Ride to Horam – report

Cyclists at the start of the ride to Horam. More joined as we were leaving.

Cyclists at the start of the ride to Horam. More joined as we were leaving.

There was a good turnout of road cyclists for the ride to Horam this morning (Sunday). There were three groups: the Sportives (average speed of 17 mph), the Intermediates (average speed 15 mph) and the Tourers (average speed 12.5 mph). The three groups took different routes and arrived at the Lakeside Café within about 30 minutes of each other. The Tourers arrived first but, of course, they cycled the shortest distance.

Judging from the number of cyclists riding along the country lanes it’s clear that road cycling is becoming very popular. A few years ago, we saw very few cyclists on the roads on Sunday mornings. It’s great to see this increase in popularity!

Happy cycling,

Clive

Bluebell Cycle Tour

Cyclists in a woodland glade on the Cuckoo Trail

Cyclists in a woodland glade on the Cuckoo Trail

Our touring ride this morning (Tuesday) included cycling along the Cuckoo Trail from Hailsham to Heathfield and returning along country lanes through Lions Green to Muddles Green. There were bluebells aplenty along these stretches of the route; carpets of them in woodland glades.

Five of us took part in this ride and at times we spent more time admiring the flowers rather than watching the path or road ahead but there were no mishaps. Apart from the bluebells there were primroses and wood anenomes and the occasional whiff of wild garlic. It made for a fantastic springtime cycling experience.

Cyclists at Frenches Halt on the Cuckoo Trail near Heathfield

Cyclists at Frenches Halt on the Cuckoo Trail near Heathfield

 

The photo above is one such woodland glade on the Cuckoo Trail about a mile south of Horam. On both sides of the trail were extensive carpets of white wood anenomes with a few bluebells mixed in.

Further along the Cuckoo Trail we came across Frenches Halt. It’s in a back garden which includes a signal box! Press the nose of Thomas the Tank Engine (on a poster) and all manner of things happen: the signal changes, a whistle blows followed by the sound of a steam engine puffing away; great fun!

It was another super touring ride and at the end I felt we should have called it the Bluebell Cycle Tour. I’ll be repeating this ride on Sunday, 1 May. Not to be missed!

Happy cycling,

Clive Aberdour

A Perfect Springtime Ride

Cyclists at Chiddingly Village Shop & Cafe

Cyclists at Chiddingly Village Shop & Cafe

Seven members took part in the touring ride to Muddles Green today (Tuesday), a round trip of 37 miles at our usual average speed (whilst cycling) of 12.5 mph. The spring weather was perfect, dry and sunny with the temperature reaching 18ᵒC and just a slight breeze.

Spring is a great time of year to cycle along the country lanes of Sussex with the hedgerows bursting into life and the grass verges being full of wild flowers including primroses, bluebells and celandines. Couple this with today’s excellent weather and you could say that this is cycling paradise!

As usual our ride included a refreshment stop which today was at one of our favourite cafes, the Chiddingly Village Shop and Café at Farley Farm. We’ve been frequent visitors of this café since it opened in 2012 and have never been disappointed. It’s run by volunteers who are always cheerful, it’s cyclist friendly, the service is good and they make a nice cup of coffee!

This was a perfect springtime ride. Let’s hope for more fine spring days.

Happy cycling,

Clive

Challenging Touring Rides

Spring has been a busy time for the Touring section, with several challenging rides over increasing distances leading to the 200km Challenge.

This took place last Thursday and had six riders attempt the challenge, starting at Arlington Reservoir at 07:00. We rode our usual figure of eight circuit, in conditions that could only be described as challenging, with strong winds, horizontal rain, thunder and lightning and hail showers.

Three riders made it to the finish, at 19:24, giving a moving average speed of 12.1 mph for the 125 miles.

There will be more challenging touring rides over the next few months.

Happy cycling,

Dave Sutton

Super Cycling on the Spring Equinox

Cyclists at Lakeside Cafe

Cyclists at Lakeside Café, Horam

It was a chilly morning for the Spring Equinox on Sunday but that didn’t deter eleven Cycle Seahaven members from jumping on their road bikes and going for a ride to Lakeside Café at Horam. There were two groups: seven Sportives (average speed of 17 mph) who took a fairly long route via Laughton, Blackboys and Waldron, and four Tourers (average speed of 12½ mph) who took a more direct and therefore shorter route via Hailsham. Both groups left the Martello Tower in Seaford at the same time and arrived at the café in Horam within a few minutes of each other. Good timing! There had been rather fresh north-easterly breeze blowing so a warm drink was most welcome. The return ride to Seaford was much easier, being mostly downhill or flat with a tailwind.

This proved to be a super Sunday morning bike ride and hopefully the start of a run of such rides through to the Autumn Equinox and beyond. (There have been rather too many cancellations over the past few months due to bad weather). That said, the Touring ride next weekend (Easter) will be on Saturday morning instead of Sunday morning.

Happy cycling,

Clive

Make Hay while the Sun shines

Cyclists at the café in Muddles Green

Cyclists at the café in Muddles Green

We’re lucky to be having an Indian Summer at present as the weather is ideal for cycling being warm and dry with just a gentle breeze to keep you from getting too hot.

Last Sunday, on our touring ride to Horam, I observed plenty of cyclists on the roads taking advantage of the good weather and, this week, nine Cycle Seahaven cyclists turned up for our Tuesday morning touring ride; possibly a record turnout for a Tuesday touring ride.

The ride was to Muddles Green for a refreshment stop at Chiddingly Village Shop, one of our favourite café stops. It’s a community shop run by volunteers and we’ve been visiting the café ever since it started up several years ago. Our first visit was just a few days after it had opened and someone took a photo of us for use on their website; it’s still there:  http://www.chiddinglyshop.org

So, I took the opportunity of taking a similar photo on Tuesday; more cyclists this time!

