By Liz and Ken

On a bright autumn morning 6 tandems and 1 solo set off from Cuckfield for our November ride. After a brief spell on the 'B' road out of Cuckfield we followed some nice little lanes heading south, parallel to the A23. There was one alarming incident when a barking dog came careering out of its garden in pursuit of the first two tandems. We were shifting along on a downhill section and the dog was completely unaware of the next tandem which it only saw at the last second as the wheel almost touched him. With some deft bike handling and what looked like a carefully aimed stoker's foot, the dog hastily retreated into the bushes with no harm done. We continued within earshot of the A23 until we crossed over it on a good paved bridleway towards Sayers Common, followed by a section of slightly muddy bridleway around the back of The Priory of Our Lady of Good Counsel. Now we headed north on more quiet and wooded lanes, with some beautiful autumn colours on show, through Warninglid and Slaugham and on to the lunch stop at the Jolly Tanners in Staplefield. This pub doesn't take bookings for Sunday lunchtime so we thought we'd miss an optional climb on a gated bridleway up Handcross Hill and take the short route to get there early. As we rolled up to the pub at about 1150 there was already quite a queue waiting to be let in so we were glad that we had got there early. With some sharp elbows from the ride leader we managed to save the three tables in the non-smoking restaurant which was just big enough to fit us all in. The after lunch route started with a good climb of just over a hundred metres followed by a few ups and downs around Ardingly Reservoir and Balcombe to the tea stop at our motor caravan on a farm field a couple of miles from Cuckfield. As the weather was still nice we were able to sit outside (which was lucky as there wasn't really enough room inside had it been wet – even with Neville and Tricia having their van on offer too). Fuelled up with Ken's cake and flapjack everyone managed the last tough little climb back to the start just as the light was beginning to fade. Ride distance about 33 miles.

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061112 Cuckfield - The route

Caroline - Photo by Dave

Bridleway from Sayers Common - Photo by Dave

Bridleway from Sayers Common - Photo by Dave

Bridleway to Pilstye Farm - Photo by Dave

Tea break - Photo by Dae

Cuckfield - Gathering at the start

Bridleway - Re-grouping at the end of the muddy section

Neville + Tricia - Heading up towards Warninglid

Near Balcombe - Stopped for a rest at the top of the hill

Tim + Anne - Not pulling a face this time!

Tea stop 2

Tea stop 3

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