Although I was convinced that some sort of new year covid restrictions would affect our January 2nd ride to Carats Cafe, the government appears to be ignoring scientific advice and continuing with their herd immunity covid gamble with public health. For those of us still concerned about the pandemic, there was space outside Carats to eat our late breakfasts.
It was lucky the Sussex Nomads cyclists had decided to vacate their seats in time for those Clarionistas willing to sit inside. Those of us who opted for seating outside were fortunate to share our food with a group of friendly starlings. I might have to return to Carats before next year’s Clarion ride in order to greet the delightful starlings again.
I’ve uploaded a few photos from this year’s Carats visit to the Flickr link below.
Jim has already posted some photos on the Clarion Facebook group of his recce for the forthcoming Preston Park ride to Hove Park & Hurstpierpoint. I’m looking forward to joining him on January 23rd for the second Clarion ride of 2022.
Haywards Heath – Cuckfield – Slough Green – Hickstead – Ansty – Haywards Heath This is a variant of a ride we have done several times before; road works have necessitated a change to the return route. From the suburbs of Haywards Heath we will go through Blunts Wood & Paiges Meadow Nature Reserve, which has a good cycle path. We reach Cuckfield, after which we can have coffee at the golf club, and admire impressive views of Balcombe Viaduct. Turning south, we take the delightful Broxmead Lane, over the less-delightful A23, to our lunch stop at the Bolney Stage pub. Leaving the pub, we encounter three very nice Clarionesque lanes: Buncton Lane, Stairbridge Lane and Jobs Lane, at the end of which we turn northwards along Bishopstone Lane, crossing and re-crossing the East Adur as it rushes westwards to join its sibling the West Adur near Henfield. A short bridleway takes us to Cuckfield Road, where we join, in reverse, the route of a Haywards Heath to Shoreham ride we did in 2016. That ride, as anyone who participated will surely recall, involved us walking across a field near Ansty; nevertheless it is an official bridleway, and a very pretty route which only gets slightly muddy underwheel. A delightful tree-covered bridleway takes us into Copyhold Lane (not the one north of Haywards Heath) and then back to the station via another quiet lane. (Much of this off-road route has a tarmacked alternative for those who want that.) Practicalities: Start at Haywards Heath Station at 10:30. Meet at the main station entrance. Length: 16 miles. Duration: About 5 hours. Terrain: Tarmacked lanes, some B roads, some bridleways. Mainly flat with a few “undulations”. How to Get There: Catch the 10:15 London Bridge train from Brighton. To avoid a last-minute rush, get straight on the train and make for the bike storage carriage at the front. Return Trains: 21, 24, 38, 51, and 54 minutes past the hour. Jim.
Hassocks loop via Hurstpierpoint, Washbrooks Farm, Muddleswood, Twineham, Goddards Green
The 3 of us paused for a group selfie outside Hassocks Station, wondering if our fellow Clarionisters had been deterred by the showery weather forecast, which proved to be a fine example of fake news, perhaps because we were north of the downs.
Graham led Nick and me off towards Hurstpierpoint, where a small crowd had gathered at the crossroads outside the church to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1. We paused to observe the 2 minutes silence and hear the traditional bugle rendition of The Last Post before continuing on to Washbrooks Farm for our coffee stop. We were rather impressed by the magnificent pumpkins on display, but completely blown away by the silver sparkly toilet seats, unfairly only available in the women’s toilets.
Blue skies and wispy clouds contrasted with the golden autumn foliage and leaf fall as we continued along the B2117 and on to the quieter Shaves Wood Lane, then north towards Twineham. A traffic-free lane led us along the final stretch to our lunch stop at The Sportsman Pub. We were impressed with the quality of our food choices. Graham’s Nut Roast was served with beautifully cooked veg, my chips were served with a complementary side order of Cumberland sauce but Nick surprised us all by going crazy with an order of sweet potato chips, which came with a complementary side of braised carrots and parsnips. In honour of Julian, we perused the extensive dessert menu before returning to our cluster of bikes and heading off on the last leg of our journey.
More quiet roads and country lanes took us past Hurstpierpoint College on our return to Hassocks Station, where we waited about 2 minutes for the next train, which was a direct service to Brighton.
Thanks a lot Graham for leading us on this enjoyable ride, which fortuitously avoided the blustery showers forecasted for Brighton.
The next ride will start at Eastbourne Station at 11, the Brighton train departs at 10.20. We will be riding to Bexhill with lunch planned at the De La Warr Pavilion where there are several exhibitions and good food.
We will return via The Loom for tea (and cakes I hope) from Polegate trains leave at 06 and 42 past the hour. The exact route has not yet been decided but will be about 25 miles of fairly flat cycling. Anyone coming by car could probably leave the car at Polegate and get the train or cycle to Eastbourne Station, 5 or 6 miles depending on the route.
Welcome to the annual festival of religious bigotry edition. (What has Lewes got to offer besides that and a prison? OK, I like the castle and Harvey’s beer.)
Haven’t yet been exactly overwhelmed by new ride leaders coming forward with great ideas for the early 2014 dates – but this may be because it’s still only the beginning of November and they’re all busy working on interesting routes to offer. (You can’t do this job for ten years if you’re not an optimist.)
Busy day on Saturday – not to mention the “ill wind” ride on Sunday (see Suzanne’s report below). In the morning it was the “Defend the NHS” demo. Nice to see so many Clarionettes – Anne, Jim, Joyce, Leon, Mick, Nick – and Sue with the Silver Sounds contingent leading the way with some excellent samba. Sheila – a founder member of both our section and Silver Sounds – would have been delighted (being hopeless with such things I’m sending photos to Fred requesting he put a couple of them on Flickr).
Then in the evening we met up with Alex and the redoubtale London Clarion members who’d ridden down and met us at the Signalman. We discussed the possibility of joint rides – maybe with a common lunchtime meeting place (most likely a pub) and the two groups arriving from north and south respectively – if you see what I mean.