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Winging it… not always the best organisational strategy

23 Jun

Erin and Kate in Brighton Here’s a guest post from Erin, who recently did an interesting version of the London to Brighton ride with another friend Kate. As she explains:

Our plan was to catch the train from London to Eastbourne, camp there, cycle to a castle on the Saturday, ride to Brighton and back on the Sunday then return to London. I’m pleased to say that we managed to reach both destinations and tick off both rides. Everything else, on the other hand, went wrong.

To start with, both of us were feeling slightly ‘under the weather’ on Saturday morning (nothing to do with Friday night escapades) so we didn’t end up leaving London until around 11.30am. Our camping plans had also already failed due to a lack of tents for sale in nearby stores, so we decided a five star hotel would have to do instead. Booking this accommodation proved rather difficult however as it turned out there was a bit more happening down on the coast than we realised. The tennis was on and also the annual London to Brighton charity ride. Fortunately we found a nice wee room in the end, but did have to share a bed.

We made some lovely, die hard tennis fan friends at the hotel who had been coming to Eastbourne for the past 60 years to see the tennis. They thought we were just crazy and couldn’t understand our antipodean twang: “Where are you from young lady, because it’s obviously not from around here?” Foreigners, eh. They’re everywhere. Our friends also enlightened us to the fact that we most probably would not be able to get back to London due to a ban on bikes on trains on Sunday. Thanks South West Trains staff for informing us of this when we boarded the train to Eastbourne with bikes…

Kate and Erin at castleThe sun rose on Sunday and we decided to put this possible hiccup to the back of our minds and enjoy our ride. We had a friend who had offered us her floor to sleep on for Sunday night in Brighton, if worst came to worst. We had a lovely ride, all four seasons making an appearance. On arrival in Brighton, the atmosphere was pumping and the town packed with cyclists who had biked from London – mostly male ones. We kept getting congratulated on our achievement so ended up just claiming the compliment instead of explaining that we had just coincidently decided to ride to Brighton on the same weekend as the event.

We made it back to Eastbourne, put on our best puppy dog eyes and a kind train worker let us onto a train to Hastings. The detour was less than ideal but we got back to London eventually, riding home from Tower Bridge with huge packs and 80km of hills and rain in our legs. We learnt a few lessons, had a fun weekend and despite the lack of organisation, winging it worked out just fine in the end.”

Pearl in Brighton

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