Cycling London to Eastbourne

Board games by the sea!

For the spring London on Board event, and as part of training for the London Revolution ride in (gulp) two weeks, I decided that I’d cycle down to Eastbourne rather than take the train.

The route out

For the outgoing route, I went for this one, which, with the ride from Leyton to get to the start, was something like 85 miles (I think). I wish I had it exactly but unfortunately Strava crashed somewhere around Tower Bridge and I didn’t notice until I was about 30 miles from the end. So on the Strava plot it looks like I teleported.

The route was hilly, and long, but the weather was good. I left home just before 9am and was in Eastbourne by 5pm, and I think I stopped for about an hour total along the way. The route was definitely scenic and mostly quiet, though, although getting over Beachy Head at the end was a challenge I could have done without – more because of the traffic hurtling past than the hill itself.

The route back

For the journey back, I went mostly by a different route. I’m still not sure I shouldn’t have just left it for another day as it was raining when I set off which meant my phone shorted out for about 45 minutes and I was navigating by guesswork and trying to remember the route down, and wondering at what point I might just have to find a station and get on the train.

I also didn’t fancy the traffic around Beachy Head again and relied on Google’s directions to take me out of Eastbourne, which proved to be a mistake as I spent five miles or so bouncing along a muddy bridleway aka National Cycle Route 21. It was not the way I wanted to start an 80 mile ride. I’ve also learnt now that a hotel breakfast is not the way to fuel up for a long ride; I didn’t feel like any useful carbohydrate made it into my system for about the first four hours, so it was quite a slog. It did, however, mean I had some pace left in my legs when I got back into London.

The full journey, apart from the bit where the phone didn’t work, did make it onto Strava though and you can see it here, if you are interested in such things. Particular highlights would be rescuing a lamb that had its head trapped in a fence and having to walk through newly laid tarmac over a level crossing (that was closed as they were still laying the tarmac) with steam from the rain falling on it around me. I hope my cleats didn’t leave too big imprints in their nice new surface…

Other things

– Beachy Head road, as mentioned before, is not pleasant, although the downhill is rather fun
– Pains Hill and Titsey Hill are pains in the titseys. (Or actually legs, but that doesn’t really work.)
– The area around Biggin Hill is rather nice for riding in, if you can face the hills
– I really should have taken some photos
– Hills: why? Just why?

So would I do it again? I’m not sure, but only because I couldn’t take any games with me. The October meetup will likely be when the days are short so I’d have to leave earlier in both directions, so we’ll have to see how much I’m riding next spring.

The links again

Long and mostly quiet London to Eastbourne route
Shorter but still quite quiet Eastbourne to London route
The route I actually took back

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