The Last Ride 10th April 2022

Berwick to Bexhill

Preface: I bought a book on Surrealism the day before this ride. Some might think it has influenced the following account; on the other hand it might all be true. I couldn’t possibly comment. Nick had been looking forward to riding to Bexhill for ages. It was Bexhill this, Bexhill that, Bexhill everything. In fact, Bexhill was, for him, the equivalent of Moscow to the Three Sisters.* There were seven riders: Doris, Jim, Sally, Sikka, Tessa, Wendy, and Nick (who wasn’t there). Sikka was barred from entering the platform at Falmer because there was a marathon on in Brighton, even though she was travelling away from Brighton. Luckily, a kindly guard rescued her. It couldn’t get any sillier than that … oh yes it could!

We travelled the lanes of East Sussex in a long line, all of us following Nick, even though none of us could see him. Time got a bit stretched. We went through the lovely Abbot’s Wood, but the Abbot was out; luckily he had left us some bluebells. There were no cuckoos on the Cuckoo Trail, but plenty of horses and dogs. Time got stretched a bit more. Chilley Farm was a possible place to warm up, but instead we went to the Star. We all had wonderful lunches, except for Nick, because he wasn’t there.

On to … Bexhill! There were turnstones on the beach, turning stones, then a tea and marzipan stop at the far end of the beach. Wendy left early, sensibly, before things could start getting seriously weird – which they did, on the way home. The train was going to London Bridge, except that it wasn’t. We got off at Eastbourne and wandered around for a bit and looked at some sewing machines. Then back to the station, the train on platform 1 was going to Brighton, but it wasn’t, that was platform 2 we needed, but that one was going to Bexhill. No, it was OK, it really was going to Brighton but so were six other bikes, all crammed into the same carriage, then a man in an electric wheelchair got on, accompanied by his dog Bentley. Luckily the guard was in good humour, but she did order two of the serious bikers (that’s not us btw) to move down the train, which they did, one carrying his bike. Tessa and Doris got off at Brighton and Sikka at Falmer; Jim and Sally didn’t get off at London Road because it didn’t stop there, but that was OK because we weren’t on the train anyway. And nor was Nick – but where was he?

Thanks to Doris and Sikka for a lovely, invigorating ride. And, of course, to Nick.

Jim.

*The three sisters never made it to Moscow.

May 8, 2022: Shoreham Circular (via Knepp Wildland)

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