This month Nick Marks heads out on a leisurely lap of the Weald, starting out along the coast before heading inland via Steyning, then along the back of the Downs. The ride offers a fine introduction to the pleasures of touring, with a wonderful variety of scenery and plenty of places to stop and eat. This would make a great day trip, and you don’t have to be super fit to do it.

1 - Start at Brighton’s Palace Pier and head west along the cycle track, passing the King Alfred leisure centre and Hove Bowling Club, until you reach Hove Lagoon. Where the cycle path ends take the little slip road off to the left, then go left at the mini roundabout at the timber merchant’s sign. Ride past the fresh fish shop, then round to the right past Heather Mills’ and Fatboy Slim’s houses and along the coast again.

2 - Continue for a mile or so until you reach Carat’s Cafe. If you’ve plenty of time then why not stop here for your first break. If you order a latte or cappuccino you get free chocolate biscuits – they won’t remind you though, so be vigilant.

3 - Look for the footbridge over the lock. Cross over, admiring the hydraulics if that’s your thing. Then ride up to the main road and turn left. Carry on westwards, passing the old lighthouse and the lifeboat station, until you roll into Shoreham. There are some more good places to stop for a coffee: I would recommend La Galleria Italian Restaurant on East Street.

4 - When you reach the roundabout in front of the Ropetackle Arts Centre, turn right and head north under the railway line. You’ll see that after about half a mile you can leave the road and join a smooth cycle track that runs parallel to it, which will lead you up to the recently restored Old Shoreham Toll Bridge.

It is one of the last wooden bridges of its kind anywhere in the world, and a Grade II-listed building.

5 - On the other side of the bridge, carry on until you reach the main road. You have to cross over here and take Coombes Road, which you’ll see opposite and slightly to the right. It may be easier to use the pedestrian crossing. Once you’re on Coombes Road just keep riding for about three miles until you come into Steyning.

6 - Here you can turn left and head into the village to visit the famously bike-friendly Steyning Tea Rooms, or turn right and head downhill to the roundabout, taking the third exit towards Upper Beeding. Ride through the village, over the river, past a couple of lovely riverside pubs, and on past a petrol station to a roundabout.

7 - Turn left, and follow the road down out of the village, then up again as it turns north and takes you round behind the Downs. After a mile or so look for the sign to Edburton and turn right down Edburton Road. Follow this very picturesque road along under the Downs for about three and a half miles, passing the fish smoker’s as well as the Shepherd and Dog and Royal Oak pubs. When you reach Poynings bear left, then follow the road round to the right as it heads east.

8 - When you reach the junction with Saddlescombe Road, cross over the roundabout and continue east until you reach the A23. Once you get there you will see the first of the NCN 20 signs, indicating that you are joining the National Cycle Network. This last part of the ride is not the most pleasant, but it is by far the easiest way to get back into Brighton, being well surfaced and not too steep. The path follows the road south for about two miles, then you leave it behind and head off to the right on a separate little lane. Turn left under the road bridge when you come to it, left again on to Mill Lane, then join London Road again to get back into town. If you don’t fancy the Mill Lane roundabout you can always get off and cross the park on your right.

9 - Once you’re on London Road, just follow your nose all the way back into Brighton for the last three miles.

* Distance/time: 26 miles – take all day or just a couple of hours

* Difficulty: Fairly easy if you take your time

* Your bike: Any kind of bike

* Thirsty work: All along the route

* Don’t forget: Your spare tube, tyre levers and pump

* So you don’t get lost: Look at the route here: or take OS Explorer map 122

* Top tip: If you’re not sure of how fit you are, take it really slowly. Better to get back fresh than die halfway round!