This morning after a very hurried beans and corned beef, I hit the road heading for Littlehampton. According to google maps it was 45 miles away using NCR 2. A perfect challenge to up the mileage.
It wasn't long before bike maintenance tippd over the half hour I'd figured for it. Everything needed tightening. Including the two screws which I neglected - note on those later. There was even a need for a little me maintenance. The cartilage in the left knee is starting to throb a little so support bandage was straight into action. Seemed to do the job well, but the can of deep heat is on standby.
Setting off I followed google maps for the first leg, which was fine, until rather sceptically I followed it up this 'road'
Nothing ventured, nothing gained, so I pushed on regardless. My scepticism was well founded when google cheerily asked me to continue onto what it described as "The Street" - now there are any number of villages in this part of the world containing such a road name. Nothing to be worried about, until I looked up and saw it meant this;
Ahem. Not a "Street" in anyone's language.
But this challenge is supposed to be about facing things and beating them, so I pressed on. With the tourer in tow I had no choice but to dismount. Even with the old hybrid I would have seriously struggled (and failed) at that one. The hill was big. And steep. And my bike was heavy.
It was probably about half way up that those two screws leapt off the bike and tumbled to their doom. Leaving the rack hanging off the back. So more emergency screw transplants. Not sure how many 'spares' I have left now.
See those tiny cars down there? Yep, that's where I should have been. Never mind. The view from up there was amazing. Unfortunately my phone pictures and photography skill do it no justice whatsoever. Gorgeous sunshine burning off the low hanging mist over the east Sussex section of the south downs was worth every painful step. Evey style I had to heave the bike over backwards...
Even the caterpillars were heading sideways or down that hill;
From there on in the ride just got better and better. There were a few garmin fails, so not all of it was captured, unfortunately, but the rest of the day was perfect.
Gorgeous sunshine and a hilly but not too arduous ride down towards Brighton;
The only real challenge coming up from peacehaven ( or at least I think it was there).
Heading down into Brighton was great.
I figured by this time I'd earned a spot of lunch so I pulled up outside one of the kiosks along the prom for a bacon butty and a coffee.
One of the great things about Brighton is it's flamboyance. I don't think anywhere else in the country do you get such a mix of people - so for an avid people watcher, this was a perfect place to take the weight off.
Heading onwards through Shoreham I was joined for a mile or so chat by a guy on a motorised skateboard, controlled by a remote which he had in his hand. Pure genius if you ask me. Might well feature in my next challenge if I can't master the electric unicycle, but see what I mean about Brighton?
I digress..... The ride through to little Hampton from there was an absolute pleasure. Flat, wide cycle lanes practically all the way down. Thanet district council could really learn a thing or two here.
For whatever reason, every single hotel in Little Hampton is full tonight. Or maybe they just didn't like the smell of me after a few days on the road. So I rode a further 3 miles over to Climping where I am staying at a country house hotel. Mid week deal and all that.
However I decided to treat myself to their restaurant.
Wow. It was good. Very good. Main of sirloin steak with ox tongue, ox tail pudding and a red wine sauce (I refuse to write the word "ju") was preceded by pea soup with a poached quails egg, truffles and mint oil.
So I'm a happy man tonight, although slightly daunted by what I'm going to attempt tomorrow. That is to ride as fast as possible to Portsmouth, 30 or so miles, jump on the catamaran to ryde, ride the 16 miles to Yarmouth, jump on a ferry to Lymington and then ride the 6 miles to my brother in law Steve's house to abuse his washing machine....