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!
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.
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!
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.
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.