The Last Ride: Sunday 27 November 2016 – Berwick Circular

29 November 2016

Six of Seven, Leon's photo on 27th Nov._1480285470706

Ever since we got started back in 2004, I have tried to make a slightly longer version of this circuit the final ride of the year – nice and easy and not too long in the cold! It hasn’t always worked. In fact the very first year it was just two of us – me and John Hopper – who did the ride. In those days our stopping point for lunch was The Lamb at Ripe. But that went downhill foodwise after the pub changed hands a few years later and we switched to the Yew Tree which among other advantages means that we don’t have so very far to ride with that full–up feeling after lunch.

Another time I recall – much more recently – was when there were dodgy patches of ice about. Jenny had just finished telling us about how she’d been brought down by one on the way to Berwick from Cooksbridge when an (unknown-to-us) cyclist came round the corner in the opposite direction, skidded on another patch of ice and crashed down – fortunately without doing too much damage. Then there was the time even more recently when, lost in a reverie brought on by a lovely day of hazy winter sunshine, I led everyone a good half mile past the pub before realising my mistake!

In 2014 I spotted in time that the trains were not right and we did the ride on the penultimate rather than the last date of the year. I failed to be as attentive last year and had to substitute a Twineham and Wineham ride with a stop at the Royal Oak as the final ride of 2015. But this report is supposed to be about yesterday – not the snows of yesteryear!

I’m not able to take on leading any rides for the moment, so I was delighted when I heard from Leon that he and Joyce had the Berwick ride in mind. Luckily, I was able to take part in spite of the machinations of Southern, our farce of a railway company, which, as you will have seen from Joyce and Leon’s post-ride note yesterday (below), did its best to sabotage our ride schedule.

But I made it by car and found Joyce and Leon having a cuppa in the Berwick Inn just across the road from the station. Soon Helen’s splendid people carrier – (Note to self – I must never call it a van!) – arrived with Angela also on board. So the five of us set out and soon were overtaken by a car containing Anne and Mick who parked at the side of the road, extracted their bikes, and joined us to make seven of us altogether. It was surprisingly sunny for a while at least and somewhere just before Golden Cross a bird of prey was spotted in the trees that no-one could identify for sure. A peregrine falcon? A very young buzzard? An unusual variety of owl? Julian was sorely missed at this point.

After lunch at the Yew Tree 27th Nov._1480285470157

Onwards we sped (perhaps not quite the right word – but you get what I mean) to the Yew Tree for lunch. Portions of everything seemed to be massive but I thought the food was not as good as I remembered from our previous visits. Perhaps I made the wrong choice. Over lunch our main topic was – almost inevitably – ‘Brexit’. I maintained, as I have done consistently since 24 June that ‘It’s not going to happen.’ Everyone else was less sure. I have to say in my defence that I was one of the few people who correctly predicted the outcome of the 1974 general elections. But that was a long time ago and my stock as a prophet (except possibly of doom) has declined since then. So don’t place any bets on the basis of my hunch, particularly since Mick drew on his legal experience to tell us that gambling addiction was a very strong contender for the most common cause of divorce.

We did also ‘talk of many things’ apart from Brexit. Shoes, ships and sealing-wax did not figure. Nor did we speculate on a boiling hot sea nor winged pigs. But we did touch on ‘cabbages’ (the food) and ‘kings’ (Michael Gove’s attempts to reduce the school history syllabus to a chain of stories about them). Also the possibility of having a handicap system for ‘power-assisted’ riders.

Photo by Leon

It seemed to have become a lot colder by the time we left the pub, though this may be simply the effect of leaving a warm environment. Mick and Anne reclaimed their car en route. Fortunately, for the remaining five of us it didn’t take long to get back the Berwick station. No trains in either direction were indicated on the electronic signs. Southern strikes again! We conferred on how we might get Joyce and Leon back to Brighton – probably with one of them having to run along behind, or both taking it in turns- but fortunately a train did arrive a few minutes later. And it was actually going in the right direction! Is this a record for Southern?

Ian

Photo by Leon

Leon and Joyce add:

We are sorry for those who were intending to come on the ride on Sunday for the disappointment. The cancelling of the 11.12 train was unfortunate, also unfortunate was that we could not warn people, although Leon had checked trains a week or so before, we only knew Sunday morning, first through Ian calling and our checking at the station. Another contre temps was that the membership email list Ian had passed to Leon could not be sent from his smartphone.

As it happens we were at the station very early and, knowing that Ian was intending to go by car to Berwick, we made the decision to catch an earlier train that happened to be running, thinking that others might be driving to Berwick, as indeed, as the report will show, some did.

We feel really bad about those who were disappointed and to avoid similar occurrences it would be useful if those who even think they might ride would text the organiser so that in an emergency they can be phoned/texted so they can be informed of any problems. Of course the organiser will continue to let people know the evening before that a ride is cancelled whenever possible.

Leon & Joyce

Clarion ride Berwick circular 27th Nov. 2016_1480285469672

Anne adds:

It was a lovely ride & really enjoyable. Ian phoned to tell us that the 11am train was cancelled, when I was dithering about whether we should go by car anyway, as neither feeling too good with colds & coughs. Lured by the thought of last leaves of autumn & prospect of meeting up with Clarion chums, we decided to risk it & hot foot it to Berwick. Delighted to see 5 Clarionistas about 5 miles from the pub. They waited while we took our bikes out of the car & we set off altogether.

One of my highlights was seeing a big bird fly across the very quiet road in front of me. I thought it must be an owl. I waited till the 3 following caught up with me, & he flew across in front of us again, then into a nearby field, spotted by Angela. She thought it was more likely to be a peregrine falcon. Must have a look online to check it out.

