So I decided to ride to Brighton following an alternative route that goes through mostly backlanes and some short sections of busier roads. I followed the basic route from here which I mostly followed, although I started at Kingswood rail station to skip riding through the busier parts of London and start on quiet streets. I've plotted the route below including some course notes, I took a wrong turn at Colgate and did a bit of a diversion on some busier roads but got back on track quite quickly. I took my randonneur bike which was perfect for the job, I would have like slightly lower gearing for some of the hills; the lowest gear is 34 x 26 and some of the short sharp hills are up around 12-15% approximately.
View Kingswood to Brighton in a larger map
Much of the scenery is your typical English countryside; the haze and smell of log fires wafting from farmhouse chimneys over green pastures. There were lots of nice little proper country pubs, too bad I didn't have enough time for a proper lunch. The roads were still a little damp from the rain and there was a fair bit of horse poo on the road too, so remember to pack some mudguards.
Much of the route is quiet country backroads with very few cars, there were a few other cyclists about as well as a few horse riders. Most of these backroads are only wide enough for one car so people tended not to drive too fast anyway. I found almost all the cars very courteous, they would wait patiently until it was safe to pass and generally gave me a wide berth when passing. As I powered on towards the end my legs started to cramp up, I wasn't sure I was going to make it. Southern railways only allows bikes before 4pm on the London-Brighton route so I was in a bit of a rush as well.
There were a few hills along here and it was pretty windy as it was reasonably high up, at the top of the last hill you could see right over the the ocean, phew! After this point it was pretty much all downhill into Brighton. Once on the train I got to use the special carriage which combines the toilet as well as a bicycle storage area, there are seatbelts strapped onto the wall which you can hold your bike with.
I'll probably give it a go another time and leave it a bit earlier in the morning, overall distance is about 70km or so and took me about 4 hours including stops and getting lost a few times. Thanks for reading.