Reports from Summer 2006
Ride to Wiston Tearoom and back
Joyce, Anne, Suzanne and Roger were on the train when I joined it at Hove and greeted me warmly as I haven't been seen for a while. Arriving at Shoreham we looked for Fred who had made phone contact to say he was in Shoreham already. He wasn't at the station so we looked round and about but there wasn't a Panama hat in sight. Five minutes later he turned up in a very stylish cloth cap.
The start of the Downslink – Fred, Roger, Joyce,Tessa, Suzanne and Anne
We forgot the photo-at-the-station shot but got a Shoreham air show enthusiast to do it at the start of the Downslink. We decided against the tea stop at the airport later, there was a big sign saying 'Entry to Air show £16'! As we pedalled along, a group of Russian jets were looping the loop in formation to our left. It was rather beautiful. So was the dragonfly that hovered above our heads when we stopped to pick a blackberry or two on what was the most glorious day to be out cycling, soft sun and mellow fruitfulness.
Along by the River Adur
Joyce leads the way through Steyning
We carried on the Downslink at Bramber roundabout, reached Steyning and followed Ian's suggested route which led us onto the fairly quiet B2135 Ashurst road and then onto the delightful quiet Spithandle Lane. On the dot of one o'clock we arrived at the bustling tearooms but managed to get a table in the shade where lunch was spent in heated discussion, focussing on the new Air Street cycle lane project and the Cycle Forum. Joyce invited us to attend a discussion on the Future of Food at the Old Market theatre on 27 September at 7.30.
Lunch at the old Post Office
After lunch we visited Buncton Chapel, a tiny Norman church hidden from the road and accessible only by footpaths. It was decorated with both wild and cut flowers and rows of ripe apples. Simple, with a beautiful arch and a scrap of fresco on the wall, it stood in a field of large yew trees and old gravestones.
We decided to retrace our steps as Spithandle Lane had been such a delightful ride. We crossed the A283 to head back to Steyning when Joyce spotted a bridle way leading through the woods signposted 'Downslink'. The path was soggy but manageable but the 'Downslink' signs disappeared. We asked a passing family who said the route we had chosen had 13 stiles on it! We carried on and decided they were winding us up as we only came across 3 gates through fields of sheep, cows, horses and donkeys. We made a wrong turning down an overgrown bridleway that led nowhere, retraced our steps being guided by Anne looking at the sun's position in the sky.
Off the beaten track!
We found the 'Downslink' signs and a proper if narrow road and carried on retracing our steps, having avoided Steyning altogether. We chose Coombes road to return on rather than the river path. A fighter jet was breaking the sound barrier. I found the noise frightening and its antics aggressive.
As we crossed the river on the wooden bridge, everything had calmed down, crowds on the riverbank were watching a glider being towed through the air and a solitary man was digging in the sand for worms below us, oblivious to the whole spectacle. We all managed to squeeze onto a South Western train back home, the guard was not very happy about it but let us on anyway.
A lovely day.
Low on numbers; High on speed (thrills and views)
No sign of other Clarion clubbers at Brighton station for the 10.46 as Mick and Anne boarded warily, but Neil's friendly wave greeted us at Three Bridges, where he had been waiting for half an hour. As 3 seemed to be total magic number, Neil asked us if we still wanted to proceed. I had been looking forward to the ride and Mick was keen for some sport on the hills. I was wary of taking Neil away from Cara and 18 month old Erin, but he seemed to need some training for the marathon(s!) up to the Clarion Hereford Meet in 2007 with Bob Harber, so we set off through the edge of urban sproil (spoil+sprawl) and out to Worth Way. I think Mick had set his heart on the earliest train back then for some R and R on the sofa, in front of TV!
