Cycling in Brighton

silhouetted cyclist

Guest post by Chris Bean

They call it London-on-Sea, so it definitely fits on this blog. Right? Good. Biking in Brighton is, well, not that different from biking in London – there are potholes, buses, taxis and gormless pedestrians to keep you amused. The whole experience is however, distinctly provincial compared to riding around London, and it does have some lovely highs – riding along the coast with the sea to one side and gorgeous Hove buildings on t’other has a certain glorious buzz to it.

What’s it like down here for bikers, then? Pretty good! The weather’s surprisingly dry (this Kiwi can’t believe how little it rains down here – NZ’s green for a reason!) and bus drivers are trained to look out for us – let them out of a bus stop and you’ll get a thumbs-up. Taxis will pull impossible U-turns, just like anywhere, but they’re mostly modern vehicles, so at least they won’t gas you.

We’ve got a few segregated bike lanes, including one the Tory council tried to remove, and the country’s only Green MP! Yes indeed! Caroline Lucas hails from here, and she’s really keen on cycling. It’s a University town – students, being cheap, are keen riders.

Beware the biker that goes to the town centre: pedestrians in the Lanes are oblivious to all forms of traffic. I’ve had people carrying children step in front of me without a care in the world. How’s this different from normal pedestrians, you ask? Well, they do it to cars and buses too – walkers rule the Lanes, and that’s how it should be. I generally get off and walk if it’s busy. If you can’t beat’em, join’em.

If you fancy getting out of town, that’s easy too – there’s the Devil’s Dyke look-out, 40 minutes or so from Brighton Station up a gradual incline. From there, you can admire the view and explore the South Downs. Or you can tootle along the sea-front in either direction – east is best though, it’s more picturesque and there’s a cycle lane for miles.

As for bike shops, there’s Sydney Street bikes in the Centre, and the ‘golden tip’ is G-whizz cycles, open on Thursday, Friday, Saturday – he operates out of a garage and he’s a committed bike nut!

Finally, if you get stuck around Kemptown on a Friday or Saturday, the DIY guys at Cranks will be happy to help you out.

Cycling is basically the only way to get around Brighton and Hove – bring your bike next time you come down and get away from the centre’s crowds! Any of you Brightonians out there got some good tips or stories?

Image via raysto Flickr

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8 Responses to Cycling in Brighton

  1. Shannon 10/01/2012 at 11:18 am #

    Thats for this post. I currently ride in London but I’m looking to move out to Brighton, and of course want to continue cycling. so this has been very insightful. thanks so much

    • Andreas 10/01/2012 at 6:33 pm #

      Hey Shannon – pleased to hear the post came in useful! Best of luck with your move in future – just 40 mins away from London!

  2. sam 10/01/2012 at 11:19 am #

    thanks for reminding us that there is an escape from cycling within the city

    best

    sam

  3. Jemma 10/01/2012 at 11:32 am #

    I lived in Brighton for 7 years so know the streets well! Here are a few tips from my experience-

    Brighton has quite a few hills so make sure you have a bike with at least 3 gears to help get you up them! T

    he seafront is a lovely ride but you will most certainly need to ring your bell for nearly the whole duration of the promenade to warn ignorant tourists that they are walking in the bike lane!

    Watch out for bike thieves, I had my bike stolen last winter and I know 3 other people who also did at the same time.

    Lastly, the most challenging thing about cycling in Brighton is the sea winds. Sometimes you find yourself cycling at walking pace when they are really bad!

  4. Corin 10/01/2012 at 11:39 am #

    When I can get up New England Road under the railway viaduct to Seven Dials on a single-speed I’ll know my legs are strong!

  5. Chris Bolton 10/01/2012 at 10:59 pm #

    I’ll be heading for Brighton next week from Reading, picking up the Downs Link from Guildford. It’s a great cycle (and walking) route along disused railway tracks and makes the transit over the Downs very easy! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Downs_Link

  6. Neil 11/01/2012 at 1:28 pm #

    I’ve lived, and cycled, here for years. I love cycling around the city but there are certainly some frustrating bits. Like cycle lanes that run for 10 feet then vanish. And the hills. Oh god the hills. Many of the steeper ones are hell getting up and terrifying coming down! On New England Road there’s a pot hole just as you enter the viaduct which means that you’re already moving at speed when you enter the dark area under the vaiduct and you almost immediately hit the pot hole. Joy! And the Laines are a problem as some are pedestrianised at the weekend and some are not – so pedestrians just behave as if they all are. Hey ho.

    The cycle along the undercliff walk from Brighton to Saltdean is a joy though! :)

  7. Feebs 24/01/2013 at 11:50 pm #

    Moved here from Wales and what a shock! aside from hearing its the “cycling capital of britain” was fairly let down, I’ve had abuse off many people and been hassled by the local plod bi-daily simply because I don’t quite know which lanes, whats pedestrian and which 1 way roads we can cycle the other way down :S – despite this its still wicked, cycling to newhaven or shoreham you get to see the coast in all its glory

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