London to Brighton
Not the official one, but a group of us headed off to Brighton from Clapham Common bright and early this morning.
In general terms, this isn't particularly exceptional. There's an official race that takes place every year in aid of the British Heart Foundation that attracts tens of thousands of competitors, but to put it mildly, I'm out of shape, so even the early climbs nearly finished me.
In my defence, I should say that my Decathlon bike only has two chainrings, and that means that steep hills still require you to turn a pretty big wheel. I need the granny ring, and I may soon look at my gears as a result.
Our route took us to the quite wonderful Fanny's Farm Shop. Yes, it sells local produce, but that doesn't do it any justice at all. If you're ever in that part of Surrey, you simply must visit.
Onwards we travelled stopping at a couple more places including Wakehurst Place which is actually part of Kew Gardens.
Finally, we reached the dreaded Ditchling Beacon. I was simply hopeless with a combination of my too large chainring and a non-stop succession of traffic meaning I soon had to get off and use Shanks' Pony to get me to the top where the view was spectacular.
I'm not sure that this cameraphone picture quite does it justice, but I didn't carry a decent camera for weight purposes, and I was in no fit state to be taking photos anyway.
From there it was a gentle roll into Brighton, although the person flying their kite right by some electricity pylons is probably very lucky if they're still alive tonight.
Once we'd dutifully reached the promenade we headed to a pub where I was tickled to see this photo, before finally heading back to London.
Overall a fun, but knackering day. I read about Mark Cavendish's win in yesterday's Tour stage on the way home.