[More photos on Flickr]
The first “BOOTS” greeting of the day was called out as I approached Ian on Station Approach West, Hassocks railway station at 10.48am. Amanda was waiting at the station entrance, we both greeted her with “welcome, it’s good to see you.” Rob appeared from behind us: BOOTS again. Within a few moments the Brighton to London train pulled in with Suzanne, Roger, and Angelika on-board. Jim had told Ian that he would be on the 11.10am train because he started his journey at Preston Park. Now we were eight bright and happy Clarionettes eager to get underway, but first the photo, Leon took the photo.
The sky was looking a little unsettled and the wind was a fair southwesterly, not warm, but not cold either. We set off up to Stonepound and Hurstpierpoint with the wind in our faces.
At each and every turn we were treated to a slightly different wind strength but nothing to make things too difficult. The roads were slightly more busy than usual but we all powered on at our normal pace. When we reached the A281 Shoreham road, north of Henfield I broke away from the group to back-track down Wheatsheaf Road to Wineham Lane and up to Frylands Lane to rejoin the group as they came out of an off-road section that I chose not to ride due to my thumb injury.
Heading along Frylands Lane there were black Damselflies performing a fairy-like dance in the breeze, true perfection in motion. Left into Wineham Lane and a moment later we were at the Royal Oak where we were to have lunch. The weather was cool enough to add another layer. We were told that ‘there was a large party that was being attended to and that we would need to wait a while before we could order’ but we did get our drinks in quickly enough. Angelika sorted out the menu and we all paid her our share, this worked well and we were served with good food in quick time. It’s difficult to keep an ear in every conversation so much is missed out here. Jim’s bike problem did get raised and some tools were produced to strip his bike there and then but Jim was not very happy to allow this to happen; I wonder why? Some photos were taken and a video or two but Angelika couldn’t remember how to play her camera’s videos so we couldn’t see them.
Time to set out on our return journey, Wineham Lane into Bob Lane and this was so pleasant without motor traffic. The sun was now breaking through and the wind was following us home. Albourne and Hurstpierpoint with just tiny hills to climb before reaching Hassocks again. The total distance was recorded as 20 miles.
We all extend our thanks to Ian for planning this ride, thanks Ian.