Tuesday, June 19, 2007

a burger in brighton

i cycled to brighton for a burger on sunday. it's a very long way to go for a burger.

the reason for this insanity was the annual British Heart Foundation’s London to Brighton charity bike ride. the good people at slavedrivers inc had organized a team to cycle and raise funds for DebRA, and i convinced O to go with me. i had dusted the cobwebs off my bike, stuck my sponsorship form on the vending machine at work, and very generous people sponsored my ride. we were all set. or so we thought.

had we thought more sensibly about it, we might have concluded that it probably wasn’t the best way to spend a sunday afternoon. 27,000 cyclists with extremely varying speeds and sometimes almost negligible road etiquette all cramped into tiny country roads with traffic flowing in the opposite direction. not a good thing. many ambulances passed us with their sirens blaring. some were preceded by policemen on a loud hailer yelling at everyone to keep left and announcing the severity of the accident ahead. one in particular announced that a rider was having a heart attack which was a little ironic as this was a ride in aid of heart disease. O had taken a pretty bad fall on her head which resulted in an ambulance ride and emergency dental treatment and the rest of the ride was spent in deep and frantic conversation with God, hoping that O would be okay.

gripes aside, the ride to brighton was not without its merits. there is little which can compare to the experiences of turning a corner to come into full view of an entirely purple field of lavender, cruising downhill at 52.4 km/hr with the wind screaming through your helmet or cycling along the top of Ditchling Beacon* with the view of green fields below on your left and a bunch of rather unamused sheep grazing on your right. we had passed through several charming villages whose occupants plied us with bacon butties, burgers, beer, cake, squash and even a brass band. some very nice people in Ditchling held my head and fixed my bike chain as i was being treated for mild shock and a scuffed knee after being thrown off my bike onto the pavement when another cyclist swerved into my path. miraculously through divine providence, apart from my scuffed knee and O’s teeth, we were okay – we were still alive.

I had never wanted to eat a burger as much as I did when I finally reached the meeting point after an additional mile of pushing my bicycle uphill after collecting my plastic medal (and one for O) at the Brighton seafront. there wasn’t anything special about the burger - it was a standard issue slavedriver’s inc burger which had traveled all the way from london in our support vehicle. but when you’ve been thinking about this burger for the past 54 miles, nothing compares to finally being able to actually eat it.

back at slavedriver’s inc comparing battle wounds, I peered over O’s shoulder as we checked out the BHF website for information on the london-southend ride. I think we must have hurt our heads more than we’ve realized.

*of course i walked my bike most of the way up. cycling up that monster of a hill is for masochists.


Blogger Lyndis said...

you two... really! Thankful that you're alright!!

slavedrivers inc should really put more thought into safety and organisation. Tsk tsk, i'm sure if this were the US they'd (ironically) have their pants sued off.

11:05 PM  
Blogger the guvnor said...

wasn't slavedrivers inc's fault - or anyone's really - the ride was organized by BHF, and i think the only thing that made it so chaotic was that there were just TOO MANY PEOPLE. considering the 27k people, i think it could have been a lot worse :) r

12:46 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I still can't believe you rode all the way to Brighton..! Thanks for coming to the drinks last night. Do stay in touch - I'll send you my new email when I get back in mid July. I'll also eat (and take some food photos) for you when in Sydney. Jen

1:34 AM  
Blogger Jeanne said...

OMG, you cycled to Brighton?!? Well done you!! Makes my piffling 5km charity run pale into insignificance ;-) Well done to you and O and I hope the teeth and the knee heal well! Great post btw - was giggling throughout :)

4:14 AM  

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