UPDATE February 2012
— For a Ditchling Beacon map and gradient information, please see here:
223. Cycling on Surrey and Sussex hills – from White Down to Ditchling Beacon;
— And for return routes back to Guildford, see here:
245. London to Brighton, and back;
* * * * *
Summer. Early afternoon. A soft and unassuming heat haze rising from the lush green meadows of Sussex.
And rising too, slowly but relentlessly behind this pretty village, lies the reason that we’re here.
The most famous climb in all of southern England.
The mean city streets of London seem such a long time ago. The start in Clapham lies almost fifty miles behind us, and barely a handful more remain ahead. The countryside is peaceful. Very peaceful.
The chatter and banter of those early miles has faded now. With a myriad and more of cyclists on the road, along the classic route to Brighton – you can hear them, all the way.
Not just the whirr of spokes, the squeal of frantic brakes, or the grinding, mashing sound of crunching gears. There’s a richer, more lyrical sound to listen to, louder and more urgent still than the rhythm of the riders’ breathing.
Much more than that. Because I’ll swear that on these Sussex roads you can hear the spirit of the peloton. Continue reading