CYCLE SEAHAVEN - Choice of pace: ‘sportive’ or ‘touring’

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Sunday ride to Horam

What luck! Wall to wall sunshine again, just like last Sunday morning. This time 14 members turned up at the Martello Tower for a ride to Horam.

It catered for two groups of cyclists, those who prefer to cycle at a ‘touring’ pace, ie an average speed of 12 mph and those who prefer a ‘sportive’ pace, ie between 15 and 17 mph. The plan was for the sportive cyclists to take a longer route, the aim being to arrive at Wessons Café in Horam at about the same time as the touring cyclists.

At 9am eight of the cyclists, led by Dave Geering, shot off, their first challenge being to get up to Friston via Exceat. They regrouped at the pond then took off down through Jevington to Polegate and along to Westham.

The Pevensey Levels still had some remnants of the winter rain and mud and the road surface was unforgiving in places. It wasn’t long before they turned onto Grove Hill and climbed up to Horam. Wessons was very busy this morning with a high number of motorcyclists and getting a coffee meant queuing for about 20 minutes. The touring group hadn’t arrived. Where were they?

They had set off at a more leisurely pace from the Martello Tower led by Clive Aberdour, towards Litlington and Chapel Hill, on the shorter version of the ride. There was a bit of a tail wind so it wasn’t long before they were climbing up Chapel Hill, the only significant climb on this ride.

It seemed steeper than last year; this must have had something to do with the lack of training over the winter months due to the bad weather. A few more Sunday rides should see us back to full fitness! After a breather at the top of Chapel Hill, super view, they descended through Wilmington, crossed the busy A27 crossroads and then came to an abrupt halt as they spotted a rather excitable horse about 100 metres down the road.

The horse had been startled by some noisy motor cyclists who, rather than cut their engines and wait for the horse to pass, continued along the road as the horse reared up and ploughed into a ditch. The rider did well to stay on the horse. After a long wait, the horse calmed down and the rider indicated that it was OK to pass but it had been a tense situation. They continued to Hailsham, then Grove Hill to Horam, arriving at the cafe as the sportives were enjoying their coffees outside in the sun.

The return journey took the sportive cyclists via Gun Hill and Upper Dicker, passing St Bedes. There were plenty of horse riders in this neck of the woods and it was great to see so many other road sharers out and about. Chapel Hill reversed split the pack a little, then, annoyingly, two punctures forced a regroup at Friston Forest entrance, so close to home!

The tourers took a different return route passing through Muddles Green, Chalvington, Berwick and Lullington; an easy ride as it was mostly downhill or flat. It had been another enjoyable Sunday morning ride; it was great to see so many other cyclists on the roads. Next Sunday’s ride is to the Velo Café in Brighton. Let’s hope our luck continues with the good weather.

Keep an eye on our regularly updated rides and events calendar on our website http://cycleseahaven.org.uk/calendar/