The Last Ride: Sunday 6 September 2015 – September Surprise

The forecast was fine; the sun was shining; the train ride to the start was simple.  So it was quite a surprise that only five riders assembled at Three Bridges yesterday morning.  Our leaders were Leon and Joyce; the followers were Sikka (Sue), Julian and Roger.  We set off towards Tilgate forest where we paused for a selfie and a look at the mobile phone mast disguised as a tree.

B&H Clarion ride at Tilgate forest.

Then on to the long straight downhill run known as Grouse Road.  At one point we stopped to admire the view and Julian pointed out a large, fine looking house, just visible through the trees, to the north.  No one knew what it was and subsequent research has failed to help.  It looks as if it’s on a private road called Woodlands Lane, just south of Colgate village. Any ideas?

At the bottom of Grouse Road we came upon the best view of the ride.  The road swung steeply round a corner and ran across the end of a beautiful stretch of water known as a hammer pond.  These ponds provided the water power for the forges and blast furnaces which made up the iron industry in this part of the Weald until the 18th century.

As we dragged ourselves away from the view we arrived at the “challenging” hill promised in Leon’s write up;  it rose at a gradient of 1 in 8 for a short distance, giving a good excuse to get out of the saddle for a while.

By this time some of us were starting to ask the time honoured question “How far to lunch?” to which Leon provided the only acceptable answer “not far”.  In fact he was right.  A few rather gentler ups and downs brought us into the impeccably manicured village of Warninglid and the welcome sight of the Half Moon Pub.  It was very busy and they were just about to stop taking food orders, but they did take pity on us.  The result was rather a long wait for food, but when it arrived everyone agreed it was worth the wait.

This ride was beautifully planned: quiet winding lanes with sunlight dappling the roadway;  splendid country views  and more downhill riding than up.  And that final cunning trick:  the last five miles or so were almost flat ending at a very reasonably priced café for tea and cake etc. just minutes from the station in Burgess Hill.

Many thanks to Joyce and Leon for planning and leading a delightful Clarion day out.

Roger

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