Author Topic: Independence Day


Independence Day
« on: June 15, 2012 »
What: Hastings Hustle II: Independence Day. Click here for prequel.

Where: London to Hastings

When: Not the 4th of July: the 14th. (The Queen doesn't officially celebrate her birthday on her birthday, either.) If the weather is poor, we'll try the 21st.

Why: To commemorate independence and the striving of people everywhere for freedom.

No really, why?: I like hills and it's a good excuse for a cruise through history and some splendid countryside.

Meeting place: Somerset House, across the river from where Critical Mass meets, because I like irony, too.
Appropriately enough this also used to be HQ for the tax office.

one I made earlier

Itinerary: See prequel thread. In addition, this time we will be passing Down House, home of Charles Darwin, misguided eminent Victorian and inventor of the Darwin Award. Here we'll pause for a moment's silence to mourn Texas, the missing link between church and state.

Which bike: Bring something with a granny gear, unless you want a challenge.

Living In America
Sail Away
The Star Spangled Banner
Born in the USA
Pink Houses
American Pie


Survival of the flattest
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2012 »
Recon mission. At Crystal Palace Park I run into a guy (not literally) on a mobility scooter who raced in the 50s pushing a big fixed wheel. Codename Sisyphus tells me his back and knees are wrecked. He then admires the welds on my bike, which isn't something I can take credit for.

Pass a small herd of Megaloceros. They shouldn't be a problem as long as they aren't startled.

My main area of interest this day is Down House, further south. I explore the possible routes incorporating it.

Confirm the impossibility of cranking my singlespeed velocipede up one of the short but deadly hills on offer.

Visit James Wolfe in Westerham. We discuss the capture of Quebec, which he insists was worth the three musket balls he might have avoided if evolution hadn't favoured him with the uprighteous blessings of bipedalism. I remind him of his declaration to his officers: "Gentlemen, I would rather have written that poem [Gray's Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard] than take Quebec tomorrow," which ends with the narrator mourning a cyclist who took on too great an incline:

One morn I miss'd him on the custom'd hill,
Along the heath and near his fav'rite tree;
Another came; nor yet beside the rill,
Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he;
The next with dirges due in sad array
Slow thro' the church-way path we saw him borne.
Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay,
Grav'd on the stone beneath yon aged thorn.

Also inform him that, speaking as an American, the French were later helpful to us.

Carry on home to contemplate history poetry the refrigerator.


Independence Day
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2012 »
As the nation of my birth celebrates its birthday, I thought it appropriate to highlight key moments of some of the men at the helm.

President Obama signing a bill honoring one gear

President Cheney outlaws spokey dokes

Clinton was hoping for an Il Pompino

Bush: "Read my lips: No new bike lanes"

Future president Ronald Reagan putting on a brave face after Virginia Mayo takes Bonzo's place as stoker

Jimmy Carter tackles the important issues in a seminal 1976 Playboy interview

Gerald Ford causes a diplomatic incident by telling the Queen he'd like to give her a ride


twinned hills
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2012 »

Some hills along the way, with their honorary twins in the States:

Denmark Hill
We don't go very far up this. If we carried on we'd end up on Herne Hill with its famed velodrome; instead we'll be scaling the sleeping policemen on Champion Hill.
twinned with Capitol Hill

Hogtrough Hill
Westerham Hill would be more direct, but Hogtrough offers a much more peaceful decent, to better enjoy the view. Also worthwhile is the spin along Pilgrims' Way, "the historic route supposed to have been taken by pilgrims from Winchester to the shrine of Thomas Becket at Canterbury in Kent" which closely follows "a pre-existing ancient trackway dated by archaeological finds to 500–450 BC, but probably in existence since the stone age."
twinned with Nob Hill, a neighborhood in San Francisco

Hosey Hill
Proof that what goes down (Hogtrough) must come back up. Leads to Churchill's Chartwell.
twinned with Bunker Hill

Rogues Hill
After passing the medieval Penshurst Place, the climb to Bidborough, with its front row seat to the North Downs, begins here.
twinned with George Roy Hill, director of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Bartley Hill Road
Actually it's Bartley Mill Road. Two hills in quick succession because one is never enough.
twinned with Hill Street Blues.

Kings Hill Road
The only thing that stands between Burwash and that pyramid. The elevation is up there with Ditchling Beacon; fortunately you get an extra mile to enjoy the climb.
twinned with the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore

Cackle Street
This goes gloriously down from Brightling, but a reminder that the hills aren't quite over swiftly follows, so,
twinned with Heartbreak Hill, infamous incline near the end of the Boston Marathon