The Last Ride: Sunday 16th December 2012 – Berwick Circular 14 miles

Those who attended were: Ian (our ride leader), Joyce, Ann, Linda, David, Mick, Nick and myself Leon.

Well now, as you all know, this was our last ride of 2012. The route was our traditional loop around Ripe and the Chalvington area with lunch at the Yew Tree.

It has been a habit of mine to wait until I’ve seen the weather on the ride day before making up my mind if to venture out or not. The sun this morning was breaking through the clouds that gave us heavy downpours last night. So my mind was made up, a quick breakfast and bike check followed. A text to Joyce so that the group would know that I was on my way by car with my Brompton.

Then the complications started; a ticket was obtained for me at Brighton, thinking that I was arriving at that station (what wonderful and thoughtful people we have in our midst). Chance had it that Nick turned up after the realization that I was going direct to Berwick and the ticket wasn’t wasted.

The next part in this was my journey time to Berwick. Slower than expected due to surface water on the lanes between Hassocks and Berwick. The only drained areas were Lewes town.

I arrived about twenty-five minutes late. The group was waiting for me in the station car-park, what a sight, bright yellow clad cyclists some with smiles, others looking a little cold. Thank you all, you are so kind.

Starting out at Berwick Station

As a penance for keeping everyone waiting, I was selected in my absence to write this report. As it turns out that this will be my last report it’s not such a penance after all.

We all finally set off toward Ripe at about 11.15am. Bright wet roads and heading north with no sun reflection to dazzle us. This section has some very narrow country lanes, beautiful even when strewn wish gravel wash and large puddles.

The group had split into two, dare I say fast and slow ? Well, yes, but when the tail-enders arrived at the Golden Cross, our most northerly point on the ride; the lead group were there waiting for us. This always refreshes in my mind, your club motto, Fellowship is Life.

Now turning south the sun is reflecting from the wet black road and causing the use of sunglasses to be more a hindrance than of use. The tail enders Ann, Joyce and myself made our way, as we do fairly slowly toward the lunch stop at the Yew Tree.

On arrival we were greeted with an absence of cyclists. Where was the lead group? Had we encountered a time warp and passed them so slowly that we didn’t notice them? Joyce and Ann went into the pub to make enquiries, was there another Yew Tree pub in the area? Yes there is, but it’s on the other side of Berwick station. We just stood for a moment wondering what to do when suddenly the lead group arrived.

Ian’s story was that they were possibly in a state of enlightenment as they passed the pub, or was it true that they were just daydreaming, or blinded by sun reflection off the road. Who knows.

Bill & his dog, Ben.

The first question when entering the pub is: where should we sit, inside or outside? Most decided to sit inside although it wasn’t cold outside. Ann had spotted a ’Flower-pot man’ en route about one mile back up the road and decided after ordering her lunch to backtrack to take a photo of it; Linda went also.

Pub garden extraordinaire!

The food was delivered to the table quite a while before their return, but they seemed quite happy that they’d been back to take the photos.The food was good as can be seen in the photos. The conversation was stimulating as usual and we all enjoyed being there together.

Linda & Nick at the wishing well

It was decided that on or way back to the station at Berwick that we had time to visit the Arlington reservoir to compare haw it looked now against the memory of last spring when the water level was about twenty feet lower. Then on again the short distance to the coffee stop opposite the station while waiting for the next train.

Joycw takes some deep breaths

I had to pick a seat that had been previously broken and when I touched it the top of the back came away in my hand, not quite a red face but keeping a low profile for a while.

December 16, 2012: Berwick circular

Lots of chat and laughter about previous rides and this one followed. I’m confident in saying that we all had a splendid day and many thanks to Ian for leading it once again.



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