May - Bexhill

by Murray and Angela

*****Ride and report by Murray and Angela

Those reading this a few weeks in to the future will have forgotten just how cold and constantly wet Spring has been this year. Imagine our delight when the Met Office said that we would have sunny spells this weekend!

The sun did indeed shine. Many of the 17 attendees (8 tandems plus Caroline Hobbs on her trusty solo) exposed their legs for the first time this year. The numbers were also undoubtedly swollen by the promise of no rain.

We set off from the Promenade at Bexhill-on-Sea and headed west and out across the Pevensey Levels. The lanes here meander across the marshes following and crossing the drainage ditches and dykes which, at the moment, are failing to keep the land in between dry.

Coffee came fairly early at 7 miles. The farm shop at Chilley Farm serves a good cup and also bake their own scones. The refreshments were enjoyed out in the sunshine. Angela and Christopher braved the petting zoo of farm animals, alas the goats, piglets, geese, chickens and turkeys were also laying about in the sun, so they returned without any bites from the farm's residents.

From here we headed north, continuing along the thin ribbon of tarmac which, back in history, had been laid directly on to the boggy ground, so pot holes and sunken ground all added to the adventure. At Ginger's Green it was clear that we were starting to get in to the hills. At Cowbeech Hill we turned away from the Downs and across to Hellingly to join the Cuckoo Trail. This old railway line has been lovingly covered with tarmac, therefore offering a smooth journey north to Horam in peaceful wooded surroundings away from motorised traffic. The 6 kilometres on this track gently climbed along it's length, therefore arriving in Horam high in the hills above Hailsham. We headed back south for a lunch stop at The Merrie Harriers at Cowbeech where they had set out a table for all 17 us.

After a fine lunch and a quick photo stop outside the pub we set off in to the hills, solely to test out Richard and Anne's new Thorn which they had taken delivery of only a few weeks earlier. They used every one of the 14 gears inside the Rohloff gear hub on the climb up to the Old Manor House and church at Penhurst. A quick decent in to another river valley saw the next climb which felt like it went on for ever, offering up one false summit after another. We all arrived at the top, knowing that it was now, generally, down hill all the way back to the sea. A few undulations through Catsfield, Lunsford's Cross and Little Common and we were back in Bexhill, rolling past the De La Warr Pavilion and along the sea front for a final, well earned drink at the Sovereign Light Cafe.

My computer said we had ridden 43 miles; our clubmates will, in future, read a little more in to our route descriptions when using the word 'undulating'!

Thank you all for riding with us.

Gathering - at Bexhill West Parade

Nearly ready - for the 'off'

Cooden - with Pevensey Bay ahead

Heading north - across Pevensey Levels

Anne and Maggs - sorting out the bill

Resting - at the top of Penhurst Lane

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