Brighton ho!

I’m sitting in a Railway Station, got a ticket for my destination… Well not quite, I’m sitting in a pub next to the Railway Station with a pint of beer waiting for a train.

England is losing it’s allure as a cycling destination for me. Actually, more specifically South East England. I decided to cycle down to the South Coast and spend some time here… Nice idea – bad reality.

I have come to the conclusion that cycling thru industrial wastelands, endless suburbia and sterile business parks where everyone is tagged and chipped is not my cup of tea. Particularly when navigating the tangled and frayed Gordian knot that is the cycleways near London, perhaps a local might know how to handle them. I did not.

When I eventually out distanced the monotony of suburbia, the Cycleway followed the motorway. Oh, the tranquility, peace and country smells of The road.

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I did reach Brighton. Here’s the pier.

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Sorry that’s the old one that burnt down, here’s the new one.

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For some reason I’ve always had this desire to cycle London to Brighton. Possibly because of the annual event. Well I’ve done it, didn’t enjoy it and won’t do it again.

Bah humbug.

The Ups and Downs of Cycling

I have made an interesting discovery. Tiredness and fatigue do affect one’s memory. Gosh, what an observation. The reason I actually noticed is was because as I headed out of Harwich back along cycle route 51, I didn’t recognize much of it, but the further on I went the more I recognized most of the route. This seemed to have a direct correlation to the state of my tiredness when I cycled out from London to Harwich. the closer I got to The Fox Inn, yes I stayed there again, the more I recognized the environment. There were two great differences though between the two rides. (1) I was much fitter and (2) blackberries and plums were ripe.

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I’ve found the hedgerows and fields full of wonderful plums, rose hips and blackberries. All of which make excellent reasons to stop, take a break and eat.

While those made for the upside, the downside was, missing some turns and ending up on an A road for some 10 k. That was frightening with giant lorries competing with tour buses to see who could get closer to me at speed.

The other downer was that I cycled thru Tottenham and passed the peaceful protest, that later turned into a full-scale in the evening.

As for the city itself, well, Boris’s Super Cycle Routes are great when they go in your direction, but once again it was the tourists who made it challenging. They seem oblivious of anything and seem to think that the streets are actually sidewalks.

Oh well, time to leave London…..

Leaving England

After a very leisurely day in Harwich, with it’s classic English bathhouses

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and beaches

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now on board the elegant ferry to Denmark

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my cabin is right next to the bar, they must know me

A long day

Well, I thought I’d only go as far as Colchester, but it was crowded so I continued, now that was a mistake. Instead of being dry and relatively fresh, I hit the showers, some drops very large and hard enough to actually ring my bike bell. Anyway, in Harwich now.

Chelmsford is a very lovely town, even if the one of the guys in the local bike store, didn’t know the way to Harwich and hadn’t been there. I guess that’s what makes one “local”.

The country side was bucolic and rolling

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And as ever there was always a good pub nearby. This being the 3 Cats that I came across after getting lost yet again

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Occasionally the routes got narrow, this being about the narrowest.

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From London to the country

Well, the forecast was for showers becoming less frequent and it was accurate, the intervals went form every 30 seconds to a minute. Even longer in the afternoon.

Rain, wet cobblestones and American tourist make for an interesting and challenging course around Tower Bridge

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Left the city going up the Lee Valley following the canals, had a flat tyre, of course it had to be the back wheel, so pulled out the spare tube… oh dear…. I’d got the wrong inner tube .. Note to self, check before leaving. Saw swans, rabbits, otters, even a mouse in London.

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Finally reached somewhere in the middle of nowhere that had a good pub and bed. Now for a beer

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Along side the Thames

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No, it’s not some dusty old postcard from yesteryear. Just yesterday somewhere between Staines and Walton. Wonderful what you can do nowadays with an iPad

Rowing on the Thames

After 26 hours on a plane, it’s nice to be on land and by a river again. This is St Georges rowing- but this time it is the college in England, not the club on the Tamaki in NZ.

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Although the oars are in the same colours.