Mick and I had thought that we had cycled The Worth Way before, but it turned out to be a new section for us and very pretty too, with several ponds and varied trees, plus quite slippery mud; few people enjoying the peace and fresh green lushness of the Sussex Weald, though back in suburbia we had signed an importuning lady's petition, which was objecting to more building and concretisation and later noticed a planning application on the trail, where the 6 miles traffic-free section we were on , would be threatened by overspill road building. Terrain was flat but varied, with some open, High Weald views and some more enclosed and dense patches with oak, birch, cow parsley and bracken, all flashing past. The air was sweet and refreshing, with no sign of sunshine.
Looking back to Ardingly reservoir
The next section was on undulating roads around the Gravetye Manor estate. There wasn't much traffic and what there was was helpful, as my Clarion cap flew off on a delicious downhill treat and I came to a stop a.s.a.p., cursing, as Neil and Mick whizzed way ahead of me. However, a following car had stopped and retrieved the cap, thus relieving me of the task of cycling back uphill. Neil wanted to explore the off-road options afforded by Gravetye Manor and its woods and gardens, all enclosed for the private, expensive pleasures of the haute bourgeoisie. Mick was all for pressing on along the prescribed route, rather than risking wasting time in the woods, so on to East Hoathly and lunch it was, though I’m hoping for a birthday bike ride with luxury lunch at gourmet Gravetye sometime, though not soon!
Neil looked inside The Cat pub, but it was both expensive and busy, so on to The Intrepid Fox as planned. Good views from the patio,which is being improved and might become a garden; not at all busy, interesting menu and obliging chef. Neil had a frugal bowl of hand-cut chips, Mick had hot ham terrine and I had tasty salmon ciabata, with beer pronounced good by both boys. Fellow diner was pressed to photograph Clarion crew with disputed North or South Downs views in background.
Lunch at The intrepid Fox: Neil, Anne and Mick
We flew down Hammingden Lane, as promised in the blurb, with extensive views both sides and no traffic. We decided to go for the hilly opton via Ardingly Reservoir and sped off. Whizzed downhill, almost missing the gorgeous reservoirs on either side – no signs of drought now and no time for photographs as fearing the oncoming uphill sections, we hoped to schuss up with help from momentum. Having coped triumphantly with the previous undulations, the serious hills which now faced us, defeated me and I used the camera as an excuse to stop pedalling. At the top of second and final hill, I photographed the pack leaders, with the woods, reservoirs and Weald from our vantage point. Both had kept in the saddle and streaked ahead. We still had 20 minutes before the 3.23 train, so flashing past the closed tea-room at Balcombe, arrived at the station with 10 minutes to spare.
The top of a rather large hill! Mick and Neil.
As well as Neil's prospect of exploring the extensive Gravetye Manor estates to enable more off-road, I was overtaken by 2 cyclists emerging from the Bluebell railway staion at Kingscote; that looked enticing and worth a follow-up, but as it was uphill at that point , they outpaced me before I could grill them. Had, stupidly, left all useful maps at home, but the area is beautiful and train transport worked well.. Thank you very much, Neil, for a super day and we heartily recommend this run and hope for a re-run so that more Clarion clubbers can enjoy it as well. Had the best night's sleep for months and awoke to gorgeous autumn sunshine, but yesterday's cloudy weather suited us for our fine ride.
20 August 2006
Norlington – Vert Woods – Golden Cross
Four Clarion members met at Brighton station, John, Joyce, Suzanne and Roger. We found space four our bikes on the fairly crowded 10:20 to Ashford and about twenty minutes later we met up with Ian at Glynde.
John, Roger, Suzanne and Ian at the start
Ian was the leader for this ride. We set off up the hill and made our way around Ringmer on some pleasant and (to me at least) unfamiliar roads, including the evocatively named Potato Lane.
The most notable landmark en route was a roadside plot with two small bumps which, allegedly, are the graves of two men who died in a duel nearby in 1800. There was some debate about why there were two graves, since a duel usually has a winner and a loser.
