I pondered about going on this ride for quite a while, the weather forecast suggested all would not be good with a mixture of wind and rain. The day before we had the same with the wind being so strong that you could hardly stand up straight when we, foolishly maybe, had a walk out to the beach. Walking back home I watched a small group of cycle tourers with fully loaded bikes trying to battle against it and not achieving a great deal. I kept an open mind and thought that in the morning I would look out of the window and if all was well I would go for it.
As it happened the next day bought blue sky and no wind and so I got up and off to Lewes. Going through Brighton is always interesting as the Green party that seems to be in power in the city are obsessed with cycle paths and bus lanes to the extent that if there is a road in Brighton that has neither then they quickly put them in. Hence the famous Old Shoreham Road cycle path that has narrowed the once wide and open road to now include two wide and little used cycle paths. Hence also the fantastic cycle path and bus lane that they are building along a once wide and open dual carriage way (Lewes Road) which each weekend that I have gone along it to reach Lewes seems to change a each time, it looks like they have nearly finished it all (oh yeah say all the car drivers!).
It was a fast ride over to Lewes, the little amount of wind that there was seemed to be behind me. The GPS was showing just over 30mph once I had got over the hill at Falmer although the end route when I tracked it in Endomondo was suggesting 21mph which I don’t quite understand why. I followed another cyclist all the way into Lewes, we were both doing quite a good speed with the mixture of the slight wind and the downhill nature of that bit of road.
A bit worrying when I got to Lewes as there was no-one there even though I had got there at my normal time of just before 10. There was talk of the ride starting at 9 which I thought was not for this week but to make sure I got my phone and started to install Facebook in order to find out on the club page. Before technology could find out the others turned up.
The route for today followed and extended routes we had done previous weeks, up to Barcombe, over to South Chailey, Plumpton, Hassocks. Along the way we passed numerous Jags coming the opposite way both new and old, it seems there was a Jaguar car run, infact that South Downs Run ending up in Eastbourne. 20 miles later ending up at Washbrooks Farm in Hurstpierpoint for cake and a pot of tea. I had biked past this place many times and had no idea it was a full children’s attraction with softplay and animals. Mind you, at £20 for a family day ticket it is not cheap, fortunately you did not have to pay to enter the cafe. Pots of tea and large cake was had by all.
Up until now the sun had been out and while it was starting to get breezy we had all made good time against the Westerly wind which while getting stronger had not really bothered any of us. By the time we had finished tea and cakes the weather was starting to turn, getting chilly, clouds and the wind was picking up.
At this point it was time for me to say goodbye to the others as they headed back to Lewes with the now strong wind behind them. Myself, I went the opposite way (against the wind) heading towards Devil’s Dyke and back home. I didn’t plan to go up Devil’s Dyke but keeping going on, ending up at Bramber and then down to Shoreham and back home. The wind was now strong and against me greatly, I thought sticking this side of the Downs would shield me from most of the wind but that was not to be.
Interesting to pass a couple of times the location of the proposed cables that will, if EON get their way, run from an offshore wind farm of the Brighton coast up to a control centre in Hickstead. I’m not sure why the control centre is so far from the coast, but on the way home I passed at least two places where there were large planning permission posters where the cables will cross the road. I am sure there will be protests and such like before anything happens, if it happens at all, but I couldn’t think of anything nicer than looking out over the sea to see a farm of windmills.