The Last Ride: Sunday 19th October – 8 [mostly] Brighton Bikers Breeze into Bexhill- 6 Battle Boldly Back!

BBC weather had forecast heavy rain & 20mph [W] winds for the ride on Saturday night, hence, slept badly & awoke to rain & pass from Mick to be released from the ride, even though I’d already bought the rail tickets. However, rain stopped, we changed out of wet gear & set out, armed still with paniers full of dry clothes [just in case]. Glad to see Joyce & Leon were buying tickets at the station, David was already on the platform & Nick joined us on the train with a coffee & a couple of minutes to spare. Interesting train talk of gut flora & tropical worm diseases. Soon arrived at Eastbourne station to be joined by Chris & Sue from Lewes Against the Cuts, whom we hadn’t seen since our Xmas Party 2 years ago. Nick takes the group photo & we set out for the sea-front.

October 19, 2014: Eastbourne to Bexhill

Our leader claimed the prom which looks like it should be a bike track, but pedestrians soon “explained” that it was not, so some of us went back to the traffic on the road & some of us blithely continued, until we all met up again at the official start to the NCN21 along the prom beside the seaside, beside by the sea… & very pleasant it was too.

Had to then head North through newish housing estates with Caribbean connections {names] to roadside route to Pevensey. NCN21 signage petered out but we continued through caravan parks & private road, crossing unmanned level crossing carefully & sailed successfully into Bexhill, with the benefit of the 20mph West wind.
David & I sat in the sunshine on the balcony at the de la Warr Pavilion, while 6 took a table in the restaurant. As I repositioned myself & my spiced chai out of the strong wind, a pigeon took advantage of my turned back & swiped my bread off the soup plate & onto the floor – perils of outside eating

October 19, 2014: Eastbourne to Bexhill

Mushroom & watercress soup was excellent though & waiter soon brought me replacement bread. Everyone was well pleased with their fare & we now had half an hour to view the exhibitions. Upstairs is/was sonic installation on Blackbird Song – called Blackbird Quadralogue & downstairs was Magnum Selections from their vast archives, by various curators – called One Archive, 3 Views. A splendid collection of books was available to browse too & videos of both the Magnum Curation & of the Blackbird Quadraphonic sound installation by Ron Geesin [orchestrator of Pink Floyd’s 1970 album-among many other things].

October 19, 2014: Eastbourne to Bexhill

I’m now looking anxious at the prospect of the 20mph headwind we have to tackle for the return 13 miles. Joyce & Leon had decided to take the train back as Joyce has been ill & Leon only had his little wheels [folding bike]. The 20mph wind seemed to make a 10mph difference in our cycling speed, but conditions not too testing & managed to keep together fairly well & support each other in Clarion style. We spread out a bit once reaching the long Rickney Lane especially as Nick & I were lured into photography by the cuddly bullocks, horizontal swaying grasses & vast views on the flatlands of the Pevensey Levels.


As the train from Bexhill passed us I waved a purple arm to Joyce & Leon & was reminded of the Harold Mockford painting in Eastbourne’s Towner Gallery.

We now stuck to the NCN 2 which was pretty well signed to the Cuckoo Trail, which we eventually reached, for a much needed refreshment stop at The Loom.  From their huge array of teas I chose liquorice-good choice-Mick & David went for the special offer of free tea with the toffee cake, no-one took the super coffee cake, Sue had a tasty flapjack & I had a prized chocolate-coated pecan concoction. Discussing the capitalist economic crisis made us almost late for the train, necessitating a dash for the station before the level crossing gates closed, though just enough time to snap autumn berries & Sustrans signs.


There was a bit of a crush at Polegate station, with at least 9 bikes to load onto the train, but, fortunately, due to works on the line, Ashford line’s 2 coaches had been replaced by a 4 carriage service from Eastbourne & we were all accommodated with plenty of room remaining & plenty more conversations enjoyed with fellow passengers on cycling & CCC & with Lewes comrades on Green vs Labour for General Election 2015.

Thanks to Mick for leading us through the lovely routes, first planned by Roger, who was unable to do the job on that day. The homeward leg was somewhat challenging for some of us but the faster three did allow the following three some refreshing photography pauses & we did manage to do the miles & the tea stop & still catch the 4.42 train – 25 miles, no rain & no punctures, but plenty of fellowship & fun. [food & culture too!]



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