First and foremost, we would like to thank the Mark Evison Foundation for allowing this immense journey to happen. On Monday, 14th August, we got ready to Cycle from London Lewisham which was our starting point to Brighton. It was not exactly how we imagined it, we thought it was going to be an easy ride in the park however it was one of the most hardest yet exciting thing we have done . When we were at London Lewisham Station we were both excited and could not wait until we start our journey. We had a few weeks to organise ourselves, we went to the gym 5 days a week to increase our stamina; this sure did help! We both met at Lewisham station at 9 am. Before we cycled, we needed to purchase water for the ride. As we entered the shop, we told the man what we were doing, coincidentally the man told us that when he was young, he did the same thing which increased our motivation for the journey! We did not have a GPS, however thanks to the present technology we do have our phones which saved our lives. We thought of the craziest idea; sticking see-through sellotape onto our phones which would stick onto our bikes. Thankfully, the plan worked and turned out to be very useful! We loaded up google maps, and took the National Cycle Route which the estimated average time was 7 hours from our location to Brighton! We both looked at each other and nodded. The time was 10 am. This is where our spectacular journey had started.
2 hours passed and we decided to have a break, we stopped at a Costa in Purley Way, we spent 30 minutes there mainly to charge both of our phones to keep the phones alive to guide us through the route! The time was approx. 12:30 pm. We set out to continue our ride. The next destination from Purley Way we wanted to hit was Gatwick Airport which is approx. 20 miles. We both came across hills that were near-impossible to cycle however the gym did us justice as we did not get off our bikes to walk it. We continued pedaling and once we got to the top of a hill, it was almost like we entered Thorpe Park! It was better than roller coasters, the thrill of riding down the roads was amazing! We were going so fast downhill that it was almost as if we weren’t riding bikes, we were in cars. We have never experienced anything like this before! One thing that was always our priority is safety as it was a dangerous route. We would stay to the bike lane as it was very tempting to just go in the middle of the road when going downhill. The breeze just hit our faces and we loved every moment of it. It did not rain throughout the day which was a relief, however it was very hot. We both had jackets on and there was no space for them to go in our backpacks so we did do the whole ride with our jackets on which made the journey that much harder. We arrived at Gatwick Airport and we were proud. The time was 14:30 pm. We managed to encounter the beautiful and wonderful view of the planes landing, at one point we were right below a plane which was very close to us which was exciting.
Our next destination was Crawley, we made it to Crawley at 15:00 pm. At this point, 5 hours went by and a lot of amazing things were accomplished. The motivation to carry on was there and beyond! The drawback was we hit a forest-like route which had a very rocky path which was not good for our tires however after continuous pedaling and hope we made it out the rocky paths, and this is where our journey became even more thrilling but dangerous, however we were packed full of excitement to carry on. We hit the A23, which was very busy, cars were whizzing past us but we loved it. We were very careful on staying to the side and we also were flying by! Once again, there was a lot of hilly roads, but our motivation was to reach the top just so we could enjoy the downhill. The ratio of uphills to downhills gets outshone by the uphills. We were about an hour away from Brighton however it was impossible to carry on as our phone percentage was very low. We only had one break back in Purley Way, so we stopped for our second break which was in Hassocks! We saw a pub-like place so we decided to stop and enter to recharge our phones. It was about 17:20 pm when we arrived at the pub. We bought a cold glass of water and discussed how close we were to Brighton. We left around 17:45 pm to continue our ride, we were back onto the A23 and our journey commenced.
We finally saw the Brighton sign on the A23 and we were so relieved, we had basically arrived at Brighton but not at the main part, where the sea was so there was still a little bit more to go. We carried on cycling even though both of our groins were killing. Then it hit us, the deadliest hill of them all. It was a road hill, and it was the steepest road hill we had ever seen. This one was impossible to cycle up. When we got off our bikes to walk upwards, it felt amazing to walk after such a long ride. After a 5-minute walk upwards, we got on our bikes and our destination was one long road away, and the best thing about it was that it was a downhill one. We both rode with enjoyment and we could see the sea, we had finally arrived and the time was 19:00 pm! An incredible but very tiring 9-hour journey! We were both sweating so much, it was almost as if we were living raindrops. None of that mattered though as the view was beautiful. The sun was slowly coming down and we could not ask for nothing more! The cycle to Baggies Backpackers which was the hostel we stayed at was only 2 minutes from the pier which was amazing. As we arrived, we were both very proud but tired. We had to get a good night’s sleep to prepare for the cycle back the next day!
It was the next day, we woke up at 10 am. That nights sleep was needed for both of us! We spoke to the person that owned Baggies Backpackers and wished us good luck as we told him what we were doing and he was not only amazed, but speechless. We want to thank Baggies Backpackers for having a very nice vibe! We left Brighton at midday. The journey back was easier than the journey coming here as there was a lot of uphills coming, so we enjoyed the journey back with a lot of downhills which made our journey much quicker. We still faced uphills but not a lot which was a relief. We ended up getting back to London at 17:00 pm. The ride there was 9 hours, and the ride back was 6 hours. It felt so good to be back in London however we did miss Brighton.
By doing this ride, we had the chance to test ourselves not only physically but also mentally. We had to be determined and have hope and that was there as we did accomplish something brilliant. When times got difficult, we only saw the good from the journey and made that our priority which led us to continue and become closer to our destination! From this experience, which was only possible because of the Mark Evison Foundation, we learned that you can go very far using only a bicycle. We also learned that when you put your mind to something, you can accomplish it, no matter how hard it is, you can accomplish it. Thank you very much for this opportunity, we have honestly enjoyed every moment of it!