Entirely by chance Joyce, Leon, Sikka, Tessa and Marilyn joined in friendship. Unbeknown to each other two groups paths were about to cross. Joyce and Leon planned to have lunch in Bramber at the Bridge Inn, getting a train at Brighton and starting the short journey up the Downslink to Bramber. At the same time Sikka and Tessa had planned to do a recce for a future ride from Hassocks to Shoreham via Henfield and Bramber, meeting Marilyn at the lunch stop.
Now let’s go back to where it all came together. Leon and Joyce unexpectedly met Sikka and Tessa on the concourse of Brighton station; greetings and hurried explanations were voiced and our individual plans were discussed and as Bramber was to be our lunch stop we agreed to meet there to have lunch together. Two odd coincidences now manifested themselves. Leon imagined or dreamed that the Bramber Bridge Inn had reopened after being closed for refurbishment, it is still boarded up. Tessa made a phone call from Hassocks to make a booking, unfortunately she called The Bridge Inn Shoreham who took the booking.
Meanwhile Joyce and Leon were now cycling the Downslink northbound. Sikka and Tessa were cycling through Hurstpierpoint, Albourne and Henfield to join the Downslink southbound, meanwhile Marilyn had cycled from Shoreham to Bramber and was waiting for Sikka and Tessa in the Castle Inn Hotel in Bramber. When Joyce and Leon arrived at the ‘closed’ Bridge Inn, they decided to go back 100m to try the Castle Inn Hotel where we bumped into Marilyn who had been on the phone to Sikka to instruct the location of the lunch venue. About an hour passed before Sikka and Tessa arrived to tell of their adventures en-route. Now there were five Clarion riders all together in one place and enjoying a very nice meal in a rather pleasant location.
After lunch we all set off together for the ride back to Shoreham, but only 500m on the little group split with Sikka, Tessa and Marilyn choosing to cross the very busy A273 while Joyce and Leon preferred the new section of the Downslink that follows the river Adur on the west bank as it goes under the A273, a much safer option. We didn’t see the others again until the Old Toll Bridge but they seemed to want to finish the ride ASAP due to the weather closing in rapidly due to gale force crosswinds from the southwest. It was so nice to meet up unexpectedly and enjoy our day together. Thanks to coincidence/chance without leader or backstop or proper organisation.