The Last Ride 26th September 2021

4 October 2021

Peace Statue to East Worthing via Shoreham Fort Pollinator Café

September 26, 2021: Pollinator Cafe ride

We met at the Peace Statue in Hove, Jim and Nick, Sikka, Angela C and Angela D, Doris, Wendy, Prudence and Graham.

A good turnout for our first ride in a while, so some time was spent catching up with each other and enjoying being in each other’s company.

A quiet ride along the seafront to the Locks at Southwick in light drizzle and under dark clouds – not in the forecast! We waited at the lock gates while a whole flotilla of yachts moved into the large lock that is used by the biggest vessels coming into Shoreham Harbour. Across the locks we made our way to Shoreham Beach and to our first refreshment stop – at the Pollinator Cafe, led by Nick.

September 26, 2021: Pollinator Cafe ride

This was the first time ever I was offered a discount for choosing plant based milk – sustainability of course! We were met there by David and his wife Terri with their dog, as David was not cycling today. Quite a reunion after such a long time in lockdown etc.

Jim then took over leadership of the ride with Angela D, Doris and Sikka. Angela C, Wendy, Prudence, Graham and Nick had other priorities and we left them at the cafe. By this time we were ready for lunch and were fortunate to find a table at the Hummingbird Cafe, Shoreham Airport. We had a table overlooking the airfield just as the sun came out offering delightful views of the local countryside and the Downs.

We then cycled to the Old Toll Bridge where Doris left us. Down to four and riding a few miles up Coombe Road to work up an appetite for our next refreshment stop at St Botolph’s Church.

Botolphs Church

Churchside cafe - second horsebox cafe of the day

Here we had an enjoyable conversation with a couple who were visiting one of the graves and going on to visit a relative who lived close by. They went off in their car but soon after we encountered them again as we entered Sopers Lane. This was the most challenging part of the ride – up this quiet country lane, through a farmyard and up the concrete track through Steyning Bowl. Very steep and long.

Steyning BowlMy e-bike came into her own at this point and took me up with ease – so I was able to enjoy a seat at the top – soon to be joined by Jim – and to enjoy the fabulous view over to Truleigh Hill and beyond. Until we were asked to move out of the way so a woman on a horse, leading another horse, asked us to move out of the way. The three of us were then rewarded with a long downhill ride into Sompting, with just one long hill before crossing the A27 and heading for East Worthing. Here Jim left us to visit his daughter and Angela D and I headed for the station where Angela D hoped to catch a train back to Hove.

I continued to the seafront and rode home to Moulsecomb – the last woman standing so to speak.

A lovely and particularly sociable ride – thank you Nick and Jim for planning and leading.

Sikka


The Last Ride Portslade – August 8, 2021

14 August 2021

Those smart enough to look at the weather forecast for Sunday had already made their apologies and didn’t turn up for Dave’s Portslade ride. When I arrived at Portslade station, Dave said he had considered cancelling when he saw the predicted wind and rain weather conditions for the day.

It had indeed started to rain, but we both agreed that it would be good to attempt some sort of cycle ride. We took a route towards Devil’s Dyke, which was familiar to me from the recent BHT bike ride.

When the torrential rain persisted, and the puddles at the side of the road we were cycling on turned into mini floods, we decided to abandon the ride. It was outside Dyke Road’s Hilltop Cafe where we headed back to Brighton, after a 10-mile ride in distinctly unappealing weather.

August 8, 2021: Portslade ride



Although it’s likely climate change will produce similar extreme weather in the future, it would be good to have another attempt at Dave’s Portslade ride in drier conditions.

Nick


The Last Ride Sunday the 18th July Chattri Circular

24 July 2021

Ride report: Chattri circular, July 18th, 2021 by Nick & Sikka

The day before the government launched its idiotic July 19th Covid ‘freedom day’ celebration, five of us (Angela C, Doris, Sikka, Dave & Nick) gathered in Preston Park for Dave’s off-road Chattri circular ride across the South Downs.
The twelve-mile cycle ride didn’t seem too much of an ordeal on paper, but the warmest day of the year did make it more of a challenge than I had envisaged.

