13 September 2010

Hastings to Worthing

Is this the same country? Saturday's wind and dark clouds gave way to a sparking Sunday with varied, interesting riding, some stunning coastal scenery and my first real hills. Following the A259 makes navigation easy along this sector. I swung through Pevensey and Eastbourne expecting a flattish ride. Wrong! Leaving Eastbourne provided a long climb and I'm starting to wish that I'd not been persuaded by Condor to fit double compact rings instead of getting the triple I wanted. On triple rings the lowest is often, and disparagingly, referred to as "the granny gear." I was grinding up the hill, running out of steam and of gears, with the summit nowhere in sight when I saw a bench facing back to the East. The views down to Eastbourne and the Channel were enough to tell me that this was all the reason I needed to have a rest - exhaustion wasn't a factor, of course ;-). The bench, the views, the warm sun, bike helmet as a very comfortable pillow and a 15 minute snooze! It doesn't get much better...

The views along the road towards Brighton are stunning and plenty of Sunday riders were out and about. Cycle paths are all very well but in many cases, they are badly swept and the sight of grit and glass will disuade cyclists from using them. Those along the A259 were a delight and I was happy to follow them. What I didn't expect was for them to lead me into a traffic jam! These parts are foreign to me and coming towards the Brighton sea front I encountered wall-to-wall people and thousands of bikers of the other variety! Leather, Harleys. Led Zepplin. long grey beards, pony tails, tatoos, the smell of engine oil is everywhere and a carnival atmosphere prevails. I noted at the centre of the throng, large banners proclaiming that this is the Brighton Burn-Up. Such a passion.
Arrival into Worthing and I was astonished at the reception, with so many AOS supporters there to welcome me. Many thanks to Raymond for announcing the arrival in the bulletin. That was very thoughtful. The kind donation that we received from Andrew, owner of the Sunney Cafe where we had tea and cakes was both generous and welcome. To Bryan and Jayne Lock; having us all for dinner was such a great pleasure. You were exceptional hosts and your faith is inspirational.
I stayed at the home of Paul and Claire Chalmers and for the first time in years, rode in an open top MG. Happy memories for Maria and me from our sports car days! Thanks to you both and sorry for gorgetting to take with me, the pocket compass that you so kindly offered to lend me.
Thanks to all at Worthing for such a warm welcome. It was a great stay.

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