Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Herne Bay to Dover - 27 June 2009 - 44 Miles

I have been traveling around the coast of England for many years and, having completed over 50% of the distance, I decided that the assistance of a bike would be required if the project is to be completed. In the Spring, I purchased a Dahon "Speed" ("Sturdy" or "reliable" would be a more realistic name). The bike does have the advantage of folding to a fairly small size so that it can be carried on all trains and the majority of buses. It has seven gears which make it adaptable to most terrains.

This was the second serious day out with the bike.

I arrived at Birmingham International Station before 0600, to take the first train to London. The ticket was cheap, but offset by the £6 parking charge. The train delivered me to Euston Station on time, followed by something of a hassle to negotiate the Underground with a folded bike. I eventually reached Victoria Station and caught a train to Herne Bay, arriving at 0927.

The outskirts of Herne Bay were unexciting, but soon found myself at Reculver with its attractive ruined church by the sea.

An even ride along the seafront brought me to Margate (1055) a well known resort. I did not feel inclined to linger here, but carried on to Broadstairs (1130) which was much more attractive and would deserve a second visit. I particularly liked the old world harbour area and the impressive architecture of many of its buildings. Broadstairs also has the feeling of a town which is loved and cared for by its inhabitants.

Ramsgate (1150) is a more workmanlike port, but none the less attractive for it. I sat and devoured a hot bacon butty from a local stall while I sat and watched the movements of the ferries in the harbour.

The ride to Sandwich was uninteresting, on a segregated path alongside the main road, but the arrival at 1240 was well worth the effort. Sandwich was one of the original Cinque Ports, has a lovely riverside setting and retains many of its old buildings.

Onwards to Deal, a seemingly unending seaside sprawl at 1330 after a ride against the wind past two golf courses. The way ahead now became a steady incline and moved away from the coast to reach St Margaret at Cliffe. After that effort, the descent into Dover at 1530 seemed much more straight forward.

Due to engineering works on the railway, a bus had to be taken to Folkestone, followed by a return journey to Birmingham International. On the way back, a minor mishap on the escalator resulted in a broken pedal - must be more careful in future! Since the cycling was now complete, this did not spoil things.

Photographs of the trip

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