Sikka describes the alternative route, devised with Angela & Doris, which they planned to take:

‘Thanks to Dave for leading this ride yesterday. And to Nick for great photos. I believe we all enjoyed a wonderful day. Nick and Dave on an outdoor adventure trail and Doris, Angela and myself on a leisurely on-road reduced length cycle ending with coffee in Hove Park cafe.’

July 18, 2021: Chattri Circular bike ride

The plan was for Dave & myself to meet the rest of the group at the Wildflower Cafe, when we had cycled over the Downs. My newly refurbished bike (thanks G-Whizz Cycles!) coped admirably with most of the uphill paths, although there was one steep stretch which was too overgrown for cycling.

July 18, 2021: Chattri Circular bike ride

The five of us did eventually meet outside Wildflower Cafe. We were surprised to see the cafe had closed for a few days for a summer break. We found time to use the drinking water tap & heard about Angela’s conversion to electric bikes.

July 18, 2021: Chattri Circular bike ride

Dave & myself cycled to Pycombe Churchyard for an afternoon picnic. The Chattri memorial was only a few minutes away, then it was downhill all the way (hurrah!) to Brighton.

Thanks to Dave for an exhilarating day out in the July heat. Covid third wave permitting, it would be good to do something similar soon.


The Last Ride Sunday the 23rd May Egrets Way Circular

30 May 2021

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.

May 23, 2021: Palace Pier circular via Peacehaven, Southease, Telscombe & Saltdean


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.

May 23, 2021: Palace Pier circular via Peacehaven, Southease, Telscombe & Saltdean


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.

May 23, 2021: Palace Pier circular via Peacehaven, Southease, Telscombe & Saltdean


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.


In between lock-downs 2020

23 February 2021

Early August 2020.  Ten Clarionistas assembled at the pier: Angela D, Doris, Joyce, Jim, Richard S, Sally, Sean B, and Wendy T, together with our joint leaders, Sikka and Tessa. Because of restrictions on numbers travelling together we were divided into two groups. Sikka took Group 1 (Doris, Richard, Sean and Wendy) while Tessa led the rest.

Group 2 left first, but confusingly arrived last at the picnic spot on the Egrets Way. We had a change of Angelas at Saltdean, with Angela C replacing Angela D who disappeared in the general direction of Newhaven. Angela C departed after lunch, along with Group 1. After a suitable delay the reduced Group 2 followed their speedier comrades to Telscombe and Saltdean, with wonderful views of the Downs and surrounding countryside; then back along the Undercliff to Brighton after a welcome tea stop at Rottingdean.

Thanks to Sikka and Tessa for a wonderful ride, the first for so long; let’s not wait too long for the next one!  

Richard and Jim.


Back in the saddle soon

9 February 2021

No ride reports at the moment — but we’ll be back.

Image courtesy of Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton and Hove

The Last Ride Sunday 27th September 2020. A Brighton Circumnavigation

27 September 2020

Doris,Jim, Joyce, Richard, Sally, Sikka and Tessa gathered outside the Level cafe.  As we were more than six, Richard led Doris, Sikka and Tessa off first, the remaining group stayed to wait for Nick to join them.

The first part of the ride was daunting: uphill with much traffic and many turnings. We journeyed east through Queen’s Park area up to the Racecourse ,battling cold strong winds. I started to enjoy the ride when we sped downhill along Tenantry Down Road fringed completely on either side by allotments, full of autumn produce.

Bear Road was a bit hairy but we soon turned into Bevendean Road. We travelled through Bevendean streets, finding large communal grassy areas in front of houses with some roads where whole streets faced woodland and wild spaces rather than other houses.

