A Cyclist’s Analysis of Brighton – part 1

Evening all.

I wrote this ages ago but have only just got around to finishing it off and posting it, and it’s still not finished.

The topic of cycling in and around Brighton. I anticipate this will require a new category; I’m spending a fair chunk of my time riding on my recently purchased pedal bike, and so may have a lot to say on the matter, but that’s for future posts.

Now I see this post going something like a review of various aspects of cycling I’ve encountered, so let’s get on with it. But be warned, I may use cycling terminology which you the reader will have to look up. Firstly cycle paths and cycle lanes. From what I’ve seen on YouTube from around the country the cycle paths and lanes in Brighton seem reasonable. The ones I have used form an inverted T, up Lewes Road, all the way to Lewes in fact, and along the seafront in both directions. Except it’s not quite that simple (is it ever?). There is a continuous cycle route from just outside of Lewes to Brighton. Why it stops outside Lewes I don’t know, but it’s not too daunting mixing with cars there, and I can get up ample speed going into Lewes to earn my place on the road. It goes from there, past the University, joining the road at Coldean Lane at the traffic lights and continuing on the road all the way to Elm Grove. It’s wide enough to be comfortable, although the main uncontrolled junction at the Avenue does give opportunity to be left-hooked, as does the lights at Coombe Road. Additionally around these lights the cycle lane passes parking bays that are usually full, although the bays are quite wide and I don’t feel to vulnerable to being doored. From here to Elm Grove, there are usually a couple of cars or vans parked in the cycle lane as there is a furniture shop and several takeaways along that stretch.

From the traffic lights at Elm Grove, the quickest way to the seafront is to stay on the road and head straight down, but it’s at this point the cycle route moves off the road, running parallel on the right hand side. Although confusingly there is a cycle lane on the edge of the road to the next set of lights 50-100 yards further on, to get onto the off-road path one should take to the right hand lane at Elm Grove as if to turn right at this next set. I always feel a little uneasy of doing this as you’re bound to get the drivers who, valuing their time above anyone else’s, have taken to the outside lane, despite both lanes able to go straight, anticipating a speedy getaway, only to be faced with a slow cyclist getting in the way. The alternative is to stay on the left and either attempt to navigate two lanes of traffic to get to the cycle path on the opposite corner of the junction, or to continue on the road past the Level, sharing the road with two lanes of traffic eager to get to the traffic jam going towards the pier, and navigating an at times dangerous junction where cars love to edge out or just pull out without looking properly for cyclists.

I’ve got plenty more of these up my sleeve, but five hundred words is quite enough for now.

Jack out.


About Jack
A small-time traveller in a big-time world

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