Author Topic: Hastings Hustle


Hastings Hustle
« on: August 20, 2011 »
What: Bicycle ride

Where: London to Hastings

- It's on your bucket list, after skydiving and ruffling Boris Johnson's hair.
- You've been quarreling about all the rides you do and want to give your partner more ammunition.
- A chance to see Hastings before it's closed and everybody leaves. Or it burns down.

When: The first one [was] planned for September 10th. Meet at Trafalgar Square at 9 a.m., right in front of the National Gallery:

Or you can join at Crystal Palace in the Dinosaur Court at 10. Find the Iguanodons.

If you miss it there may be others; stay tuned.

This is weather dependent. The views are best appreciated and the hills friendlier under a benevolent sun. The final decision won't be made until the day before. If it doesn't happen, another date will be picked, then another, until it does.

We will be passing by or through or over the following:


Note that there's a bit of walking through Crystal Palace Park

The M25 (link now dead, but hover over it...)


Hills with great views

Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells

More hills


A Pyramid


1066 Country

Another hill or two

and Hastings. Here is a recent photograph:

This seaside town offers many attractions and diversions, including:

a beach-launched fishing fleet to supply the chips shops

funicular railways

intellectual pursuits


castle ruins

pier ruins

a red light district

convivial public houses

well used cycle paths

a working space shuttle

'The poor man's Brighton' has hosted over the years:

Pre-Raphaelite bro Dante Gabriel Rossetti

John Logie Baird, the inventor of television

looking a little like Norman Mailer
Whole Earth Foods co-founder Craig Sams

prolific author Catherine Cookson

the occasional pirate

a busker who sings like Dylan



This is an unsupported ride. This does not mean that if you run into problems you will be left by the side of the road to die. (Probably.) It means that there is no sag wagon and no small army of helpers to soothe your fevered brow. It's just me and whoever else comes along, providing good vibes.

I would recommend that you bring a working bicycle, a spare tube if only for ballast, whatever tools comfort you and which you actually know how to use, and a mobile phone to curse at when there is no signal.

General advice for cyclists is to eat before you get hungry — preferably several days before — and drink often so that you can mark your territory as the ride progresses.

If you want to bail out, the Hastings railway line, usually cyclist friendly, runs within swearing distance for a good portion of the journey.

Anyone who completes this ride will be eligible for an e-certificate to be treasured for generations to come.


Hastings Hustle
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2011 »
I would like to report that the first running of the Hastings Hustle went swimmingly. That's just what we would have been doing had this gone ahead today. It poured. And I've had a rethink.

After a couple of weeks promoting this at places where cyclists gather online, I've come to the conclusion that it's harder trying to rustle up riders than doing the ride itself. So I'm scaling back my ambitions, and simply offering my services as guide if this part of the country is terra incognita to you and your bike.

If you're interested, email and we'll see if we can set something up. Note that weekdays work better than weekends for me.

hastingshustle @, 'hastings' in the subject line

See also this, a thread which will come along next year on my other site.


HH: Postscript
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2011 »
Probability that anyone will get in touch about this ride: Low

Personal level of relief: High

Level of regret: High

I've never gone to so much trouble to put together a route. Faced with the prospect of being responsible for leading people into what for them might be unknown territory, I was compelled to think of their mental and physical health: too many hills might lead to despair and angry knees, which are almost as bad as angry bees. Too few hills and, you know, what's the point? You might as well be cycling to the rector's for a spot of afternoon tea.

Much of this corridor of Kent and East Sussex is familiar to me. I've cycled many times between my former home in the City to friends near Biggin Hill. After moving to Tunbridge Wells, I habitually made the trek up to Clapham where I used to work; a commute so implausible it begged to be done.

Upon shifting domicile further south to 1066 country, I got on my bike, as one must, and started riding down to the sea. The dots were finally connected.

Constructing a pleasing route out of this required me to familiarise myself with previously unfamiliar bits and go over them several times to confirm their suitability and imprint them in my muscle memory [first rule of a leader: never show hesitation].

I also worried about what kind of roads people would like to ride, rather than what works for me.

Will they be OK with cycling through the Elephant & Castle & Lurching Bus roundabout?

What is the best way from Crystal Palace to the M25? Should I take them to the foot of the Saltbox for a delicious scare then veer off with relief at the last minute to the still fearsome but less hardcore Stock Hill? Answer: take Jackass Lane instead, like generations of cyclists have discovered before.

Will they mind the Hogtrough detour around the traffic ruin'd Westerham Hill?

Will they resent that busy stretch through Southborough when they could have been approaching T. Wells via the more picturesque western route? But the view of the North Downs from Bidborough is too good to miss! Besides, the road seems safer to me, and unless we dip into the old town to fill our water bottles from the Chalybeate – which, with apologies to the chamber of commerce, looks about as appealing as drinking from the pool that accumulates underneath your bike after a ride in the rain – we'll have mostly level terrain through to the next leg of the journey.

Will the A2100 from Battle to Hastings be a nice home stretch to remember? No! Better wiggle through Crowhurst instead, and hope they don't mind those last few hills...


My basic shyness, detailed here, was also a consideration. I'm a soloist at heart. What on earth was I thinking, putting myself in a position where people would reasonably expect me to exhibit social graces? (I prepared notes to help.) And yet, something moved me to conceive of then promote this group encounter. Must have been a desire to stretch muscles which don't normally get much of a workout. Also, I love this part of the country, and was looking forward to showing it off.


  • Guest
Re: Hastings Hustle
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2011 »
Ahoy there - I might just take you up on this offer of guidance! 

I live near the dinosaurs and a ride that is not to Brighton but is to the seaside has quite some appeal.  I've got some other things lined up in the near future, but don't be surprised if I get in touch about Hastings at some point.

Paul (met on DunRun a couple of times)


Re: Hastings Hustle
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2011 »
Ahoy hoy. Bring your fixed and we might be evenly matched on the downhills.


Hastings Hustle
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2012 »
More glimpses of Hastings:

Volleyball on the beach. The good news is, they've imported real beach -- nice soft sand.
The bad news is, all the council could afford was quicksand.

Seafront arcade showcases the trouble with tribbles: throwing money at them won't make them go away.

Site of an Iron Age caravan park

Shopping precinct


Hastings Hustle
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2012 »
This is set for May 12th, to be added to the Things That Happened on May 12th list, which could use some lightening up.


Hastings Hustle
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2012 »
Weather forecast looks promising, but that's meaningless, as is any forecast beyond the next few hours, so never mind. Of more concern is my premature decision to warn the town fathers of a crush of cyclists on the 12th, prompting them to call in a level of reinforcements not seen since the invasion of the mods & rockers.

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« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2012 »