Sussex Cycling Sights and Scenes – My Top 3 Routes

Wasn’t Brighton Pride incredible? Yes, I had one (or five) cocktails too many – but I still managed to enjoy the festivities. I woke up a little weary eyed but apart from that, I was miraculously chirpy. My other-half, on the other-hand wasn’t in such great shape. Having to put up with me until the early hours of the Pride morning took its toll I think. Regardless of how he was feeling, I was determined to get up and make the most of the day. It was such a gorgeous weekend of weather – I couldn’t lay in bed desperately gasping for water with a debilitating hangover any longer.

I looked down at the equipment from hobbies I’d taken up and put down again over the years, hockey sticks, badminton and tennis rackets, even a pair of football boots. God knows why my hubby puts up with me, I can’t imagine how frustrating it is to see him shower me with gifts invested into my new found hobbies – only for me to put them down after a month or two.

“I know” – I thought to myself. I’ll go cycling!

Cycling view

It is the only hobby that I’ve consistently carried on with, ever since I was a girl in fact. I’ve even invested in casual cycle wear over the years because I love it so much. I’m very lucky to live somewhere like Brighton, where there are literally hundreds of cycling routes, you can set off from your doorstep and find a designated cycling path within five minutes of cycling. But with so many to choose from, it makes deciding where to go very difficult.

I’ve narrowed it down to my top three cycling routes for you all to try for yourselves.

Route One

No, not the skateboard shop in North Laine. My first and favourite cycling route is setting off from home and pedalling happily along New Church Road in Hove. On nice days I’ll cut through Wish Park, but if it’s a bit muddy or the Sunday league footy fans are out I’ll ride right by. Once past Wish Park I turn left and start racing towards the Lagoon. The Lagoon is a perfect place to stop for an ice cream or even a bite to eat if I’m a bit peckish. From there I’ll walk my bike safely past all of the children running around enjoying summer, to the designated cycling lane on the seafront. One last check that everything is secure, and off I go!

The cycle lane stretches pretty much all the way to the Marina, and that’s where I’ll go. I don’t even mind that hundreds of other cyclists have had the same idea. The lane is colourful enough that no one will cross accidentally and Brighton cyclists are considerate enough ring their bell or overtake if I’m being particularly slow. Sun and sea on my right and one of the flattest rides I could ask for. Absolutely bliss. Once I make it to the Marina (or until I’m tired) I’ll turn around and go back the same way!

Route Two

Stanmer Park to Ditchling Beacon. This one is a little harder… No glass of rose on the night before this one. You need to be in tip top shape to tackle the Ditchling Beacon, it’s really hilly but it gets the blood pumping and the calves working! There aren’t many better leg workouts for Brighton girls than cycling through Stanmer Park and up the Beacon – the difficulty is getting there!

The way I do it is to get the hubby to drop me off so he can listen to the football on the radio whilst I race off to break a sweat. Make sure you pack a spare pair of clothes and lay down plenty of mats and bin bags in the car. The weather can change at any moment and he “just got the new interior fitted!”. Probably best not to ruin the leather seats at the expense of losing a bit of weight.

Route Three

Devils Dyke! Get your other-half involved for this one too – you’re going to park the car up in the car park and get the bikes out the back or take the train. “Why don’t you cycle there?”, I’ll cover that later. Once you’re ready, set off in any direction. There are designated routes but I always find the best challenge is a little more off the beaten track, just remember which direction you came from!

It’s a little rough under wheel and very hilly, but you’re sure to feel wide awake by the end of it. After working so hard, its only right to reward yourself with a big meal at the Devils Dyke pub. That’s why you came in the car, because cycling back after your second helping of chips is going to be impossible.

My Summer Bucket List

I thought it would be nice to continue following on from the very summery theme my blog has taken on this month with a nice bucket list. The hubby and I are still deliberating the best destination for our holiday (if it happens), so in the meantime I’ll talk about some my summer plans closer to home!

Source: Wikipedia

Tan

It doesn’t matter whether we go abroad or not this summer, nothing will stop me topping up my tan. The weather has stayed so nice that it even looks like I might get a healthier glow in the UK than I would if we went away. Alright, maybe that’s a bit far-fetched, but no one can argue against how lovely it’s been.

I honestly couldn’t be better placed for summer tan: Brighton is gorgeous. The beach is always packed on the particularly sizzling days; it does get really overcrowded, so I always opt for a spot on Hove lawns or Pavilion Gardens to beat the crowds. With that being said, the atmosphere in Brighton is always so friendly I really couldn’t care less about the thousands that take to the streets.

Hundreds of London day trippers, students and Brightonians create an incredible buzz, especially in North Laine or along the promenade. There’s no animosity or frustration, everyone is just really keen to get themselves an ice cream from Marocco’s and enjoy the sun with their family.

If you wanted a perfect example of what I’m talking about – there’s no better than…

Pride

Brighton Pride – one of my favourite days of the year!

2016 has been really depressing for news. It feels like there’s conflict all over the world, not to mention how divisive the politics has been, I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone come together again for Brighton Pride! I never knew that Brighton Pride is the biggest pride festival in the UK? It’s only a week away and I just can’t wait. I’d like to go to Preston Park this year to see the parade again – incredible outfits, even more incredible outfits and the most vibrant display of colour.

I’m planning on renting a Nikon D5 for Pride next week. Firstly, it’s only £125, which I thought was an absolute steal and secondly – it’s meant to be amazing for tracking focus and low light. There might be an unparalleled display of colour, but a sizable portion of the Pride festival attractions are situated in tents. I always find them particularly dimly lit – so I’m hoping this camera might be the best one for the job. Don’t be surprised if my pictures come out looking like they came from India’s Holi Festival! With that being said, I’m not even the most talented photographer – so don’t expect too much. I just wish I had one for my own wedding, it’s meant to be perfect for that sort of thing. I guess we’ll let the camera do the work!

Keeping Active

The temptation in this sort of weather is to eat fatty foods, drink far too much alcohol and exercise even less. Not this summer. Of course, I have the added incentive of keeping fit so that my holiday pics won’t look like the “before” pictures from a diet plan!

I’m not promising anything again though. As much as I’ve worked hard on it over the years, my self-restraint always wavers when it comes to cocktails, but I’m determined. I’ve found morning yoga sessions particularly great for me, they let me clear my head and start the day relaxed. I might even get my bike up and running again and see if I can remember how to pedal. You might think I’m a pyramid scheme saleswoman for the city of Brighton at this point, but this city is ideal for riding your bike too. There are so many parks, cycle lanes along the seafront and even the South Downs if I was feeling super healthy.

No excuses, I’m going to get it all done!