SDW in 3 Days

Thursday evening saw 16 bikes loaded on to the club trailer and overnight bags loaded into Sherpa Diana Normans car ready for the off on Friday morning

Roger Lambert was our nominated driver of the Lions Club Mini Bus which took 12 cyclists together with the trailer. We also managed to rope in a friend Damien Watts to drive another 4 cyclists to our start point in Winchester.

Arriving in Winchester at 8.30am we finally found a suitable place to unload and get ready for the start of a great adventure. Waving goodbye to Roger and Damien we cycled up to the start point of the South Downs Way.

Our target on day 1 was Winchester to Harting Down through the rolling Hampshire Countryside. Approximately 30 miles and 3000 feet of climbing.

The start of the ride saw us battling stinging nettles and brambles for a short distance however after this we enjoyed beautiful views and undulating terrain. Buster Hill was probably our biggest climb of the day however it was certainly rewarded with the most amazing decent enjoyed by all.

Our first nights accommodation was at The White Hart in South Harting. A beautiful pub where we were made to feel so welcome. The staff were so friendly, food was delicious and the rooms were stunning we really did have a great evening here.

Saturday morning saw us start the day with a 1 mile nasty climb taking us back up to the South Downs Way. Super tough after a lovely cooked breakfast.

A few of us were tired today and struggled to get going but our lovely group rallied round and gave support. Before long we were up on top and rolling over the undulating terrain of the SDW.

The weather was perfect and the views amazing. Constant changing terrain kept us all on our toes but we managed to enjoy some wonderful breaks to enjoy our surroundings and take time out to eat.   Eating and drinking became a very important part of our daily routine. Especially the ice cream breaks

Day 2 saw a couple of riders crash and a few technical issues. As a group we rallied around and the support meant everyone getting back on bikes and continuing on the ride despite the bruises and blood

Following the grind up Truleigh Hill we all arrived at the YHA with huge smiles and definitely ready for dinner, showers and a nights rest

Sunday morning brought a tasty cooked breakfast, sore muscles and some very tired riders but today we were on our own playground. We knew what was ahead – the 4 big climbs but also with them the descents and of course the finish line.

Sadly we had to say goodbye to Hilary who had been an inspiration to us all over the past 2 days but after a nasty fall and badly bruised ribs had no option to pull out. Lots of tears were shed by all and we have all promised to ride the last day again once Hilary is fully recovered.

Today was probably our best riding day. Every rider dug deep and rode like demons. We covered the miles so quickly that we all surprised ourselves. As a treat we stopped in Alfriston for a well deserved ice cream before tackling the last few climbs

Joined today by Alien and Gus who helped with gates and encouragement also helped the ride go smoother.

At the top of Eastbourne we hit the Elliedrome and we believe broke the record for the most number of riders at one time.

Emotions were high as we stopped to take in the views of Eastbourne and of course the final descent to the finish line where Sherpa Diana, Christina and Ellie were waiting to film and cheer us on and pop the bubbly

The descent was amazing and such an achievement by all. This ride has been so much more wonderful thanks to the group working so well together and supporting each other throughout the journey.

We are all so lucky to be part of such an amazing club and to have such a wonderful family supporting us all.

Summertime Cycling has arrived

Astronomers think that summer starts on the summer solstice (21st June) but meteorologists and cyclists know that it really starts on the first day of June. It’s now the 3rd June and the weather conditions for today’s Sunday morning cycle rides were perfect: warm, dry and virtually no wind. Yes. Summer has certainly arrived.

The three road cycling groups, the Tourers, Intermediates and Sportives met at the Martello Tower at 8.30am. The destination was Horam so the tourers took the direct route and headed northwards to Horam. However, the sportives went west and the intermediates went east but arrived at the Lakeside Café in Horam before the tourers! Perhaps that’s not surprising as the tourers like to chat and admire the countryside.

It was great to see so many other cyclists on the roads; it almost felt as if we were cycling in France although, of course, we were on the opposite side of the road.

There will be more such cycle rides during the summer so it’s worth keeping an eye on the Rides Calendar.

Incidentally, there are three touring rides each week, on Tuesday and Thursday as well as on Sunday. Our Tuesday touring rides now incorporate sections of shorter, flatter routes aimed at those wanting to get back into cycling. We call this ‘Easy Touring’ and the typical route distance is 11 miles. This Tuesday, we’ll be going to Ripe. Details are on the Rides Calendar.

