It is a beautiful May day, and no C25 rides for some while. Time to get the glamour bike out and give it a spin. This is what the C25 can conjure up in a short afternoon: a 15-miler from Elstree to Rickmansworth, home and back in two and half hours. How’s that possible? Continue reading
Martin submitted the winning design for London’s first dedicated cycle route in 1977.
Now, 40 years on, the ground survey and GPS mapping of a system of recreational rides around the capital’s urban periphery is complete. The route comprises 12 arcs, 12 spokes, and 12 spin-offs. In total, it covers more than 750 miles of off-road and quiet cycling through varied landscapes – often beautiful, always interesting.
In a reference to the London orbital motorway, the M25, this cycle route system will be the C25. While the project is in development I have developed a blog library of 40 snapshots, taken from a recent adventure, or from the 2015-17 archive of photos taken on reconnoitre. These are laid out chronologically below.
Martin’s winning design in the Greater London Council’s competition to initiate 1000 miles of dedicated cycle routes. Evening Standard, February 1978
The C25’s purpose is to entice the rider out beyond the metropolis into pastures new, and while designing the system I was acutely aware of the importance of noting potential hazards along the way. Last week, out of the blue, I was thrown by a potholed rut between the surface of the approach lane and the main A40 carriageway in Beaconsfield, and left unconscious by the roadside for 20 minutes. Continue reading
It starts so well. Straight off the train at Rainham (20 minutes from Fenchurch St) you can take a coffee at Rainham Hall (NT) before setting off on five miles of prime offroad cycling – and superb birdwatching – along the Thames to the RSPB centre at Purfleet. Thereafter, in order to reach the destination of Tilbury Fort, significant obstacles as well as fascinating discoveries lie ahead. Continue reading
To conclude final checks of the C25, I have ridden the twelve Spinoffs. The climb to Pink Hill (235m) is up the beautifully graded and picturesque Bryant’s Bottom, followed by an exhilarating descent to Princes Risborough and concluding here just beyond the charming hamlet of Horsenden, where the Phoenix Trail takes over. Continue reading
To conclude final checks of the C25, I have ridden the twelve Spinoffs. This is the Thames valley NCN4 route to Reading, largely flat of course, but here at leafy Bowsey Hill the spinoff concludes in a short but quite rigorous offroad climb. There is a choice after the descent to Crazies Hill; Continue reading
No longer a man-on-a-mission (the recce of the C25 involved over well over 2000 miles of pedalling), now there is more opportunity to check out places to visit en route. Hatchlands (National Trust) was a revelation, and I urge any classical music or art lover cyclists to brake hard after the descent from Shere to Clandon. Continue reading
A mid-May ride from Hayes to Gatwick may sound unpromising, but the surprises en route are not confined to Andean mammals – which are in any case becoming commonplace. Despite ending in the Arrivals Hall of South Terminal Continue reading
This detour climbs to the site of the ancient hunting palace of Havering-atte-Bower, Continue reading
Later that day: from Clandon I climbed the hill to the North Downs Way, and checked the condition of the old drove road from Hollister Farm to Ranmore Common through forested Netley Heath. This is the C25 at its most remote by far – a precious stretch, so I was anxious to see if riding conditions were adequate after a very wet, cold early spring. Continue reading