Day 85 Mon 13 June: What a fantastic prospect, a virtually traffic free first half of the day, following what must be the longest stretch of flat, smooth(ish), cycleable promenades in the country. From Brighton Marina to Littlehampton, via Shoreham harbour. Plus, I had a trick up my sleeve. I was going to fool The Wind. By setting off in an easterly direction for the first 3 miles back to Brighton Marina, where the temporary Inshore Lifeboat Station is hidden amongst thousands of yachts, behind high security guerilla-proof gates, The Wind would stick to its compulsive hindrance syndrome tendency (CHST) and swing around to the east for the day. Alas, The Wind is too clever. I knew it wasn’t going to work when I realised I’d reached Brighton ILB at around 20mph without pedalling much. Thanks Mark/Rusty Steel, for meeting me before dashing off to work on your other boat. The “Thundebirds are Go” style floating boathouse with speedy maintenance hoist is most impressive. Good luck with the new Station.
Meanwhile, back on Brighton Promenade, the cunning West Wind was waiting. By standing on the pedals to produce weight assisted max torque, I was able to reach just over half of my earlier eastbound average speed. Such a strain is not wise and cannot be maintained. Standing up only increases drag. Daft ‘though it may look, the low profile crouch, chin on stem, hands down on the drops, spinning a high cadence, is much more efficient into a relentless wind. So that’s how I spent most of the day.
Shoreham Harbour A&ILB Station is big. Very big. Biggest? Arguably. Mark, Full Time Mechanic, disagrees. He thinks Tenby’s is bigger, so it probably is. Nevertheless, this one is a monster. Would you like to have a virtual tour? Not sure if this will work but try clicking HERE . Climbing the 100+ steps from the ouside ground level to the crew room, twice, would have been enough exercise for one day. Thanks Mark (FT Mech) and Sam (crew) for the helpful comments and advice about the Glass Bridge route. Just what I needed to get me straight back on the totally exposed sea wall, all the way to Littlehampton. Oh for the wheels of a few dangerously close friends. Where’s my wind-shielding peloton?
Littlehampton ILB Station is one of seven stations operating a lifeboat funded by viewers of the BBC television programme Blue Peter. As well as providing local search and rescue coverage, crew members also provided humanitarian help during flooding in East Pakistan over 35 years ago. More recently and much more locally, their regular calls to assist boats in distress, day and night continue. Many thanks to Geoff, the boat house manager, for the cheery welcome. Best wishes to the crew, all busy at their regular jobs today, with their pagers on their belts.
Most of the last 20 miles to Selsey, today’s destination, were more sheltered. Alas, I decided to trust Little Garmin to lead the way. After 3 wrong turns down idyllic country lanes which had a habit of fizzling out at a private cul-de-sac or tyre-biting stoney track, I switched off the offending navigational aid. Garmin is clearly not from ’round ‘ere. I needed some local, insider information. And that’s when I stumbled into my saviours of the day, the Family Strudwick. Thanks for encouraging me to go against my instincts and to retrace my route, heading north for a few miles to discover the main road from Chichester to Selsey, via the longer but much easier way.
Tomorrow, Selsey All Weather Lifeboat Station