Saturday, July 01, 2006

London to Brighton bike ride

A few weeks ago I completed the London to Brighton bike ride for the British Heart Foundation and am pleased to say made it back to Brighton in one piece. I started at 9am and managed to get into Brighton at 5pm - it took an hour longer than last year. The ride got off to a great start as literally 10 minutes out of Clapham my rear brake cable went! So I had to take it easy for the first hour until I could get to a Halfords pitstop where they kindly replaced the cable.

It was very busy this year [27,000 riders], and this meant traffic jams and hold ups. There were quite a few nasty accidents, generally at the bottom of the steep sections. Just past the M25 we were stopped for about 45 minutes, at the top of a steep hill, and we had to wait for 2 ambulances to get past. I slowed down a bit after that as its a reminder of how dangerous it can be. At another steep section I passed another accident which looked pretty bad. A couple of times I came round blind corners to find people just stopped in the road yapping on their mobile phones - that is how the accidents happen! One rider told me how he witnessed another go straight into a hedge - because he was looking back trying to chat up a girl behind him - nice. I saw numerous people at the finish with their injuries bandaged up.

It was not as sunny as last year which was a bonus - it was still fairly hot though, and by the time I reached Turners Hill I was feeling it a bit so stopped to rest there. I couldnt ride all the way up it as there was too much traffic by this point.

busy busy...

After Turners Hill it was another hour or so before Ditchling Beacon looms ahead...

I was determined to ride up it again this had a good rest at the bottom, got rid of the 2 litre bottle of water I realised I had been lugging all the way..and cycled up. It was tough but didnt seem as torturous as last time.

The Beacon conquered!

I waited at the top for a while to see if a colleague from work was close..but he was having major mechanical issues with his bike so I carried on. After this hillclimb its the best part - downhill very fast all the way into Brighton and looking forward to a cold pint.

Traffic coming in to Brighton along London road was pretty bad..but I got there in the end.

So total time was around 8 hours, distance 54 miles - it seemed to go much quicker than the last time, probably because I knew the route better. Next year I think I will start earlier to avoid the traffic jams though. I was pretty tired by the end of it and sitting down on the seafront with a cold beer finished off an excellent day out. I'm happy to say that I raised about £400 - not bad at all and a very big thank you to all who sponsored me.

The only downside - getting back on the bike on Monday morning to go to work was neither a pleasant or comfortable experience!

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