Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bike ride from Brighton to Ditchling Beacon, Plumpton & Lewes

So this was my third big bike ride as part of my training for Brighton to Paris, which I'm doing to raise funds for Brighton-based charity AudioActive. 

We started out on the Lewes Road at the fantastically named Vogue Gyratory then cycled up through Hollingbury (killer), up to Five Ways and onwards up Ditchling Road to the top where the golf course is (also killer). 

We then cycled over the A27 towards Ditchling Beacon, the biggest nemesis I have yet to encounter IN MY LIFE. My cycle ride wasn't helped by the fact that I was hungover (I wasn't alone), wearing inappropriate clothing and in terms of cycling, fairly unfit (apart from running marathons but that doesn't count). 

Needless to say, this expedition to a Sussex high point did not feel like a high point to me (at the time); however, now that I've put in so much work into a 3/4 hour ride, I am feeling a lot more fit for purpose when facing minor hills around Brighton - that is, apart from my main street home, Elm Grove, which I struggle to even get a third of the way up.

However, I was saved greatly by Lucozade, Skittles, Airwaves, water, a borrowed scarf, a stop off at a fab pub with great local Sussex fare (I tried the deep fried pigs ears !?), beautiful lush scenery and good company. 

The cycle from Lewes to Brighton wasn't as flat or as smooth as I'd expected, but after everything, it wasn't the worst uphill journey I'd faced that day. I have to say, the real killer for me was actually the terrifying, death defying journey down Ditchling Beacon. It was like being strapped into a horrific rollercoaster that stuck to no health and safety. While my group went freefall down the steepest incline known to man, I was trying to brake at every curve, to no avail. 

So on that note, here are a few pics from our bike ride. Unfortunately, no brilliant scenic shots, mainly due to me nearly having an asthma attack everytime we paused for water, but as I've been dubbed the Group Photographer for the trip, you can expect a continued photo blog right through our Sussex training, to the start of our epic ride and right at the end, when we arrive in Paris. And then again, when we have to cycle from Newhaven to Brighton. 

All and any donations warmly welcome to help me reach my £300 target: https://www.charitiestrust.org/members_data/event/amy-s-big-cycle-from-brighton-to-paris/index.html

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Cycling Brighton to Paris for local charity Audioactive

Many of you saw me get into the whole marathon thing last year, with a half in Brighton and a full one in Berlin, both for charity. Well this year, I'm shaking things up a bit and I'm throwing myself into a new challenge: a massive cycle ride from Brighton to Paris with a group of 5 other people. 

Once again, I'm embarking on this slightly mad adventure to raise funds for Audioactive registered charity (1123891), a Brighton-based children and young people's charity that transforms young lives through contemporary music production, urban arts and performance, and of which I'm a Trustee.

 My fundraising goal is £300. I thank you in advance for any support you can give towards my mission. To contribute, you can donate at my Charities Trust page: https://www.charitiestrust.org/members_data/event/amy-s-big-cycle-from-brighton-to-paris/index.html 

We will be setting off from Brighton on our bikes en masse on Friday 4 May, cycling to Newhaven, where we will take the ferry to Dieppe. From there, we will cycle to our first b&b in France. 

 We will then cycle all day Saturday and all day Sunday until we end up in Paris, stopping of course along the way for the night - and lunch I hope! We will then take a train back to the UK on Monday 7 May. Unless I decide to stay in Paris a few days longer - tempting! 

I got my bike (picture above) at the end of March and have since been on two 3-hour rides along the sea front, to Peacehaven and to Shoreham. This Sunday will see a monster of a ride, a 30-mile ride around Sussex. Slightly nervous as this area is so hilly. But I know I have 22 more days to really focus on training and get as fit as I can. 

 Since deciding to agree to this independently-organised group bike trip, I've learned that the London to Paris route is a well travelled one - last night I heard about the British Legion ride, which is one of three major events when Paris stops traffic in Champs Elysee and cyclists are escorted through the Arc de Triomphe (the other two events being for the French president and for Tour de France). 

 I'll be reporting on my travels with further blog posts and photos shortly. I will also put further information about our Dieppe to Paris route, which was found on the internet.

 This Sunday is also Brighton Marathon so I'm planning to go down to support the runners, I'm sure secretly wishing I was amongst them. However, there are a few people I will be cheering along and hope that the runners enjoy it as much as I did last September.

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