Saddle Sore – Reviews, Rides & Rablings – Cycling Blog

Battle to Hastings

It’s not a good reason to ride but sometimes it’s just what it takes: My mate Tim did 209 miles, I thought I’d better do 210. I ended up doing 218.

Bell Hill

Me and Barry on Bell Hill

I met Barry (who was going to be my companion for the first 20 odd miles) in the carpark of Farlington Marshes (good bird watching there) at 04:00 in the morning. Not feeling so brilliant having got up so early but after a few minutes my muscles, then mind warmed up.

We headed off down the normally busy cycle path (which is part of NCN Route 22) to Havant, past (no over Butser Hill (2nd highest point in Hampshire) up to Petersfield.

PUNCTURE!! Luckily not me, Barry (at about 20 miles). Had a bit of trouble with his valves but soon back up to pressure and continued up Bell Hill. This is where Barry and I kissed and parted ways (he got another puncture on the way home).

Sunrise from Bell Hill

Sunrise from Bell Hill

Before I knew it I was in Farnham drinking coffee and eating granola bar (should have eaten more). From Farnham I travelled approximately East South East past or through Horsham, Haywards Heath and  Heathfield. Near Heathfield at Cross in Hand, I got lunch (at about 100 miles) from a great Bakers and ate in on a triangle of grass near a petrol station.

Lunch consisted of a tuna and salad roll, carrot cake, Belgian bun (incorrectly ordered as a Danish by the man in front of me), Ribena, Lucozade and a chocolate milkshake. I didn’t manage to eat the bun so I stuffed that in my jersey pocket (should have eaten more).

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Lunch

From lunch to Hastings (via Battle) seemed to go on for ages but finally arrived and ate a sweat sodden Belgian bun. It was the south coast all the way home from here.

I’d had about enough by now and not having a lock for my bike made it hard to find food but I didn’t have much choice but to carry on. Out of Eastbounre was the worst/best climb of the ride up to Beachy Head but then a long decent into Seaford. Since before Eastbounre I had been cycling with partial navigational blindness as the ‘square’ for this section of the map was simply just missing from my GPS.

At Newhaven (160 miles) I thought I would be able to grab a McDonalds that I could see in the distance but it turned out to be rammed full, I did have a few flapjacks and energy products to keep me going. Newhaven is also where I picked up the A259 which would be my road home for most of the remainder.

Battle

Battle

Saltdean, Brighton, Hove, Shoreham-by-Sea, Lancing and Worthing all passed with arduous monotony but at Goring-by-Sea I found a shop and bought a Red Bull, a cheese sandwich and a packet of Cherry Drops. I scoffed half the sandwich (pocketed the other half) and, because I had no where to store an open can of drink on the bike, downed the can of Red Bull.

I’ve never had Red Bull in a non-alcohol situation but with 5 minutes I was (non-literally) flying, my legs were going round at a rate of knots and was hitting, what turned out to be, a 17mph ish average for the last 40 odd miles. I guess it could have been the Cherry Drops??

Since Worthing I had my mapping back but batteries on both my phone and GPS were on their last legs so I was keen to get on roads I knew before they died.

There was a short detour off the A259 through Littlehampton but then straight back on the A road down to Bognor Regis. All I had to do was stay on the A259 to Chichester, I knew my way home from there. The battery on my phone died somewhere between Bognor and Chichester but the GPS held out (not that I needed it now). After Chichester I past the ‘bournes of Fish, Nut and South, followed by Emsworth and then back to Havant. The GPS battery died sometime on the cycle path I started on some 18 hours earlier.

I have no inclination to do another 200 mile plus ride, but pain dulls with time (like child-birth) so I’ll no doubt be planning another soon enough.

You can view and download the route here – if you have a bike with tyres suited to gravel and/or tracks the there is a NCN route for most of the coast.

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Matt

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