Explore the South Downs as season of free guided cycle rides begins

An action-packed season of free guided cycle rides is being launched for people to boost their mental and physical health – all while enjoying the beautiful scenery of the South Downs National Park.

Ride The Downs begins this month and will feature a full calendar of rides tailored to cyclists of all levels, from those who have no cycling experience and want to improve their confidence, right up to seasoned cyclists who want to discover new routes in the National Park.

The 20 weekend bike rides, all starting from Peacehaven or Seaford, are being run by Cycle Seahaven Club in association with the South Downs National Park Authority.

Guy Reynolds, Chairman of Cycle Seahaven, said: “We’re delighted to be running this initiative for a second year and are really keen for people of all ages and abilities to get involved.

“The South Downs is a paradise for cyclists, but it can seem a little daunting for some riders to venture out on their own when they are not familiar with the trails. These guided events offer a friendly, sociable setting where cyclists can enjoy a relaxed ride on cycle paths, quiet roads and gently sloping off-road tracks.

“We all know cycling is very good for physical fitness, but there’s mounting evidence that it’s also beneficial for mental well-being. Combine that with clean fresh air and stunning views of the Downs and it’s hard not to finish the bike ride with a great sense of achievement!”

There are three rides available. Introduction Rides last between 30 and 60 minutes and are ideal for those who have little to no cycling experience and want to improve their skills and confidence. Health Rides last up to two hours, are at a relaxed, steady pace and are designed to build confidence and local knowledge. Rural Rides last up to three hours and are ideal for those who want to improve their physical fitness and discovered new trails in the National Park.

The full timetable is:

Introduction Rides

Starting from Gateway Café, Centenary Park, Piddinghoe Avenue, BN10 8RH, Peacehaven:

  • Saturday 20 April
  • Saturday 18 May

Health Rides

Starting from Gateway Café, Centenary Park, Piddinghoe Avenue, BN10 8RH, Peacehaven:

  • Saturday 20 April
  • Saturday 18 May
  • Saturday 15 June
  • Saturday 20 July
  • Saturday 17 August
  • Saturday 21 September

Starting from Seaford: (please check the online calendar for the start location)

  • Saturday 4 May
  • Saturday 1 June
  • Sunday 30 June
  • Saturday 6 July
  • Sunday 28 July
  • Saturday 3 August
  • Sunday 25 August
  • Saturday 7 September

Rural Rides

Starting from Seaford: (please check the online calendar for the start location)

  • Sunday 30 June
  • Sunday 28 July
  • Sunday 25 August
  • Sunday 29 September

Alister Linton-Crook, Cycling Project Officer for the South Downs National Park, added: “This is a great opportunity for people to dust off their bikes and rediscover the joys of cycling. The South Downs gives a breathtaking sense of space and freedom when out on a bike and I’m keen for more people in East Sussex to take advantage of this wonderful asset on their doorstep.”

All riders must wear a helmet to take part. Bikes and helmets are available to hire from Cycle Seahaven with prior warning. Please mention when booking your place.

If rides or events have to be cancelled, ride leaders or organisers will update the web page as early as possible and no later than one hour before the start time.

People can sign up online for the introduction ride or on the day. For the health and rural rides participants should complete the one-off online registration form to enter the event, and then fill out the ride attendance form for the ride they wish to attend.

Find all the forms and information at https://cycleseahaven.org.uk/ride-the-downs-with-cycle-seahaven/ where you can navigate to the Ride the Downs calendar, ride descriptions, contacts page and case studies page.

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