CYCLE LEWES - New challenge along beautiful South Downs route

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This week’s Cycle Lewes article is brought to you by Bonfire Boy Chris, who tells us about his new found love of mountain biking and an upcoming challenge for some bonfire boys.

In the summer of 2013, I had booked a week off to do some fishing but, as I had just been given a second-hand mountain bike, I decided to give it a try.

I rode it from Lewes up to Ditchling Beacon and back. I enjoyed it so much that I never got the rod out that week and have done very little fishing. Living up at the Old Race Course, I spent a lot of time riding the South Downs Way and decided to set a challenge of doing the whole of the SDW in three days to raise money for St Peter and St James Hospice.

I also invited members of the Cliffe Bonfire Society to join me. So now we have about 17 riders attempting the 100-mile Challenge from Winchester to Eastbourne on August 29 to 31.

We have also been lucky enough to have sponsorship from Lewes Cycle Shack and Intersport.

We have all been in training since March and get together to do various rides around Sussex. Eastbourne to Lewes is one of my favourites. You can get the train down to Eastbourne on a Sunday morning, join the SDW at the end of the Sea front by the tea shop and enjoy the South Downs all the way back to Lewes, passing the Hungary Monk Cottage at Jevington (home of Banoffee Pie), and then to Alfriston for refreshments if needed. You can then pass over the hills and down to Southease and the river Ouse.

Carry on and cross the bridge over the Brighton Road at Newmarket, then stay on the SDW until you reach Blackcap and then back to Lewes.

It’s about 28 miles and takes between 4 and 5 hours. If you wanted to shorten the ride by a few miles take the newly opened Egrets way back to Lewes from Southease.

Seventeen members of the Cliffe Bonfire Society are all feeling a lot fitter and recent statistics suggest that alarmingly; our well-earned beer bellies seem to be disappearing at a faster rate than the Arctic Ice Sheet.

In 2000, my dad died in the hospice. I was amazed at the level of care to both patient and families. Many members of the Cliffe Bonfire Society have experienced the professional service offered by the hospice and we are all keen to raise as much money as possible so that people can continue to benefit from their care.

It would be very much appreciated if you are able to donate even a small amount to our cause on our Just Giving web site www.justgiving.com/teams/cliffecycle or put any spare change in our collection boxes, assuming we return on the afternoon of Sunday, August 31, at the Dorset Arms.