Touring Ride Descriptions: Improvements

Some improvements have been made to the ride descriptions of Touring rides on the Rides Calendar which, hopefully, members will find useful when considering going on any of our rides.

The ride description will now include six side-headings:

  • DISTANCE
  • REFRESHMENT STOPS
  • TERRAIN
  • ROUTE
  • CHANGES
  • RIDE LEADER

‘Route’ has always included a hyperlink to the plotted route on RWGPS (Ride With GPS). This hyperlink will now be a short filename in upper case which will be the main destination of the ride, eg BLACKBOYS E1.

Therefore, if you download the route onto your GPS cycle computer, you should easily find the route in your saved ‘Courses’; Garmin devices do not like long filenames. Don’t worry about the last two characters of the filename such as E1 as they’re just a route identity suffix.

When you look at the plotted route on RWGPS you’ll see more information about the ride, both on the map and in the column on the right-hand side. Google Streetview is available on RWGPS maps so you can do a virtual tour of the route or take a look at any parts of the route that may be unknown to you.

Our touring rides aren’t just about the cycling; the refreshment stops are a key part of our rides. Therefore, if a refreshment stop has a website, there will now be a hyperlink to it.

Also, more details will be added to our list of Refreshment Stops including Trip Advisor ratings. There will be more information in a post later this month.

TIP     To view a RWGPS map on a tablet it’s probably best to view it in landscape otherwise you may only get a description and cue sheet if viewed in portrait.

Happy cycling,

Clive

A record Year for the Tourers

Tourers brave a wet and windy New Year’s Eve for their final ride of 2017: Lakeside Café at Horam

It’s been another record year for the tourers: 120 touring rides in 2017, an increase of 15% on the 2016 total of 103 rides. There would have been more but some were cancelled due to bad weather.

Also, anyone who’d been on all these rides in 2017 would have cycled just over 4100 miles, an increase of 17% on the 2016 total of about 3500 miles. That gives a mean figure of about 34 miles cycled per ride this year.

Most of our rides have been between 25 and 50 miles with Ripe, Muddles Green and Bexhill being popular destinations. However, there have been a few longer distance rides such as Littlehampton (70 miles) and even the Downs Link (100 miles) although, as sections weren’t really suitable for a road bike, it won’t be repeated.

Although it’s very pleasant cycling along the local country lanes and the promenades and cycle paths of the coastal strip we occasionally do some ‘Away-Day’ rides for a change of scenery. The Viking Trail in Kent and cycling over the Romney Marsh are two examples of such rides. We aim to do more of these in 2018.

Apart from the Cycle Seahaven rides many of the tourers have been doing other rides as well. Heather Cheek cycled across Iowa in RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa). Others took part in two Phoenix-CTC rides, a cycling trip to the Loire Valley and a channel hopper to Dieppe. In addition, some did a cycle tour of Upper Normandy as well as cycling through France from the Med to the English Channel. In fact, Joe Hamilton has cycled more than 7,000 miles this year; that’s more than some of us have driven in our cars!

All our rides include refreshment stops and during the year our list has grown to 41, mostly cafés. The following link Refreshment Stops shows the locations and brief details of them; all are welcoming to cyclists.

It’s certainly been an active year for the tourers but we are few in number; we’d like to see more. At present our rides are graded at level 3 so are aimed at those who can maintain an average speed of about 12½ mph; a comfortable pace where one can chat without being out of breath. However, to widen the appeal of touring rides we are considering introducing some at level 2 in the Spring where the average speed will be about 10 mph.

Watch this space!

May we wish you a Happy and Safe Cycling New Year,

Clive Aberdour        Dave Sutton

Another Super Christmas Meal for the Tourers

Another highly convivial time was had by twenty-one of us at the Cycle Seahaven ‘Tourers’ Christmas meal in the British Legion yesterday evening. It was our third year in succession at the Legion so it’s becoming something of a tradition.

That’s hardly surprising as the meal is excellent value for money and it’s a very relaxed atmosphere in the Legion. No doubt we’ll be making a return visit next Christmas!

The touring rides will continue throughout this festive season, weather permitting, although not on Christmas Day or Boxing Day! The next planned ride will be on Christmas Eve to Molly’s Café at Rottingdean, then the café at Ripe on Thursday 28th December and to Wesson’s Café at Horam on New Year’s Eve. There may be some other touring rides if the weather remains mild so please keep an eye on the Rides Calendar. Those in the CSH Tourers WhatsApp Group will be kept informed of all the news on the rides as usual.

Merry Christmas everyone,

Clive

Winter Touring Rides

The weather is getting colder and Jack Frost has started to visit us. As in previous years, our touring rides will continue throughout Winter on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday of each week. However, please check the Rides Calendar on the morning of a ride in case there’s been a change.

Changes to rides are more likely during Winter because of inclement weather. Certainly, if there is a risk of ice then a ride will be cancelled or sometimes the route may be changed. This can happen because the temperature inland can be several degrees colder than on the coast so a ride to, say, Horam or Heathfield may get changed to Rottingdean or Brighton to avoid the risk of black ice.

If a ride is cancelled, altered or delayed then the Rides Calendar will be updated with the details at least one hour before the planned start time of the ride. Members in the CSH Tourers WhatsApp Group will receive a message immediately a decision is made to change a ride. (Please see my previous post: Cycle Seahaven Tourers’ WhatsApp Group).

Sunday morning touring rides are now starting at the slightly later time of 9.00am at the Martello Tower on Seaford Promenade. The start time for Tuesday and Thursday touring rides remains unchanged at 9.30am, usually at the entrance to the Seven Sisters Country Park car park in Friston Forest although occasionally at the Martello Tower.