Looks like the Indian Summer will continue through next weekend so perhaps I can encourage all members to get out on their bikes this Saturday or Sunday and make hay while the sun shines.

Happy cycling,

Clive

Two Hours to Bexhill

Cyclists taking a breather at the top of Chapel Hill

Cyclists taking a breather at the top of Chapel Hill

Rides to Bexhill always prove popular with cyclists who prefer to cycle at touring pace, i.e. an average speed of 12½ mph whilst cycling. The touring ride this morning (Sunday) was no exception as 11 cyclists met at the Martello Tower to commence the touring ride to Bexhill.

The route from Seaford to Bexhill is reasonably flat apart from Chapel Hill, a serious climb between Litlington and Wilmington. We always take a breather at the top and regroup. After Wilmington the route goes through Hailsham and then eastwards across the Pevensey Levels, along Rickney Lane and Sluice Lane to Bexhill. So, although this ride is a round trip of almost 50 miles, it’s quite easy to cycle; perhaps that’s why it’s so popular.

Cyclists outside the Italian Way

Cyclists outside the Italian Way

The weather conditions for the ride this morning were ideal, dry and sunny with just a slight breeze. We reached Bexhill in two hours, bang on schedule as the distance is almost 25 miles. Our refreshment stop was at the Italian Way restaurant, almost opposite the De La Warr Pavilion.

It was so pleasant sitting outside in the sunshine that we stayed there for quite a long time, about 45 minutes. The return journey was easy as we had a slight tail wind and, two hours later, we were back in Seaford.

The touring ride next weekend will be on Saturday instead of Sunday.

Clive

Our Annual Ride to Littlehampton

Cyclists at Littlehampton, on the Climping side of the river

Cyclists at Littlehampton, on the Climping side of the river

Our ride to Littlehampton has become an annual event having cycled it for the past three years, in 2012, 2013 and 2014. On Tuesday (16 June) we cycled it for the fourth time and as usual, the weather was kind to us being dry and sunny with only a slight breeze.

Most of the route is virtually flat with much of it being along promenades and the like so it makes for easy cycling. Just as well as the total distance is 75 miles so it’s our longest touring ride of the year although I’m considering a century touring ride this summer.

Every year the route improves. Last year we were able to cycle along Seaford promenade (in previous years cycling hadn’t been allowed along it) and we crossed a new bridge for pedestrians and cyclists at Shoreham. This year we cycled on the superb new ‘shared use’ path between Newhaven and Peacehaven alongside the A259 which has a smooth tarmac surface; ideal for cycling on. Well done to Andy Lock and others in Cycle Seahaven who have campaigned for this path to be built.

Our route to Littlehampton follows National Cycle Route 2 except through Newhaven where we go via Elphick Road, Valley Rd, Brazen Close and The Fairway. This nicely joins the new ‘shared-use’ path alongside the A259. It’s far easier than following NCN Route 2 up Gibbon Rd and along the gravel and pot-holed track called The Hwy.

Six of us started the ride at the Martello Tower in Seaford with two more joining us at The Peace Statue in Hove. It was interesting to see the building work starting on the  i360 Tower close to the West Pier. It should be an amazing sight when finished.

It wasn’t long before we reached Worthing where we had a café stop than on to Littlehampton where we crossed over the River Arun to the Climping side to have lunch at the West Beach Café.

Our return trip was back along the same route with an ice cream stop at Lancing. It had been a very enjoyable ride and no doubt we’ll be doing it again next year.

Our touring ride next Tuesday will be to Hastings.

Perfect Cycling Weather, in November?

Wall to wall sunshine,  no wind,  dry and mild;  it could have been early September. In fact, it was the last Saturday in November! This was perfect cycling weather. No wonder 14 cyclists turned up for the Arlington Figure of Eight ride.

It was great to see so many cyclists which included Andy Lock who had encouraged some cyclists from the Thursday night MTB rides to come along.

This was a level 3 road ride and there hadn’t been one of those for many months. This level of ride is for cyclists who prefer to cycle at a moderate pace,  ie an average cycling speed of 10 mph so slightly less than the touring pace which has become popular with some of our road cyclists.

The Arlington Figure of Eight route has been used many times over the years by Cycle Seahaven cyclists and is ideal for level 3 road rides. The total distance is about 17 miles and,  as the name suggests,  the route comprises two loops. The first loop is virtually flat and the second is slightly hillier.

We gathered in the lay-by opposite Arlington Reservoir,  on the road between Berwick Station and Upper Dicker,  eager to get started. Soon we were cycling to Golden Cross via Chalvington and the solar farm construction site along Lower Wick Street;  there must be thousands of solar panels covering at least two fields!

2014-11-29 Ripe 2

Cyclists at Ripe by the Christmas Tree

After a breather at Golden Cross we cycle to Ripe and spot a magnificent Christmas tree at the junction;  time for a photo!

It isn’t long before we’re back at Arlington Reservoir and,  after a short breather,  embark on the second loop which includes our refreshment stop.

What a nice surprise for the Arlington Tea Gardens when fourteen cyclists descended on them! They did an admirable job in making teas and coffees as well as serving up cakes and scones! Well done to two of our cyclists who brought the orders out on trays whilst the rest of us sat in the garden soaking up the sun’s rays,  chatting about all things cycling. We would probably have sat there until they closed but we had a bike ride to finish. It was only a few miles to cycle via Upper Dicker and we reached the end at Arlington Reservoir just a few minutes after our scheduled end time. Well,  it had been rather pleasant sitting in the tea gardens in late November as if it was a summer’s day.

Another level 3 ride is planned for Saturday 13th December. This one will be the Chiddingly Figure of Eight ride. Details are on the Rides Calendar.