Trails and tribulations
Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 21:50
martian77 in bikes, commute

Rottingdean pond has frozen over completely, which looks quite nice. This shot was taken yesterday morning, as I cycled in. Note the ridge of snow on the road along the sides where the cars haven't been. It wasn't a problem in Rottingdean, but when I hit busier roads it started to be. 

frozen pond

Today I thought I'd try the undercliff walk. No cars, and I figured it would be so close to the sea that it wouldn't be frozen. Particularly where the waves come over the top at high tide. Salt water doesn't freeze so easily, right? 

snowy beach

I was rethinking it when I saw the snow on the beach, but figured I was on slush either way so I'd go for the car-free route. The initial bit was quite icy, but it did get a lot better. But there did seem to be a lot of rubble on the path from the cliffs. 

cliff rubble

Some quite big bits of chalk and flint in there, and although I'm riding my mountain bike with full knobbly tyres on it I'm not really a hugely experience rider in these conditions. It took a lot of concentration to get through them. The bike coped just fine, it was me that was nervous and a bit skittish! So I was going along, getting more confident, thinking I might actually make it through and suddenly...

closed unstable cliffs

Not sure if that sign is legible. It says: "Unstable Cliffs Keep Out". What you can't see is the matching one, across the other route. No way through. 

I had to turn around, pick my way back through those rocks all the way back through to Ovingdean. Then carry my bike up the steps up the cliff (which were thankfully not icy), and came out only just along the cliff from Rottingdean. Then I had to decide whether to go on the dual carriageway with the slush in the gutter, or the cycle/foot path that was still mostly ice and slush, or the grassy bit that was also covered in snow/ice and needs a bit more technical riding knowhow. I went with the cycle/foot path in the end, until it just got too slippery, then went for the dual carriageway. From there on in it was pretty uneventful, which was a blessing! Took me ages, and I had to concentrate pretty hard for that first bit. Made it eventually and everything, but I really wish they'd put some notice up of the path closure a little closer to Rottingdean!

The way home was slightly less exciting. My Gorgeous Girlfriend gave me a lift because sometimes I wimp. (Or maybe discretion is the better part of valour or something...) We did have to dig out a new parking spot when we got home due to someone else parking in our clear spot. And the side road we temporarily put the car in while we did so was a little icy, so GG couldn't stop too well at the end of it when she pulled back out, and there was a car coming at the time, but hardly any excitement really at all...

When is that thaw supposed to be coming?!

Article originally appeared on Life on Mars (http://www.martiandaze.net/).
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