Happy and safe cycling,

Clive

Cycle Seahaven Tourers’ WhatsApp Group

The WhatsApp group for the tourers which was set up about a month ago is working well. It’s proving useful for advising and consulting group members about late changes to rides. Also, group members can invite others in the group to join them on their own (non-Cycle Seahaven) rides.

Most of the regular tourers have joined so if any other Cycle Seahaven member who rides on our touring rides, whether regularly or occasionally, would like to join our WhasApp Group then please let me know.

You can contact me through the Ride Leader Contact page. I’ll need to know your mobile no. and, of course, you have to be a WhatsApp user.

Happy messaging,

Clive

A Perfect Autumn Cycle Ride

Cyclists outside the Di Paolo Café in Bexhill

Thursday was a superb day, dry and sunny with no wind: the perfect autumn day for cycling. Our destination was Bexhill, one of our favourite destinations for a ride. It’s a virtually flat route apart from Chapel Hill just after the start; in fact roads don’t get much flatter than Rickney Lane which we cycled along to cross the Pevensey Levels!

This made for easy cycling, especially as there wasn’t a headwind so we cruised along at a rate of knots more familiar to the Intermediates and Sportives! it didn’t seem long before we reached Bexhill and was cycling along the promenade towards our café stop at the Colonnade, underneath the De La Warr Pavilion.

We were surprised to find the Colonnade fenced off. (It appears that ‘Tea Beside The Sea’ café has permanently closed; the lease expired). However, there’s no shortage of cafes in Bexhill so we soon found one the other side of the De La Warr Pavilion called ‘Di Paolo Café’. What a super place: friendly staff, good food and drink and quite large inside so plenty of tables and chairs. It’s since been added to our Refreshment List.

This list now has over 40 cyclist friendly refreshment stops that the tourers are happy to use. Most are in Sussex but a few are in Kent and the Seine-Maritime department, just across the English Channel in France. This list may be of use to anyone who is planning a ride and looking for somewhere to stop for a rest and some nourishment.

Cyclists at the rather spooky Arlington Tea Garden

The first place on the Refreshment List is the Arlington Tea Garden which we’ve been stopping at for many years, often on a Thursday when returning to Exceat on our longer distance rides. It’s only about six miles back to the finish at the car park in Friston Forest. Thursday was no exception. We’d made good time and the sun was shining so we called in for a cuppa. We were impressed by the Halloween decorations.

All in all this had been a perfect autumn cycle ride: excellent weather for the time of year, great company and two super refreshment stops.

Happy cycling,

Clive

Tourers visit the Lavender Line

It was off to the Lavender Line at Isfield for the tourers on Sunday, a round trip of 43 miles, to visit one of our favourite refreshment stops, Cinders. It’s the station buffet which is run by volunteers and, as you walk in, you feel as if you’re going back in time to the days of steam. There are plenty of old railway signs and pictures adorning the walls which add to the interest. After getting our drinks we decided to sit outside on the platform and admire the trains; there was certainly plenty happening!

The ride to and from Isfield took us along some very pleasant country lanes passing through Laughton and Palehouse Common on the outward trip, coming back via Glynde on the return trip. At this time of year of course, the leaves of the hedgerows and trees are changing colour so we’ll soon be doing some Autumn Colours rides, similar to last year. As usual, details will be on the Rides Calendar.

Happy cycling,

Clive

Cycle Touring in the Loire Valley

Cycle touring in France is always a pleasant experience and, as we live on the south coast of England, it makes sense to pop across the Channel now and again to indulge in our pleasurable pursuit on the right hand side of the road!

Three months ago four of us from Cycle Seahaven channel hopped to Dieppe for three days cycling in the Seine-Maritime department. We’ve now followed this up with a trip to one of the best regions in France for cycling, the Loire Valley. It’s reasonably flat, there are lots of signposted cycle routes, chateaux to admire, plenty of cafes, not to mention the fine wines of that region.

However, to get there by bike you have to cycle through Brittany or Normandy although for those who are used to cycle touring it all adds to the pleasure of cycling in France.

So, with that in mind, four of us from Cycle Seahaven joined eight other cyclists from Phoenix-CTC at Portsmouth ferry port recently to catch the night ferry to St Malo where our week-long cycle tour began.

We cycled through Brittany to Angers in the Loire Valley which included an overnight stop at Vitré in Brittany en route. Then, we had two full days of cycling in the Loire staying overnight at Chinon and Tours before heading back to the Channel through Normandy. This included hotel stops at Le Mans, Bagnoles de l’Orne and Ouistreham from where we caught the ferry back to Portsmouth.

It was a great seven days of cycling, 420 miles, not to mention the highly convivial evenings in the local restaurants. Our only disappointment was that it was over too soon. Perhaps next time we’ll spend longer in the Loire Valley!

Whilst we were on this trip four other Cycle Seahaven cyclists were also in France touring in Haute Normandie. Dave Sutton has added details and photos on the Cycle Seahaven Facebook page.

Time to start planning a return visit to France, I think!

Bon cyclisme,

Clive

Date of Tourer’s Christmas Meal 2017

Ho, Ho, Ho. Autumn is just round the corner so Christmas isn’t that far off! Time to start thinking about Christmas meals.

The Cycle Seahaven Tourers, those road cyclists who cruise around the country lanes at a sedately 12½ mph, have had their Christmas meal at the British Legion in Seaford for the past two years. They were very enjoyable evenings and the food and drink were good value. So, not surprisingly, we’ve decided to do the same thing again this year.

A booking has been made with the British Legion for Thursday evening, 21st December. Spouses/partners are invited.

Further details will be added to the Rides Calendar as soon as we receive the Christmas menu, expected to be in mid-September. However, I expect it will be much the same as last year.

Also, as for the past two years, we’re hoping that there will be some entertainment as well. Should be a great evening.

Happy Christmas,

Clive