As requested from the powers that control these things, the first Sussex Pedelec Club ride out of 2016 took place in gorgeous sunshine. Initially planned as a leisurely ride along the seafront, the attendees were not as numerous as expected and those present decided that an Off-Road ride over the South Downs was more desirable.
So off we headed, with a quick hop from the Marina to East Brighton Park, whereby we headed uphill – the first chance to be ever so grateful for the Electric Bike support, even on Eco mode. Cresting over the Racecourse we headed on the lovely new Bike Lanes across the back of Woodingdean and down to Falmer. From there, a lovely climb up through the Trees in Stanmer Park, with the suns rays glistening through the branches.
Continuing through the woods and fields running parallel with the road to Ditchling Beacon, it was remarkable just how beautiful some of the Trees looked. Crossing the road, but not riding on it, we descended through fields filled with Sheep and their new born Lambs into a Valley that housed the Farm. Back up the other-side on a long climb on the edge of a field, we joined the South Downs Way to the West of Ditchling Beacon.
Heading Westwards, and following the South Downs Way, with the occasional cyclist and hikers, we descended again. This time adjacent to the pristine greens and fairways of Pyecombe Golf Course. Crossing over the busy A23, the fumes and roar of the traffic reminded me why I switched from Road Cycling to Off-Road riding!
Onwards and upwards saw us reach the next summit, where we stood for a while, checking ranges, the performance of our respective steads and then continued down to Saddlecombe farm. Being Lambing season, their car-park was full and the Farm itself buzzing with activity. Crossing onto our final and steepest climb, heading up to Devils Dyke. It was at this point that I was so happy to be on an Electric Bike, as the climb sees many legacy cyclists walking.
My joy at the surrounding countryside, the glorious Spring weather and generally good mood, as I ploughed on up the steepest of hills was then interrupted by some ‘Gentleman’ shouting at me that I was ‘cheating’. Oh joy!! Somehow I resisted the burning temptation to have a pleasant conversation with such a nice chap and continued as though I hadn’t heard him. I was pleased that his comment to the next rider was encouragingly more positive, recognising that cycling on an Electric bike was better than pushing a legacy one.
Determined not to let the “non-informed” detract from our ride, we stopped to photograph the Bikes at the top of the hill. The South Downs really are spectacularly beautiful, especially with The Spring sunshine casting shadows into the valleys. From Devils Dyke, we followed the bike path back into Hove and descended for the final time through the Three-Corned Copse to Hove Park. All participants happened to live in Hove, so at this point we dispersed back to our abodes – although a pleasant ride back along the seafront to the Marina would have finished the circular route nicely.
For this ride, I chose one of our Demo Bikes: The 2016 Sduro AllMtn Pro. It has an amazing specification, including the electronic rear suspension, provided by Rock Shox. If “Auto” is selected, the Bike adjusts the firmness of the suspension and rebound rate automatically. The best thing I can comment is that it just worked. The bike told me we had completed just under 30 miles, which included numerous hefty climbs, on some fairly soft’ish terrain. I was mightily impressed to see that there was still a good deal of battery remaining after finishing my ride.
With the all-round capabilities of the bike, the great weather, good company and the amazing South Downs as a backdrop, this was a highly enjoyable ride. Bring on the next one.