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.

Sunday Morning Ride to Horam – 16 March 2014

2014-03-16 09.00.32What luck! Wall to wall sunshine again,  just like last Sunday morning. This time fourteen members turned up at the Martello Tower for a ride to Horam. It catered for two groups of cyclists,  those who prefer to cycle at a ‘touring’ pace,  ie an average speed of 12 mph and those who prefer a ‘sportive’ pace,  ie between 15 and 17 mph. The plan was for the sportive cyclists to take a longer route,  the aim being to arrive at Wessons Café in Horam at about the same time as the touring cyclists.

At 9.00 am eight of the cyclists led by Dave Geering shot off,  their first challenge being to get up to Friston via Exceat. They regrouped at the pond then took off down through Jevington to Polegate and along to Westham. The Pevensey Levels still had some remnants of the Winter rain and mud and the road surface was unforgiving in places. It wasn’t long before they turned onto Grove Hill and climbed up to Horam. Wessons was very busy this morning with a high number of motorcyclists and getting a coffee meant queing for about 20 minutes. The touring group hadn’t arrived. Where were they?

They had set off at a more leisurely pace from the Martello Tower led by Clive Aberdour,  towards Litlington and Chapel Hill,  on the shorter version of the ride. There was a bit of a tail wind so it wasn’t long before they were climbing up Chapel Hill,  the only significant climb on this ride. It seemed steeper than last year;  this must have had something to do with the lack of training over the winter months due to the bad weather. A few more Sunday rides should see us back to full fitness!

After a breather at the top of Chapel Hill,  super view,  they descended through Wilmington,  crossed the busy A27 crossroads and then came to an abrupt halt as they spotted a rather excitable horse about 100 metres down the road. The horse had been startled by some noisy motor cyclists and,  rather than cut their engines and wait for the horse to pass,  continued along the road as the horse reared up and ploughed into a ditch. The rider did well to stay on the horse. After a long wait,  the horse calmed down and the rider indicated that it was OK to pass but it had been a tense situation. They continued to Hailsham,  then Grove Hill to Horam,  arriving at the cafe as the sportives were enjoying their coffees outside in the sun. 

The return journey took the sportive cyclists via Gun Hill and Upper Dicker,  passing St Bedes. There were plenty of horse riders in this neck of the woods and it was great to see so many other road sharers out and about. Chapel Hill reversed split the pack a little then annoyingly 2 punctures forced a regroup at Friston Forest entrance,  so close to home!

The tourers took a different return route passing through Muddles Green,  Chalvington,  Berwick and Lullington; an easy ride as it was mostly downhill or flat.

It had been another enjoyable Sunday morning ride;  it was great to see so many other cyclists on the roads. Next Sunday’s ride is to the Velo Café in Brighton. Let’s hope our luck continues with the good weather.

Dave and Clive


Sunday Morning Ride to Ovingdean, 9 March 2014

2014-03-09 Ovingdean Beach CafeWall to wall sunshine,  virtually no wind and the air feeling quite fresh,  ideal conditions for our Sunday morning ‘touring’  cycle ride to Ovingdean.  Six cyclists met at the Martello Tower at 9.00 am,  some having not cycled for two or three month due to the foul weather conditions over winter.

We headed west following NCN Route 2 to Newhaven. Already there were plenty of people out,  jogging,  walking or cycling through the Ouse Valley Nature Reserve on this fine Spring morning.  We took our usual diversion through Newhaven via Valley Rd and then through the back roads of Peacehaven following Route 2.  It wasn’t long before we were at Saltdean and descending down the slip road to the undercliff path.

The wide concrete path at the base of the cliffs is usually a joy to cycle along but this morning it proved to be a bit challenging.  There were stones everywhere,  having been thrown up by the winter storms;  surely they should have been cleared up by now!  It was good to see so many children riding their bikes or scooting along the path although it certainly slowed our progress.  But,  we weren’t in a hurry and we hadn’t got far to go;  we soon reached the Beach Café at Ovingdean which was doing a brisk trade this morning.  Sally conjured up a vacant table where we sat enjoying the warmth of the sun over a cuppa.  It may be early Spring but it felt more like early summer!

Our return trip to Seaford was along the same route which was mostly easy going except for the steep incline up the slip road at Saltdean.  It’s only short,  probably about 100 metres,  but we needed a breather at the top! Well,  it is early in the cycling season after all.

We were back at the Martello Tower well before Noon.  It had been a round trip of about 24 miles and very enjoyable;  let’s hope this superb weather continues so we can get out for more fine Sunday morning cycle rides.

Sunday Morning Ride to the Velo Café – 12 January 2014

It was a beautiful Winter’s morning – dry, a slight chill in the air and a gentle breeze blowing; good cycling weather as long as you’re wearing the right clothes for it. Six of us cycled to the Velo Café in Brighton, only about 4 weeks after our first visit to this splendid cyclists’ café.

The ride from the Martello Tower in Seaford is a round trip of 30 miles and includes the undercliff path between Saltdean and Brighton Marina, sea on one side and a chalk cliff on the other. This part of the ride is quite invigorating especially when, as it was this morning, the waves are splashing against the sea wall and the fresh smell of sea air wafts in on the onshore wind.

