Our touring ride on Tuesday (9 September) was a round trip of 75 miles which makes it our longest such ride this year. It was to Littlehampton and back, a ride which has become an annual event as we’ve now cycled it on three occasions, in 2012, 2013 and now in 2014. Most of our rides are between 20 and 40 miles so a 75 miler is exceptional; hence we do it just once a year.
The beauty of this ride is that most of the route is virtually flat as it largely follows the coast and makes use of promenades and shared use paths such as the Undercliff Walk between Saltdean and Brighton Marina. There are some terrific sea views to take in whilst cycling.
The weather on Tuesday was ideal for cycling, dry with plenty of sunshine and a very light easterly breeze. We started at the Martello Tower in Seaford and, this year, we were able to cycle along the Promenade thanks to the trial to allow cycling on it. In previous years we’ve had to use the road which can be hazardous for cyclists. Therefore we were able to cycle the 4 miles to Newhaven without having to go along a road; much safer.
Unfortunately there still isn’t a cycle friendly route for road bikes between Newhaven and Peacehaven so we took our usual route through Newhaven via Elphick Road, Valley Rd and then on the narrow track alongside the A259, which is separated from the road by a kerb, into Peacehaven. After that it was plain sailing.
There were five of us on this ride who started in Seaford and a sixth member joined us on the seafront at Hove. It wasn’t long before we reached Shoreham and the new bridge across the River Adur. Just before this bridge we went along East Street, a pedestrianized area with several cafes. This was too good an opportunity to miss; time for elevenses.
Suitably refreshed we went across the new bridge known as the Adur Ferry Bridge which joins the town centre with Shoreham Beach. It’s a splendid looking bridge with glass sides and is quite wide so suitable for shared use by pedestrians and cyclists. It was opened in November 2013 and replaced an old footbridge.
The remainder of the ride to Littlehampton was as flat as the proverbial pancake so the cycling was easy, especially with a slight tailwind. On reaching our destination we crossed over the River Arun to the Climping side to have lunch at the West Beach Café.
The return trip was back along the same route albeit at a slightly reduced pace due to a slight headwind. It had been a very enjoyable cycle ride which we’ll repeat next year. Let’s hope that there’ll be a cycle friendly route between Newhaven and Peacehaven by then.