Cycling around Jersey: Part Two
Up early and exploring St. Helier...
I woke up early on the Sunday morning as I only had about 6 hours to complete a loop of the island, drop the bike off and catch the bus to the airport for an early evening flight. I am always conscious of trying to do ‘too much’ on departure days and potentially create a last-minute panic at the airport.
My night in the retro hotel was comfortable and came down to the hotel restaurant for breakfast earlier than the official time. This caused a bit of a kerfuffle for the friendly waiting staff but was dealt with swiftly and smoothly in the end.
I ordered a cheese and ham platter and received just that! A plate of sliced cheeses and various hams was thrust upon me and garnished with grapes! It was all a bit random, but extremely tasty and the coffee was great.
I checked out of the hotel around 0830 and began a short cycle ride around deserted St. Helier. There were very few people around and I had the place to myself.
My initial impressions were of a small town in a British provincial county such as Dorset. The main shopping street has all of the British high street names you’d expect to see along with smaller independent businesses.
An unlikely place to find a brutalist hulk...
As I rode around, the one building that caught my eye as a fan of brutalist and modernist architecture was the former Odeon cinema. Built-in a style typical of cinema architecture of the 1960s, this is a giant hulk of art deco inspired concrete in an otherwise brick and stone town.
There was a local campaign to demolish the building in 2014, but its recent conversion into an evangelical church has safeguarded its place in St. Helier for now.
Along the Coast Road to Gorey Castle...
I started to make my way out of the town in an easterly direction by following the Coast Road towards one of Jersey’s most famous landmarks – Gorey Castle. There were a number of cyclists out just as the morning weather was starting to get warm and the early morning mist began to clear.
I slip-streamed a couple of riders heading in the same direction for most of the way and my hybrid bike was an equal match to their speed. I could have overtaken them but would have looked fairly silly waiting at a set of red traffic lights just a mile up the road.
Gorey Castle is one of Jersey’s most visited and photographed spots, so I decided to press on and climb up one of the steepest roads on the island to re-join the official cycle route to make my way back over to the north-west of the island to visit another one of the German look-out towers at Grande Nez.
Joining up with the Jersey Rouleurs...