Thanks again Joyce & Leon, Ian & Angela & Helen.

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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 

Ian

 


The Last Ride: Sunday 16th December 2012 – Berwick Circular 14 miles

19 December 2012

Those who attended were: Ian (our ride leader), Joyce, Ann, Linda, David, Mick, Nick and myself Leon.

Well now, as you all know, this was our last ride of 2012. The route was our traditional loop around Ripe and the Chalvington area with lunch at the Yew Tree.

It has been a habit of mine to wait until I’ve seen the weather on the ride day before making up my mind if to venture out or not. The sun this morning was breaking through the clouds that gave us heavy downpours last night. So my mind was made up, a quick breakfast and bike check followed. A text to Joyce so that the group would know that I was on my way by car with my Brompton.

Then the complications started; a ticket was obtained for me at Brighton, thinking that I was arriving at that station (what wonderful and thoughtful people we have in our midst). Chance had it that Nick turned up after the realization that I was going direct to Berwick and the ticket wasn’t wasted.

The next part in this was my journey time to Berwick. Slower than expected due to surface water on the lanes between Hassocks and Berwick. The only drained areas were Lewes town.

I arrived about twenty-five minutes late. The group was waiting for me in the station car-park, what a sight, bright yellow clad cyclists some with smiles, others looking a little cold. Thank you all, you are so kind.

Starting out at Berwick Station

As a penance for keeping everyone waiting, I was selected in my absence to write this report. As it turns out that this will be my last report it’s not such a penance after all.

We all finally set off toward Ripe at about 11.15am. Bright wet roads and heading north with no sun reflection to dazzle us. This section has some very narrow country lanes, beautiful even when strewn wish gravel wash and large puddles.

The group had split into two, dare I say fast and slow ? Well, yes, but when the tail-enders arrived at the Golden Cross, our most northerly point on the ride; the lead group were there waiting for us. This always refreshes in my mind, your club motto, Fellowship is Life.

Now turning south the sun is reflecting from the wet black road and causing the use of sunglasses to be more a hindrance than of use. The tail enders Ann, Joyce and myself made our way, as we do fairly slowly toward the lunch stop at the Yew Tree.

On arrival we were greeted with an absence of cyclists. Where was the lead group? Had we encountered a time warp and passed them so slowly that we didn’t notice them? Joyce and Ann went into the pub to make enquiries, was there another Yew Tree pub in the area? Yes there is, but it’s on the other side of Berwick station. We just stood for a moment wondering what to do when suddenly the lead group arrived.

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.

Bill & his dog, Ben.

The first question when entering the pub is: where should we sit, inside or outside? Most decided to sit inside although it wasn’t cold outside. Ann had spotted a ’Flower-pot man’ en route about one mile back up the road and decided after ordering her lunch to backtrack to take a photo of it; Linda went also.

Pub garden extraordinaire!

The food was delivered to the table quite a while before their return, but they seemed quite happy that they’d been back to take the photos.The food was good as can be seen in the photos. The conversation was stimulating as usual and we all enjoyed being there together.

Linda & Nick at the wishing well

It was decided that on or way back to the station at Berwick that we had time to visit the Arlington reservoir to compare haw it looked now against the memory of last spring when the water level was about twenty feet lower. Then on again the short distance to the coffee stop opposite the station while waiting for the next train.

Joycw takes some deep breaths

I had to pick a seat that had been previously broken and when I touched it the top of the back came away in my hand, not quite a red face but keeping a low profile for a while.

December 16, 2012: Berwick circular

Lots of chat and laughter about previous rides and this one followed. I’m confident in saying that we all had a splendid day and many thanks to Ian for leading it once again.

Leon


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 18 December – Ian’s Berwick loop

19 December 2011

For the shortest Clarion ride on the shortest of winter Sundays, ten riders assembled at Berwick station: Angela, Corinne, Ian, Jenny, Joyce, Leon, Richard, Rob, SikkaSue, and Tessa. I cycled from home, but no one mentioned anything newsworthy about their journeys to Berwick by train, bike, or car so I assume they were all uneventful.

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! It was a lesson to me that on frosty mornings, although the sun is up and the road looks merely wet, black ice can be waiting to catch us out.

At the station, before we set off, Ian warned everyone to take extra care, especially on corners and at junctions, and suggested we should go even more slowly than usual (!), and should use only our back brakes and then very gently. Everyone took his advice to heart, so there were no other fallers thank goodness. As a result this was a very sedate Clarion outing, looping through Ripe and out to Golden Cross and back, encountering icy stretches at intervals along the way. We were all glad to reach the Yew Tree after just under 10 miles to escape the bitter cold. The pub offered friendly and prompt service, very good food, a lovely log fire, and a portly and solicitous pub dog seeking chips, and we emerged after lunch feeling fully revived. The sky had clouded over by then and the temperature was falling again.

A mere four miles down the road the Clarion pub-magnet suddenly became operational again and we swerved into the Berwick Inn to thaw out once more until the train was due. Many thanks, Ian, for a short but very sweet get-together, and Happy Christmas and New Year to one and all.

Jenny


The Next Ride: Sunday 18 December – Berwick Circular c 14 Miles only

8 December 2011

Our now traditional last ride of the year – a really short and flat one that maybe will tempt everyone out unless the weather is atrocious – like it was last year when I had to cancel it. [Finally did it in February!] Will we have better luck this year? Fingers crossed! And let’s hope the train is not cancelled at the last minute like with the last ride

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 be the last ride of 2011 but the one on the shortest day we’ll have been out on.

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 10 or 20 metres at some point – but it really is pretty flat
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)

(Be at Brighton Station by 9.50 for Groupsave)

My mobile number is 07770743287

Ian


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.

Tessa

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.

Suzanne

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.