We arrived at Stanmer Park where we hunkered down in the wind to eat our picnic lunches beside the cafe. About to leave, we spotted Jim and Nick and as a group of 6 headed uphill to Stanmer Woods. At the top we cycled south through the woods to join the horrendous junction Ditchling Road/ Coldean Lane.

Negotiating busy roundabouts we came to a gap in the hedge and onto Ladies’ Mile Nature Reseve. Beautiful relief! Wonderful views on our downhill grassy descent into Patcham where we continued till we reached Mill Road . Uphill again until a discreet turning that took us to Green Ridge where we headed west along a delightful grassy path to Dyke Road.

At this point I left the group to head home.

Thank you to Jim for this voyage of discovery. Over lockdown I have cycled and walked all over Brighton, but have never discovered Bevendean.

Thank you also to Richard for leading us and to Sikka for helping, due to her encyclopaedic knowledge of the area

Tessa


The Last Ride: Sunday 8 March Lewes to Berwick

15 March 2020

Nick’s Report

International Women’s Day 2020 found Joyce, Angela, Sally, Doris, John, Jim & Nick at Brighton station waiting for a train to Lewes for the day’s bike ride to Berwick. The 20 mile linear route included plenty of daffodils and only a little rain.

Jim had devised a route which avoided any steep hills when leaving Lewes. After looking at some impressive graffiti, reminding us of the potential imminent extinction of the Blue Spix Macaw, we cycled through the town centre and turned left to follow the river Ouse past Harvey’s Brewery. It was then a short cycle ride to the morning’s coffee stop at the Ringmer Cafe.

While the other Clarionistas drank coffee, I attempted some emergency bike maintenance and removed a rubbing brake block. The coffee break was also an opportunity to take in the first daffodil moment of the day.

The route from the coffee stop to lunch at the King’s Head was perfect for cycling. We all agreed with Joyce that we enjoyed the long, straight, car-free B-road, which took us most of the way to our lunchtime meal of crisps & chips (the Mediterranean vegetable tart looked good too). Jim provided us with a copy of XR’s latest Hourglass paper to read while we waited for the chips to be served.

March 8, 2020: Lewes to Berwick

Interesting signage has featured on quite a few Clarion rides. There were three particularly intriguing signs on Sunday’s ride, which were worth reading and photographing.

The punctuation on the ‘Very Slow. Cats!!!’ warning sign to motorists had been amended to give the impression there were some very slow cats wandering through the village. We also passed a sign which marked the graves of two soldiers who had died in a dual ‘circa 1800’. The third sign of note was the ‘Warning – Dogs Running Free’ attached next to a ‘Keep Out’ sign on a barbed wire gate outside the High Cross estate of violent thug Nicholas Van Hoogstraten.

March 8, 2020: Lewes to Berwick

Most of the day’s rain had coincided with a 20 minute cycle ride to the pub lunch stop. The afternoon weather was dry and cool and it didn’t take too long to reach Berwick station, following some useful amendments to Jim’s route from Angela. We were slightly annoyed to have just missed the return train to Brighton, but it’s good to know that the Berwick Inn always seems open for people like us who have just missed trains.

March 8, 2020: Lewes to Berwick

An excellent day of interesting signage, daffodils, chips & cycling. Thanks to Jim & Angela for pointing us in the right direction.

Nick


The Last Ride – Sunday 23 February 2020

27 February 2020

Tessa’s Report Hassocks Circular

It wasn’t the ride Nick had planned.

Adverse weather and the prospect of negotiating Wivelsfield Station steps made Angela D, Jim, Sikka, Sue ( from Farnham) and Tessa rebel. We decided to alight at Hassocks and make our way to Wivelsfield to have lunch at the Cock Inn. Then decide whether to continue to Shoreham via the Downslink and Nick’s beloved cafe , Stan’s Bike Shack?

February 23, 2020: Hassocks circular w/ South Downs Link to Shoreham optional finish

Waterproof trousers were on and off as we headed through a little drizzle and strong and gusty winds through Ditchling, left down Spatham lane, right at the crossroads, heading towards Plumpton before turning left to Wivelsfield Green.

