Cycle Touring in France with Phoenix-CTC

If you’re a member of the CTC then you may be interested in a new CTC Member Group called Phoenix-CTC as it runs cycle touring events not only in Great Britain but also France, in fact mostly in France. Although Cycle Seahaven is affiliated to the CTC it’s insurance policy precludes the club from organizing events abroad. That limitation does not apply to CTC Member Groups.

So, if you fancy some cycle touring in France then take a look at I’m on the committee of Phoenix-CTC as well as being a ride leader for Cycle Seahaven so if you have any queries then please don’t hesitate to contact me at Alternatively, have a chat with me on a cycle ride which starts at the Martello Tower at 8.30am on Sundays.

If you’re not a member of the CTC and would like to join, then please Click Here.

Bon cyclisme,


What’s your Pace?

Start of rides to Chilley Farm Cafe

Cyclists at the start by the Martello Tower

Which speed to you like to cycle at? Do you like to cycle at a touring pace, a sportive pace or something in between? If you’re an experienced cyclist then there should be a ride to suit you most Sunday mornings starting at the Martello Tower at 8.30am.

Last Sunday morning was a good example when fifteen cyclists turned up to cycle to Chilley Farm Café on the Pevensey Levels. We divided into three groups, Touring, Intermediate and Sportive. The Tourers cycle at an average speed of about 12 mph, the Intermediates at an average of 13 to 15 mph and the Sportives at an average of 15 to 17 mph. These are average speeds and the speed on the road can vary considerably; as much as 50% slower when on a stiff climb such as Chapel Hill and 50% faster when on a flattish road with a tail wind.

There was a strong westerly wind blowing on Sunday so anyone cycling eastwards to, say, Hailsham had the assistance of a tail wind which significantly increased the pace.

The three rides took different routes. Six cyclists joined me on the Touring ride which went via Chapel Hill, Hailsham, Stunts Green and then across the Pevensey Levels to Chilley Farm. Two cyclists joined Mark Cottenham for the Intermediate ride which went via Drusillas roundabout, Hailsham, Herstmonceux and the Pevensey Levels. Both groups met at Chilley Farm as planned but there was no sign of the Sportive cyclists.

On leaving the Martello Tower in Seaford they had headed out to Lewes, Barcombe and Ringmer achieving an average of 20mph! Strong tail winds perhaps??? They then slowed down the pace and decided to go to the café at Blackstock Farm, between Hailsham and Horam rather than do the extra miles to Chilley Farm. Their average speed by the time they finished at Seaford was 17 mph over a distance of 45 miles. The other rides were about 40 miles.

Everyone enjoyed themselves even though they had to battle against a strong headwind on their way back to Seaford.

Tour of Britain – Motorcycle Escort Video

Cycle Seahaven member Eon Matthews is also a member of the National Escort Group GB. Eon has escorted all 11 Tour of Britain cycle races, and was amazed when he found out the tour was coming through his home town. Eon has compiled footage of Stage Seven of the ToB which came through his hometown of Seaford, which you can view on YouTube using this link:

Eon gives us an insight to being part of National Escort Group GB:
” It is honestly a hard week although some would say what is hard about riding a motorcycle on closed roads escorting cyclists,  staying in 5* hotels and getting paid for it?  Well you have got to have your wits about you. Over the years I have had car doors open on me,  pedestrians walking out on me,  being cut up by the team cars and trying to get through the peloton to name a few,  as well as getting to the start up to 1 hour before the race of over 100 miles,  then onto the next hotel which can be over 4 hours it is a long day in the saddle –  but I wouldn’t change it.

How we get picked is done by our regional coordinators. Every weekend during the season we are the safety bikes for local road race leagues and we have to do x amount to be in line for being picked. You also need to be a level one rider (level 3 being trainee) or possibly level 2 depending on how experienced you are.

The other good thing was that I could pick up the cakes for the Escort team as I was passing through.  This has become a sort of tradition that whenever we go through one of the members towns they supply the cakes for the rest of the team. Normally we have Welsh cake as one of our member’s wife normally bakes them, but we were not going no near his town so it was my turn.

I believe that the tour is looking to come back into sussex again which would be good.”




Ride Report – Thursday’s Pub Ride

As we were waiting at the White lion for the ride to begin at 7pm the heavens opened. The rain was torrential, so the six of us waited out the storm over a drink – why not, eh? Half an hour later the storm cleared and we decided to ride the road section for starters, then make a call on what to do next, depending on the weather. At Chalvington Fields on the outskirts of Seaford the skies were mostly clear and the stars &  full moon were out, so we all decided to make a cross-country dash for the Plough and Harrow as originally planned. There was a strong tail wind which made the journey easier, but the longer grass and softer ground counteracted this somewhat.  It’s now quite dark at 7:30pm, so we were glad of our powerful off-road lights as we picked our way though sheep droppings on the rough bridleways. It just started raining again just as we arrived at the pub four miles later, so we couldn’t have timed it better. The pub owner convinced us to buy a bottle of wine instead of buying by the glass, so we stayed for two drinks each.

