The Last Ride: Sunday 17 May 2015 – Boots, Bluebells, Birds and Spurs

20 May 2015

Sunny day & bumper tally of eighteen at Polegate station & I’ll now attempt the roll call. Sue of Lewes [rather than Sikka] was our leader & had planned a brilliant mid-May ride. Quite a late start as she had to deal with her horses first, so by noon, Chris, her partner & Chris from Patcham, David Jezeph, from Shoreham & Dave, who’s a CTC trained ride leader, Roger & Susanne, Sue [Sikka], Sean & Jane, Jane, who’s a friend of Sue & Chris from Lewes, Julian, Corinne, Julia, Leon & Joyce, Nick & me makes 18, so hope no-one is missed out.

No photos of the station start as we had hopes of pics at Arlington Tea Gardens coffee stop. We trouped onto the Cuckoo Trail & turned left after the bridge over the busy motorway. The trail turned into a bridleway complete with horses,


through the woods & path was, fortunately, not too muddy. In fact it was filled with millions of bluebells & undulated through delightful woods until we reached the tea gardens. Due to the late hour & some hungry tums Sue took a vote on whether or not to stop at the Tea Gardens & it was almost even, but glad the stoppers won!

May 17, 2015: Arlington Figure 8

Arlington Tea Gardens was a joy & a treat & real find for most of us. We had to split up though into 3 or 4 tables for our refreshments, so not sure if there will be a group photo. There were plants for sale at good value prices & would have liked to buy some; glad to see Corinne festooned with tomato plants decorating her paniers afterwards. There were quail eggs for sale too & charming fluffy chicks & their parents to admire, as well as an exotic golden pheasant & his less colourful mate in another enclosure. There was even a [wooden/spoiler] koala bear to see looking down at us from a eucalyptus tree. Food looked good too with vast array of cakes, veg soups [2], & fine fayre for all, but we [mostly] stuck to the liquid refreshments, although there may have been some scones, cream & jam consumed by those who knew the gardens & didn’t need to explore.

We left there around 1pm but still had many miles to go before the lunch stop at Arlington – all most pleasant. Most were able to sit on the very long picnic table at the reservoir & eat our picnics, while listening to the birdsong, chattering & quacking. Julian identified the species; reed warblers, while others explored the area. Some food was shared around & Sue [Sikka] had made some tasty flapjacks for us all. It is [was] her birthday today [18th] so we sang Happy Birthday, along with the bird chorus. By the way I would recommend a Radio 4 programme from last week on Birdsong & linguistics; “What the Songbird Said” to anyone interested in neuro-linguistics, Profs. Chomsky & Miyagawa and/or birds. Julian also told me that we heard “en route many chiffchaffs, robins, wrens and blackcaps”.

May 17, 2015: Arlington Figure 8

Discussion on the grassy knoll next to the picnic table was an inquest into why Labour lost the General Election 10 days ago & thus we are stuck with another 5 years of austerity, cuts, destruction & despair.

May 17, 2015: Arlington Figure 8

At 3pm it was time to move on & the job of shepherding 18 cyclists back onto the road, then along the woodland trails replete with bluebells & devoid of cars resumed. All went fine for 5 miles or so, then, as we were about to enter another lovely wood from a quiet road, David’s bike unfortunately fell into a large pothole tipping him off into the road. He said he was fine & remounted & rode again. But not for very long as the chain & derailleurs were damaged. Dave was backstop & I stayed with the two of them, as did Suzanne. It seemed as though David would be able to proceed & 1st Suzanne & then, eventually, I, resumed the ride, expecting David & Dave to follow. I couldn’t see Suzanne in front of me, but soon Chris headed towards me, having come back to look for stragglers. He told me to carry on the path & then turn left at the T-junction [at least that is what I thought he said], so I did. Back on a quiet road again with the usual charming cottages alongside was pleased to find Dave catching up with me & even more pleased that he said he thought he’d seen someone else ahead of me. He explained that Chris had decided that David’s bike was beyond repair & that he would cycle back & fetch his car to take David & his bike back to Polegate. Sue would phone Dave to report on progress of the both sections of riders. We emerged at a big roundabout at Upper Dicker & tried 2 A roads both up & down in search of the elusive Cuckoo Trail & direction home. The A22 section was particularly hairy as white van man raced past us giving us both close shaves, even though we were in the gutter already! After less than a mile we were able to turn off into Hailsham, but even here, we had a few ups & downs both before, & after, finding the Cuckoo. Passers-by frequently giving the wrong directions & cycle route signage not being helpful enough [or invisible].


