The C25’s purpose is to entice the rider out beyond the metropolis into pastures new. While designing the system I was 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
Martin submitted the winning design for London’s first dedicated cycle route in 1977.
Now, 44 years on, he has worked up a network of recreational rides around the capital. During development the working title was the C25, in reference to the orbital motorway, and still in use in this blog library.
But the C25 is no more: Cycle Orbital is the new title – less auto-centric and more accurate. It will be given launch publicity when lockdown conditions are eased and the rail system is freely available. In the meantime, the website is fully operational; please visit it by clicking the logo.
The network comprises 12 Arcs, 12 Spokes, and 12 Spin-offs. That’s 800 miles of off-road and quiet cycling through varied landscapes – often beautiful, always interesting.
Please enjoy this blog library from the archive of photos taken on reconnoitre, laid out chronologically below. It has recently been updated (March 2021) with a series of lockdown posts. You can contact Martin for further information. Cycle Orbital’s website has been built by Anthony Cartmell at Fonant.
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 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