Sunday, 9 August 2015

Luton to Brighton Ride (Circuit)

Date: 8th August 2015
Distance: 248 Miles
Total Time: 6 hours approx. (without stops)

About a week ago one of our bike members created a ride out event for Saturday 8th August 2015. It was a morning ride, using the favourite A413 route to Aylesbury and back round. Meet up time was 9am at the Westminster Lodge Car Park in St. Albans.

So, I got up nice and early, popped to the post office and headed down to the meet up location. I was a little past the meet up time of 9:00am, but only by a couple of minutes. There was no-one there so I messaged the event creator (Tom), said I would wait until 9:30am and then head off. Nobody showed so I headed back home to Luton. My girlfriend was heading down to Brighton for the day by train to meet a friend and said maybe I should head down there and meet them. I said it was a bit far and would have to plan a route and so forth. However, as I rode home I thought that maybe I could create a quick route and meet up with them for a late lunch.

I got home, grabbed my Sat Nav, opened up the best biking roads website (see link on left hand side) and planned a route. I needed a combination of fast roads and good biking roads to give myself a chance of getting there within a reasonable time - for those who know me, I have a tendency to make my route up entirely of good (and somewhat smaller) biking roads which results in many miles and very long days!

So at around 11am I set off. First part of the route was the fast bit - M1, M25, A3. I got onto the M1 and all was going well - until I got onto the M25. I hit solid traffic all the way round to junction 10 (1 before the A3). Having to slow down to 40mph and a lot of filtering - I kept moving, thinking to myself it will be better once I come off the motorway. The A3 was better, until I hit the area around Guildford - which again meant more filtering. With temperatures in the mid 20s and accidents on the motorways its no wonder it was so busy.

Coming off the A3 towards Milford I took the A283 through Wormley, Chiddingfold and Northchapel to Petworth. I was heading through the South Downs National Park with lovely countryside views and very old buildings in small villages. The road itself not too challenging - nice sweeping bends and much less traffic than I had all the way here. Loads of bikes out and plenty of nods - I wasn't the only one enjoying the weather.

Petworth was a little busy. A small antiques village with a one way system in place and small bends through the main village centre. Once through and back onto the A283 it was pretty clear all the way across to Fittleworth. I took the small B2138 road that linked onto the A29 heading to Arundel. Just before the roundabout there was a cafe on the right hand side called Whiteways Cafe which was mobbed by bikers. I took the second exit onto London road, which linked me to the A27. I continued into Worthing, stopped for petrol and went along the coast on the A259 to Brighton. I found Worthing quite pleasant and relaxed, still able to enjoy the seaside, local parks and high street shopping and less than 15 miles to  the hustle and bustle of Brighton. 

I got to Brighton and found somewhere to park up near the Sainsbury's Local - time just before 2:00pm. I received a message from Tom saying he thought nobody was coming out and so got drunk the night before - no harm done :). It had taken me almost 3 hours to get there which wasn't bad at all. I met up with the girls and we wandered along the seaside to find our lunch - fish and chips of course! I was starting to regret my choice of attire - full two-piece leathers, SIDI boots and leather gloves. It was too hot for all this, but at least I was fully protected. It wouldn't have been so bad if I was just stopping my lunch... however the girls decided to go for a wander round the smaller shops in the North Laines. Over 3 hours later, a spell consisting of hunting through records and second hand stores and stopping for a cold milkshake, I left them to enjoy the rest of the afternoon and headed back to the bike to continue the second half of my circuit.

Heading out of Brighton I took the A270 to the A27 and then the A26 through Lewes. I was welcomed by the majestic view of a towering white cliff to my right hand side and again some nice sweeping roads. My route continued onto the A26 followed by the A22 to the B2026 towards Edenbridge, through Ashdown Forest. I was again treated to wonderful views of the countryside and this time some tighter bends, which were a joy on these relatively quiet roads. 

Joining the M25 just before 7:00pm I continued through the Dartford Tunnel and came off at Waltham Abbey for a break at my grandparents. Almost another 3 hours later from  catching up on some football, getting food and computer troubleshooting I headed home choosing to take the fast way back (M25/M1) rather than the back route I had originally planned, arriving at close to 11:00pm.