Trying vainly to sort Ian's bike
A few miles further on Ian's chain jumped off and refused to go back because of a twisted link. Various attempts to straighten it failed and Ian decided to walk back to Glynde, leaving the rest of us with a map and instructions for the remaining route. Leaderless now, we pushed on through the woods, braving muddy potholes, barking dogs and nose to tail traffic on the A22 heading for the Eastbourne air show.
In the wood
We enjoyed a good lunch at the pub in Golden Cross, followed by a good soaking on the road through Ripe. Any dampened spirits were soon lifted however, when we arrived back in Glynde with only two minutes to wait for the Brighton train.
Thanks to Ian for a well-planned route – sorry you didn't get to finish it!
Note from Ian. Got back without too much difficulty, taking full advantage of the downhill bits and finding that to a limited extent I could still pedal very gently in a very low gear – very slow but quicker than walking. Fortunately, although we'd done over 9 miles before the problem arose, the route had wriggled about so much that we were still less than half that distance from the station.
Sunday 6 August
Pevensey Levels and Hooe Common
Ian, Jeff, Joyce and Fred (with small person on head – passer-by took photo!)
Met up with Fred and Jeff at Brighton station, and Ian at Polegate. Then on to the home ground of the dear old Cuckoo Trail but not for long, a sharp right took us on to the lane Ian, Fred and I had last ridden in the snow of February 2005 (there is the photo to prove it). This was very different:- A balmy summer's day with a slight breeze which, as one was cycling along, felt like warm liquid flowing over one's limbs.
The Cuckoo Trail
Along lovely tree lined dappled lanes, gradually opening out to the wide spaces of the beginning of the Levels.
Into unknown territory off the beaten track
Deeper into the jungle!
After consultation we decided to take the short-cut bridle way – very passable at first, but which then became a nature trek:- a very narrow track between rushes, hedges and grass, where we dawdled along pushing the bikes counting the Emperor, Tortoiseshell, Blue and various other butterflies, and dragonflies, which Fred vainly tried to photograph (by the way I was glad to have the official photographer back so that I did not have to worry about taking photos). The only thing we found to deplore was the human input of fly tipping. This is not the place to spell out the various punishments which went through my mind for such people.
Our nature trail set the tone for which was a very laid back relaxing day. True, this was not an entirely flat ride, there were some hills , but although they could be long, they were not too steep and were amply compensated for by long down hill sweeps , where that wonderful warm breeze was exhilarating.
Ian consults the map
The Red Lion
We headed for Wartling and along Horse Bridge Lane (aka Horsewalk) and wondered at Ian's gift for finding not only tranquil lanes but ones where there were no cars at all. The Red Lion lived up to its good name from last summer, good food and a friendly atmosphere (unlike some of the up-market pubs we have encountered). Jeff and I got talking to two regulars , ex-cyclists from years ago in London, who remembered the Clarion as being that socialist club – can't remember their names now but they were great. We then enjoyed a long lunch in the garden setting the world of cycling to rights.
The old main road
Then back along what we think was the old A259 with hedgerows and plants all along the edge and entirely deserted, though running parallel to the busy main road. This day was remarkable in that it seemed to go very quickly and before we knew it we were back on the Cuckoo Trail and heading for the Old Loom Mill for tea and toasted teacakes (well me and Fred for the cakes anyway). On to the station well in time for the train which we then had to wait 30 minutes for because some idiot had thrown a shopping trolley on the line at Polegate.
Another great ride.
Sunday 23 July
Horsham station – St Leonards Forest – Colgate – Slaugham – Staplefield – Balcombe station – Annie's Report
There were ten adventurers along for the ride: Anne, Anne, (not a giant panda) Jeff, Jim, John, Joyce, Neil, Roger, Sally and Suzanne. Some of us in the front half of the train nearly got off at the wrong stop but thanks to Jim's Sat Nav [aka eyes - Jim] we found our way to Horsham where we bolted for the Roosthole, entrance to St Leonard's Forest and home of a 9' dragon with a red underbelly and where (if I have this right) they used to mine iron ore.
