The Last Ride: Sunday 6th February 2022

Burgess Hill to Hassocks via Plumpton and Ditchling

Angela Devas

Five jolly mudlarkers Jim, Nick, Tessa, Colin and Angela D., assembled at Burgess Hill for a supposedly short round trip via pub and tea shop. Jim was our soi-disant leader but in fact it was his trailing waterproof trousers which led the way. Most of the time they were down by his ankles, held ‘up’ as it were by his bicycle clips and at one point he even produced a little tail – a mysterious pouch on a string which was hastily hidden away before a photograph could be taken. Speculation as to what this little bag contained – a list of all the missing Clarion members since 1905? A mini electric bike charger for his whistle? – was curtailed by the arrival of more rain.

February 6, 2022: Burgess Hill to Hassocks

I’m not sure who decided it would be a good idea to ‘cycle’ through Ditchling Common. Tessa, on her electric bicycle, gave one look and opted for a nice, asphalted road. The rest of us slid, slided and shambled our away through treacherous, sucking mud, our bicycles protesting loudly while we tried to maintain a vaguely upright position. As ever, the Clarion spirit prevailed and we were not beguiled into falling into the deep clay ruts.

February 6, 2022: Burgess Hill to Hassocks

The Plough  at Plumpton put us in a back room but gave us all a slap-up lunch including plenty of chips, lovingly photographed by Nick. Our route home took in culture as we paused to admire some arty sculptures made from scrap metal but we did not linger too long as were all a little fearful that our own weather-beaten and somewhat decrepit bicycles might be co-opted for the display. 

February 6, 2022: Burgess Hill to Hassocks

Our intrepid Clarionistas then battled a driving westerly wind, more rain, and further off-road shenanigans to arrive at a tea shop in Ditchling, leaving our bikes in a dedicated parking space which consisted of a narrow door, navigation around enormous bins and ascension of several steps to a tiny space with old fashioned, back-breaking, wheel-gripping bike racks. However the intention was there. By this time Nick had left and Colin chose a different route so three of us made it back to the station.

Many thanks to Jim for organising this and for phoning pub and pre-ordering meals. It was a grand ride.

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