Ripe’s Winged Wheel: Good News

The CTC Winged Wheel plaque, which used to be on the old Lamb Inn at Ripe, has been restored and is now mounted on the wall at the front of the Ripe Village Stores. The above photo was taken by a lone cyclist who was passing through Ripe on Wednesday afternoon: Dave Sutton.

It’s almost two years ago when I took a picture of the derelict pub and posted an entry to the blog about the Winged Wheel. These cast-iron plaques, two feet in diameter, were issued by the CTC about 120 years ago to approved inns and hotels. The Lamb was clearly an approved inn so it’s seems apt that it should be transferred to the Village Stores opposite which has a superb cyclist friendly café inside. The plaque has been restored by members of the East Sussex CTC.

The café is, of course, closed during the Coronavirus outbreak but I’m sure that when the restrictions are lifted plenty of cyclists will be visiting the café as soon as it reopens. I know that the café proprietor is intending to have a ‘Winged Wheel’ event one Sunday at which local cycling clubs will be invited. We’ll certainly be there.

Ripe’s Winged Wheel: Latest News

The picture on the left was taken in May 2018. It shows a CTC Winged Wheel plaque on the derelict Lamb Inn in Ripe. The plaque had probably been there for over 100 years. I posted an entry on this blog at the time; we hoped the plaque could be saved although we feared it could finish up in a builders skip. Fortunately, the village stores opposite the pub was on the case.

Now, I should explain that the Ripe Village Stores includes a superb café. It’s a favourite of the tourers; in fact we visited it more times than any other café last year. It’s very cyclist friendly, the food, tea and coffee are great and we often meet other cyclists there as well

Over the past 18 months or so the plaque has been saved, handed over to the village stores and restored (it was in a bit of a sorry state) by someone in the East Sussex CTC. It’s now in pristine condition as you can see from the picture on the right.

The plaque is very heavy, being made from cast iron, but Derek managed to lift it onto a table so that I could take a photo. The next stage is for it to be mounted on the wall outside the café. This won’t be easy given it’s weight and size: about two feet in diameter. The café proprietor has advised us that when it’s installed there will be an opening event on a Sunday at which cycling clubs will be invited. We’ll certainly be there. Watch this space for more news.

Happy cycling,

Clive

A Record Year for The Tourers

2019 was a record year for the tourers: 137 touring rides covering just over 4500 miles. That’s 17 more than in each of the previous two years and 34 more than in 2016.

Ideally, we should run 150 rides per year; that’s because we try to run three touring rides per week, on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. However, we sometimes have to cancel rides due to inclement weather. The fact that we’re cancelling fewer rides these days may, perhaps, have something to do with climate change. So, if we achieve 150 touring rides in a year, it may not necessarily be good news for the planet!

For now, the good news is that we’ve got 2020 off to a good start. Just as we did in 2019, our first ride of the year was to Molly’s Café on the promenade at Rottingdean. The route we take to Molly’s makes for a reasonably easy ride as it’s a round trip of 20 miles, starting and finishing at the Martello Tower in Seaford, and is graded as a 3B.

Our touring rides this year will largely be run in similar fashion to the past couple of years whereby the Tuesday rides will be about 20 to 25 miles, the Thursday rides usually between 40 and 50 miles and those on Sunday will be about 35 miles, give or take a few miles. However, we sometimes do longer rides such as to Littlehampton which is a round trip of 70 miles.

This year the Tuesday rides may have optional extensions to the route, after the café stop, which will be led by Dave Sutton. Dave is training for JOG-LE (John O’Groats to Land’s End) so needs to do the extra mileage. I’ll lead the shorter ride back to the finish.

I’m pleased to say that we have a third touring ride leader: Carol Bryant. Carol recently became a ride leader and is keen to lead some rides this year. In fact, as the numbers on our touring rides increase, we’re finding it useful to have two ride leaders on a ride with one leading and the other acting as Lanterne Rouge.

If you haven’t been on one of our touring rides then why not give us a try. The rides are sociable, always include a café stop and we cycle at a ‘moving’ average speed of about 12½ mph. That’s about the right pace for being able to chat with a fellow cyclist without getting out of breath and also to admire the scenery yet, sufficiently fast to get some decent exercise.

Our next ride will be to Horam on Sunday, a round trip of 31 miles. Details are on the Rides Calendar.

Happy Cycling New Year

Clive Aberdour

A Highly Convivial Tourers’ Christmas Meal

A record number of 36 were at the Cycle Seahaven Tourers’ Christmas Meal in the British Legion yesterday evening. It was our fifth year in succession at the Legion and we’ll certainly be returning there for our Christmas meal next year. It’s terrific value for money and the bar and serving staff are amazing: excellent service.

There’s often some entertainment and this year the Seaford Streamers Ukulele Ensemble played as we dined; it all made for a highly convivial evening. It was a great way to round off our record breaking CSH Tourers’ year; there’ll be more about this in a post at the end of the year.

Merry Christmas everyone,

Clive

John O’Groats to Land’s End (JOG-LE) 2020

JOG-LE Route

This ‘End 2 End’ cycle ride involves cycling the entire length of the UK, a challenge that is on the wish list of many cyclists. In fact many thousands of people undertake the challenge each year.

If you have ever fancied riding an ‘End 2 End’ but were unsure about how to do it, or found some of the organised trips a bit arduous or too expensive, you could be in luck! Phoenix-CTC is planning a supported JOG-LE ride starting 16th May.

JOG-LE is John O’Groats to Land’s End which, of course, is the reverse direction of the more traditional Land’s End to John O’Groats (LE-JOG).  It will take 15 cycling days to cover the 1000-mile distance.