Happy cycling,

Clive

Springtime on the Cuckoo Trail

It’s a great time of year to cycle along the Cuckoo Trail. Spring has well and truly sprung; there’s an abundance of bluebells, primroses and wild garlic in the hedgerows and woodland glades, the birds are in full song and, of course, it’s traffic-free.

Seven of us cycled along it today from Hailsham to Heathfield, a distance of almost eight miles. It’s a gradual climb so nothing too challenging but it probably took us about an hour to cycle as we pedalled along (at 8 mph) admiring the wild flowers and listening to the bird song.

At Heathfield we had elevenses at the café in the Co-op supermarket. It’s not the sort of place where we normally have a refreshment stop but, on Joe’s recommendation, we gave it a try. Great! Good quality food and drink at competitive prices. We’ll go there again.

It was a super ride back via Lions Green and Muddles Green to Exceat; all downhill apart from a couple of lumps.

Happy cycling,
Clive

An Enjoyable Springtime Touring Ride

Was today, 6th March, the first day of Spring? It certainly felt like it as we cycled along the country lanes on our way to Ripe. The sun was shining, the air felt almost warm compared to the chilly winds of last week and there was no hint of rain. The skylarks were in full song, there were primroses flowering in the hedgerows and daffodils blooming in cottage gardens. Yes, Spring has arrived. It all made for really pleasant cycling but the icing on the cake was our stop in Ripe at one of our favourite cafés, Ripe Village Stores.

So cyclist friendly, wonderful service, superb refreshments and reasonably priced; it’s the perfect café stop for us.

Then it was back to Seaford via Chapel Hill; we can’t get enough of Chapel Hill. We usually cycle up it twice on our inland rides; on the Lullington side for the outward trip and on the Wilmington side for the return trip.

All in all, this was a very enjoyable Springtime touring ride; there will be many others over the next couple of months with some including café stops at Ripe Village Stores. And, if you don’t like hills and would prefer some flat touring, watch out for my next post later this week. Dave and me have a cunning plan!

New Funday Ride

Some of you will have noticed that there is a new ride featuring on the calendar this Sunday, the ride entitled “Funday Ride” which will be led by Roy Francomb.

Dropping down to Bishopstone Village

The new ride is aimed to run at a level just below our Sunday Improvers ride. The Improvers group has progressed and raised the bar as to the mileage and terrain we cover, leaving a gap for a slightly lower grade ride on a Sunday.   Roy has kindly offered to run the “Funday” ride. This ride will be for those who want a slightly less challenging MTB with a coffee and cake stop on a Sunday.

Where & when possible we will try to arrange for the Funday & Improvers ride to meet up for Coffee & Cake at some point on the ride or at the end of the ride.

So if you fancy getting out on a Funday ride you can contact Roy via our ride leaders contact page.

Many thanks

Paul Sandles / Roger Lambert / Roy Francomb

Improvers / Funday Ride Leaders

A busy 1st of July!

 

Saturday, July 1 was a busy day for the club. It started a few days before with a plea for help as our usual Dr Bike ‘doctors’ were unavailable. Requests for help on the Cycle Seahaven Facebook page (and closed group page) remedied that and we ended up with more helpers than we’ve ever had previously.

The team established ourselves on the usual pitch outside Seaford Police Station and before long the first of the thirteen bike ‘casualties’ arrived. Typically these are rusty bikes that have been pulled out of sheds by their owners in the hopes they can start riding them again in the summer. The vast majority of which just require proper lubrication and safety checks (the bikes not the owners).

The team had a few punctures to contend with as well, which given the mechanical skills of one of the volunteers proved to be entertaining. Formula One this isn’t and if you’ve never seen a grown man wrestling (and losing to) a child’s pedal cycle then perhaps you should volunteer.

The next Dr Bike is in the Meridian Centre, Peacehaven on the 15th of July between 10 am and midday.

Later in the day…..

Ellie started her Women’s Festival of Cycling ride from the White Lion. She took a group on a 24-mile cross-country route through the forest and then onto the South Downs Way above Eastbourne. From there they descended into Birling Gap before returning to the forest.

