In spite of a gloomy weather forecast, seven riders gathered at the Pier: Jenny, Joyce, Julian, Leon, our leader Mick, new member Sean who has just moved to Brighton from London, and Tessa who is training for her cycling holiday in Burma. Just as we set off towards the marina the rain began to do its worst, but at least it was at our backs in the strong, cold, south-westerly wind. Anne joined us at the marina as we thought better of the undercliff, given that the sea was so rough and the tide at its highest, and headed up along the cycle path by the coast road. When we eventually joined the undercliff path at Rottingdean the sea was pounding spectacularly over the sea wall, full of sand and stones, although we managed to avoid the worst of it by hugging the cliffs to Saltdean.
The pretty awful weather soon persuaded Joyce, Leon, and Tessa to leave us, but the rest of us soldiered on, blown along by the wind, and as we meandered through the bungalowed backstreets of Peacehaven the rain stopped and some blue sky appeared. Mick had planned the ride to try out the new part of NCN2, which runs beside the coast road out of Peacehaven before crossing it to a new section linking to the road downhill into Newhaven. The new link turns from the main road straight up a sharp climb that caught some of us out in the wrong gear, but we’ll know next time.
Riding along by Newhaven harbour Mick and I were amazed and a bit alarmed by the height of the tide, which was lapping right up almost to the top of the harbour walls. The people in the houses there must have been very anxious. By the time we reached The Ark, our lunch destination, my feet were soaking wet and cold, so I decided to save the price of a meal and head straight for the station. All the way back the train passed endless waterlogged fields and the river Ouse at Lewes was as high as I have ever seen it, seemingly just about to burst its banks.
Sorry to abandon you all so abruptly, I hope you had a good lunch and an entertaining journey home. The rest of the report will of necessity have a different author, but thanks to Mick for leading a very nice route which is much improved by the new NCN link.
And Anne’s Report
Wet & Wild West Wind Assisted improved route to Seaford.
Half the troupe having peeled off at Rottingdean & I having joined at the Marina, it was a thrilling & scary ride to Saltdean, with Jenny Mick, Sean & Julian racing the waves on the Undercliff. I was hoping for respite at the Saltdean Tunnel, but no, the leading 4 were wind-assisted up the 2 steep slopes past the Saltdean cafe so I struggled to keep up with them. Julian told me it was the first time he’d managed to cycle all the way up that very steep incline. I pushed my bike but that was still easier than usual. We flew along the NCN 2 to Newhaven but by then, Jenny was soaked & wanted home, but remaining 4 dived into the pub, where warm fire & warm food & radiators & creative wall decor greeted us.
Mick phoned Angela & she soon joined us by car for lunch. 3 soups, 1 fish pie & egg, ham & chips, plus salmon gravadlax for me, all good value & much enjoyed at The Ark. Animated conversations followed on politics & Clarion. Julian was keen to cycle on to Seaford because of the nature reserve, but as soon as we left the pub the rain started again & I made a dash for the shelter of the Harbour train station. Julian’s enthusiasm & the tailing off of the rain, persuaded us all to carry on & not surrender to the comfort of the train.
Just as the NCN2 has been improved at Peacehaven’s eastern end, so has the Seaford section been made safer at its western side, so we breezed along at speed, until the 1st sign for the station.
We had already noticed that we’d missed the return train by about 10mins, so that left 20 to explore Seaford, before another train, so impelled by v. strong westerlies, 3 set off for the seafront & I indecisively, followed, hoping to be able to escape from the sea-front without having to battle the headwind too much to reach the train, but that proved impossible. However, I did break out before the boys & managed to find the station five minutes before them, buy my ticket & scream from the train that they were to immediately get on the train as it was about to leave. Nobody wanted to wait another half an hour in wet clothes & all were able to buy tickets on the train & rearrange the bikes at the Lewes stopover.
Thanks to Mick for organising & leading. We all had a great day & hope that nobody suffered any adverse consequences from the adverse weather.