Hoo are ya? (an LCC cycle ride on Saturday 28 July 2012)

It’s about time that I began cross-posting to this blog announcements of cycle rides that I plan to lead for the London Cycling Campaign, and reports following the rides. So here goes…

Where: Greenwich to the Hoo Peninsula, and back
When: Saturday 28 July 2012
Meet: 08:00 @ Gipsy Moth pub by Cutty Sark Gardens, SE10 9LW

Er,… I almost forgot that I’m down to lead a “mystery ride” this coming Saturday, with “mystery” in this context meaning that I’d offered at the last rides planning meeting to fill a gap in the diary, and hadn’t yet decided where to go. Apologies in advance for the lack of originality, but at least I’ve chosen a ride that has proved popular in the past.

To the ride…

Brought to you by the South East London Commissariat for Social Cycle Rides Planning (aka the Dog & Bell Crew), a beginning-of-the-English-summer 130-ish kilometre spin out to and around the Hoo Peninsula: the hooknose-shaped lump separating the Thames and Medway estuaries. The peninsula is made up of sandy clay hills and marshland composed of alluvial silt, and derives its name from the Old English word for ‘spur of land’.

My aim is to set off from Greenwich by 08:20 at the latest, and set a nice easy pace to Gravesend. This is a long ride that attracts both road rats and less athletic cyclists, and there is no hurry!

The ride east out of London will follow the main road from Greenwich to Woolwich, before diverting onto slightly quieter roads through Belvedere, and rejoining the A206 at Erith. From Erith it’s on to Greenhithe, Swanscombe and Northfleet, and a stop at the seaside-like Gordon Promenade to pick up any riders coming by train to Gravesend. The promenade café should be open.

From Gravesend we cycle alongside the now disused Thames and Medway Canal, enter the Hoo Peninsula at Lower Higham, turn north up to Cliffe and Cooling, and stop for lunch at the Horseshoe and Castle pub. After passing Schloss Holland (aka Cooling Castle), we then proceed eastward to High Halstow, St Mary’s Hoo and Allhallows, there to dip our toes into the briny estuary water.

The return from the Hoo Peninsula takes us though Stoke and Kingsnorth, and thence to Gravesend, from where the weary can catch a train home to London. The remaining survivors will then join National Cycle Route #1 toward Dartford, and from there ride on to Erith, and the Thames Path back to Greenwich.

Please ensure that your bikes are in good working order, with tyres free of debris that could cause punctures. Bring lights, tools, a spare inner tube or two, and a puncture repair kit. Also pack plenty of water and energy rich snacks, especially if you are intending to do the entire 130+ kilometre ride. The weather is forecast to be fine, with a temperature of around 21 degrees, and a 10-15 km/h westerly breeze – perfect cycling conditions.

RSVP, but it’s OK to turn up unannounced on the day.

By the way, given the lack of originality referred to above, I would be most receptive to ideas for future rides, starting and ending in the Greenwich/Lewisham area, and, in the case of longer outings, with train stations en route for the tired of legs. If you are an experienced cyclist, and for insurance purposes an LCC member, you could lead such rides yourselves, but I am happy to lead them for you, or help out in other ways such as with advice on routes, etc.. All are welcome to attend our rides planning meetings. These take place on the last Wednesday of each month in the Dog & Bell pub on Prince Street, Deptford SE8, starting at 18:30.

What’s important is that we have a full diary of rides throughout the summer months, and preferably throughout the year. The Dog & Bell Crew is made up largely of Lewisham and Greenwich-based LCC members; it would be nice to have more input from Southwark and and other SE London folk.