London to Brighton

My housemate, who has only recently taken up cycling, cycled from London to Brighton on Sunday. Can’t be having that! So, I set off on Wednesday afternoon, quite late in the day, from home, with the aim of hopefully getting to Brighton, or at least a long way out of London, by sunset.

I did it! Although it did get pretty dark at the end. My route was exactly 100km, and took just over 5 hours moving time – adding in my many stops at traffic lights in London, a number of short rest breaks and a long (30 minute) break for lunch, I took 6h 20m. This was my longest ever day bike-ride – beating my 87km from Weston-super-Mare to Bath a couple of years ago.

At the Start - London to Brighton CourseMy route was copied from Adrian Fitch’s website: See here for the route, which I converted to TCX using the extremely excellent Bike Route Toaster and programmed it into my Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS, which then gave turn-by-turn instructions, with a countdown and a satisfying beep as I passed each junction. Apart from a couple of missed turns which I was soon alerted to, it worked very well – just as well, as I deliberately didn’t bring a map.

My route was very similar to the 2007 London to Brighton “official” cycle ride route, apart from my 13km prologue to get to the start. The only apparent differences are: (a) I cut off the Garratt Park corner just after Clapham Common, (b) I bypassed Hayward’s Heath to the east taking a route through Wivelsfield Green, and (c) I went over, rather than around, Hollingbury Hill on the outskirts of Brighton.

The worst section was going through south London – very stop-start. Carshalton, which I’ve never been to before, was very pretty though. There were a few big hills – getting through the North Downs, up Turner’s Hill, and up Ditchling Beacon, were the most notable ones. After the highest point (224m) it was a very nice, fast descent down into Brighton. I got caught in one rain shower, going through Ditchling village, but it stopped as I started the big ascent. It was pretty much dark as I hit the outskirts of Brighton. I’m pleased that I didn’t have to walk the bike up Ditchling Beacon – I was expecting it to be The Ultimate Challenge but it really wasn’t too bad in the end.

Taking my time from Clapham Common, which is where the official race starts (although their route is, as noted, slightly different) I did the 87 km in around 4h 25m, although this doesn’t include stops/breaks – with them, I took 5h 36m.

Next up will have to be the 2007 TDF Stage 1 route – although at >200km, I think I’ll need to do a truncated version.

My photos.

Red is >25km/h, Blue is <15km/h

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