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
Martin submitted the winning design for London’s first dedicated cycle route in 1977.
Now, 43 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 a recent adventure, or from the 2015-18 archive of photos taken on reconnoitre. These are laid out chronologically below.
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
With spirits already high the next day (April 20), the first part of this ride was spent solving the conundrum of reaching the C25 from Clandon station without recourse to the busy A247. The first recce had dismissed a connecting byway as waterlogged and impassable from fallen logs and undergrowth, but here it is 2018! A gem of a section – short but very sweet. Continue reading
The website has been dormant for a while, so rather than a Pic of the Week, here are a few shots from recent rides to entice you out during these precious weeks (days!) before spring has fully sprung. First, a picnic spot on the Ayot Greenway, with my first bluebells of the season (19th April). Continue reading