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Sussex cycle - The Ups and Downs

PUBLISHED: 14:59 28 December 2010 | UPDATED: 17:32 20 February 2013

Sussex cycle - The Ups and Downs

Sussex cycle - The Ups and Downs

Cycling is a fantastic way to get out and make the most of the beautiful Sussex countryside. This month, Si Beales leaves the city behind and heads for the open route...

Cycling is a fantastic way to get out and make the most of the beautiful Sussex countryside. This month, Si Beales leaves the city behind and heads for the open route...


If youlive in an urban area, like I do, then one of the major frustrations of cycling is how to get out into the open countryside without having to spend hours riding in traffic. Often, youve been cycling for an hour before you get to the open road. And chucking the bikes on a bike rack and heading out by car seems to somehow defeat the purpose.
Help is at hand for those living in Brighton & Hove with National Route 20, part of The Downs & Weald Cycle Route, which heads from Brighton up to Crawley. You could choose to carry on and eventually end up at the Cutty Sark in Greenwich (via Routes 21 & 2) if youre feeling brave. We settled for a fairly short Sunday morning ride.

My cycling mate, Christian, found the route through the website of the CTC (Cyclists Touring Club), an excellent organisation which has been promoting cycling since 1878. The route is well signposted from central Brighton but if you head for the main roundabout at Patcham at the start of the A23 youll find it easily.
Only the most rose-tinted of estate agents would describe this as spectacularly scenic but its a useful way of getting into the Sussex heartland whilst avoiding traffic. For the first stretch you follow the route of the A23 before heading west at Pyecombe then running along the Old London Road up to Hickstead, then on to Warninglid and Slaugham before eventually reaching Crawley.
Most of the route is on dedicated cycle paths, mixed pedestrian routes or quiet roads. And there are excellent circular routes that you can branch off onto. For example, west over to Cowfold or east towards to Ditchling Beacon (a former Tour de France climb). If you want to reduce your hill climbing then Route 20 is also a great route across the Downs as its far less exhausting than the hillier alternatives. Relatively flat, its a good route for families and those looking for something less arduous.

If you live outside the city, but along the A23 corridor, why not head into Brighton and leave the traffic behind? The city stretch towards Preston Park then on to The Level and the seafront is mostly on cycle paths. And as you return home after a few ice-creams and a turn on the Dolphin Derby, you can smile politely at the motorists stuck in their cars, knowing that youve had an environmentally friendly journey thats good for both body and mind.
For more on the CTC visit www.ctc.org.uk where you can out about membership, cycle routes, insurance, cycle training and local clubs. Another useful site is Sustrans.org.uk which has lots of routes and information for all kind of cycling, including mountain biking, which I tackle next month.


Helping children cycle safely
Advice and training is always useful for young cyclists to help with safety and road sense. Bikeability is the modern version of the Cycling Proficiency test. The website is useful for parents and teachers too with lots of advice on how to cycle safely as well as course information courses and a message board. Go to: bikeability.org.uk
and See Sis previous ride on sussex.greatbritishlife.co.uk

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