Cycle ride: Dr Hoo’s pre-Dunwich Burn

What: Dr Hoo’s pre-Dunwich Burn
When: Saturday 13 July 2013
Meet: 08:00 @ Cutty Sark Gardens, SE10 9LW

NB: Early start time – 08:00!!

This coming weekend is the final one before the Dunwich Dynamo, and I’ve lost count of the number of people who’ve commented to me that they need to get some serious distance units in before that epic ride. So, let’s put our feet where our mouths are (!?), and do a nice long ride on Saturday in order to loosen up the muscles for the following weekend.

Hoo Peninsula

The Dog & Bell Crew therefore presents “Dr Hoo’s pre-Dunwich Burn”, being a 130-kilometre (650 furlongs) spin out to and around the Hoo Peninsula, the hooknose-shaped lump separating the Thames and Medway estuaries. The Hoo 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’.

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

From Gravesend we follow the old Thames and Medway canal, enter the Hoo Peninsula at Lower Higham, and turn north up to Cliffe and Cooling before stopping for lunch at the Horseshoe and Castle pub. After passing Schloss Holland (aka Cooling Castle) we proceed eastward to High Halstow, St Mary Hoo and Allhallows, where, if the tide is in, the brave can dip their toes in the briny estuary water (at your own risk: standards disclaimers apply!).

The return from the Hoo Peninsula takes us though Stoke, Kingsnorth and Chattenden, and then northwest along National Cycle Route #1 back toward Gravesend.

From Gravesend we continue on NCR #1 to Dartford and Erith, and the final 25 kilometre stretch will be along the Thames Path to Greenwich. Those unwilling or unable to continue past Gravesend can catch a train home from there.

Please ensure that your bikes are in good working order, with tyres pumped up hard and free of debris that could cause punctures. Essential: tools, lights, in case of poor visibility, 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.

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