Leon and Mark met at the Palace Pier, Brighton for the start of a picnic ride to Goring by sea. As there were no other members able to ride with us today we set off a few minutes before the official start time. Meeting up with Ian “BOOTS and SPURS” on the cycle track near the west pier; he was returning from brunch at Carat’s cafe. It was so good to see him after such a long time. Afterwards continuing our journey to Goring. The lock gates at Shoreham harbour were closed and we waited about five minutes to cross the locks. Through the back streets of Shoreham to the drawbridge and to a nice little shop to pick up a pastie for my picnic, Mark had a can of coke to supply a caffeine kick. While we were there we met a chap who had cycled down from Hayward’s Heath just because he loves his bike, what better reason? Back in the saddle we soon arrived in Worthing and not much later into the grassy meadows of Goring by sea. We ate our lunch and chatted about all sorts of things. I made a stone heap, only a small one as the stone kept falling down. We met elderly folk who stopped for a while to chat about everything, that was nice. When we were getting ready to leave for home Mark’s bike fell over, tipping his sunglasses into the grass. A few hundred metres along the cycleway Mark missed his sunglasses and returned to find them, the stone heap marked the spot, now that’s forward planning.
Our return journey was very pleasant and without incident. We arrived back at the Palace Pier at 3pm. Ride over, let’s look forward to another. Thank you Mark for making this short trip another mid-week winner. Total distance 32 miles.
And Mark’s report
I met Leon at Brighton pier at about 10.30, ahead of a start time of 10.45. The first thing I noticed was that Leon had his 1950 Carpenter bike out for the ride, and what a beauty it is! He got lots of admiring glances as we zipped along our way, and was stopped near Ferring by a passer-by to discuss the bike. The second thing I noticed was that he had a yellow Clarion top on with his name embroidered on it; turns out he had made this himself… personally. I think a B&H Clarion T-shirt would sell well (maybe we can use the kitty money to get a stock of them?… then replenish as people purchase them… just a thought). This was my first insight of the day into Leon’s many talents, which include taking pictures from flying kites, canoeing, rebuilding bikes, to name but a few.
Leon informed me that there were only the two of us on the ride, as various regulars were gallivanting across the UK and France, and so without further ado we set off along the seafront. We had barely gone a mile when we saw Ian coming along in the opposite direction. It was great to see Ian as we haven’t seen him for a while on Clarion rides and we had a nice chat (although I nearly caused an accident by forgetting I was on the seafront cycle lane and drifting into other bikes’ paths). He was full of energy as usual, and even chastised us for having left the start point before the official time (I blame Leon myself!), and he was quite right.
We travelled without event to Shoreham, getting turned off our bikes at the lock and in Shoreham due to road works. In Shoreham, over the bridge, Leon purchased his lunch pasty and we chatted to a guy from Haywards Heath who rides every day to Shoreham for a cup of tea… We crossed the wooden bridge and journeyed towards Worthing, clipping along at a fairly sedate rate. Leon informed me that his bike, which has a freewheel but only one gear, was in his opinion too lowly geared, and whenever he gets up to 12mph or so, he can’t go any faster as his legs go round too quick otherwise. Personally I found this feature quite a plus, having already put 15 miles on the odometer pre-ride over Devil’s Dyke as part of my L2P training. Also I think he actually had the gear right, as you (normally) need a climbing gear.
We lunched on the seafront at Ferring, which I thought at the time was before Goring, but I think may actually be past it. Leon, for no apparent reason built a stone tower which we both agreed to say didn’t fall down and was larger than it actually was. He took photos of this, and our bikes by the sea for a Flickr page he contributes to. We also had a long conversation with a pleasant older couple who were good fun, but seemed to think disaster lurked round every corner. At one point the guy said a big storm was coming from Brighton direction, which sounded ominous. Actually the weather was beautiful and sunny.
We got back to Brighton pier at about 3pm, having covered 32 miles at probably an average of 11-12mph. It was longer than the average Clarion ride, but flat as a pancake, so very easy going. It was sunny throughout – I now am lobster-coloured having failed to apply any pre-match sunscreen. It was also thoroughly enjoyable. Leon and I chatted throughout the ride, riding alongside each other for long parts of the way. Leon and I are now the only Clarion members to have ridden all the mid-week rides, and they have all been great.
We were both happy with the ride, Leon being proud that his bike had held up very well, and I managed to record my first 50 mile trip of the summer, albeit having to ride round the block twice when I got home to bring up the last mile.
Thank you Leon!