Horses and Cyclists: A Video

Cycling UK in conjunction with the British Horse Society has issued a short video guide on how cyclists should pass horses. It’s worth watching. Please CLICK HERE to see the video.

A post on this subject, Horses and Cyclists, was issued on 21st August.

Safe and happy cycling,

Clive Aberdour

Horses and Cyclists (Updated)

This is an updated version of a post issued a couple of months ago. Since then some research has been carried out on this topic.

Horses are a common sight on many of the country roads and trails in the Cycle Seahaven area. They are usually very well ridden, the riders are friendly and there’s rarely a problem. Here are a few tips which should allow you to pass safely.

  • Remember a horse is a “prey” animal, it will view anything moving behind it as a potential threat.
  • On bridleways, it is important that cyclists give way to horse riders (the Countryside Act 1968 gave cyclists the right to use bridleways but stated that they must give way to horse riders and walkers).
  • Let horses and riders know you’re there. A horse is unlikely to see or hear you, especially if you are approaching quietly from behind. Calling out ‘hello’ to equestrians is welcome and important in alerting horses and riders that you are there.
  • Never ring your bell when near a horse. If you do, then it could startle the horse.
  • When approaching a horse from the rear ask the horse rider if it’s OK to pass. Speak in a calm voice, never shout.
  • Don’t pass until they say so; sometimes they will tell you to wait.
  • Pass wide and on the right. Most horses are used to traffic passing them on the right so pass them as you would anyone else; don’t cut inside, and allow plenty of room in case the horse is surprised or startled.
  • Large groups of cyclists are very scary for horses. Passing in small groups of no more than four or five will really help. If you are in a large group, make your presence known so that equestrians can try to find somewhere safe.
  • Always pass a horse at a moderate, steady pace, i.e. not too fast. You’ll probably need to slow down but there’s no need to stop unless the horse looks agitated in which case the rider may tell you what to do.
  • When you pass a horse from the rear tell the rider how many cyclists are following you if you’re the first cyclist to overtake.
  • When approaching a horse from the front switch off a flashing front light if you’re using one.
  • Talk to the rider as you pass to demonstrate to the horse that you’re friendly.
  • Never cross a level crossing if a horse is already on the crossing or about to cross it. Horses can get a shock if they touch a rail which could be nasty if a horse bolted. (That’s why some level crossings have posts for the horse rider to touch for discharging any static).
  • If you come across a horse that looks unsettled, always keep a good distance from it and wait. Usually, the horse rider will signal to pass when they have the horse under control or will pull the horse off the road and into a field.
  • Above all, never do anything to startle or frighten a horse.

We hope these tips prove useful. If any horse riders are reading this then we’d very much welcome your comments, especially if you have further tips which would enhance the safe passing of horses by cyclists. Please leave a reply below.

Safe and happy cycling,

Clive Aberdour and Dave Sutton

(Touring Ride Leaders)

Horses and Cyclists

Horses are a common sight on many of the country roads where we cycle, especially in the Arlington, Ripe, Chalvington and Chiddingly areas. They are usually very well ridden, the riders are friendly and there’s rarely a problem. However, I’m aware that some cyclists are unsure what to do when they encounter horses so, as an experienced ride leader for road cyclists, I thought it might be helpful to suggest a few tips. So here goes: 

  • Never ring your bell when near a horse. If you do then it could startle the horse and you’re likely to be rebuked by the horse rider. 
  • Always talk to the horse rider in a calm voice, never shout. 
  • Always pass a horse at a moderate, steady pace, ie not too fast. You’ll probably need to slow down but there’s no need to stop unless the horse looks agitated in which case the rider may tell you what to do. 
  • Always give horses a wide berth when passing and only pass when it’s clearly safe to do so. 
  • When approaching a horse from the rear ask the horse rider if it’s OK to pass. Don’t pass until they say so; sometimes they will tell you to wait. 
  • When you pass a horse from the rear tell the rider how many cyclists are following you if you’re the first rider to overtake. 
  • When approaching a horse from the front switch off a flashing front light if you’re using one. 
  • Talk to the rider as you pass to demonstrate to the horse that you’re friendly. The weather is usually a good subject; riders usually appreciate this. 
  • Never cross a level crossing if a horse is already on the crossing or about to cross it. (Horses can get a shock if they touch a rail which could be nasty if a horse bolted. (That’s why some level crossings have posts for the horse rider to touch to discharge any static). 
  • Above all, never do anything to startle or frighten a horse. 

Please regard these tips as just suggestions rather than golden rules. They work for me and are based on my many years (decades, in fact) of cycling along country roads and passing horses as well as advice from horse riders. 

Just occasionally, I come across a horse that looks unsettled in which case I always keep a good distance from it and wait. Usually, the horse rider will signal to pass when they have the horse under control or will pull the horse off the road and into a field. 

I hope this is helpful advice. However, I’m always willing to learn so I’d very much welcome comments from any horse riders reading this. 

Happy cycling, 

Clive 

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

Ripe’s Winged Wheel

The CTC Winged Wheel at Ripe

The Sunday touring ride to Arlington today went past the derelict pub, ‘The Lamb’ in Ripe. It looks an eyesore so wouldn’t normally be worthy of a photo except there is something intriguing about it to cyclists. Take a look at the photo and you’ll see, located high up on the outside wall of the pub, a CTC (Cyclists Touring Club) Winged Wheel plaque. These cast-iron plaques, two feet in diameter, were issued by the CTC about 120 years ago to approved inns and hotels. Clearly, The Lamb was such an establishment; shame it’s closed down. However, there is an excellent café just across the road.

The $64,000 question is what will happen to this plaque when the builders get to work on the old pub; it seems unlikely to continue as a pub. Hopefully it can be saved and put to good use.

There’s a website if you’d like to know more about these plaques at www.wingedwheels.info.

As for the one at Ripe, watch this space!

Happy cycling,

Clive

Refreshment Stops Revisited

Looking for a good place to stop on your cycle ride for some rest and refreshment? If so, take a look at the list of refreshment stops that the tourers use on their rides.

It’s recently been revised to include only those which we consider local in touring terms so they’re all in Sussex plus a few on the western side of Kent. Those further away such as in the Seine-Maritime department of France have been deleted but will appear in a future list which may prove useful to cyclists staying in Dieppe.

This revised list comprises thirty refreshment stops of which the ten we most frequently visit are as follows:

The Refreshment List is a Google Map showing the location of each of the thirty places.

Happy cycling,

Clive

Easy Touring Rides

 

Would you like to cycle along the country lanes of East Sussex at a comfortable touring pace but without having to climb any major hills; in other words do you prefer cycling on flattish terrain. If so, you’re in luck!

Cyclists touring along the Cuckoo Trail

For a trial period of about a couple of months, many of our Tuesday touring rides will incorporate shorter, flatter routes. The first one will be next Tuesday, 13 March, starting and finishing at the lay-by on Station Rd opposite Arlington Reservoir. The route distance is 11 miles and will include a café stop at Muddles Green, about the halfway point.

Our thinking is that this ‘Easy Touring’ type of ride will appeal to those cyclists who have retired (baby boomers?) and also younger members, if they can arrange some mid–week time off, who want to keep fit and healthy by doing a few miles of cycling each week on routes that won’t prove arduous to cycle along. (We are considering something similar for weekends).

Full details are on the Rides Calendar which includes links to the plotted route on a map and to the cafe’s website. If you’d like more information then please don’t hesitate to contact one of us through our Ride Leader Contact page.

Happy cycling,

Clive Aberdour and Dave Sutton

(Touring Ride Leaders)

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!