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Pier to Eternity Sea Monsters vs Hell Lizards

Pier to Eternity fancy dress bicycle party is back!

First ride of the year is themed Sea Monsters vs Hell Lizards. After terrorising the pier, the group descended upon Hastings Old Town and ending up in Bottle Alley for ice cream courtesy of William the Conequeror. The new crowdfunded sound system is booming. You can bring your own bike radio and tune in for your own handlebar tunes too.

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Bottle Alley Bike Bomb 2017

Bottle Alley Bike Bomb

Bottle Alley Bike Bomb

First race of this year’s Bottle Alley Bike Bomb. It is a drag style race along Bottle Alley, St Leonards. The rules are:

  1. Ride anything with no motor or legs.
  2. Organisers decision is final.
  3. If you hear a whistle, STOP.
  4. If you go out of your lane, you’re disqualified.
  5. You have to wear a helmet. (We have some to lend but preferably bring your own)
  6. Start the race with one foot on the ground.
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Train in Vain

Boatman's Crossing by Nathan Thomas Jones

Say you stand by your man
Tell me something I don’t understand
You said you love me and that’s a fact
Then you left me, said you felt trapped
Well some things you can explain away
But my heartache’s in me till this day

Did you stand by me
No, not at all
Did you stand by me
No way

All the times
When we were close
I’ll remember these things the most
I see all my dreams come tumbling down
I won’t be happy without you around
So all alone I keep the wolves at bay
There is only one thing that I can say


You must explain why this must be
Did you lie when you spoke to me
Did you stand by me?
No, not at all

Now I got a job
But it don’t pay
I need new clothes
I need somewhere to stay
But without all these things I can do
But without your love I won’t make it through
But you don’t understand my point of view
I suppose there’s nothing I can do


You must explain why this must be
Did you lie when you spoke to me?

Did you stand by me?
No, not at all
Did you stand by me?
No way
Did you stand by me?
No, not at all
Did you stand by me?
No way

– The Clash

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Wonderful Life

Wonderful Life by Nathan Thomas Jones

Here I go out to sea again
The sunshine fills my hair
And dreams hang in the air
Gulls in the sky and in my blue eyes
You know it feels unfair
There’s magic everywhere

Look at me standing
Here on my own again
Up straight in the sunshine
No need to run and hide
It’s a wonderful wonderful life
No need to laugh and cry
It’s a wonderful wonderful life

The sun’s in your eyes
The heat is in your hair
They seem to hate you because you’re there
And I need a friend
Oh I need a friend to make me happy
Not stand here on my own


I need a friend
Oh I need a friend
To make me happy
Not so alone


– Black

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Bottom Bracket

bottom bracket, golden pegasus, 20,000 miles by Nathan Jones Photography

Fare the well, my bottom bracket. You’ve carried me over 24,000 miles according to my speedometer. Up and down the mountains, across a muddy gully. You never failed, you never grumbled.

With a big spanner, an enormous lever made of a bike top tube, and stubborn groans, that old bracket came loose and finally departed the Golden Pegasus.

Actually, the old piece was still more than functional, it was a actually another piece of the bike that made this bracket redundant.

I photographed it because this humble bit of mechanics is a marvel of engineering. 24,000 miles is almost the circumference of Planet Earth. The bike was second hand when I got it, so may have done more. This sturdy bit of metal never failed once, and carried me on many adventures.

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A bottle and a penny

Francesca Penny Farthing

“Can you do any tricks?” I asked.
“I’m learning the Superman, the Starfish and the Kangaroo”, she said.
“What’s this one called?”
“Sticking one’s legs out”.

Today I learned to ride this beast in Bottle Alley.

“It’s OK!”, she said, “There’s a hand’s span of headroom, we worked it out!”, waving a dainty little left hand.
“Yes, but I’m a head and a half taller than you!”

The riding height is exhilarating, although proximity of one’s head to the roof of Bottle Alley a little disconcerting.

Took to the high wheeler like a fish to water. I always wanted to ride one when I was little and imagined doing so, and what it’d be like. I think that imagination of the event meant it felt fairly natural once in the saddle.

The hard part is stopping. But then, who wants to?

Me with Penny
Portrait by Francesca Daisy Hill
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High Tide Low Tide Bike Race

High Tide Low Tide Bike Race

The High Tide Low Tide Bike Race has just a few rules. They seem to be (it’s all a bit vague), no SPD’s (clip on pedals), and no biting. It’s £5 in, winner takes all.

Beyond this, it’s first past the post in a (vague) number of laps around a (vague) course, brightly lit with LED covered sticks. It’s very pretty. It’s very dark. The tide is out and the sand is hard. There are hidden water channels, rocks and troughs.

Only one rider appears to have a headlight. It’s pitch black. Off they go on their infernal machines.

I’m doing it next time. For wins.

The Low Tide Bike Race is approximately monthly (again, vague!) and is organised by High Tide Cycles, the great bike shop in Marine Court, St Leonards-on-Sea.


The bike race meets at Bike Lab:

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Here we go on a jolly. Over the hills, through the kingdom of beach huts, land of colossal daisies and giant sea cabbages.

The autumnal day is clear, crisp and parky. The shadows are long and there is a super moon coming. The celestial mechanics clearly visible, the view of which, is unimpeded by anything over the English Channel.

Her bell tinkles as she pedals forth on the chain mail track and bumpy ribbed gritty tarmac. Tring! Tring! she trings for no obvious reason other than the joyful sound of the silver handlebar bell. “Aren’t we lucky!”, She yells as we top the hill by the coastguard hut and the vista of Bexhill in the low orange sun unfolds before us. “Aren’t we lucky!”, she yells again and again, with no obvious question mark on the sentiment.

Yes, I thought. We ARE lucky.