Last Thursday, 26 May, four of us took part in the fifth annual ride to Littlehampton and back, a total distance of 70 miles. Originally, it was never planned to be an annual event but somehow it’s worked out that way. It’s one of our longer rides (most touring rides are between 25 and 50 miles) and probably one of our most interesting as we cycle through a variety of seascapes, much of it on promenades and the like. Therefore, our usual touring pace of 12.5 mph is slightly lower as we ‘share with care’ along these paths.
Most of the route is virtually flat although the part going through Newhaven and Peacehaven is a bit hilly in places but nothing too arduous. The superb ‘shared use’ path between Newhaven and Peacehaven alongside the A259 is ideal for cycling along. Getting this path constructed has to be one of Cycle Seahaven’s greatest campaigning successes in my opinion!
At Saltdean we dive down (not literally but it’s a short steep descent) onto the undercliff path and from here the rest of the route is flat apart from a ‘lump’ at Brighton Marina.
It’s all very pleasant cycling along this concrete path with the sea on one side and chalk cliffs on the other. (This is great fun when it’s high tide and the sea’s a bit rough; dodging the splashes! Today it’s low tide and a calm sea but I wouldn’t want to cycle along there in a storm)!
Then it’s through the hustle and bustle of Brighton and Hove; shame to see that the big wheel has gone but the I360 looks to be nearing completion. Soon we’re cycling along Basin Road South; industrialised but it all adds to the variety of scenery. We pass Carat’s Café Bar. It was tempting to stop at this superb cafe but we decide to press on. Soon, we’re walking across the lock gates at Shoreham Port. There’re no big ships in port today but it’s interesting, nevertheless.
We cycle through Shoreham and across the Adur Ferry Bridge which joins the town centre with Shoreham Beach. It’s a splendid looking bridge with glass sides but, unfortunately, some of the glass panels have been smashed. Vandalism presumably.
Soon we’re cycling along the promenade at Lancing, a lake on one side and the sea on the other. Two light aeroplanes fly over; I’m advised that one is a Chipmunk and the other is a P28. In next to no time, it seems, we’re in Worthing where we stop for elevenses at the Coast Café des Artistes on the seafront. I think we’ve stopped at this café on all our Littlehampton rides.
We continue along the promenade at Worthing but eventually have to come off it and cycle along some roads through Goring and Angmering following the South Coast Cycleway signs.
Shortly after passing through Rustington we’re back on a promenade which we continue along to the end in Littlehampton. Usually, we continue across a bridge to Climping but on this occasion we spotted a place (tea rooms) at the end of the promenade where we stopped for lunch. It turned out to be a good choice.
So, after a good lunch and a bit of a rest we retuned along the same route to Seaford. As usual on our rides to Littlehampton the weather had been superb and the cycling had been quite easy going although 70 miles is still a decent distance to cycle in a day.
I’m aware that a few people had to withdraw from this event at the last minute because of other commitments so my intention is to break with tradition and repeat this event during the summer, possibly on a Saturday if there is sufficient interest. Please let me know if you’re interested.