Two counties, two churches and a pub – a North Downs cycle ride

Where: Two counties, two churches and a pub – a North Downs ride
When: Saturday 8 February 2014
Meet: 10:00 @ General Wolfe statue in Greenwich Park

Until recently, I had for some time been most active local rides leader. But no more. Since her early release from the classroom and vagaries of primary level education policy in England, the Matriarch of Lewisham Cyclists has assumed that title, and at the same time my contribution decreased markedly. The ride this Saturday may in fact be the last weekend ride that I lead for some time, the reason being that my Hertfordshire rose and I wish to spend more time with each other.

And so to the ride description…

Brought to you by the South East London Commissariat for Social Cycle Rides Planning (aka the Dog & Bell Crew), a belated Imbolc ride along one of my favourite routes around the North Downs, starting and ending in Greenwich. The ride takes the form of a widdershins loop in the shape of the British Isles, taking in Kent, Surrey, two churches and a pub. It is a medium to longish ride, at around 450 furlongs, hilly in places, but nothing particularly strenuous.

Starting from the statue of General Wolfe, by the observatory at the top of Greenwich Park, we head due south through Lewisham and Bromley boroughs towards the top of the North Downs south of Biggin Hill, and from there descend through Tatsfield down to Limpsfield, and a first stop at for a cuppa at the Tatsfield Reptile Zoo, and a second at a musical graveyard in Limpsfield village church. From Limpsfield we then proceed to Oxted, and a refuelling stop in its renowned Weatherspoons public house (good cheap beer and food).

From Oxted we head further south to Crowhurst, the furthest point on the ride, for a 4,000-year-old treat, before turning north back toward Oxted, and then east along the A25 through Westerham and Brasted. At Sundridge we leave the main road, heading northeast, with a slow climb to the top of Polhill, possibly to be overtaken by a group of geriatric club cyclists who were riding around the North Downs when Winston Churchill was on the throne.

From Polhill it’s then westish along quiet country roads to Halstead, and north down to the A21. After a short and fast spin along that ancient Kentish highway, we head north through Green Street Green, and then wend our way around the houses toward St Paul’s Cray and Chislehurst. From Chislehurst village it’s onwards to Eltham, and from there back to Greenwich Park.

Please ensure that your bikes are in working order, with tyres pumped up hard and free of embedded debris that could cause punctures. Bring a spare inner tube or two, puncture repair materials, water and snacks, and lights (essential!).

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