She said, “You must do the ride to Bexhill; Giant Sea Cabbages, Colossal Daisies. Kingdom of Beach Huts and Overgrown Cliffs.”
It was an intriguing introduction.
The ride does not disappoint. It is perfectly magical. You come off the normal path onto dusty gravel, which then turns into a kind of chain mail behind kaleidoscopic beach huts zig zagging drunkenly as far as the eye can see. Mammoth boulders breakwater the sea further up. Behind them is a metal road of drainage covers. Cycling on them makes a rhythmic bad clunking xylophone sound. The metal is so hot, my tyres are hissing on it. I don’t touch it, but I think it is egg frying temperature.
The sea cabbages are GIGANTIC. They litter the beach like big crumpled tissues discarded by the BFG*.
The sea is on one side, a train track just the other, and all the while cycling on chain mail. It feels like one is in a model town, waiting for a giant hand to come down to adjust a piece of scenery. All the scale is out and discombobulating.
Arriving at Bexhill-on-Sea does not bring a sense of normality at all. The seafront, with its Georgian balustrade and the striking Grade I listed Modernist De La Warr Pavillion only further compounds the ethereal feeling of the ride.
* Roald Dahl!