Most Sunday mornings, weather permitting, some of the more experienced Cycle Seahaven cyclists meet at the Martello Tower on Seaford Promenade at 8.30 am to embark on a ride of which there may be a choice of up to three. There is usually a ride for the tourers, ie those who prefer to cycle at an average of 12 mph, sometimes there is also a ride for the intermediate cyclists, ie those who prefer the slightly faster pace of 13 to 15 mph and occasionally there is a ride for the sportives who cycle at an average of 15 to 17 mph.
Last Sunday twelve cyclists turned up at the Martello Tower of which eight opted for the ‘tourers’ ride and the others for the ‘intermediate’ ride to Chilley Farm Café on the Pevensey Levels. The touring ride was to Hampden Park in Eastbourne, a round trip of 37 miles and fairly easy going as the route was mostly fairly flat except for Chapel Hill.
Whenever we head inland from Seaford we invariably cycle through Litlington to Wilmington which involves the reasonably significant climb up Chapel Hill between these two villages. However, the view at the top is stunning so we always take a breather and regroup there. An alternative to climbing up this hill is to cycle along the flatter but rather busy Alfriston Road to the Drusillas roundabout but we feel that the Chapel Hill route is safer and it’s certainly quieter. Also, it makes one feel good, even invigorated, to cycle up at least one real hill on a ride; as some wag said on Sunday “It’s only a hill. You soon get over it”!
After the hill, our ride to Hampden Park was easy going. There was no wind and the route was quite flat, especially the Cuckoo Trail from Hailsham to Hampden Park; there are some mild undulations after Polegate.
The Lakeside Tea Chalet in Hampden Park is ideal as a cyclists’ café stop. There’s a large terrace outside with plenty of picnic tables and parasols, prices are reasonable and, just across the road, there are bicycle stands to which bikes can be secured.
Our return route was simply a reversal of the route from Seaford to Hampden Park. We had to tackle Chapel Hill again but the climb from Wilmington is tame. Nevertheless we still had a rest at the top, admired the view and shouted encouraging comments to other cyclists climbing the hill from the Litlington side.
Our touring ride next Sunday will almost certainly include Chapel Hill so if you fancy a bit of a challenge then come along to the Martello Tower at 8.30 am. Details are on the Rides Calendar.