Along with Ben, Kirill and Arunas from Southsea Fixed Gear Cycling Andy and I headed out into a cold winters evening unsure quite what we were letting ourselves in for, but what a wild and wacky Wednesday the 5th of November it turned out to be!
As the train due closer we realized that this might be harder than first anticipated. The train was rammed so we all bundled onto the train in different carriages me being left lonesome (standard). We realized how lucky we were to even squeeze on. As we drew closer the train got fuller and fuller until we were bursting and packed liked sardines. I have a feeling we weren’t the only ones heading to Lewes bonfire celebrations.
On arrival in Brighton we shot down to Velo Cafe on the level to meet and start the bike train. In the distance I could see the flashing lights and hear the thumping sounds of the systems. Fortunately we just made it in time and joined on the rear.
Cycling in mass is certainly an experience to be had. You suddenly have this empowerment on the road that is hard to describe. Though, you did need to be more aware and courteous as you cycle alongside many fellow two wheeled chums. The journey took us past the University of Brighton where we collected more crazy cats including lovely “WarmShowers Lyndsay” and her posse.
The route was very well organized with lots of skilled leaders guiding us. It was great to relax and just follow the hi-viz gleaming in the dark.
When we arrived in Lewes there was an atmosphere of excitement that shortly turned into fear (for some, mainly me). When I started to notice that everyone was wearing goggles I suddenly felt very unprepared for this experience. The random fireworks and bangers being lobbed in the street was slightly worrying.
Especially because it was the menacing Dennis’s that were in the official parade chucking them. I knew this was part of the parade, but there still felt like a element of danger and a feeling that things could get out of control at any moment.
In addition to all the fire, burning touches and bangers the parade was also an unexpected and remarkable mix of drums, druids and outstanding costumes!!
It is definitely a sight to be seen though we didn’t venture into the center due to not taking a lock and the crowds were too much for our bikes to handle. Plus I was a bit of a wuzz for being slightly terrified of getting a firework in the face. So after seeing as much as we could we headed back to Brighton where we reluctantly split way. Due to my injured hip, from excessive drumming, the threat of a dreaded bus replacement service halfway and the lack of a decent light me and Andy got the train home while the others powered on through, putting another 51 miles on the clock despite the almost freezing temperatures!