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A good day's riding

Last Friday was a good day for riding. Hot, hardly any wind, but that wasn't why!

On the way into work, I pulled up at the lights in Rottingdean as normal and someone else pulled up along side. I mostly ignore other people, but the guy commented on my bike. I'm riding my Long Haul Trucker now (must blog that!!), and Surly's aren't that common over here. It was a guy who I've seen off and on around there for the last year, year and a half maybe, always on a bike (Surly Big Dummy normally, great for cargo and passengers) normally with 2 kids, one on the back and one in a trailer. Last Friday he didn't have the kids with him, and he was on a single-speed instead. Made him quite a lot faster, if I'm honest!

He chatted to me the rest of the way along the undercliff (I was struggling with keeping up, so not sure I made much sense back!) and it turns out that he works for Sustrans. And that although the undercliff is supposed to be offlimits to bikes (which is silly, it's the best bikelane Brighton has) as long as you're using it to commute apparently there's a really old rule that means you're ok on it. And that my new bike is quite noticeable to those who know bikes, and parking it on a very visible corner in the middle of Brighton gets it noticed quite a lot!

I love the random conversations you can have on the way in. Not every day, obviously. But just occasionally.

Then in the evening I took a look at the weather and decided the beach way home would be nasty. Such a hot, sunny Friday night, everyone and their dog would be down there, and the cycle lane is not a lot of fun when that happens. So I switched routes. I crawled up Elm Grove (1 mile, 7% climb, buses, parked cars all the way up the side, nasty) all for the payback of using the route across the back of Woodingdean. It's either a byway or a bridlepath I think, definitely as offroad as I get.

Alternate route

As you can see, no people up here. This is quite a smooth bit, there's lots of ruts and flint lumps in it, quite fun riding, particularly on a bike with a rack and pannier on the back! The scenery is so totally different from the coastal route I normally use.

The Downs

Not bad really. And unlike the road up here, this stays more or less level the whole way, comes out at the top of Woodingdean and gives me just a big downhill home. Makes up for that long, slow, drag up Elm Grove anyway!

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