Cycling hacks of Lewisham to tour own borough

Cross-posted from Lewisham NUJ

The Lewisham Borders cycle ride about which I wrote last month is now on the agenda. So it’s off yer arse and on the saddle…

What: Lewisham borders cycle ride
When: Sunday 17 February 2013
Meet: 10:00 @ Blackheath Pond, SE3 0RL

This will be a 41 kilometres (205 furlongs) circumnavigation of Lewisham borough.

From Blackheath Pond we head south through Lee and then west through Downham to Beckenham Place Park, where we will stop for lunch in the cheap and cheerful park café. The route continues west to Sydenham, before turning north in Crystal Palace Park.

From Crystal Palace Park we ride along Sydenham Hill to Forest Hill, then to Dulwich and Telegraph Hill. After that it’s all downhill, except where it isn’t. First northwest through New Cross, and then northeast to Greenland Dock in Rotherhithe. On reaching the river we pootle along the Lewisham Riviera as far as Convoys Wharf, at which point we turn south through Deptford, and follow the Waterlink Way to Morden Hill. After a short sharp climb we emerge on Blackheath.

What I especially like about the Lewisham borders route is that most of it is along quiet roads and through parkland. It is a little hilly in places, so the heart has to pump hard for short periods. There are a few stretches of busy main road, most notably Sydenham Hill, but it’s quite safe provided one cycles both sensibly and assertively.

The ride is organised under the auspices of the London Cycling Campaign, and will be covered by LCC’s social rides insurance. If you cycle in London, and are not already a member of LCC, you really should join. The subscription is worth it for the third-party liability insurance alone. You also get substantial discounts in local bike shops and with some online retailers.

In terms of difficulty, the ride is suitable for all who are in reasonably good condition. Lewisham is a bit hilly in places, but on this route there is nothing too difficult, and the overall pace will be low. This will not be a race reserved for owners of expensive road bikes clad in overpriced Lycra tights; we will be out to enjoy ourselves, and experience the delights of Lewisham from a perspective that for some may be unfamiliar.

Accompanied children are welcome, provided they have some road cycling experience.

We will be back before sunset, but nonetheless you should bring lights in case of poor visibility. Also wear bright clothing, wrap up warm, and bring with you basic tools such as a puncture repair kit and preferably a spare inner tube or two.

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