Judging by the comments on Facebook this was a bit like trying to herd cats as some of the riders kept getting distracted by butterflies, caterpillars and every other living creature known to man. When not pursuing said butterflies on a bike (to get photos for a member of the group), she was trying to locate others that had wandered off. What is it about teachers and their need to misbehave when not in school? A sharp blast of the whistle and order was restored.

Once back in the forest the group were given goody bags kindly provided by Cycling UK to celebrate the festival. It appears that the ‘bum butter’ provided in little pots within the bag can be mistaken for lip salve (always read the label!).

If you didn’t know, Cycling UK’s Women’s Festival of Cycling runs for the whole of July. The aim is to encourage more ladies to ride (only 20% of UK bike riders are female). Cycle Seahaven’s ratio is 25% but as one of the ladies said yesterday it seems like more because our ladies have a tendency to be ‘vocal’.

Meanwhile…….

Mark Woodgate’s family ride started in the forest with a brilliant turnout. Parents and children assembled in the car park before peddling to the Candy Canes and then along sections of the red route, before descending down the Snow Run and Final Descent.

Some of these youngsters are going to be seriously good riders in future. If you want to encourage children to ride we thoroughly recommend you bring them along to a Family Ride (hosted on the first Saturday of every month throughout the summer starting at 2 PM).

And then………

Both rides joined up in the second car park of the forest for a picnic. Ellie’s ladies had arrived first and having erected the Cycle Seahaven gazebo they got down to the serious business of Prosecco tasting. Both groups enjoyed a picnic and Ellie’s chocolate and raspberry cheesecake, which seems to have been used as a carrot to encourage participation in both rides. The kids, with renewed energy, ran around playing football or Kubb; a Danish game which involves knocking down wooden blocks with sticks. Some of the ‘bigger kids’ also tried racing the little kids’ bikes resulting in at least one crash.

So, all in all, a great day for the club. Thank you to all those that volunteered and assisted with Dr Bike. Special thanks to Ellie and Mark for hosting and coordinating their rides so that everyone could join up for a  picnic. It was a great idea. Plans are afoot for similar events in future; details to follow on the CSH Website,  Facebook pages and Club Twitter account.

https://www.facebook.com/cycleseahaven/

https://twitter.com/Cycle_Seahaven

Tourist Section Take on the “Beacon”

This Tuesday, six members of the Touring Section took on Sussex’s most notorious climb.

After a gentle ride along the Ouse  Valley Estuary Trail, we made the dash to Lewes up the C7, warming up our climbing muscles on the hill up to the Prison Crossroads. After regrouping the route took us out past Offham on the A275 and then left towards Plumpton on the B2116, and onto Underhill Lane.

After a short breather to discuss tactics at the end of Underhill Lane it was straight on to the “Hill”. All riders completed the ride non-stop to the top, pausing for the obligatory photo, before descending along Ditchling Road and the back road to Stanmer Village to the Stanmer Tea Rooms for well-earned refreshments.

The homeward journey was via the A27 cycle path, Kingston Village, C7,  Egrets Way and Piddinghoe Village.

There are usually three touring section rides each week, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. The tourist pace of about 12 mph average speed allows us to take in the scenery and will always involve a refreshment stop or two.

Happy Cycling,  Dave Sutton

 

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

2B MTB Improvers via the Coach Road

Fifteen of us completed the ride last Sunday morning. Following a scenic spin up to Bopeep and a bracing brakes-off run down the road from Firle Borstal car park – a first time for some of us – to the track at the bottom, we then turned on to the Old Coach Road and followed our noses to Alfriston. The description of our route as ‘undulating’ was questioned by some, who preferred ‘very hilly!’

The weather wasn’t especially clement – chilly and breezy on the top but then warmer under the shelter of the trees – but at least we missed the rain. Once again it looked like there were plenty of PBs including the road ride to our left turn at the (former?) YHA hostel, before we dropped down to the footbridge and along the Litlington road back to our re-grouping point at the pub.

In Litlington we met, briefly, the 4D and Helen’s Birthday Ride groups, looking purposeful, on a day when there were a further 3 road rides. That’s a lot of rides!

Couldn’t help but notice the sheep field was despatched a bit more casually and with more bunching than usual. Getting faster.

So, if my Garmin would give up it’s secrets, which it won’t for some reason, I’d pass on the ride data – distance, feet climbed, average speed. I’m guessing we did about 16/17 miles, climbed over 1000 ft and averaged maybe 7 mph???

Roger.