We were early for an unbooked lunch but were given a warm welcome even though all tables were fully booked. We all squeezed onto a small table in the bar. Food was good except for a runny fish pie and not very cheesy cauliflour. The expected rain started to fall outside making us feel extra cosy.

Leaving the pub was a small challenge. Our bikes had been boxed in by a parked car. Angela, in full voice went back into the pub asking whose number plate ended WEA?. He was reluctant to come out at first but Angela was persuasive mentioning possible scratches to his car. The incident ended amicably with some good humoured remarks from the car driver about us not exceeding the speed limit. As if Clarion would!

February 23, 2020: Hassocks circular w/ South Downs Link to Shoreham optional finish

Again it was waterproof trousers or not, and where do we go? Angela planned a return to Hassocks by careful map reading as we felt Stan’s Bike Shed and too far a destination with such uncertain weather.

We headed into the wind towards Burgess Hill. The sun came out illuminating lilac and white crocuses that bloomed on the grass of Burgess Hill’s suburbs. Birds were singing and earlier we had seen celandine, snowdrops and primroses blossoming.

The suburb roads were full of traffic and potholes so we were pleased to leave and join a small quiet cul de sac that led us to Goddards Green.

Soon we had reached Hurstpierpoint College. The lane leading to the main Hurstpierpoint – Hassocks road was a deceptively uphill haul so at the junction we all felt the need of a tea stop in Hassocks.

We said goodbye to Nick at the junction , the lure of Stan’s being too great and headed into Hassocks to have tea, hot chocolate and delicious chocolate brownies at Proper Cycling and Coffee, the perfect cafe for weary Clarinistas.

February 23, 2020: Hassocks circular w/ South Downs Link to Shoreham optional finish

Thank you to our two leaders Nick and Angela for a lovely weather defying day out.

Tessa.


The Last Ride: 2nd February 2020.

14 February 2020

The Last Ride –Sally’s Report 

 

 Berwick Circular 18 miles

 

Angela D., and Nick, co-leaders. Followed by Jim, Sikka, Richard Carroll, Sally.

 

It was a mild greyish February morning lightened by gleams of sunshine through the misty fields and on the scarp edge of the downs. There was a lot of water lying in the pastures after heavy overnight rain, filling the ditches to several inches up the hedgerows, and pouring into the drains. We pedalled along happily at an unfashionably slow pace, pausing to admire, at Angela’s instruction, manor houses and cottages—mostly 18th century, Ripe church (formerly known as Eckington, given by Henry VIII to Thomas Cromwell after the expropriation of the monasteries), and a lovely timber-frame and brick house in the village that looked Jacobean, with carved wooden people on the doorposts (see picture).

Detail from porch of old house

On the return from a detour to Laughton Tower, down a lane pitted with spectacular rashes of pot-holes, circular like the ones made by meteorites on the surface of the moon, I got a puncture. Luckily it was not too far to walk to the Roebuck Inn for lunch.

February 2, 2020: Berwick circular

 

The cognoscenti had advised in advance that this was a cog-themed establishment, in honour of “steam punk,” whatever that may be. The décor was largely characterised by interlocking wheels of assorted sizes with teeth on them. Apt for a cyclists’ pub. It could have been named “The Derailleur Inn.” After lunch, Jim helped me to fix the puncture and I vowed in future to bring a spare inner tube, and a selection of adapters suitable for different valves, since the pub offered a foot pump which, however, was incompatible with my tyre.

 

We set off back, rather later than intended because of the delay caused by the pneumatic mishap. Richard raced ahead to catch the train. Nick just missed it. The rest brought up the rear, and the 5 of us had time for a pot of tea, and in Jim’s case an apple crumble with ice-cream, at the Berwick Inn. We were home at Brighton soon after 5.30.

Laughton Tower

Snowdrops

Sally.