Following the recent easing of many Covid pandemic restrictions, it felt slightly strange to be joining the first Clarion ride of 2021. Jim had adapted Sikka & Tessa’s Egrets Way circular route with a similar cycling experience, which excluded pub stops & train travel.
The Clarionistas who gathered at Brighton’s Palace Pier for the circular ride along the Undercliff & Egrets Way were Angela D, Jim, Sally, Sikka, Doris, Graham, Chris, Dave & Nick.
Jim suggested that the nine cyclists could be represented by the report writer in a Lord of the Rings narrative style. As I’ve not read the book, or seen the films, I didn’t really know what Jim was talking about. There will be no further Lord of the Rings references in this ride report, although I hope to find time to mention Ben & Jerry’s new peace pop ice cream.
It was overcast for most of the day. Apart from a couple of brief showers, none of the forecast stormy weather materialised. This was a relief to all of us.
We set off along Madeira Drive, next to the impressive, but unfinished, new cycle lane. It would be good to return to Brighton’s latest Covid cycle lane when it’s finished.
There was a vague plan to stop for a coffee in Rottingdean. It was unfortunate that the seafront cafe was only offering a takeaway service, so we decided to continue with the ride. It was a good opportunity to stop & marvel at the majestic butterfly mural on Rottingdean’s public loo though.
Our first coffee stop of the day was at Yemeni Coffee in Peacehaven. All of us were impressed with the nine cups of coffee served. They offered us a completed loyalty card for our next visit, which was a very nice gesture. Although grateful, I don’t think we accepted the Yemeni Coffee freebie. I look forward to returning soon though.
It was great to leave the decidedly noisy South Coast Road in Peacehaven and head along the much quieter Egrets Way towards the proposed picnic stop, outside the church in Southease. Some of us also had a look at the nearby Southease youth hostel to investigate lunchtime cafe options for future rides.
The Southease church picnic stop was so calming and relaxing, I found myself nodding off on the grass after lunch. I’d like to suggest optional siestas on future Clarion rides and may pack an inflatable pillow for a future post-lunch snooze.
Sikka & Doris left us after lunch. They had a cycle route via Newhaven they wanted to investigate. The remaining seven cycled back to the Undercliff via Telscombe.
The afternoon tea stop was the busy Molly’s cafe on the Undercliff route. Graham & Chris had cycled ahead & were quite possibly already in Brighton by the time we reached the cafe. I was tempted with Ben & Jerry’s new cookie dough peace pop ice cream, but decided against it when finding out it wasn’t vegan.
An excellent day of cycling with plenty of coffee, tea & ice cream opportunities. Thanks to Jim for adapting Sikka & Tessa’s original route for our first post-lockdown ride. Let’s hope Covid doesn’t stop us from meeting again soon.