New Year’s Coffee to Ponder Trips

Second attempt for an early morning quiet coffee while I think about possible routes for next year, or should I say this year.    2014 has been a slow year for trips for various reasons, even though I still have various routes planned.  The idea of “I’ve seen it all” started to creep in, the idea that in theory I need to bike a good 20 miles before I reach “new ground”, the idea that there are so little options for getting across the South Downs means the first hour of any trip is pretty dull.   I started to think about extending my range by including a small train ride to start and end with, the amount of distance you can cover in just an hour on a train could take me to completely new places – although I would have to make sure I made it back in time to catch a rain back.

Before I started looking into that, I looked back in my notebook (ie Evernote) to see what I had jotted down and maybe forgot about.   The whole thing is, I don’t particularly like cycling in circles for the sake of it, there has to be a reason for things in life.   So while I look online at cycling map sites and see where others have been, it is not really that exciting if it is just a circle with no reason for doing it.  So a trip to somewhere of interest and back, in a circle, is good.   This means currently I have the following possible trips to do include:

  • shoreham to guildford along the old railway line, back along roads.   Includes old railways so that’s all you need
  • cuckoo line, including routes 2, 21, 20, and 222 – a complete circle done mostly on old railway lines
  • windmills of the Weald…  there are so many windmills around (well 3) it would make a nice summer ride
  • follies, Mad Jack Fuller was an interesting character and built a number of these “pointless” buildings
  • railway/offroad… I am told you can get all the way to London without touching a road (too much)
  • anything towards Southampton, it’s flat mostly in that direction!

Then, going a bit further a field, I still fancy the two day trip around the Sussex border.  Something I had pondered about and saw a friend of mine had been pondering too and even put a possible route up.  I’ll take a closer look and fine tune with an overnight camping spot.

So, that gives at least five possible trips before I look into trains and a possible two day trip.   I notice that after the grand excitement of a proper overnight “tour” in 2013, nothing had happened since.

Let us not forget too, that I still have the normal 50 miles each week during my commute on the other bike, although that route after four years has really become pretty dull and I am say many times I have got to work and suddenly think how I actually could not really remember the how I got there….  Don’t worry (or do?!), I used to find the same commuting longer distances by car too.

I took a gamble today, it is a bank holiday which is always prime time for MAMILs to venture out in packs.  But it is new year’s day, which surely means everyone is still in bed getting over the hang over after partying to see to clock strick 12 like it never does 365 over times of the year.   After a week off work, hearing my alarm go off when it was still dark was not good, it took press presses of the Snooze button to finally get me out of bed.  I could hear the wind through the closed windows, which didn’t really help much.

I forced myself up, looked out of the window to see the bleakness looking back at me.   You can’t only go out on windless sunny warm days… I reminded myself, a couple of times.   I left the house, the wind behind me as I set off for Steyning direction, it was cold but didn’t take long to warm up.   I decided against the off road route along the Downs Link thinking it would most certainly be pretty muddy and not pleasant, seeing as there was low cloud there would not be any fantastic flat countryside vista to be enjoyed anyway.

Not much excitement in the trip up to once again Stan’s Bike Shack, this time coming to Partridge Green from the south, maybe I will go back via Henfield.   I got slightly worried again as I got nearest and started to see much more cycling activity, but as I pulled in they all went straight on.   This time, the carpark was empty, infact the cafe was only just in the process of opening for the day.  Bingo.   Piece and quiet….

I had to wait for things to setup, but this was no problem, I was in no hurry and I welcomed the quiet that this was giving me.   A quick chat, a sausage and egg roll with a coffee was what I was planning and hoping for.   Second time round, things were working out well.   I eat and drank while I planned routes and generally pondered over all things bike and route.  I chatted with the owner and heard plans for the Shack which turned out has not even been open for a year, and yet it is a place that everyone talks about.  It seems so well placed at an hour from home for both outgoing and incoming journeys.     Good luck for the future and the plans.

Coffee was good, food was good.   I opted for a sausage and egg bap, cooked just for me and made for a very good breakfast.   A “test drive” of using a Chromebook with limited internet connection was good.  It turns out that the Shack has free Wifi but I wanted to test out the usability of a Chromebook for when internet is not so good.  I am pleased to say, all went well  (I connected to my phone for the rest in order to see how the battery coped when in such mode).   This is all good,  for the £120 Chromebook with the amazing battery life, no moving parts and all that.

I spent a good hour, typing and chatting now and then, looking things up….   The Shack was pretty quiet but had a steady stream of walkers and cyclists that came and went.   Most were Mountain bikes going along the DownsLink, by the looks of the amount of mud on the bikes!   After a couple of coffees and breakfast, I packed up and left for home, this time going the opposite way round than last time, through Partridge Green and through Henfield.   The weather had not improved and I certainly felt the wind which was before behind me, now infront of me.  On the bike though, it wasn’t cold, which for the 1st of January seemed quite good.


Number of coffees: 2

Number of sausage and egg baps: 1

Number of cheery “Hellos” to passing cyclists: 4

Number of cheery “Hellos” back: 1


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