A large turnout (13 cyclists) for Sunday’s excellent ride along the Cuckoo Trail and Pevensey Levels. Warm and sunny weather throughout the entire day helped make the outing particularly enjoyable, during a ride which coincided with the last day of the London 2012 Olympics. Railway staff at Clapham Junction seemed to have forgotten to enforce the ban on cycles on trains during the Olympics, thus enabling a trouble-
free journey to the start at Polegate station for the London cycling contingent.
The fine weather seemed to contribute to a faster pace than many previous Clarion rides. There were no punctures or mechanical problems and the cracking pace along the Cuckoo Trail’s smooth tarmac surface continued until the lunchtime stop at the Brewer’s Arms in Vines Cross. The warm weather meant sitting outside was the preferred option for the majority of the group during lunch.
The final of the Olympic marathon taking place on the TV inside the pub did make a compelling alternative lunchtime for some, though. Rather like coverage of Tour de France cyclists, TV cameras managed to convey the incredible speed the runners tackled the gruelling 26-mile course through London’s streets.After watching Uganda’s Stephen Kiprotich win the Olympic marathon in just over 2 hours, I joined the other Clarion cyclists outside for lunch. I opted for a bowl of chips with a pint of lime and soda. Looking around the table, I could see the pub had a variety of wholesome dishes available for those with larger appetites (the veggie pie dish looked particularly good). After watching the final few minutes of Cuba winning the Olympic Flyweight boxing final, we were ready to complete the next stage of our own Olympic style cycle ride along Pevensey Levels.
Although not entirely flat, one of the joys of Sunday’s ride was the lack of any significantly difficult hills for the post-lunch leg of the ride. As the name suggests, Pevensey Levels consisted of particularly flat terrain. We seemed to make good progress as we cycled along this part of the route, without encountering more than one or two cars. A particularly noteworthy moment was the sight of two swans and several cygnets seemingly lapping up floating lichen in a stream. We were all transfixed by this sight for several minutes and managed to take many photographs,
which will no doubt be appearing on the Clarion flickr site soon.
It didn’t seem too long before we were back on the Cuckoo Trail for the return to Polegate station. We had made good progress, so had time for an afternoon tea stop at the Old Loom. After indulging in the Old Loom’s wide selection of drinks and cakes (nettle & fennel tea was my cycling drink of choice), we cycled back to Polegate station along the Cuckoo Trail. There were some train delay station announcements, but all of the Brighton contingent managed to load their bikes when the train finally arrived (a nearby air display meant the service was busier than usual). I was asked by a guard if I was aware that bike restrictions were in operation during the Olympics on the train journey back to Clapham Junction. Luckily, the guard didn’t seem to be in the mood to throw cyclists off the train for breaking less than clear Olympic travel
rules for cycles which hadn’t been enforced earlier in the morning on the outward journey.