Cycling Stories

by Sarah Dobson Spotlight on Cycling

Lockdown has been a very challenging time for all but there have been some positives that have emerged, such as the amazing increase in people choosing to travel sustainably. Sales of bikes and cycling equipment have been reported to have risen 57% between March and July, with people choosing to travel more actively, improving their personal fitness and local air quality at the same time.

To celebrate, we asked Living Coast partners So Sussex and Brighton & Hove City Council to share some of their personal favourite bike rides in The Living Coast:

Nigel Greenwood, Managing Director So Sussex.

Difficulty: Intermediate – some off road with hills.

My favourite cycle is from Lewes to Brighton and back with a few detours for some favourite food stops.You start by going over Juggs Lane to Kingston (with an early stop at The Juggs in Kingston if you are already needing refreshments) then up The Ridge onto The Downs above Kingston and one of the best views in Sussex looking back towards Lewes, The Ouse Valley, Firle Beacon and High Weald AONB further North. From here there is a choice of 'bottoms' to explore including Castle Hill National Nature reserve. Heading towards Woodingdean and the Brighton racecourse there is the option to drop down to Falmer village pond and the great greengrocers there. From the racecourse you can head down into Kemp Town, pick up some food from somewhere like the Curry Leaf Cafe and have an hour or two on the beach before heading east along the undercliff path to Rottingdean. There's another great food option at Saltdean too: Thai Angle - A local guy who makes amazing Thai food and sells from his house just up from the beach.Rudyard Kipling’s house can be explored in Rottingdean or its straight back onto The Downs via the gently sloping road to Balsdean and then via more bottoms and back up onto The Ridge above Kingston. There are choices from here , but rather than going back the same way to Lewes you can drop down to Swanborough and cycle some of the (yet to be completed) Egrets Way back to Southover High St, Anne Of Cleaves and into Lewes.

Chantelle Hoppé, Rights of Way Officer, Brighton & Hove City Council.

Difficulty: Easy – flat cycle paths.

I have a couple of favourite family friendly bike rides.The first is the classic ride from Southwick, Hove or Brighton beach front along the Undercliff path to Saltdean on National Cycle Route 2. Pick up the seafront cycle path anywhere along the seafront from the Shoreham Port lock gates in Southwick, past Hove Lagoon, the King Alfred Centre or Brighton Palace Pier. Stay on the cycle lane heading East towards Brighton Marina. Here you stay just to the North side of the Marina development, going round Asda car park and onto the Undercliff path, at the base of the amazing chalk cliffs, a geological site of special scientific interest. Follow the shared path along the Undercliff, passing the beautiful wave cut chalk platform that is visible at low tide – perfect for a pit stop to investigate the rock pools. If you are in need of refreshments you will pass Ovingdean cafe along the way – a great place to stop for cake before continuing along to the beach at Saltdean. Once you’ve taken some time to explore Saltdean you can either head back the way you came, or head home along the cycle lane next to the A259 at the top of the cliffs for a change of view. This links back to National Cycle Route 2 at Brighton Marina.

A second route is a little bit longer and heads North from Shoreham, along the River Adur to Bramber Castle. In Shoreham, head onto the Downs Link route, to the West side of the Ropetackle Arts Centre, next to the Adur Estuary. Follow the Downs Link North along the banks of the Adur, passing the Old Toll Bridge, going under the A27 and passing the old cement works. The Downs Link then turns, heading further from the road and crossing the river, before heading North again, crossing the A283 Steyning Bypass until you arrive at Bramber roundabout. Take a right here to head into Bramber and explore Bramber Castle. Head home along the same route.

For those happy with a trickier ride and a few more hills, the Dyke Railway Trail up to Devil’s Dyke from Hangleton is beautiful, and links you directly onto the South Downs Way for those wanting a bigger adventure.

More cycling resources across The Living Coast:

sxbrc.org.uk/naturemap

southdowns.gov.uk

brightonandhovecyclemap.co.uk

cyclebrighton.com

elctrc.co.uk

sustrans.org.uk

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