The return trip was on the road (NCN2) which is surrounded by trees and bushes. It’s also low lying so was relatively sheltered making it easier going into the headwind. We made very good time to Exceat bridge before heading up the new cycle track behind the Golden Galleon. The climb up the grassy hill into a strong headwind was pretty hard, so we made a couple of stops to catch our breath. At the top of the hill we picked our way through the residential backsteets to avoid the wind before splitting up to go our separate ways home.

Riding cross country at night is exciting and very different from daytime rides. We took a chance with the rains and we were lucky to stay dry – this time. Great fun.

An Invitation to become a Member of the OVCN Project

OVCNLOGO-webbannerWith the Project to build The Egrets Way well into its 3rd year,  we have recently become a Registered Charity (No 1155182). This will enable us to raise funds more easily as well as to limit the personal liability of the Trustees (members of the Steering Committee).

It also means that now only Members of the Project can vote at the AGM.

So, we would like you to apply to become a Member of the Project in time for our next AGM. The only requirements are that:

you agree with and support the aims of the OVCN Project (listed below) and
you become a Member at least 3 months before the AGM.

Membership does not impose any obligations on you other than to continue to support our aims,  so you can resign your membership at any time. It does,  however,  ensure that you will be kept informed about progress as we continue to work toward the completion of the Project.

To become a Member you only have to reply to send an email to the OVCN Secretary, a link is provided below. This will confirm that you agree with and support the aims of the OVCN Project and would like to become a Member.

The AGM will be held in January,  2015 (date and venue to be confirmed) so to be eligible to vote please sign up by the end of October 2014.

Many thanks
Neville Harrison
Chair,  Ouse Valley Cycle Network (Egrets Way) Project

Aims of the OVCN Project

  • Creating a network of safe, shared routes in the Ouse valley for everyday and recreational use
  • Connecting Ouse valley town, villages and amenities
  • Offering sustainable access for all to the South Downs National Park
  • Encouraging healthy lifestyle choices
  • Linking local, national and international routes
  • Helping to create a thriving local economy and green tourism
  • Promoting understanding of Living Landscapes


Click HERE to send a pre-formatted email to OVCN.
For more information on OVCN and their exciting project for a cycle route between Newhaven and Lewes go to or click on our club link for other OVCN articles

Thursday Pub Ride #6 – new venue

Change of destination:
Although we start at the same place as usual for Thursday’s 7pm pub ride – the White Lion, Seaford – we have a change of route for October 9th. Instead of stopping at the Flying Fish we’re mixing things up a bit and heading out to another country pub – This time it’s The Plough and Harrow in Litlington.

The Route:
Starting at the White Lion on Belgrave Road,  Seaford at 7pm we ride along Belgrave Road to the mini roundabout and turn left up Firle Road. A third the way up we turn right onto Firle Drive and cut through to St Peters Road and The Holt. Along The Ridings and across the bottom of Chalvington Playing Fields to Maple Fields. We then head North along a bridleway on the Eastern side of Blatchington Golf Course. We then head East to follow the bridleway down to The Plough and Harrow, Litlington.

The return route to Seaford is along NCN2 (via Exceat) and other quiet roads back to the White Lion.

It’s 4 miles on the outward journey and 5 miles on the return.

Is this right for me?
If you are a regular rider then please be aware that we go very slowly, so you may be hanging around waiting.
The outward journey starts on roads with a long slow climb. The return is mostly flat apart from the climb up Exceat hill, which most of us will walk. Click here for a draft Map of the Route

To gauge the terrain have a go at riding the start of the route: Go from the White Lion to the Mini Roundabout. Turn left and go 1/3rd the way up Firle road (to Firle Drive).  Over the outward 4-mile route we do the equivalent of this climb about three times in total, interspersed with flat sections and a long descent.

Good bright lights are needed as it’s almost dark when we leave, and we’ll be riding on rough ground away from streetlamps.
This route is about 25% on grass and chalk trails/bridleways, so you will need chunky tyres and a hybrid or mountain bike.
You must wear a helmet. Gloves and a water bottle can make the going easier, but are not essential.
With the warm nights we’ve been experiencing you may want to use insect repellent.


If you have any questions then please get in touch. See you there?