As I approached the station, relief at hand, I told Dave I was going to race ahead to cross the level crossing before barriers prevented access to Brighton trains & expected him to follow me. I reached the right platform just as a train pulled in & met Roger & Suzanne who urged me to alight, as did the guard, but I thought I ought to wait for Dave whom I assumed was taking the Brighton train too. So the train pulled out & I went out to look for Dave. He had been to the car-park looking for David, Chris & Sue, but could see none of them, so, after conferring, & explaining that his car was parked down the road at Polegate, not down the road from Brighton station, I went back to the bench on the station platform & awaited the Brighton train, eating the remnants of my picnic lunch in the May sunshine. I phoned David when I arrived home & he was OK although his bike needs repair. Roger phoned me in the morning & explained what had happened at the front, with Sue trying to phone both ends of the ride, but not having connections. David had told me that Chris had raced back to his car & fallen off in the woods in the mud, so that was very unfortunate too. Sue said we would do 18 miles, Julian told me his Garmin said they did 22 miles & I reckon Dave and I must have done another 8, making a round 30, but all of them were enjoyable, some more adventurous/challenging than others & I thanks Sue & Chris for providing a wonderful Mid-May ride for 18 fortunate Clarion Riders.


The Last Ride: Sunday 29 June 2014 – Polegate circular

3 July 2014

We gathered at Polegate: Amanda (our leader), Corinne and Roger by train, Rob by bike and Elaine & Graham (on his first Clarion ride) by car.

We headed off up the Cuckoo Trail as far as Hailsham and then onto pleasant country roads. Amanda had promised “no hills to speak of”: so we spoke of the occasional slope instead, but basically the ride was pretty easy going. She also promised a “meander” and meander we did, along leafy lanes with no wind and hardly any traffic.

Wisely no one had made any promises about the weather: in fact it was warm and quite sunny. The occasional dark cloud appeared but failed to produce anything wet.

Lunch was at the Yew Tree Inn at Chalvington – prompt service, good food and a garden to sit in. Conversation at lunch ranged over topics such as Schopenhauer’s attitude to women, how Coca Cola protects its brand and why accountants always get the top jobs.

We also stopped at Arlington Tea Gardens for tea and (in some cases) cake – possibly a first ever visit by Clarion – certainly one to remember for future rides. The aviary prompted much talk of matters related to birds.

Corinne and Rob both recorded the ride on their GPS-enabled smart-phones [see below]. According to Corinne’s results we covered 23 miles at an average cycling speed of 7mph.

Many thanks to Amanda for a very pleasing ride.


PS. Corinne Attwood uses MotionX-GPS on the iPhone and is sharing with you the following track:

Name:Track 023 polegate
Date:29 Jun 2014 11:14 am

Map: (valid until Dec 26, 2014) View on Map

Distance: 22.9 miles
Elapsed Time: 3:12:06
Avg Speed: 7.1 mph
Max Speed: 20.5 mph
Avg Pace: 8′ 23″ per mile
Min Altitude: 0 ft
Max Altitude: 399 ft

Start Time: 2014-06-29T10:14:15Z

Start Location:
Latitude: 50º 49′ 18″ N
Longitude:0º 14′ 40″ E

End Location:
Latitude: 50º 49′ 16″ N
Longitude: 0º 14′ 41″ E

What is MotionX-GPS?
MotionX-GPS is the essential GPS application for outdoor enthusiasts. It puts an easy-to-use, state-of-the-art handheld GPS on your iPhone.

