Hastings to Bexhill cycle path – cold walks

 Well, the morning sun has streamed through my study window the last couple of days – I had to draw the curtain to keep it out. There have still been frosts, though, and it is very cold, with a continuous, bitter, icy wind.

Portrait bench on cycle path. Money better spent on tarmac?

     Yesterday we swaddled ourselves up for a  walk to Bexhill.  The fairly new cycle/pedestrian path from the end of the seafront to the Retail Park is a real design mess-up.  It is a great idea, and several cycle sale/hire places have opened up, presumably hoping for increased trade because of the new off-road route, but using the path is not good – and dangerous – for walkers, and must be ten times worse for cyclists.
      Much of the new route runs between the railway and the boulders heaped up to keep the sea at bay, and has to be shared between walkers and cyclists, with no demarcation between the two.  Walkers tend to either have dogs, be older, because it is flat, or families, because of the beach.  Many cyclists ride very fast, and think the path is theirs by right. Yesterday, a bloke whipped past us at about a million miles an hour – we nearly jumped out of our skins because we did not hear him coming up behind us. Philosopher shouted at him to slow down. He turned in his saddle, gave us the finger and let out a stream of effing and blinding, while nearly mowing down two fat dachshunds belonging to the people in front of us.  Without slowing his pace for an instant, he vanished into the distance, pursued by a chorus of angry shouts.
     Granted, that was extreme, but cyclists pose a real danger to walkers. Further on, the path descends sharply to the cafe and the tunnel to the Retail Park, past some fatuous Portrait Bench with bronze sculptures of odd bods. People emerging from the tunnel and crossing the path onto the beach cannot not possibly see cyclists charging down towards them.
      For cyclists, it must be really disagreeable. First, avoiding the walkers, their children and their dogs must be made more difficult by the surface of the path, which is absolutely useless.. Part is loose pot-holed gravel, and the long stretch by the railway is made of heavy plastic mesh, which is supposed to hold gravel, pebbles and sand into a compressed surface. It has not worked at all. The bad weather has washed all the infill away, leaving bare plastic – a ridged, yet slippery, surface. In other places, the sea has thrown drifts of pebbles on top of the mesh, which sit loose and dangerous, on its surface. Walking on the mesh is unpleasant, and I guess riding on it with an ordinary bike would be close to impossible – you would need a mountain bike. Braking must be very difficult.
    Why is there not tarmac on the path with a white line dividing walkers from cyclists?
    Anyway, our walk did not last long – by the time we reached the Retail Park we had got too cold, so gave up, had a coffee and caught the bus back again.

Snow clouds at Rye Harbour – we came home!

Our lives seem to be measured in cold walks at the moment – the day before that we had a freezing walk at Rye Harbour, which we again gave up, and today we walked across the West Hill down to town via the many flights of steps. Philosopher had noticed a shop in Queens Road that advertised old-style light bulbs.  Far too much dog-poo on those steps – the West Hill area is particularly bad for it. We were meeting friend Joe in Costa in town – he has decided to move to Hull.
     We are off to Birmingham tomorrow – showing grand daughter a good time and staying with friends Sue and Alex for a couple of nights. We are not having her to stay this holiday – the range of entertainments in Hastings when weather is like this is a bit limited.
     Anyway, to cheer up a bit of a bleak post, here, as so often, is Digby. Here he is enjoying his Easter egg. It is a special cat Easter egg from Pets at Home, made of catnip and powdered yoghurt. Talk about luxury nonsense.


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