Dear fellow members and friends
4 August 2005
Before you ask – no news yet of Bob and John’s Epic Ride. We wait with eager anticipation!
As well as the usual details of the next ride and the report of the last one, you'll find at the end my report on the B&H Cycle Reps meeting. Please read – particularly if you are interested in being able to cycle (legally) on the Undercliff or live in the vicinity of Vale Road, Portslade.
The Next Rides
Sunday 14 August
Glynde – Chiddingly and East Hoathly
This one is partially inspired by reports of good tearoom facilities at Glynde Place – less than a mile from the station and therefore the end of the ride (unless like Tim last year you start and finish in Brighton.) From Glynde station we ride down to the main road and take the cycle track along it for a short spell before heading off into quieter roads for Ripe and Golden Cross. After Muddles Green we have a choice of pubs for a lunch stop. It may be too early to stop at the Six Bells at Chiddingly (or the very popular pub may be a bit too busy). If so, the King's Head at East Hoathly, with its front covered with 'mathematical tiles' beckons. We'll return via Shortgate and Laughton Common and the road that runs at the back of Glyndebourne Opera House past fields usually featuring a variety of llamas.
Catch 10.14 from Brighton Station (no changes) or meet at Glynde station at 10.35. Direct trains back at 39 minutes past the hour.
Sunday 28 August
A Different Take on the Cuckoo Trail
The Trail is popular because it's car-free and the gradients are gentle. We've gone straight up and down it; we've gone up it and returned via the Pevensey Levels to the East; and we've used just the bottom of the Trail near Polegate as a jumping off point for other rides. This time, we'll base ourselves on Berwick (NOT Polegate) Station, follow the National Cycle Network route to the Cuckoo Trail, ride up it as far as Horam and return on its Western side, pausing for lunch at the May Garland, via Gun Hill, Golden Cross and Chalvington. At that point we'll decide on the day whether to make directly for Berwick Station or – adding two or three miles - to make a diversion to the tearooms at Selmeston
Catch 10.14 from Brighton Station (no changes) or meet at Berwick station at 10.41. Direct trains back at 34 minutes past the hour.
The Last Ride - Neil's Report
Sunday 31 July
Haywards Heath – Balcombe – Ardingly – Horsted Keynes – Lindfield
I live in Hassocks so today's start at Haywards Heath was almost local. With that in mind I decided there was no justification to take the train. With plenty of time in hand I set off on my bike. As I tackled the long drag approaching Haywards Heath the legs began to ache and I remembered description of today’s ride as quite hilly. I began to question the sense of my earlier decision.
Neil, Joyce and Ian at the station
When Ian arrived at the station I was mopping the sweat from my brow and taking an desperate slug from the water bottle. Joyce and Fred arrived shortly afterwards and, with pictures taken, we plotted a trouble free route out of Haywards Heath and towards Borde Hill Gardens.
As the traffic subsided we turned right from Hanlye lane onto a scenic farm track. As we passed a lodge it became clear we were riding across Borde Hill estate itself. Cattle grids successfully negotiated we were able to enjoy some of the beautifully landscaped parkland. After a brief stop, we emerged back onto the public road and headed north towards Balcombe.
Under Balcombe Viaduct
The first testing hill of the day paid off with an impressive view of the Balcombe Viaduct. As we stared on from the road Ian suggested crossing the adjacent field to take a closer look. That decision was richly rewarded as the viaduct appeared even more impressive at close quarters. The view from the base of the viaduct through the arches was particularly striking and is hopefully captured in Fred's picture. The structure is topped off in classical style but, for me, what’s most impressive is the scale of the brickwork and the contrast with the surrounding landscape.
Two plaques adorned the pillars beneath which we were standing. The first recorded the Viaduct's opening in 1842 (though Ian's later reference to Pevsner suggests 1841), the engineer, John Rastrick and architect David Mocatta. The second plaque remembered Railtrack plc. and it’s no doubt vital role in the viaduct’s history!
Lunch at The Oak
Back on the bikes, we followed the road north on a gentler (slightly!) climb to Balcombe before enjoying a refreshing free wheel down to Ardingly reservoir (where water levels appeared reassuringly high). We went through the gears again to tackle the climb on the other side of the reservoir and knew at least that our first pub stop lay at the top of the hill. Passing St Peter's Church we were relieved to arrive in Ardingly and turned into the first available pub – The Oak Inn.
Setting off from The Oak, Ardingly
Fully refreshed, we set off for Horsted Keynes and the Bluebell Railway. A long quiet approach road opened out to reveal Horsted Keynes Station. We checked the timetables and decided to hang-on for the arrival of the 3.19 from Sheffield Park. Joyce bought us all a platform ticket and we went in to explore (Fred doing so more thoroughly than the rest of us!). General admiration of the engines led to a discussion about the peculiarities of the passenger class system – First and Third but for some reason no Second.
Stepney at the Bluebell line
With the clouds darkening we headed off for Lindfield and a tea stop at the White Horse. Ian had earlier recalled the altercation at the Old Loom Mill Tea Room (see Tessa’s report of the last ride). Never a believer in déjà vu I nonetheless had to check myself as another tea ordering controversy unfolded at the bar. Eventually staff produced the desired pot and another unsavoury incident was avoided.
Tea at The White Horse, Lindfield
As the rain came down we set off on the final leg of our ride through the outskirts of Haywards Heath and on to the station. The ride had thrown up some testing hills but had paid back us back richly in its beautiful scenery, pubs and sites of interests. I headed back to Hassocks undeterred by the now pouring rain. Another really enjoyable day.
Brighton and Hove Cycle Reps meeting 28 July
I hadn't been able to attend several earlier meetings and this was the first one I've attended since the appointment of Dean Spears as Walking and Cycling Officer.
We had a presentation from Heather James of Karis on the King Alfred development scheduled to be completed in 2011 She focussed on cycling provision but touched on many other aspects. More info on request. The main thing for us is that it is intended to preserve and improve the cycle route. I made my usual point that the parts of the adjacent route seem very dangerous to me and should be looked at as part of the redevelopment process if not earlier.
It is claimed that there has been a very large increase in cycle-use in the city; Liz Beth from Sustrans made the point that this should have led – and now should certainly lead – to much greater attention to the needs of cyclists.
There were two issues on which you may be able to help. As part of the plan to take South Coast Cycle Route from Rottingdean to Saltdean the Council is consulting on the possibility of revoking the bylaw that prohibits cycling on the Undercliff. No doubt there will be objections to this, and it is important that as many organisations and individuals as possible who support this change make their views clear. Unless I hear otherwise from members, I intend to write on behalf of the Section in about a week's time. But please add your weight to the wheel by sending a brief letter saying how much you welcome this proposal to:-
Brighton and Hove City Council
2nd Floor, Bartholomew House
Brighton BN1 1JP
Since the meeting I have received from Dean details of a survey which may be of interest to anyone who lives near or regularly uses the road in question. This is part of the intro. If you’d like me to forward the questionnaire, let me know.
‘Social Research associates are working on a national project about traffic calming, which include Vale Road, Portslade. They are interested to find out what stakeholders feel about traffic and walking/cycling in the Vale Road area, especially now that traffic calming has been introduced here. We would appreciate your views on this and on consultation.'
There were many other things reported on and discussed. If you'd like a fuller report, let me know. The next meeting is on 29 September. I intend to be there. Let me know ASAP of any specific issues you'd like raised.