If any Cycle Seahaven member is interested in coming on this trip please could you contact me, Dave Sutton, via the Ride Leader Contact page. I’ll email you the key facts document containing the preliminary trip details, costings etc. There is no need to commit to anything at this stage; it’s just an ‘Expression of Interest’.

It is anticipated that the decision as whether the trip will run will be taken by late October, giving plenty of time to train for the ride.

Phoenix-CTC is a Member Group of Cycling UK, with most of the committee also being Cycle Seahaven members who ride regularly with the Touring Section.

Happy cycling,

Dave Sutton

Another Record for the Tourers

2019 is turning out to be a good year for  touring rides. There have been more such rides than at this time in any previous year. Also, there is an upward trend of cyclists participating in them.

Today’s ride to Horam attracted thirteen Cycle Seahaven members, a record number for a touring ride. It’s good to see the numbers gradually increasing on our touring rides, not only on Sundays but also on our Tuesday and Thursday rides.

All our rides include a refreshment stop;  today we stopped at Tpodz Café in Horam which used to be Wessons. It’s become one of our favourite cafés over the past few months.

Today’s ride was a round trip of 33 miles and, as usual, the cycling was mostly along quiet country lanes and even included a short section of the Cuckoo Trail. All in all this was a very pleasant ride.

Our rides this week will be to Muddles Green on Tuesday and to Bexhill on Thursday. Details are on the Rides Calendar.

Happy cycling,

Clive Aberdour

A New Type of Ride: Easy Touring

If you’d like to cycle on one of our touring rides but feel they’re a bit too long and/or a bit too quick then you’re in luck! A new type of touring ride is being launched which may appeal to you.

Called ‘Easy Touring’, these rides will be shorter and slower than our normal touring rides. They will be less than 20 miles, the pace will be an average of 11 mph whilst cycling and the terrain of such rides will be less hilly. As usual a café stop will be included, an essential part of our touring rides.

The first such ride will be next Tuesday, 11th June. The distance will be 18 miles and include a café stop at Upper Dicker. Full details are on the Rides Calendar.

Easy Touring rides will initially be held on an occasional basis but if they prove popular then they will be organised on a weekly basis.

Happy cycling,

Clive Aberdour

Tourers cycle Far and Wide

The tourers cycle to not only local places such as Ripe, Muddles Green and Upper Dicker but also to places further afield such as Bexhill last Thursday, the Viking Trail in North Kent about three weeks ago and Dieppe a couple of weeks ago. Over the next few weeks tourers will be cycling through Belgium and Holland to Amsterdam, doing the annual trip to Littlehampton (a round trip of 70 miles from Seaford) and a ride to Hastings. A century ride is also being planned.

We cycle three times a week, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Our Sunday rides tend to be about 35 miles, give or take a few miles. This morning was 39 miles and involved a refreshment stop at Cinders Café at Isfield Station on the Lavender Line, a heritage railway. It was a super ride as there was little wind, the terrain was mostly reasonably flat and the threatened rain never materialised. Also, this is a wonderful time of year to be cycling through the countryside with lots of wild plants in flower, not to mention the May blossom.  Next Sunday will be to Horam and future Sunday rides will go to cafes at Pevensey Castle, Heathfield, Hampden Park and Shoreham.

So, if you haven’t been on a touring ride then give one a try. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. Details are on the Rides Calendar.

Happy cycling,

Clive

Dieppe Channel Hopper

We’re lucky to have a ferry port on our doorstep, so to speak, which means that France is only four hours away. And, of course, the quiet country roads and véloroutes of France are a great place to go cycling. So, with that in mind, nine Cycle Seahaven tourers hopped across the Channel to Dieppe for three days of cycling over the May Bank Holiday Weekend.

The English Channel was like a mill pond as we sailed from Newhaven to Dieppe, arriving mid-afternoon. After booking into our hotel, the Hôtel de la Plage, we sampled some of the delights of Dieppe including the famous Café des Tribunaux, see picture below.

Tourers inside the famouse Cafe des Tribunaux in Dieppe

Next morning was a delayed start as we waited for the rain to pass. It eventually passed so we set off mid-morning through the streets of Dieppe and into the countryside towards Neufchatel-en-Bray. It was an easy ride along the mostly traffic-free Avenue Verte to Neufchatel where we had an excellent lunch. On our return journey we were surprised to find a newly constructed part of the Avenue Verte for the final few kilometres into Dieppe; so new that it hasn’t been officially opened yet!

Next day we cycled out of Dieppe towards Pourville for the start of another superb greenway, the Véloroute du Lin, on our way to St Valery-en-Caux for lunch. The weather was superb and we were able to have our lunch outside a cafe; suntan lotion was applied probably for the first time on a bike ride this year. Then it was back to Dieppe along the coast on the Véloroute du Littoral although this was mostly along quiet roads.

Tourers on a newly constructed part of the Avenue Verte in Dieppe

For our third day of cycling, by popular request, we climbed the long hill into the Forêt Domanale d’Arques. We had climbed this hill on a previous channel hopper; it’s quite challenging in that it isn’t too steep but climbs for about 1½ kms. After that we headed to Criel-Plage at speeds we’re not used to as tourers; we felt like sportives! I have to admit that we were aided by some strong tail winds and some long downhill and flat stretches.

After a cafe stop at Criel-Plage we returned to Dieppe for a late lunch, afternoon tea at our hotel where we picked up our luggage and a pleasant evening mini-cruise across La Manche to Newhavem.

All in all, this has been three great days of cycling, some highly convivial evenings and lots of fun. Same again next year?

This cycling trip was organised through Phoenix-CTC, a member group of Cycling UK.

Bon cyclisme

Clive