Can I use MotionX-GPS?
Sure! MotionX-GPS can be downloaded from the iTunes App Store.

How can I display tracks in Google Earth?
Follow the directions on the Google Earth web site to download and install the Google Earth program. Save the attached “Track 023 polegate.kmz” file to your computer [ask Corinne or Roger for the file]. Launch Google Earth, select File, Open, and open the saved “Track 023 polegate.kmz” file.

The Next Ride: Sunday 15 December – Berwick Circular c 14 Miles only

4 December 2013

We welcome people who want to try one or two of our rides before joining. If you would like to join the Clarion club, click here to download a membership form.

The shortest day for one of our rides this year and probably the shortest ride. Our now traditional  last ride of the year  is a really short and flat one that  maybe will tempt everyone out unless the weather is atrocious – like it was in 2010 when I had to cancel it. [Finally did it in February!]   Before that we had mixed experiences – only two of us on the first, 2004 ride and things have not been without variety since

Last year it was lovely and sunny and, carried away by the winterwonderland of it all I lead the ride straight past the pub for about half a mile!  As Leon’s report put it

“Ian’s story was that they were possibly in a state of enlightenment as they passed the pub, or was it true that they were just daydreaming, or blinded by sun reflection off the road. Who knows.”

Who does, indeed!

It had been bright enough the year before, but that 2011 sunshine was misleading.  As Jenny later reported

“The sky was clear and blue, the sun was beautiful and bright, but the temperature was still deceptively low even at 10.30 in the morning, and ice was lurking on the country lanes. As I discovered when I turned right at the Langtye Lane crossroads on the way to Berwick – the bike slid from under me and I hit the deck. Luckily I was going pretty slowly but it was a shock to the system nonetheless – no lasting harm done though, and most importantly the bike was undamaged apart from a dislodged chain!”

Will we have better luck this year?  Fingers crossed!   But wrap up warm in any case.

We’ll do the usual loop round the Berwick, Ripe, Chalvington area  and stop for lunch at the Yew Tree pub. There’s no point trying to “book” at such a popular pub at this time of year, but we should be there by 12 (or soon after) and if it was too full we could always try the Lamb at Ripe, which would add just a couple of miles to the ride or just wait until we got back to the Berwick Inn.

Distance: c 14  miles.
Hills: If I say there aren’t any  hills, someone is bound to point out that the road went ‘up’ for 30 or 40 metres at some point – but it really is pretty flat
Off road:  None
Traffic:  Quiet roads
CateringYew Tree  for lunch.* Possible tea stop (depending on train times and our own progress) at the Berwick Inn  for tea

*see ride outline

Catch the 10.20 from Brighton station or meet at Berwick station at 10.43 

[There’s only one train an hour –so I can’t suggest an alternative.] Train  back at  14.48   reaching  Brighton at   15.12  or 15.48  (16.12)

(Be at Brighton Station by 9.50 for Groupsave – I assume that’s still going)

My mobile number is 07770743287 



The Next Ride: Sunday 16 December – Berwick Circular – c 14 miles only

6 December 2012

Our traditional last ride of the year – a really short and flat one that maybe will tempt everyone out unless the weather is atrocious – Fingers crossed!

We’ll do the usual loop round the Berwick, Ripe, Chalvington area and stop for lunch at the Yew Tree pub. This will be not only the last ride of 2012 but also the one on the shortest day we’ll have been out on.

Since it’s so difficult to predict numbers and weather (there were only 2 of us one year!) I’m not going to make any arrangement with the Yew Tree. We should be there early – around midday – and in the unlikely event of not being able to have lunch there we’d have a choice of either going on the end and getting something at the Berwick Inn or adding a couple of miles (about half that to get there) and going back to The Lamb at Ripe.

Distance: c 14 miles.

