London Lite Tuesday, 7 July 2009 13 and Jelly Baby breaks were increasingly chatty. We met Jim Davis, a 36-year-old from Worthing in West Sussex. I used to race mountain bikes at World Cup level, he told us. Guy and Franois, two friends from a London rowing club, were only going 65 miles. Being stuck inside an office is tragic so I like doing stupid mountain bike things, said Guy. But 65 miles is challenge enough. I took my second tumble around the 40-mile mark, flying over the handlebars into a field of poppies. It didnt hurt and the riders following all asked if I was okay, while stifling giggles at my comedy fall. Puttingonthebrakes AROUND mile 50, I realised my new friend Guy was right: no way would I make it to 100. Cycling uphill, again and again, became agonisingly tough. And downhill was no better. The flinty chalk was like cobblestones. At first it had been amusingly bumpy, but now it just hurt. Often it was too steep to zoom. Wed brake jarringly for ages, discarding hard-won elevation for no reward, then start climbing again. By mile 60, I was done. I couldnt pedal uphill any more. After much persuading, Patch zoomed off. Free from time pressure, I pootled on happily through the gorgeous scenery. I sat in the shade, sucked gratefully at my hydration pack, ate a pork pie and goggled happily at the view. Thebigfinish EVENTUALLY, along with many others, I finished at mile 65, and I got a medal and a T-shirt. I got a lift in a car to the 100-mile finish at Eastbourne to wait for Patch, and sat on the grass by my bike watching the finishers. The first person did it in just under 10 hours. The first woman, 37-year- old Pilar Near, took 12 hours. Normally I do fell running, she told me. Patch came in at 9pm, to big cheers from all and the closest I ever come to displaying utter admiration for another bloke -- a firm handshake, plus the gift of a chocolate milkshake and a bag of Frazzles. He was surprisingly sprightly. We then set off on the long drive home with the bikes in the back, marvelling at what a tremendous invention the motor car is. For 25 July Randonee see bhf.org.uk/events. For other routes near London, see moredirt. co.uk. For Raleigh bikes, see cyclelife.com Bike chain gang: working up a thirst for the terrific South Downs Way pubs DOWNS WAY CAN BE AS HARD AND FAST AS YOU LIKE IT Six of the best LAVERA DEODORANT SPRAY CLAIMS that chemicals in deodorant cause cancer remain unproven. But, when pleasantly scented, chemical-free deodorants are available, why smear a cocktail of unnatural, lab-created pollutants under your arm every morning? In rigorous testing, all of these totally banished BO all day. ANGUS WATSON 6.75, lavera.co.uk THE initial peppery tang quickly gives way to a mild, manly sandalwood-cum-vanilla aroma. It may sting slightly for an instant, but witch hazel, sage and other soothing ingredients will soon remedy that. 19.99, naturalfigure.co.uk ITS a bit of steel that you rub on to damp armpits. Apparently steel changes the shape of smell molecules, rendering them odourless. Yeah, right! you might argue, but it really works, and it will last forever. 6.50, nealsyardremedies.com WITH this lemon and coriander mix youll smell like a Jamie Oliver curry for about five minutes, before it settles into subtle but delicious day-long protection. Be aware that girlfriends, wives and other admirers may want to lick your armpits. 14.68, theorganicpharmacy.com THIS smells both expensive, and nose- tinglingly clean and fresh, like a herb garden on a hot, breezy day. Great for posh nights out, and it looks sophisticated on the bathroom shelf. 6.84, greenpeople.co.uk THE only roll-on here, so good for less co-ordinated people whose eyes are endangered by badly aimed spray deodorants. Smells like well-chewed chewing gum mixed with fresh mint. Very effective. 7.79, calmncomfy.co.uk THIS chunk of potassium alum leaves a coat of anti-bacterial crystals on damp underarms (and feet if appropriate), which kills stinky bacteria. Its odour-free, but will banish BO and cheesy feet for 24 hours. ZIELONKA BODYSTICK NEALS YARD REMEDIES ORGANIC PHARMACY SPRAY GREEN PEOPLE ORGANIC TAWAS CRYSTAL DEODORANT chemical-freedeodorants English Channel Winchester Eastbourne Brighton Alfriston Amberley Cocking South Harting 10 miles TAKE THE CHALLENGE AND PLAN YOUR OWN ROUTE 25-mile rest stop: The Ship Inn or The White Hart 35-mile rest stop: The Greyhound Inn 45-mile rest stop: The Sportsman 91-mile rest stop: The George Inn index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html