Today's journey was almost identical to yesterday's in mileage, but was much. much hillier. Mapometer calculates that I climbed 4026 feet! Fortunately the climb up to the crest of the north Downs at Titsey Hill (863 feet above sea level) was gradual. The other 3200 feet must have been made up of lots of shorter hills, which, as the day progressed, seemed to become more arduous.
The biggest problem today was the disintegration of my pannier bag. There is a plastic strip that hooks over the metal carrying rack. It is screwed through the canvas. Well, the screws got jolted loose by the rough surface of National Cycle Routes 1 and 22. Fortunately I found a small hardware store (the lady said they were about to shut down - and I could see why - the whole place was a muddle). I bought some string (not much help, in fact) and one of those stretchy things with hooks at either end. A bit later I passed a Halford's ( East Grinstead) and bought two more. The rest of the journey saw me with the pannier strapped on top of the luggage rack.
Lesson 1 - Rosemary Hill was right - you need some decent bits of string and wire for unseen emergencies!
Met some friendly people. The shop lady. Then an elderly gentleman (well, older than me) who gave me directions when I wandered off the cycle route in New Addington. He apologised for not having his cycle maps on him! Then the two ladies in the post office/village store at Limpsfield who sold me some lunch and stamped my Pilgrim Record. Outside the shop two passers by chatted about iPads and mobile phones.
Lesson 2 - National Cycle Route signs are a bit hit or miss. Got very confused at Catford, New Addington and some other places. Easier really with OS maps.
At Lewes, I asked directions of a young women with two children. Her little boy was looking for treasure - apparently indicated by blue crosses painted on manhole covers!
At Newhaven, I went to the ferry terminal, where a rather bemused member of staff stamped my Pilgrim Record. I'll be back in two weeks time when the journey starts in earnest. Spoke to another cyclist en route from Guildford to Paris, who was crossing on the night boat.
A hilly section out of Newhaven, but after about 4 miles, the track came down to sea level, so the final stretch into Brighton was dead easy. A mug of tea and a shower was very welcome.
Stayed with friend Richard, who used to live near St Ives, but moved to brighton in November. Beautiful top floor flat in a rather grand Victorian terrace.
Quite relieved that I managed two very long days on the trot, with not bad side effects except some slightly sore quads.
Lesson 3 - in view of the pannier problems, I've thought out a better way of packing - with two panniers insetad. One for things like food and maps I need for that day's journey, the other for emergency stuff and things I might hope not to need until I reach my day's destination.