Photos on Flickr
Having ridden from Brighton to Shoreham as anything between 16 and 20 riders (we were never near enough to the same place at any one time to count!) our strung-out cat-herd finally split up into two factions: the “Remainers” and the “Leavers”. The Leavers … well, they left. That left the Remainers (Angela, Angela, Chris, David, Mark, Prudence, Richard, Wendy and myself) to remain, and enjoy a coffee (and, in Angela D’s case, a second breakfast) at one of the few cafes that was actually open. Before she followed her comrades over the bridge, Helen (whose Easter benevolence has already been noted on a previous ride) kindly gave each of us a small chocolate egg.
Once refreshed, we followed the Leavers over the footbridge to Shoreham Beach, where we met Anne on her way back. We turned right into Riverside Road and basically continued along the seafront from there on. Eventually the road leads you onto a shared footpath and cycle path, which we shared with a number of dogs and their (slightly less numerous) owners. I’ve noticed that as you travel along the coast from Saltdean to Worthing, the Rampion Wind Farm appears to move with you – an optical illusion which I think is caused by it being a lot further away than you think (it’s actually over 13 kilometres from the coast, which is greater than the distance from Brighton to Shoreham). Apparently, although the 116 turbines are currently being tested and commissioned, the wind farm has already started supplying power to the grid. I sincerely hope that the City of Chichester, a huge dredger that we saw in Shoreham Harbour by the locks, does not accidentally dredge up the undersea power cables linking the turbines to the grid!
Wendy and I regretted that it had not been possible for us to join the Easter Meet ride from Southend to Foulness Island, which was happening simultaneously with our ride, as numbers were strictly limited, and one had to sign up for it after arrival in Southend, which is a long way to travel if you’re not even sure you’ll get a place. Perhaps next time …
David had been somewhat vague on the subject of a lunch stop. When we got to the Coast café on Worthing seafront, he went in to reconnoitre and pronounced it a suitable place for us to refresh ourselves. The café has grown by a factor of about 4 since I last visited it, and has a very pleasant atmosphere and plenty of dishes to choose from. Most opted for soup; I had the veggie mezze and a bottle of pale ale. All very nice. As we sat in the café by the window we saw the Leavers, obviously regretting their decision, coming back. We banged on the window; Tessa seemed to hear us, but in the end she did not stop. Had they done so, we would have welcomed them with open arms and given them their maroon passports back.
I left at this point to visit my daughter, the other 8 turning eastwards for home. Thanks to David for a nice easy hill-less Easter ride, and congratulations on such a bumper turnout!
There were no April Fool jokes.
This ride became rather confusing and fragmented as the day progressed, to say the least. I am assembling only my impression, not exactly an accurate account of the entire ride.
I think there were about fifteen riders at the start by the Palace Pier. Shortly after riding the network 2 cycleway westward toward Shoreham, We were joined by one more, followed by four more before reaching the Hove Lagoon.
We were by now a large group that was difficult to manage as some fell off the back and one sped off at the front. I’m not sure of the details.
On arriving at the Place in Shoreham near the footbridge we were greeted by Mick with a grin a mile wide, he told us that he’d been in a café waiting for us slow-coaches to arrive. At this point the group became split, our sub-group wanted to continue straight-on to Worthing, while the other stayed to enjoy something in a Shoreham café. We didn’t see them again.
Now we were on to the cycleway to Worthing and experiencing heavy footfall in the form of ambulating families, children and dogs running aimlessly among the casually strolling adults. It became extremely frustrating for some of our group of eight to a point that at least one wanted to call it a day and quit the ride. None the less we all continued to Worthing safely. At Worthing we found eight seats in the Pier-head restaurant and all enjoyed good food and pleasant conversation.
Riding back to Brighton with a tailwind was great. Just after going over the lock gates at the harbour I spotted John Clinton, cycling head-down into the wind, toward Carats café. I called out to him and again our group became split as Joyce, John and Leon rode back to Carats for a coffee and a chat. John has not been able to ride for a few weeks due to a fall and subsequent injury to his left knee.
Finally on our return home we find out total mileage to be 28 miles, but that was home to home.
Overall this for me, and I hope others it turned out to be a lovely day out cycling.
Thanks to David for offering to organise and lead it.