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.

Cycling to Paris

2014-06-07 Notre DameThree of us,  all members of Cycle Seahaven,  recently cycled to Paris along the Avenue Verte. We were part of a group of nine cyclists from the Phoenix Cycling Club whose aim was to follow this signposted route between the British and French capital cities. The signposting had been completed in 2012,  just in time for the London Olympics.

A few of us started in London,  at the London Eye and were joined two days later by the others at Newhaven. The distance was 99 miles.

In France we took three days to cycle from Dieppe to Paris,  a distance of 148 miles which included overnight stops in Dieppe,  Gournay-en-Bray and Cergy. The finishing point in Paris was Notre Dame. We could have done it in two days but decided to take a more leisurely pace,  ie our usual touring pace with lengthy café stops.

I would like to have said that the entire Avenue Verte from the London Eye to Notre Dame had proved to be a good cycle route but that would have been untrue. Certainly,  the first 90 miles in France,  between Dieppe and Chaussy were great. The route was well signposted,  there were no busy roads and the scenery was superb.

In sharp contrast the first 40 miles in England,  between the London Eye and the start of Worth Way,  just outside Crawley,  left much to be desired. Sometimes we were on busy roads,  at other times on dirt tracks and much of the route was poorly signposted. I won’t go into detail here but suffice to say that I’ll never do that part of the Avenue Verte again!

The section from Worth Way to Newhaven was much better with the Cuckoo Trail being the best part of the route that day. However,  it fell a long way short of the first 90 miles in France.

After a rest day in Paris we cycled back to Dieppe on a largely different route with overnight stops at Chantilly and Gournay-en-Bray.

Each cyclist had a copy of the Official Guide to the Avenue Verte which I reviewed in March. It proved to be a great help,  especially when we found ourselves off-route which was on numerous occasions when leaving London and also on the entry to Paris.

It had been a largely enjoyable ride and although some parts of the Avenue Verte couldn’t be described as cycling friendly,  we had had some great times,  both on and off the bikes. And, of course,  a ‘chill out’ day in Paris was a bonus.

I’ll be writing a review of the Avenue Verte which will be posted to the Cycle Seahaven Blog soon. It should make for interesting reading for anyone contemplating cycling to Paris.

Sunday Road Ride

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14 riders were out last Sunday on the joint road ride – 8 on the Sportive and 6 on the Touring. The weather was reasonable despite the large clouds in the photo and it was great to see so many groups of cyclists out on the road. After taking different routes we all met at Arlington Tea Gardens with lots of other cyclists.

The return route for the Sportive riders took them up Bo-Peep Lane and also High & Over back to Seaford. A total of 38.5 miles @ 16.8 mph with 2025 ft of climbing.

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.

Touring Ride to the Velo Café on Tuesday, 10 Dec 2013

Cyclists in the Velo Cafe

Cyclists in the Velo Cafe

Five members cycled to Brighton today to visit the recently opened eco-friendly café with a cycling theme. Called the ‘Velo Café’,  it’s completely different to any other café I’ve ever been in. In fact it’s a bit like having a coffee in a cycle shop as you can have your bike serviced there,  watch a large TV screen showing the Tour de France and buy inner tubes,  bells,  water bottles and the like. And,  the coffee is good too!

CLICK HERE to go the Velo Café’s website.

This is one of those cafés,  like Wessons at Horam,  which I’m sure will become a regular destination for our ‘Touring’ cycle rides. It’s a round trip of 30 miles from the Martello Tower in Seaford using,  mostly,  National Cycle Route 2. It’s a super route apart from the messy bit through Newhaven. However, on our return trip we cycled from the A259 to the Lewes Rd (C7) via Valley Rd which is described in Andy Lock’s post of 9 December ‘A259 Improvements between Newhaven and Peacehaven’. It’s much better than any other route I know through Newhaven so will certainly use it again.

I’m sure it won’t be too long before we repeat this ride to the Velo Café in Brighton. Next time, we’ll do it on a Sunday morning so more cyclists can join us.

Happy cycling,


Sunday Club Ride 17/11/13

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Ten riders turned out on Sunday for the club ride to Horam. The weather was cold and cloudy but the conditions were bearable and it remained dry. The pack was split with 2 riders on the Touring pace ride and 8 on the Sportive so I opted to lead the tourers on the way up and Roger lead them on the way back. We made good time and were drinking coffee by 10:20 and got back to the Martello by 12.

Well done and hope to see you all on the next ride.

Click here for my Garmin stats.


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.

Sunday Road Rides 1st September

Sunday morning road riders.

Sunday morning road riders.

Nine riders turned out Sunday 1st September. 4 members on Clive’s touring ride and 5 on Dave’s sportive ride.

Both groups had to make a small diversion at Chapel Hill due to the road being resurfaced. Sticky tarmac and 23mm tyres doesn’t go down well and neither does splattered tar on your bike frame.  The sportive ride was fast and we made good time to Bexhill. We refuelled with coffee and bacon sandwiches at the Italian Way Cafe on the seafront and then headed home via Eastbourne and Beachy Head. Total 54 miles at an average of 16.6 mph.

Clive reported a good ride although shame about Chapel Hill. However, we had other hills to climb, between Hailsham and Heathfield! We made good time to Heathfield and maintained our touring pace average of 11.5 mph (may have been a fraction faster) even though we climbed some hills; slow by your standards of course. Lot quicker coming back! I like this route, one of my favourites, as it’s quite varied in terrain and passes through some superb countryside; I especially like the section between Lions Green and Muddles Green. It’s 42 miles and can easily be extended into a half century which I’ll do later this year.

Incidentally, the Rendezvous Cafe at Heathfield has changed it’s name to an instantly forgettable one. Begins with ‘A’ I think.

’till next time.


Touring Road Ride to the Pevensey Levels – 30 June 2013

Ten cyclists met at the Martello Tower at 8.30 am to commence a road ride at touring pace (average speed of 11.5 mph) to the Chilley Farm Cafe on the Pevensey Levels. This was mostly a flattish route except for Chapel Hill near Lullington. After a breather at the top we continued through Wilmington to Caneheath and Hailsham. From there we rode along the Cuckoo Trail to Polegate and then country lanes to Rickney and then the cafe at Chilley Farm. We were suprised by the number of cyclists we saw but it was warm and sunny with very little wind so perfect conditions for cycling.

Chilley Farm Cafe made for a perfect refreshment stop for cyclists; it’s on National Cycle Route 2 so no doubt is popular with cyclists.

We took a slightly shorter route for our return journey which meant the round trip was about 35 miles; ideal for a sunday morning bike ride.

Ride Leader: Clive Aberdour

This ride was published as ‘Road (Touring) level C’
Click HERE to to view an online map of the route

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