Brighton Ride Report
- Overall quite a usable day managing to avoid the rain despite the thunder
and lightening. The London cycle maps call it Route 21 from Greenwich to
just before Croydon. Then the A23 to Coulsdon. So mainly off the major
roads. Tried to stop for tea just after Coulsdon after the climb to Farthing
Downs. The tea wagon was not there, disappointed. Looked very threatening,
thunder and hints of rain. Pressed on down towards Outwood. Had to stop
early at a pub to repair a bike and one rider who had some serious road
The Bell pub next to the Windmill. The introduction at the till was
terrible. Reminded me of Faulty Towers. Some of us were told we had to wait
15 minutes before we could order as the kitchen was swamped. The pub was not
packed full of people. No one else seemed to have been given this direction
as when we went back to order there were others ordering!!! Then when we did
order the fellow taking our order would let out a big sigh.
The food came quickly, good portions and kudos to the kitchen staff who
offered their first aid kit to cover the road rash. Have no idea what this
fellow at the till was on about!!! He might have been upset that we did not
reserve or call ahead. But the stop was unexpected. No matter.
Just after Turners Hill we took a left to Sharpthorne then headed south
passing Horsted Keynes. At North Common turned back right and angled our way
to Ditchling and the beacon. A bit bumpier than expected but we managed to
keep off of the A and B roads for the most part. Very scenic and avoided
The Beacon was cool with a sea fog coming up from Brighton and a brisk wind.
Some of the ladies were warmed by the groups of four male runners passing by
in their shorts and t-shirts every 2 to 4 minutes heading off down the
trail. The first group of 4 men seemed to be the best looking by their
10 started the ride and 10 arrived at Brighton after 60.25 miles. Arrived at
6:17. We could see the sun behind the sea mist but it just wouldn't break
through. Despite this the hardier of our group, 3 ladies of course, went
into the water. 2 managed to enjoy the swim and stayed in for longer that we
others thought they would.
Had our fish and chips or flapjack and headed for the train around 7:30.
Some headed to London Bridge and 4 of us got off at East Croydon about 8:15.
Amazingly fast ride from East Croydon back to Blackheath. We were at
Blackheath at 9:07 and I got home just after 9:30. Promptly climbed into a
nice warm bath and read a bit more of a reasonably uninspiring mediocre
novel, Boudica by Manda Scott.
Great ride and we all seemed to enjoy it. NO FLAT TIRES!!! That is a
- Brighton - Sunday June 24
Bill advised me not to write this ride up - what the hell.
Usual apologies if I've garbled any names.
Eight of us at Cutty Sark Gardens. Sheltering under the entrance to the
Greenwich foot tunnel Sulit had come prepared with his super lightweight
bike and sandals for the beach.
Slightly different route than I originally planned to go by the Laban where
apparently Mr Ritchie is shooting a follow up to his gangsta flic but
despite a street full of large trucks no signs of him (not that I'd
recognise him) or even Madonna on a drizzly Deptford morning.
Then off for our usual routine slow dawdle down the Waterlink way. Bang.
Rear wheel puncture - turned out to be a wrecked tyre. Sidewall gone and no
hope of fixing it - I do carry a tyre boot but it may it may not have lasted
all way to Brighton. After initial Oh F***, I realised that we'd actually
been pretty lucky - it had gone at Catford Bridge, virtually the best place
for it to happen. Dashed home (er, thanks to Abizer for asking me if I had
my keys with me - not in bum bag as I may have thought but in bag on my
immobilised bike) on Bill's bike to grab new tyre. Lost about 45 minutes I
think - thanks to everyone for their patience.
All pretty uneventful eventful if a bit slow down through Croydon and Purley
towards Caterham. Just short of Caterham Jo and Bill decided to drop out and
take the train back - maybe they knew what was coming. Hope to see them
again - maybe initially on a shorter ride.
Climbed over Caterham, then through Bletchingley to Outwood and its windmill
where I got the maps out. We'd made fairly slow progress until now and I
didn't want to race to planned pub stop in Turners Hill so we detoured to
the Jolly Farmer.
The rain was now pretty continuous with dry bits but not heavy. As we
approached Turners Hill, our original planned lunch stop Bill decided to
make a break for home along the Worth Way and then train it back from Three
Bridges. Now we were 5.
Rain pretty continuous by now but light - almost refreshing. Somewhere short
of Brighton it became heavy so we contemplated the climb up Ditchling Beacon
in pouring rain. As I arrived at the top amidst wind, driving rain and
something like fog, the ice cream van left - a wonder he'd stayed so long.
Then the long descent into Brighton under near continuous braking to clear
water from the rims. At this point the weather was so grim that I got a fit
of the giggles. Tempting as it was to go straight to the station, we pushed
on to the prom - if only for a pic to prove that we'd done it.
I often end my reports with a little homily about how pessimistic weather
forecasts are and how bad starts to the day usually turn out pretty clear.
Well the weather definitely got worse on this one. Exception that proves the
rule of course.
Two top tips. 1: always have a spare tyre around - got that one right. 2: As
John Franklin says in latest edition of Cyclecraft (brilliant book on road
sense and staying safe) "Check not only the tyre tread but also the
sidewall. Many tyres fail from a split sidewall long before the tread is
worn away." I'll get it right next time.
Thanks to everyone for coming and especially to those who saw it through. A
beautiful route- honest folks - though a bit hard to see the scenery through
misted up cycling glasses. Maybe repeat in September.
Weather looking better for Hastings on Saturday - maybe we'll manage the al
fresco fish and chips this time.