I completed the east-most section of my cross-England bike ride on Sunday, going from Rochester to Whitstable, a major seaside resort in North Kent, on a beautifully sunny day for October. It was one of the longer days – 45 miles – but, as you would expect for the Thames/Medway, it was exceedingly flat.
I really did like Whitstable and there was some great parts on the route (see the last 10 photos on my x-England set) – the section near Colyer was really nice and uniquely “Kent”, and Newington seemed so nice that I wanted to buy a house there now (has a station on a line directly into London too) but I also passed some of the nastiest parts of the route so far. In particular, the long trawl through the industrial estates of Sittingbourne was depressing, and made Sittingbourne seem like it was entirely made of industrial estates (maybe it is?) Also, leaving Sittingbourne to the north was exceedingly grim. Some gypsies driving around in old Fords assured me that the way north was the route, but the burnt out cars and rubbish tips made me suspect something dodgy going on – so I went east instead from Sittingbourne, passing through what must be one of the most socially deprived areas in England.
Leaving Sittingbourne behind though, the approach to Whitstable was lovely, and the first glimpse of the open North Sea was a fitting end to the x-England journey. Now I just need to do the western half…