hill. I’d lost Chris again – he had hit a wall about 50 miles in but luckily recovered for the final stretch.
I decided to press on but not before trying my emergency energy gel. I have to say it was disgusting, but I know that some people swear by them. I was swearing AT mine. This particular gel had caffeine added, which I hoped would help me up the brutal climb to the top Truleigh Hill, but all it seemed to do was raise my heart rate to bursting point. I didn’t make the hill in one go as intended but I was determined to cycle the whole route without walking. It took me about seven stop-start goes to climb the steep, rocky section before Freshcombe Farm, but I managed to cover the entire climb on my bike instead of beside it. I knew that this was the last push so I attacked the remainder of the hill with much of my remaining energy. At last I’d made it to the top.
Cresting Southwick Hill, with its views over Mile Oak and out to the sea felt amazing – it’s all downhill from here. I really enjoyed the descent on the narrow and uneven track, over the Southwick tunnel and down to the Old Shoreham Road. The lights changed in my favour as I approached the crossing so I tucked in and kept my downhill speed to the harbour and down to National Cycle Route 2.
The flat and relatively boring ride along the cycle path on Hove prom was a chance to slow the pace and try to warm down, but my spirits rose as I saw the huge inflatable marker at the finish-line on Hove lawns. If I had gears I would have tried a sprint finish, but forced to ride at a steady pace allowed me to bask in the glory of the lovely welcoming crowd – what a brilliant feeling as you cross the finish line with people cheering, flags waving and a congratulating party to present you with a medal. I felt like I could do it all again. Well, it felt like that for five minutes. It was 14:14 and I’d been cycling almost non-stop for nearly seven hours.
Chris was not far behind on his rigid singlespeed, crossing the line and grinning to the same amazing welcome. Fortunately there was no beer tent otherwise we’d have both got steadily smashed. Instead we rode along the prom and under-cliff to Ovingdean where Marina was waiting to ferry us back home. Well, not immediately home but back to the pub for a swift one. By the time we finished our pint each the adrenaline was wearing off and the need for a hot bath beckoned. It was only late afternoon and Chris was already planning the next daft thing to attempt. I declined to offer any suggestions, too tired to play that game. What a day, though.
Finally, many thanks for the people who sponsored us on this epic challenge. My legs are still sore and the aching has kept me awake the last two nights. There’s still time to put a pound or two towards helping BHF fight heart disease, and you can do this easily online at:

Andy ‘Gus’ Lock
Richard Dickens
Jim Wells
– Thanks.

High above Brighton

New route to Exceat almost there…

Our campaign to get a safe route from Seaford to Exceat has been a long time coming, but we’re almost there.

The planned cycle route from Seaford to Exceat bridge avoiding the dangerous A259 has been under negotiations between the National Trust, Sustrans and other landowners. Progress has been slow, but that’s how it is with new routes.

There is plenty of good news: gates have been replaced with bridleway style ones and the ‘No Cycling’ sign has been removed by the landowners; the bigger puddles and depressions have been filled with hardcore and the encroaching bushes have been cut back, so it is much wider and drains quicker – plenty of room for both walkers and cyclists.  We are now awaiting signage before it can be officially opened, but in the meantime there’s nothing stopping cyclists from using this route. The surface is grass and there are no immediate plans to change this so you will need off-road capable tyres, especially when it’s wet.

The route goes from the Golden Galleon carpark to the junction of Chyngton Lane and Barcombe Avenue. Link to online map: