The double Herne: Herne Hill to Herne Bay

After talking about it for some time, yesterday I went for a ride with my brothers, plus Bernie. We’d pondered where to go – suggestions included Brighton, Cambridge, Canterbury and laps of Richmond Park (down with laps!). Eventually we decided on the seaside, and I am a fan of symmetry and things that have a nice ring to them so I thought “why not Herne Hill to Herne Bay?”. Of course, it helps that Herne Hill is near my house…

The original plan was to leave at 8am. I pushed this back to 9.30. We eventually met after 10, and sat about eating pastries and drinking coffee for a while. Then we went to the velodrome for a bit. So we didn’t really leave Herne Hill until 11. But we had borrowed a Garmin, which meant that the likelihood of us actually reaching Herne Bay was significantly better than using the 5 sheets of A4 paper I’d printed out. This was the route.

The first part of the route was the dull getting-out-of-London bit. This involved the south circular and the joys of Bexleyheath and Dartford. Before Dartford I managed to choke on a piece of blossom, pretty unpleasant. So far so good.

We stopped at a beautiful field of yellow oil seed rape, and while we admired the view, C announced that he was going to take a piss. We managed to get lost both as a group and as individuals. And there were several stops, including one for marshmallows and apple tango (I would not recommend this), one because J was “just too hungry to carry on” and one because J noticed halfway down a big hill that his handlebars had come loose.

Rochester was the halfway point and we celebrated by getting extremely lost. Some absolute chunt of a driver blared his horn at us going over a bridge. We filled our boots with “historic” Rochester, we headed back onto smaller roads. When I’d looked at the route, the second half seemed pretty flat, but I completely underestimated Basser Hill, a fairly disgusting incline. Great views from the top almost, but not quite, made up for it.

After that, we trundled on towards Faversham (and more food stops), taking a detour into a very conviently located Sainsbury’s to use their loos. I thought I could smell the sea, and sure enough as we headed to Whitstable I spotted some beach huts. The wind along the coast was entirely unwanted but the first sign saying Herne Bay was a welcome sight.

We finished on the sea front, pint in hand. Some West Ham fans walked past and shouted at C that he looked like an Arsenal fan thanks to his incredibly matchy red-and-white clothes/bike (this was a top-5 moment).

Tally for the day:
Miles: approx 70 (strava recording stopped at Faversham as I forgot to charge my phone before leaving)
Food consumed: 3 bags Jelly Babies, lots of cereal bars, dried fruit, marshmallows
Bees in ears: 2
Weird creaking noise that I worked out was my knee: 1
Jokes made about J’s “period correct” Merkx: countless
Number of pubs seen called “The Ship Inn”: 5

Photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hatapota/sets/72157629817622364/

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