Hills: it really is pretty flat – just a few “rises” in the road

Off road: none

Traffic: quiet roads

Catering: Yew Tree for lunch. Possible tea stop (depending on train times and our own progress) at the Berwick Inn for tea

Catch the 10.20 from Brighton station or meet at Berwick station at 10.43 [There’s only one train an hour – so I can’t suggest an alternative.] Train back at 14.48 (reaching Brighton at 15.12) or 15.48 (16.12)

The last ride: Sunday 6 February 2011

8 February 2011

Berwick circular

[More photos on Flickr]

Tessa, Fred, Joyce, Richard, Suzanne and Wilma met at Brighton station and took the train to Berwick.

The start at Berwick station

A very smart Jim, not in cycling gear and just back from France, joined the train at Lewes to deliver our Clarion membership cards but not to ride with us. We met Ian and Jenny at Berwick. There was no dawdling, Jim took the group photo and we waved goodbye to him as he waited on the opposite platform for the train back to London Road.

Richard is ready for any weather

We were a bit worried that it would rain. Joyce and Fred had no overtrousers, and Fred had left a glove on the train [thankfully retrieved back at Brighton station info desk – Fred]. Richard had the gear though. He set off in bright yellow sou’wester and billowing-in-the-wind cape, prompting memories of Tintin, or was it Captain Haddock?

Invisible signpost

We joined Station Road, going past Arlington Reservoir before heading left at the signpost for Ripe. There was no rain but sudden squalls of strong wind hit us when we turned corners. The skies were grey but bright and it was lovely to see through and above the hedges all recently trimmed. We went past the first signpost for Ripe, taking ‘Narrow Road’ until the next Ripe turning. Through the village and on to Golden Cross where we turned towards Chalvington. We rode past a house called ‘Felix’ where someone commented rather loudly that ‘it sounded like cat food …’ The owner happened to be in the garden.

At the Yew Tree we had to wait for the menus to be printed, and heard rather ominously that ‘the kitchen was flooded.’ No real delays though, and as we sat down at our group table to wait, TJ, Joan and James arrived and joined us. Talk at our end of the table included several recent film releases, and a reminder from Joyce that there will be a march against the cuts in London on 26th March.

Outside the Yew Tree

After lunch the group divided. Ian, Fred, Richard, Wilma and Tessa headed back the 3 miles to Berwick, the rest cycled to Lewes. We had a half-hour wait for our train, pleasantly spent in the Berwick Arms, all deciding it was a long enough ride for a blustery February day.

Jenny's Lewes group say goodbye

Thank you Ian.


Suzanne adds:

February 6 ride to Berwick: Post-meridian report

TWELVE jolly cyclists left the Yew Tree pub.

Nobly led by Jenny, SEVEN jolly cyclists (Jenny, Joan, James, Joyce, TJ, Sean and Suzanne) peeled off to cruise the gentle lanes between said pub and unsaid Middle Farm Tea Room. ONE jolly cyclist had a jolly large piece of cake (no names, no pack drill). The magnificent SEVEN then braved the wind and pedalled back into history and savoured the delights of the old A27 as it wound gently past old houses in warm brick and coppiced woodland. Pity about the roar of traffic from the new A27. Pity about the haul up to the turning for Glynde alongside the new A27. The sweep down into Glynde was exhilarating, the climb up out of Glynde less so. At which point ONE jolly cyclist (no names, no pack drill) realised she had left her pannier at Middle Farm so TWO jolly cyclists set off to retrieve it, so then there were FIVE jolly cyclists who made it to Lewes in the light and TWO exhausted cyclists who made it in the gloom. Thanks Jenny for revealing the delights of Middle Farm and for encouraging us to stretch our legs for that little bit longer.


Jenny adds: Also thanks to Joan, her quick thinking, and her map for putting me right on the way back: I was about to take a wrong turn in Ripe and would have added unnecessary distance between us and the Middle Farm cake, a capital offence.