A year of centuries 10/12

My ride for October was planned very quickly. Having not given the ride much thought, I looked at the calendar and realised I only had two weekends left and the last one was just Saturday. With only 3 possible days to get the century done, I decided to choose Sunday 24th as the weather was better.

I had no idea where I was going to ride so after a bit of thinking, I turned to Strava the day before the ride and used the Explore feature. Having ridden pretty much everywhere locally I wanted something a little different. I found a ride that was 100 miles that went out to Dungeness Nuclear Power Station in Kent and back.

After plotting the route and uploading it to my Garmin, I cleaned and lubed my bike ready for the ride. I checked the forecast and saw that it would be a warm, sunny day with practically no wind. With the clocks going back overnight that meant I got an extra hour in bed. The plan was to leave by 7am but with such an early start the day before for another ride, I didn't want to get out of bed when my alarm went off.

Running a little behind schedule, I didn't have time to make breakfast. I got out of the door by 7.07am. It was fresh (read: cold). The Garmin said the temperature was 5c. I decided to head for Subway in Bexhill as it was on my way. By the time I got there, my legs were pretty cold so I was glad I could have a stop to warm up. 15 minutes later and I was back on the road.

I headed to Hastings and the temperature was still around 5c. As you head out of the town, there's a long climb up Old London Road. This warmed me up. It's now a long downhill into Pett and then back to sea level. It's now a lovely straight smooth road to Winchelsea Beach before turning off onto the path to Rye Harbour. Rye Harbour is a beautiful nature reserve, with Camber Castle in the background. The path was practically empty even though it was 9.30am. Once I arrived at Rye Harbour village, I bought a few snacks for the ride.

The road out of the village is quite industrial and very wide. There's a shared use path, but because of the stop start nature I stayed on the road. A car driver decided to tell me I was wrong and passed close at about 60mph whilst sounding his horn even though the road was totally empty!

In no time I entered Rye and exited the other side. The road to Camber wasn't too busy. If it is, it's easy to hold cars up. Again, there is a cycle path, but this one isn't suitable for road bikes at all. You quickly ride through the village and you're now on the lonely road to Lydd. I spotted a family on bikes and one on a unicycle! The road is made of concrete sections and covered in tarmac. Where the tarmac has seeped into the joins, you get a rhythmic thud every time you ride over the joins. All the time you have an MOD firing range to your right.

As you enter the village of Lydd, you also exit East Sussex and enter Kent. As I rode past the entrance of the MOD base, I could see soldiers on the road ahead. I rode wide and passed them quickly, just in case a car approached in the opposite direction. I was soon exiting the village and riding through the Dungeness nature reserve. In the distance I could see the power station.

Dungeness is a headland that is made up mostly of shingle beach. There's not much in the hamlet of Dungeness other than a few houses, a lifeboat station, a few lighthouses, a nuclear power station, a pub and a miniature railway station. Now I've written that, it seems like a lot! I had no real intention of stopping here, I'd planned a brief stop at a shop up the road. However, the lifeboat station was having an open day. I decided to stop after taking some photos of the lighthouses and power station. The new lighthouse isn't very pretty but the old one is as you expect a lighthouse to look. It's open to the public so you can climb to the top for a elevated viewpoint of the Romney Marsh. Maybe next time. I rode back to the lifeboat station and grabbed a coffee. They had some great home-made cakes for sale, but I resisted.

After a nice break it was back on the bike and heading to New Romney. It's a fairly straight road that follows the sea, heading north. Turning left into the town I was now on my way back. It wasn't long until I was on the main A259. Lots of cars passing me close and at speed. I was glad when I turned off. I went through a village called brookland and it wasn't long before I was back in familiar territory going past Appledore turkey farm. A quick loop around the village of Appledore and I was headed down the Military Road back to Rye. This road drags for a bit. Arriving in Rye and I stopped for a bit of lunch at a cafe. A portion of chips had my name on.

Taking the elevated route, west out of Rye, towards Cock Marling, it's a steady incline. Nothing serious. You get a great view of Camber Castle in the distance but I couldn't get a great photo on my phone. After riding through Udimore, I took a right turn down Hundredhouse Lane. I've only ever ridden done it once and that was in the other direction earlier this year. I'd sort of forgotten that it's steeper this way. You start off with a fast downhill followed by a very steep climb up Ludley Hill. It was at this point I saw a mink run across the road. I see a few of these from time to time on my rides. I eventually arrived in the village of Beckley and turned left, headed back in the right direction for home. Arriving in Staplecross I stopped at the shop for some food and had a brief sit down in a nice bus shelter.

Heading south towards Cripps Corner, the road eventually bears right, heading west again and crosses the busy A21. No problems getting across for me. I was now headed for Battle. It's a bit of a climb from here and I was starting to get tired at the 85 mile mark. I arrive almost in the centre of the town but I don't have time to stop. I head along the North Trade Road towards Ashburnham and it's mostly downhill from here. One final climb through Boreham Street and then it's downhill again through Herstmonceux to Wartling. I catch a lovely sunset over the downs to my right and now I'm on the Pevensey Levels. It's flat the rest of the way home.

The day was perfect weather wise. The ride was almost wind free and the temperature was mostly good. The amount of hills was reasonably low so the ride was fairly easy.

I get home and once again my Garmin fails like it did last month. I lose my ride. 103 miles of it. All is not totally lost as I managed to get a trace of the ride from an app on my phone but it's not perfect.

Only two century rides left this year.


  1. Nice ride Toby. Was the Udimore section where we went in May?

  2. Yes, but the other way around.

  3. Excellent ride there, not far off the full dozen rides for the year. Looking back at the first time you got on a bike to work did you ever consider that you would have got to where you are now and the people that you have met on the way? You are an inspiration to everyone as to what someone can achieve if they try. Hope to ride with you at some point down the line.

  4. Thanks for the kind comments Stuart. I didn't have very high hopes at all when I started. I didn't even think I could ever ride my full 20 mile round trip commute in a day. The people I've met along the way have inspired me in different ways, for example, Hamish gave me the idea for the year of centuries challenge.

    I look forward to riding with you in the near future.


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