Alice Dryden (huskyteer) wrote,
Alice Dryden

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Round Britain Rally: East Sussex and Essex

The weekend's social engagements took me conveniently near two landmarks: on Saturday I was able to polish off East Sussex on the way to a friend's wedding anniversary bash, and Sunday's social ride with LAM left me within shooting distance of Essex.

In East Sussex I had already photographed the landmark itself, which required some relatively hardcore walking in Ashdown Forest, but I had neglected to take a photo of my bike with a local roadsign to prove I had ridden there.

The Forest is a spot I often visit if it's a nice day and I'm at a loose end. The roads are pretty, and the blanket 40mph limit no hardship when the views are so lovely. It is also the home of Winnie-the-Pooh, and the landscape is instantly recognisable from E. H. Shepard's drawings.

After taking my photo I journeyed through East Grinstead's horrid one-way system to my friend Marianne's house in Crawley Down, where I partied the afternoon and evening away with a bunch of complete strangers, their small children and a neighbour's dog who had popped in to see what was going on.

Sunday's ride was to Mersea Island. The weather was perfect for an outing to the seaside, and apart from a few annoying slow-moving cars the roads were ours. After the ride and an excellent pub lunch at the Victory I left the group at Battlesbridge and went hunting.

How hard can it be to head east along an estuary? Very, if you're me and your sense of direction is dubious. Face me with an unmarked T junction and I will always, always select the wrong fork. After several circuits of a town called Rayleigh which I hope never to visit again, I found myself back in the countryside and heading in the right direction.

At last signs for the village I wanted started to appear and I found myself passing idyllic-looking allotments. I made a classic wrong decision in the town, heading towards open country instead of down the High Street, but swiftly saw the error of my ways and U-turned.

There it was, my landmark, just outside the church! I parked the bike and took a pleasing photo.

It was tempting to press on into Wallasea Island just to see what it was like, but time was getting on and I steered reluctantly back to tangle with the Dartford Crossing.
Tags: bikes, round britain rally

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