In the forest [Anne's photo]
We lunched in a pub named after aforementioned mythical being. Sally had two dinners due to the fact that Jim asked her what she was having to eat and she thought it was just a polite enquiry. We then found ourselves in Grouse Lane, so we had a good moan and cycled on past some hammer ponds decorated with water lilies. I think the 'hammer ponds' are so named because they played a part in the iron smelting process (but I am too lazy to find out what).
By the pond
We stopped at St Mary's Church in Slaugham (Sloffam, Slaffam, Slawfam) where there was a 600 yr old yew tree in the grounds and the gravestones were facing away from us as if the dead were in disgrace.
Ancient yew tree
We then walked through the fields to the ruins of Slaugham Place, which used to be an Elizabethan Manor House, where we saw a woman in white and a small boy in white (playing croquet) plus the rest of the wedding party. We made our way to Balcombe through Staplefield where there was a quintessential cricket match on a village green. The tea shop in Balcombe had officially closed but agreed to serve us if we sat outside, probably because we were all a bit sweaty by this time. It was an enjoyable day in lovely, uncharted (except by Jim) territory. A big thank you to Jim for organising it.
Chichester Harbour – Jim's report
Sunday 9 July 2006
Annie, Fred, Jeff, John and I met Ian at Chichester station. We got off the road almost immediately thanks to the canal which runs southwards from here towards the sea, the first of many watery themes for our ride. (And none of these involved rain, by the way, although we had all taken appropriate clothing because of the overcast start to the day).
Annie, Jim, Jeff, Ian and John at the station
Cycling by the canal
Leaving the canal, we were in open country and heading for Pagham Harbour via North Mundham and Sidlesham. Part of this route involved a path across some open ground with a notice decreeing 'NO BIKES' due to the presence of ground-nesting birds. Ian (who had done this ride before, of course) advised us to get off and walk if we saw anyone approaching; privately, the rest of us agreed that if challenged we would simply blame Ian. Such is the solidarity of the Clarion movement! Luckily we were not challenged, though it did look as if the crows were about to mob us at one point.
On the No Cycling bit
Crab and Lobster closed for Major Refurbishment!
Admiring Pagham Harbour nature reserve
Arriving at Pagham Harbour … Disaster! The Crab & Lobster pub where we had been planning to have lunch was closed, due to 'Major Refurbishments'. I resolved to have a quiet word with the Major next time I see him at the Club; meanwhile Ian was wrestling with the wind, which clearly did not want him to read his map. He won, and found us an alternative hostelry – The Bell Inn at Birdham, to which we repaired at once.
The Bell Inn at Birdham
John and Ian tuck into their meat puddings
After a nice lunch and much discussion of future rides (including the possibility of a (partly power-assisted) odyssey to Hereford next Easter for the national Clarion get-together) Ian led us to Itchenor where our route was blocked by several million litres of churning, undulating H2O. Faithfully and unquestioningly we let him lead us onto the similarly-undulating, narrow jetty where we waited with our bikes, scouring the horizon for the ferry, which Ian promised us would, like Godot, be along in a minute. While we waited, I noticed an eerie but beautiful sound, as though a steel band were playing on the distant shore, or (more likely) as though each of the hundreds of sailing boats moored in the harbour had its own set of wind chimes.
On the jetty, with Fred at the front
The ferryman brings down the bikes
After perhaps ten or fifteen minutes, the Itchenor-Bosham Ferry (which is actually called The Itchy Bosom!) arrived and deposited a family with an inordinately large amount of luggage, one item of which – a cushion – fell into the sea and began to float away. Undaunted, the ferryman started his engine, chased after it and rescued it, to huge applause from the onlookers. It was now our turn, and with all six bikes just about safely stowed and us squeezed in next to them, we set off across the choppy creek. At the other side there was not even a jetty – but the plucky little boat simply rode up onto the beach to allow its plucky owner to unload us and our bikes, each £2 lighter but grateful for the experience (well, all except Jeff who had looked a little uneasy when the boat listed at 45°).
