A Travellerspoint blog

May 2012

South East England


View UK coast ride on ukextremes's travel map.

I left Norwich and headed for Lowestoft. This meant that I missed approximately 20 miles of the coast, but I more than made up that distance by heading into Norwich and back. The Ness in Lowestoft is the furthest Eastern point of the mainland UK and is the only one that is marked with something, a disk with the edge showing the bearing and distance to various points in the world. There is an industrial estate situated next to it with a large wind turbine nearby, not like the two previous extremities I visited, which just had lighthouses.
The Ness

The Ness

The Ness

The Ness


After leaving Lowestoft I realised that I needed to get a move on, the problem was reaching the ferry at Tilbury before the upcoming bank holiday weekend. Tilbury was the nearest Thames crossing point for me, otherwise I would have to ride on to Greenwich. I ended up spending the night at Marlesford and was treated to another special sunset.
Another nice sunset

Another nice sunset


I set off early so as to make the ferry by 5.30pm, it was a total of 87 miles to Tilbury and I avoided going into Felixstowe and Harwich as these roads were in and out on the same road and would have meant me missing the ferry. I made it to Tilbury with an hour to spare and then headed off into Kent. That night I made it to Rochester and was surprised to see a Russian sub moored in the river.
The Russians are invading

The Russians are invading


As I was looking for something to eat another touring cyclist asked me where it is good to camp. She was a visitor from Holland and had tried the nearby camp site only to find out it was only for caravans. They would not even let a lone female camp there for one night, shame on them. I told her that I just camp in woods or a field and that she was welcome to join me. We looked on her map and I located a suitable spot and rode the couple of miles there, set up camp and cooked an evening meal. It was nice to have some company. The only problem with the location was that it was next to the high speed rail line to Europe. Those trains are long, fast and loud, but they do not run all night luckily. I had a good nights sleep, as always, the Dutch girl not so, she said she was worried about wild camping and kept waking up. We had breakfast and rode on together for a bit, but I had to leave her to meet up with some friends.
James and Grace live in Chartham and we arranged to catch up in the lovely town of Whitstable. I hadn't seen them since they left Plymouth three years ago with their new born son Noah. Now three Noah has a big spark of life in him, James and Grace have their hands full there. I decided to have a half day and spend the night at theirs. Good decision, I had a bath, some food and a sofa to sleep on. Oh and the best thing, some good company.
Noah

Noah


Grace dropped me back to Whitstable and my bike, which I had left locked up by a pub. I was nervous about it being left, but was glad to see it was still there as I left it. I went round the coast path towards Margate even stopped off and had some cockles and mussels. Could not face those jellied ells though.
As I was climbing out of Margate I broke my chain, luckily I was carrying a spare. It was a bank holiday Sunday, so without the spare it would have meant two days of enforced rest.
You are the weakest link

You are the weakest link


Another cyclist kindly stopped to offer help, when I told him about my chain and that I had a spare he was first surprised then said it looked like I was carrying the kitchen sink anyway. I went to the nearest bench to fix my bike and on completing the task I was pleasantly surprised to see the commemoration on the bench. Thank you Bill Brooks.
Thanks Bill

Thanks Bill


I rounded the East coast of Kent and made it onto the South coast, I soon got to Dover and the white cliffs. I could see France and the ferries crossing the channel, if only I had enough money in my account and my passport I would have been on one of those boats. By this time I was enjoying my cycling so much and just wanted it to carry on. I didn't have the money, unfortunately, and had to finish the coast ride first. (Maybe that's one for 2012 though ;-) I decided to cycle along the cliff path for a bit, this was okay for a while but then I came across steps. This was the only time that I had to push my bike any sort of distance, the only other times was when I was finding a camping spot in the woods or a field.
The white cliffs

The white cliffs

Panoramic view at the white cliffs

Panoramic view at the white cliffs


Cycled on to Folkstone where the smell of good food caught my nose (actually the smell of any food catches my nose when hungry, even thought of having McDonalds at one point). There was a food stand near the sea front called Chummy's, I ordered a plate of their noodles with king prawns, the man serving said that it I would be good for the Tour de France after that, when I told him I had already done a greater distance than that and was going around the coast of Britain he was impressed. He asked if I was doing it for charity and when I told him it was for the stroke association he gave me the food for nothing, I donated the £3 that the food cost myself. So if you are ever in Folkstone I can recommend Chummy's for food, good food from kind people.
I cycled on past Dungerness power station which dominates the headland of a strange pebbled landscape with bizarre low lying plants. In fact a lot of the south coast was like this which was a great surprise to me. That night I camped at Camber near Rye, with a total of 3,050 miles behind me.

Posted by ukextremes 13:06 Archived in England Comments (0)

South Coast of England


View UK coast ride on ukextremes's travel map.

