Brighton- London is one of the routes that is very well documented, as are the giant hills your advised to avoid. So after making my cuts to the route, ignoring the hills, and deciding it would be best to do it at night, in the wet. We set off.
We planned to set off about 8 pm but heavy rain, and drinking, pushed this back to 1 am. We’d divided the route up into two sections, stopping at a friend’s for a cup of tea along the way. The first of these sections, done in pitch black and fog, presented beautiful winding forest roads. Despite being country roads the surfaces were good and we made great time on these empty highways. After a few hours we touched down at our midway point for some brioche, tea and weird conversations chatting up pregnant women; which probably showed how late it was.
The second section of our trip presented the biggest challenge. Leaving a nice warm living room for a wet saddle was a large part of this. When planning a route it’s a lot easier to hope that ‘Turners Hill’ is just a name, referencing nothing to do with the topography of the area, than face up to the fact it definitely is. Hills like Turners' continued into the sunrise, for a long time. Increasing traffic, growing mountains and a puncture added to the discomfort of our trip. Having nearly, once again, ended up taking the motorway we found a cycle path heading into Brighton centre. I was particularly glad of this due to the fact I'd stopped following the map a long time ago, and it was my fault we'd hit the motorway. Rolling onto the pier we considered throwing our bikes into the sea like Quadrophenia (Does he really die when this happens? Where's the body?) but decided on breakfast and a photo instead.
This ride was certainly tougher than a lot of the routes we’ve taken on the continent. Weather, the time, poor road surfaces and the growing hills all sapped our strength. Still, this was nothing two hours sleep on the beach couldn’t sort as we headed out to see Metronomy at Concorde 2 with a belly full of Sailor Jerry’s from their PR department…