Jeff is happily back on terra firma
A Verrecchia's Italian ice cream at Bosham
Tea was at the 'Mariners' tea room at Bosham, and then we had an ice cream. Bosham Church apparently features in the Bayeux Tapestry, and it is also where King Canute's daughter is buried. The village is charming, and has very high doorsteps to keep flood waters out; but as the lintels are at the usual height, it appears that Bosham is also a community of midgets!
Deciding that Bosham station was for wimps, we braved a busy A-road back into Chichester, where an impressive network of cycle paths took over and delivered us safely to the station; en route, the Centurion Way beckoned us and we promised to return soon.
Sunday 25 June
The Old Tollbridge Charity Ride
Apart from anything else, what a splendid turnout – with lots of Clarion hats, T-shirts and racing jerseys (well Bob's at least ) in evidence. There was Neil and Bob plus a friend of his, Simon, doing the longer 39 mile ride; me, Joyce, Mick and Anne, Jeff, John, Jim and Annie on the (allegedly) 29 mile version, and Ed, Sarah and Fred on the 10 mile one – 11 paid-up members and 3 friends; not bad at all! Sue ferried me to the start in good time and stayed on to take photos and watch us all off.
The herd of cats minus Annie [Sue's photo]
The herd of cats minus Annie and Mick [Mick's photo]
John, Annie, Jim and Joyce at the start [Fred's photo]
The idea was that we would all start together – but since there was no one present with sufficient experience in herding cats it didn't quite work out like that. It wasn't until we got across the by-pass that I realised that Ed and Sarah hadn't joined us. I had initially conceived my role as analogous to that of Lord Cardigan at Balaclava; leading the Light Brigade towards the Russian guns without looking back to see if anyone was following. But I had to adopt a less 'heroic' posture when I realised what had happened. Anyway, by the time we got to the top of the little rise above Botolphs we were all together again – with the exception of the 'fast lads' who were by that time visible only as a small cloud of dust on the far horizon.
The 'Fast Lads': Bob and Neil [Fred's photo]
Les (the organiser) attempts to herd some cats [Fred's photo]
I then initiated a brief discussion about the possibility of 'improving' the route by avoiding the two quite long and steep hills just before Steyning by our usual expedient when in those parts of sneaking round on the Coastal Link. I was reprimanded by Chairman Ed for calling this (jokingly) the 'cowards' way out' and he insisted as did other stern disciplinarians on sticking to the prescribed road route. There were compensations for the deviationists – besides missing the hills – in that we did pass a really splendid and large patch of poppies.
At the top of the first hill [Fred's photo]
We caught up with the upright folk at the Steyning Leisure Centre and soon were saying our goodbyes to Ed, Fred and Sarah and heading onwards, And at this point I shall metaphorically pass my quill pen to Fred for a breathtaking account of the rest of the action on Route 2 [Ian]
Field of poppies [Fred's photo]
Dave Green assists Jim at Steyning [Fred's photo]
We three waved goodbye to the peleton at Steyning and headed back towards Shoreham. I bought a paper in the village and decided to go back the proper route, pushing my bike up the hill just outside Steyning. Sarah wanted to show Ed (who'd come the proper way) the poppies, so they went back the cheating way. With time to kill, I stopped off to buy some rhubarb by the roadside, getting a nip on the ankles from a collie when I tried to pay. At Botolph's I took a detour to the poppies, but no sign of the others so it was back onto the route.
Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis) [Fred's photo]
Ed and Sarah overlooking the cement works [Fred's photo]
At the top of the hill overlooking the cement works, however I spotted the familiar ONCE jersey of Ed and caught them up (they'd been visiting the church), pausing to take a photo of the wild Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis) growing by the side of the road. Then it was downhill all the way back to the podium and the medal ceremony, with a free cup of tea, a piece of buttered tea bread and a chat with ride organiser Les and his wife Liz, who'd been a Clarionette in her youth. After a quick nosey at the noisy model cars whizzing round the far end of Ricardo's car park, it was a short ride back to the station and home for the England match. [Fred]
Joyce makes a call [Mick's photo]
Resuming my account after a short pause for quill sharpening, and having made a note to send a couple of fierce felines from the Brighton Clarion Heavy Squad to deal with the wretched dog that dared attack Fred, we cycled on pleasantly and at a very comfortable speed down the splendid Spithandle Lane, under the A24, through Ashington and on to Thakeham. A dearth of signing and an unusually steep hill as we were coming into the latter had me checking the map for the only time that day, but all was well and we were soon bucketing along lengthy downhill stretches back to Ashington. Just before there the 'fast lads' caught us and then went on, making for Shoreham Airport after the finish where Bob had arranged to meet Colette. Which seems like a good point to hand over the microphone (quill image getting over-used) to Neil. [Ian]
I met up with Bob at the start and we set off a little ahead of the others. We stopped off at the first refreshment point in Steyning where Bob's friend Simon joined us for the rest of the ride. Chatting for a while, I was relieved to hear that Bob had completed a 100+ mile Audax ride the previous day. As we rode on it was pretty clear he still had plenty left in his legs but I needn't have worried, Bob and Simon took me along in their slipstream at a pace I could just about cope with.
The 39 mile route followed that of the main ride as far as Ashington, continuing north on a 10 mile loop around Shipley before rejoining the 29 mile ride at Thakeham. I have to confess to not paying much attention to the surrounding countryside fixing my gaze instead on Bob's rear wheel. As a result the 39 miles passed in a bit of a blur.
We stopped for a sandwich at Shipley village hall and on returning to our bikes a man in a sparkling green Bentley pulled up and asked for directions to the local polo club. For a split second I wondered whether our Clarion fellowship should extend to such cases but I was rescued from my dilemma as Simon stepped forward to provide assistance. I'm sure I'd have got my map out had the need arisen!
I resumed my place at the back of our three-man group and watched the miles build up on my computer. Shortly before we rejoined the main route a couple of nasty hills presented themselves and I was amazed by the speed with which I lost touch with the others. As the gap between us extended by the second it appeared to me that the truth of my lack of fitness was being drawn out for me graph-like on the road – five more metres of hill = twenty metres gap and growing. They allowed me to catch up on the other side of the hill and we soon rejoined the 29 mile route (and at some point , I've no idea where, caught up with our Clarion comrades). [See above. IB]
Thanks again to Bob and Simon for keeping the pace just right. My road bike had been in moth-balls for two years after a failed ascent of Ditchling Beacon. It was great to be back on it though the hills brought back some painful memories.
The 29 milers stopped, as last year and as envisaged this year, at the Wiston Tea Rooms. There, some of us – the tables weren't big enough to accommodate us all - had a pleasant chat with a lady from Worthing called Jean who was very interested in our activities and reminisced with us about her cycling activities of yesteryear.
Jeff and Jim at lunch with Jean [Joyce's photo]
But once again we were the collective lanterne rouge of the whole caboodle and were visited – in a perfectly friendly manner – at the Tea Rooms by one of the organising team anxious to start taking the direction signs down etc. We explained that we could manage quite well without them since, apart from anything else, all that remained was simply repeating the first part of the ride in the opposite direction. With that in mind we stuck to the official route on the Annington hill stretch – didn't want the broom wagon deciding we'd got lost and searching the whole of West Sussex for us (or lodging an objection with the stewards and having us disqualified for 'deviation' (or repletion or hesitation).
Jim caught walking up the hill in the shade (it was at the end of the ride...) [Joyce's photo]
On the way back down the Coombes Road, Mick spotted what must have been the same wild orchid as Fred had discovered some time earlier.