Left Camber and headed West for the first time with the sun on my back in the morning. East Sussex is quite hilly, which surprised me, there is a steep descent into Hastings and went passed a Your Speed display it read 35 mph in a 30 zone, then I saw a speed camera. I pedalled hard and coasted past the sign whilst popping the bird at the camera. I don't know if I got flashed, but I like to think that there is a photo giving someone a chuckle.
As I went through Bexhill I caught the end of a group of cyclist out on a day ride, its nice to get a tow in the slipstream, they didn't even realise I was there. The group broke up and one man from Lewes cycling club said it looked like I was on a world tour. He was quite impressed when I told him that it was only a UK one. We parted company at Eastbourne as I needed some food. Sat on the beach front and contemplated the slope up to Beachy Head. It was not actually that bad and the views were amazing, that's the thing about cycling up hills it might seem like a daunting task but the rewards are so worth it. Couldn't help thinking about the end of Quadrophenia, didn't help with all the mods riding around either.
On the road towards Brighton I got overtaken by a man on a mountain bike, I then cruised past him down a hill (simple physics, with all that weight). He then overtook me again, but to his surprise and mine I passed him going up hill. He said "bloody hell you must be fit." We stopped the macho bullshit of racing one another and cycled together, it turned out he was a archivist, I then started talking about the riots and what he thought about them and if he had been involved. "No an archivist not an anarchist." We departed in Hove and I carried on as far as Littlehampton that day. I stopped at the Cob and Pen pub because they were having a BBQ, only it had just finished but the chef had chucked the last few bits of meat onto the charcoal. Some bits didn't have very much ash on at all a little brush off and it was fine for a hungry cyclist. The locals were very welcoming and a couple of them even brought me a drink, when I asked for a good place to camp they arranged that I could stay in the beer garden, result, so I stayed for a couple more pints.
One of the best ways to get over a slight hangover is to jump on a bike and pedal for a few miles, had to stop for breakfast pretty quick though. I carried along the coast, followed it right down to Selsy along to Whittering and back to Chichester then into Portsmouth. Caught the ferry to Gosport and headed into Southampton, up the Solent down the other side and camped at Calshot (As you can tell it was not the most interesting of days) Did over 100 miles again, sort of getting good at this cycling lark now.
I left Calshot and cycled through the New Forest, never been here before and its really nice. There was some nice coastal paths and a good view of the Isle of Wight for most of my morning. The seafront in Bournemouth was good to cruise down, although bikes are not allowed, no one stopped me. I went on to Sandbanks and caught the chain ferry across the opening of Poole harbour, this saved e many miles and I met up with another cyclist. We rode on together for about five miles, then the hills kicked in. I rode onto Swanage and then Corfe Castle, then through the lanes towards Lulworth. Luckily for me the Army were not doing playing with their toys so the way was clear, I didn't fancy being target practice. I realised that a friend lived nearby so phoned Tom up and arranged to meet him in a pub in Broadmayne near Dorchester. I had a couple of pints and a good chat, then cycled back towards the coast to camp near Weymouth.
Corfe Castle

Corfe Castle

2011-08-31 15.59.43

2011-08-31 15.59.43


I left Weymouth with the two goals for the day, the first was to reach Exeter by five o'clock so I could go to a friends shop to say hi. The second was to reach my parents house in Dawlish. But first I had to cycle through Dorset and East Devon, it was a hot day and the Jurassic Coast is lumpy. The first big climb gave a huge reward, looking back along the length of Chisel Beach, what an outstanding natural phenomena. Sorry too busy enjoying the moment and getting my breath back, forgot to take a photo.
There were three more very big hills that day, going out of Lyme Regis, Seaton and Sidmouth. I can't remember which was the worst but they were all quite steep and very long. People have asked if I had to get off and push, its not really an option as it would be more difficult to push the bike than to ride it.
I made it to Exeter at about 4 o'clock, found my friends shop only to find out he had left about half an hour before. The man who was working there asked me about my trip, when I said I was doing this after my Dad had a stroke he told me he was training as a physiotherapist and worked on a stroke ward at Newton Abbot. My father was there at the same time and Luke remembered him, I love these random coincidences.
I left Exeter and went down the canal path past the Double Locks and onto Turf Locks, it was a lovely day and I was near to where I grew up. I know the canal path very well and decided to stop off at the Turf hotel to have a pint, I realised the journey was coming to an end and was trying to slow myself down and take in every moment. I met some more cyclists at the hotel and they even gave me £5 for the charity. I carried on and cycled through Dawlish Warren, passed the place where I grew up and took a little time to contemplate things by the sea. Then on to see my Mum and Dad who have moved to Dawlish since retiring and some well needed home cooking.

Posted by ukextremes 08:25 Archived in England Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 3 of 3) Page [1]