Good turnout for Good Friday Ride

Taking a breather at Chapel Hill

Taking a breather at Chapel Hill

The Easter Bank Holiday Weekend got off to a cracking start with a twenty mile touring ride through some beautiful country lanes on Good Friday morning. Twelve cyclists set off from Exceat at 9.30 am and cycled along Litlington Lane towards Wilmington. It wasn’t long before the cyclists warmed up as they climbed Chapel Hill at Lullington,  the only serious hill on this ride;  most of this ride being virtually flat.

After regrouping at the top they continued down the other side,  passing through Wilmington to Arlington and then cycling a loop via Upper Dicker,  Berwick and back to Arlington for a refreshment stop at the Tea Gardens.


Leaving Arlington Tea Gardens

Leaving Arlington Tea Gardens

It was good to see several cyclists taking part in a Cycle Seahaven ride for the first time and all were enjoying the experience. There’s always a café stop on these touring rides which gives cyclists a chance for a rest and a chat before heading homewards.

There will be more touring rides organised over the next few months now that the weather has improved,  including some on Saturday mornings which will be shorter and flatter than those on Sundays.

Why ride in the middle of the road?

This well crafted article published in describes why cyclists sometimes ride in the middle of the road.

Why do cyclists ride in the middle of the road? Because they’re allowed to: a poster from the Department for Transport advises “Cyclists.  Ride central on narrow roads.”

See those potholes? Not good for your suspension, are they? To cyclists, they’re not just inconvenient  they’re lethal.  The cyclist up ahead might be in the middle of the road for a few seconds in order to avoid a big gash in the ground.  Cyclists are expert pothole – spotters.  Use this inside knowledge to prevent costly damage to your car’s suspension.

But, I hear you cry, cyclists block me even when the tarmac is butter-smooth.  Take a look ahead.  See any “islands”, those refuges placed smack bang in the middle of the road, and placed there to protect pedestrians? Every keen cyclist knows that these islands can be death traps.  Some motorists get a spurt on to overtake cyclists before these refuges, cutting in at the last second.  Some cyclists, therefore, take what’s called the “primary position”.  (Yes, there’s an official Stationery Office name for the middle of-the-road manoeuvre  This is cyclists’ semaphore for “don’t pass me just yet  there’s an obstacle ahead.” Watch what cyclists do when they’ve passed the island: ninety-nine times out of a hundred they tuck back into the side of the road, and the motorist can then safely overtake.   When a cyclist takes the “primary position” before such an upcoming obstacle it’s not a mark of arrogance, it’s a (risky) tactic to keep everyone safe.

Cyclists will also assume the primary position to avoid “dooring” by motorists opening their car doors without looking, or when about to turn right.  Again, once safe to do so, cyclists return to the side of the road.

Not that a cyclist has to be a “gutter bunny,” hugging the kerb.  Cyclists, in law, operate “carriages”, and have done since a court case in 1879.  And, as operators of vehicles they have as much right to the whole lane as a motorist.  Most of the time cyclists, quite sensibly, allow motorists to pass because that’s the safest and nicest thing to do.  But it’s not a legal requirement.  There’s no such thing on the road as a “car lane.” The only roads that motorists can call their own are motorways – the clue is in the name.

OK, so how about those cyclists who block the road by “riding two abreast”.  That’s also perfectly legal.  It’s in the Highway Code. Remember, motorists – unless their cars concertina like Autobots from the Transformers movie – ride two abreast all the time, even when driving solo.

The Highway Code states that cyclists should not ride more than two abreast and should ride in single file on “narrow or busy roads and riding round bends.” However, the Highway Code doesn’t define what it means by “narrow” or “busy” or quite how rounded the curve has to be before it’s considered a “bend.” Club cyclists, who often ride in packs, will ride two abreast to chat, and will thin out when necessary, but two riders will often “take primary position” before bends.  It should be reasonably obvious why.  Far too many motorists take bends, even blind ones, fast, and cyclists do not want to be squished when an overtaking driver realises they’ve overcooked the corner and has to dive back in to avoid a head-on smash.

Cyclists often “block the road” in order to save their lives, and possibly yours, too.

Carlton Reid is the executive editor of  He drives a Nissan Note “but not very often.” He’s writing a history book on motoring’s cycling beginnings, Roads Were Not Built For Cars.

By Carlton Reid Tue, 15 Apr 2014

Tuesday Morning Ride to Arlington, 1 April 2014

Cyclists at the Arlington Tea Gardens

Cyclists at the Arlington Tea Gardens

Spring is a great time for cycling through country lanes. The hedgerows are coming alive with blossom and wild flowers,  the birds are in song and the air is full of countryside fragrances,  some better than others!

Last Tuesday was a perfect day for cycling. Not only was it Spring but the air temperature was quite warm. Five of us met at the Friston Forest car park to commence a 20 mile ride. We headed along Litlington Lane to Chapel Hill,  the only serious hill we climbed during this ride so we took a breather at the top and admired the view. After passing through Wilmington we did a loop from Arlington,  through Upper Dicker and Berwick to the Arlington Tea Gardens,  a popular stop for cyclists. Then it was a short return trip via Wilmington and Litlington to Friston Forest.

These Tuesday morning road rides are aimed at those cyclists who prefer to cycle at a touring pace,  ie an average cycling speed of 12 mph and who enjoy a café stop during their ride. They are usually between about 20 and 30 miles although,  occasionally,  there are longer rides. Please keep an eye on the Rides Calendar for more ‘touring’ Tuesday rides.

Cradle Hill bike train

 BikeTrain4  BikeTrain3s
Monday morning on 31st March and Tuesday 1st April – the weather was great for a cycle ride to school. Organised by enthusiastic parents and supported by Sustrans and Cycle Seahaven, the bike train started in Bramber Road and then picked up more kids and parents en route. We rode on Southdown Road, Hindover Road, Etherton Way, Vale Road and finally onto Lexden Drive. All the kids did brilliantly and were chatting excitedly all the way.

The final climb to Cradle Hill school was an inspiring sight: no-one would be beaten by the hill. After riding a mile and a half we climbed a total of 145 feet, so we had the downhill return journey to look forward to on the way home after school.

14 children cycled to school with their parents on Monday and 8 on Tuesday. A brilliant way to start the morning!