Forest Row Bike Club

Ride Report

A Three Star Ride - Haywards Heath 6th November 2011

As we assembled in The Square, Giles Chapman, a visitor from South Australia, joined us for his first ride with the club. Our destination, he heard, was Haywards Heath. Of course, knowing the destination tells you nothing about the route. As we set off towards Priory Road - surprise, surprise - we all knew that all we had to do was to follow the leader.

At the top there where others were waiting for us we stopped for just long enough to say Hello before setting off for the long swoop down towards Twyford and the following climb up to the road towards Chelwood Gate, where a patient Christa was waiting for us. She had taken the gentle route from Priory Road. Across the Forest to Nutley where we turned at the church of that evidently saint, St James the Less.

Along a familiar route, we cycled companionably towards the south and Fletching. There Jane chatted amiably before realising that she had joined another group of (elderly but experienced) cyclists. Through the two-way traffic through the too-narrow High Street towards Chailey. The miles passed. The leaves were still on the trees. Where else should we wish to be. (Haywards Heath, did I hear you say? No, no. Remember that was just the destination.)

To South Chailey then along the nicely-named Honeypot Lane. We were somewhere in the middle of Sussex. To Wivelsfield Green, where we stopped at the memorial to the Polish squadrons which flew from the airfield years and years ago. To Wivelsfield, and there we turned up Slugwash Lane, the long, steady climb back to the Haywards Heath road. To the town, to lunch.

And so to the first star. As we stood outside the Star Inn, the friendly woman came out and directed us to the back of pub and space for the bikes. An easy wait. We chatted and, in good time, we ate. We talked about triathlons and about long bike-rides during the long stop. A starred stop.

As we rode away we separated. Christa was a one-rider breakaway along the direct route to East Grinstead. A further split left five to cycle the roundabout route towards Ardingly and then, having reached the village, to turn south. Down to Bluebell, and then the steady ride up Chilling Street to the top road. The ride was longer than expected, but he was coping. At the top, the turn towards Forest Row. Down Priory Road, to the end of the ride, and to the second star. Giles had ridden steadily. No short-cuts or long rests during aa ride which had been much longer than he had expected. To him the second star.

For the remaining two, the task was to complete the 50 miles. Yes, you've guessed. Up Wall Hill, through the village, to the Tunbridge Wells road, to East Grinstead. Completion.

And that third star. It was a close call. The cyclist in the red shorts was a claimant. However, his reward was a photograph, so the third star goes to Christa for her steady riding in company on the outward leg and her equally steady ride back on her own. Bells ring for the three stars.


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