hastings old town butcher bike race

Village Bicycle, Baby

Crown Lane is a rather declivitous, or perhaps inclivitous passage in Hastings Old Town. Each year they have a bicycle race on it. A butcher’s bicycle. It is an old boneshaker of the kind Arkwright had in Open All Hours. The thing weighs twice as much as the Forth Bridge.

The rules are simple:

  1. Get up Crown Lane, Hastings Old Town as fast as possible.
  2. On a boneshaking butcher’s bike.
  3. With a ten bob note between your bum and the saddle.

There were old and young alike, boys and girls, an 84 year old man from the local Whelk (drinking) Club.

It’s quite a daunting prospect when you are sat in the saddle of the butcher’s bicycle looking at what looks like sheer tarmac. You start to pedal and it is like riding a pair of millstones. Something out of The Flintstones in fact. You want to stand and stomp the pedals, but you’ll lose the ten bob note and importantly, glory. The crowd is raging, cheering. Cameras are clicking and flashing. Everything is a blur, but it isn’t speed, because you are barely moving. It is adrenaline coursing. Don’t fall off. Don’t stop. The finishing line is there. It looks like the Pearly Gates, or maybe Hades, but You’ve made it. You can feel your thigh muscles sing Hallelujah.

My time is respectable for a virgin on the village bicycle.

I want to do it again.

Pictured is William the Conequeror, the local ice cream man. His usual vehicle is a tricycle with a big fridge on the front and an umbrella. If you see him, stop him and buy one.

Nice to bump into Dorian from Marseille Figs as I knew no one at the race and it was quite daunting taking on the local boys!

Butcher’s Bicycle race news

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