Jeff and Jim at the finish [Mick's photo]
The medal [Fred's photo]
As it turned out we were back by the 2.30 'deadline' – or only a matter of seconds after it, collected our medals and popped across (with some who had to be elsewhere saying 'goodbye' at this point) to the Shoreham Airport terminal where we rejoined the 'fast lads' and Colette and had yet another photo taken. I accompanied those getting the train at Shoreham to the station and then trundled on notching up a total of just over 40 miles – which is quite a lot for me these days.
Wearing the medals at Shoreham Airport [Joyce's photo]
Excellent day. And lots of cash for the Tollbridge restoration. I do think, though, that for those of us who like to take it easy and make a day of it the 2.30 finish – accepting the problems of getting volunteers to staff the finish and act as marshals on the road – is a bit of a disincentive and should be reviewed by the organisers.
Sunday 4 June
Glynde circular (approx 20 miles)
I met Joyce at Brighton joining up with Ian, Neil P Jeff, Neil & Jed at Glynde. Neil and Jed joining us for the first time! Joyce made a telephone call to see if Fred was joining us, unfortunately he could not on this ride, no truth of course in the rumour that he had overslept!
Having gathered for the traditional group photograph, the merry band cycled down the A27 turning off towards the village of Ripe.
The weather was rather different to the previous ride a fortnight ago, from battling though the driving rain, this ride was just about prefect, the sun shone on us for the day.
At one point Joyce treated us to 'O what a beautiful morning', I believe the song on the last ride was 'Rain drops keep falling on my head'! [Actually, I believe it was ‘Singin’ in the Rain'! IB]
Hot news, I was told to mention that Neil won the rabbit! He guessed the name as Andrew – but refused to accept the prize, saying that he 'did not have the room' – turned out it was a toy rabbit!
At one point we were overtaken by a very fast group of cyclist who may have been the CTC on a relaxing fifty miler at three times the speed of our joyous group!
Lunch stop was a pub The Yew Tree Inn near Chalvington with a fantastic garden. We met Buster the dog – a two year old who was doing the round of tables looking for food. The dog even hung around Neil for a while hoping to get some of the tasty morsels of apple and banana – which some people may feel is rather a strange choice for a dog! Is it possible to have a vegetarian dog? Also a discussion about macro economics … (us, not the dog). Chat turned to the next cycle ride which is a meet at the Shoreham Toll Bridge. The question was also asked about whether anybody was going to Brighton first 'World Naked Bike Ride' on the 10 June – nobody appeared to be planning to attend … but then again…
The more observant amongst you will notice that I have written very little about the route of the ride itself. This unfortunate situation is because I am always in a permanent state of being lost and until the lunch stop, to be honest; I was not paying an awful lot of attention! What changed at the pub – well I think it was Ian who democratically elected me as the scribe for this report. Hence the lack of detail, it is only post-pub that I thought I had better start paying some attention. At which point, after beer and food, a number of my main faculties seized to function at all!
Something which you always notice on the country roads is the amount of 'road-kill'. On one road the number of dead rabbits in quite a short length of carriageway seemed to be rather more than usual, at one point three wee bodies were counted in about five metres..
We all paused for a while to gaze at the weird and wonderful creatures with the long necks and cute faces, the llamas and alpacas near Glyndebourne – really surreal having such strange looking, yet fascinating creatures across the landscape.
We stopped at Glynde Place – a slightly longer wait than normal as the tea urn was not working and the humble kettle had to be used – we were also treated to an excess of tea and coffee, and rather long wait for Joyce's toasted tea cake – which she very kindly shared around the band.
Ian delivered us all safely back at Glynde station in good time for the 15.53 train back down the line to Brighton.
Joyce propositioned a walker with walking sticks with a 'been skiing today'. He took it with good humour and did point out that he had that said to him on a number of occasions…
On the train we had a good view of the paragliders out in force off one of the hills overlooking Lewes.
A nice relaxing day with a good and varied ride. Thanks Ian.
John [photos by Joyce]