Sunday 27th January – Hassocks to Shoreham
The intrepid trio gathered on Brighton station for Sunday’s ride included Nick, Prudence and ride leader Graham. Although the Clarionistas can be a hardy band of cyclists, the blustery and rainy January weather on Saturday night may well have deterred some from attending Graham’s Hassocks to Shoreham Sunday ride.
Bright sunshine created good light for a few group photos outside Hassocks station, as we prepared ourselves for the first leg of Graham’s ride. Morning coffee in Washbrook Farm was our first stop and a relatively short cycle ride away.
By the time we arrived at Washbrook Farm, foreboding rain clouds had replaced the blue skies we had experienced earlier in the morning. I had read there was a 33% chance of rain on the BBC’s weather forecast, so the dark clouds weren’t entirely unexpected.
Although we had only cycled a couple of miles, it was quite hard to move away from the warm wood fire we had been sitting in front of to resume our ride. Instead of cycling against the wind to the Partridge pub in Partridge Green for lunch, we agreed with Graham that we should change the lunchtime destination to the Fox in Small Dole.
We were an abstemious bunch for our lunchtime meal. Both Prudence & myself opted for lime & soda, which I combined with a packet of salt & vinegar crisps. Graham seemed to be enjoying his leek & potato soup and half of ale. Although the crisps I ate were perfectly fine, maybe I’ll sample the soup next time.
The ride after lunch was particularly enjoyable. We cycled through Bramber to join the South Downs Way and Downs link. I’ve never invested in a pair of waterproof trousers, so felt slightly left out as Graham and Prudence took the opportunity to change into their waterproof trousers under a bridge during a sudden rain shower. The rain stopped as soon as 2/3 of the group had changed into their over-trousers and I decided I could probably continue taking part in rides without adding trouser waterproofs to my cycling baggage.
The waterproof trousers break was the last I saw of the rest of the group for a while. I became distracted when photographing dark clouds over the River Adur. By the time I had finished photographing clouds and a South Downs Way sign, my Clarion comrades were nowhere to be seen.
I knew the direction to Shoreham, so continued along the River Adur in an attempt to catch up with the rest of the group. The abandoned London double decker buses and Underground sign left outside the dilapidated former Shoreham cement works seemed worthy of a few brief photographs.
I had photographed the Underground sign and an abandoned fire engine when someone drove up in a 4×4 to tell me I was trespassing on private property. I never did find out why the London buses had been left in the former Shoreham cement works, but it would be great to return to take a few more photos of the London bus graveyard very soon.
I caught up with Graham a few minutes later. He told me that he and Prudence had been waiting in the cold for me for about 10 minutes. I had to apologise for my photographic diversions and hoped he appreciated why I found a London Underground sign in the Shoreham cement works so intriguing.
Prudence had gone on ahead to seek out a suitable end-of-ride coffee stop. Ginger & Dobbs was a fine place to end the ride. As well as drinking coffee, Graham and myself agreed to sit still while Prudence drew our hands for an art course she was doing. Perhaps there’s a future for the two of us as male models?
As ever, thanks to Graham for organising a terrific cycle ride. I must try and take fewer photographs and peddle faster next time.