The ride to the Velo Café takes about 1¼ to 1½ hours at touring pace so, with a 30 to 40 minute stop at the café, the round trip takes about 3½ hours so is ideal for a Sunday morning bike ride.Cyclists and bikes hanging around at the Velo Cafe

Getting through Newhaven is much better these days as we use a route identified by Andy Lock which makes use of Valley Rd between the C7 and A259. In fact, Andy was on our ride this morning.

The Velo Café is briefly described in my previous post, Touring Ride to the Velo Café. I should add that the service is very good and a major advantage of this café is that the walls are made up of large windows, presumably bi-fold doors, so you can keep an eye on your bike whilst you’re inside. You can even hang your bike up as several of our cyclists did this morning, see picture.

I’m sure we’ll be going back there during February so, if you haven’t been to the Velo Café yet, why not join us!

Happy cycling


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,


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.

Touring Road Ride to Littlehampton – 6 August 2013

We’re quite lucky in Cycle Seahaven as we have a national cycle route going through our area as well as a ferry port on our doorstep. Cycling past the iconic East Beach Cafe at Littlehampton_800This means we can easily cycle to London or Paris using the newly signposted Avenue Verte route or cycle along the south coast on Route 2 (The South Coast Cycle Route).

So, with this in mind, four of us met up at the Martello Tower at 8.30 am. It was a beautiful morning – sunny, a gentle onshore breeze, calm sea and the ferry was in. Shame we didn’t have our passports! A ride to Paris will have to wait until another day!

Never mind, the cycle route to Littlehampton is great, being virtually flat and largely traffic-free although the section between Newhaven and Peacehaven is a disaster; the problems will be well known to Cycle Seahaven members.

After managing to get through Newhaven it was plain sailing from Peacehaven onwards. We followed the cycle route signs through some back roads, crossed over the A259 near the Smugglers Rest, then cycled along a shared cycle/foot path for a short distance before going down to the undercliff pass just before Saltdean. We soon passed Brighton Marina, a short incline there, then along Madeira Drive towards Brighton Pier. It wasn’t long before we were pedalling along the cycle path adjacent to Kings Rd, reaching the Peace Statue at Hove by 10.00 am where a fifth member of Cycle Seahaven joined us.

After that we cycled through Portslade, crossed over some locks at Shoram Harbour, diverted through Shoram due to some repairs to a bridge, then along the promenades of South Lancing and Worthing where we had a café stop by the beach. The next section, between Goring-by-Sea and Rustington entailed cycling on some fairly quiet roads before returning to the coast to cycle into Littlehampton along the promenade. (It’s legal to cycle along these promenades; why not at Seaford)?

It was 1.00 pm and time for a leisurely lunch which we decided to have on the Climping side of the River Arun at The West Beach Cafe. Good spot. The return journey was back along the same route, reaching Seaford just after 6.00 pm. That may sound like a long time but it was a round trip of 75 miles conducted at touring pace, slower along the promenades, and included four refreshment stops.

It had been a superb cycle ride; good company, perfect weather conditions and excellent route, apart from the ‘Newhaven to Peacehaven’ bit.

Must remember to take my passport next time!

Happy cycling,

Clive Aberdour

21 July 2013: Touring Road Ride to the Lavender Line

It was a beautiful sunny Sunday morning as seven Cycle Seahaven cyclists gathered at Martello Tower at 8.30 am to commence a road ride at touring pace (average speed of 11.5 mph) to Isfield. Why Isfield? Because that’s where the Lavender Line starts and there’s a quaint old railway station with a superb buffet. The talk, as we gathered at the start, was all about the Tour de France; it was the final day and, barring a major upset, Chris Froome would be the winner.

2013-07-21 Lavender LineAs we wound our way through the country lanes that morning there was a gentle breeze which took the edge of the sun’s heat. The countryside looked magnificent if a little parched at times and there was an unusually high number of cyclists on the roads. Even car drivers seemed more cycle friendly today; was this a Tour de France effect??? It almost felt as if we were cycling in France except we were on the other side of the road!

We reached the railway station at Isfield two hours and 24 miles later; a fast touring pace at 12 mph! Perhaps we should slow down. After a cuppa in the buffet and a quick wander around the station we started our return journey. The terrain was easy going and the return route was shorter so we had time to stop at Arlington Reservoir for an ice cream and still managed to return to Seaford on time at 1.00 pm.

By now the sun felt really hot so, after a cold shower and something to eat, it was soon time to sit down and watch the final stage of the Tour de France. Chris Froome won of course.

A perfect cycling day!




This ride appeared in our calendar with the following details:
Road – Touring (C): Isfield (Lavendar Line)
When Sun, 21 July, 8:30am – 1:00pm
Where Martello Tower in Seaford
Description This ride is specifically aimed at those who want to cycle at Touring Pace, ie an average speed of 11.5 mph whilst cycling.
It’s approximately a 44 mile round trip with a refreshment stop in the buffet at Isfield Station, on the Lavendar Line. Parts of the route are flattish and some parts are quite hilly.
Google Maps link: The Route

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

Martello Ride 2013 06 30