200mi Through the North Downs, Epping Forest, Colne Valley, and Surrey Hills
Bringing to mind Lewis Carroll caterpillars more than mountain biking, the inaugural Smoke Ring Mountain Bike Adventure is a three-day mountain bike event circling London. Running anti-clockwise around the capital, the May 2016 ride offers 200 miles’ worth of tracks in Kent, Essex, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and Berkshire.
Thanks to the heavily-developed nature of the region, the route is roughly 60% dirt and 40% road – but it does manage to rack up a total of 10,000 feet of elevation gain. Participants will camp for the event’s two nights, with luggage transfers provided each day. Campsites will include charging facilities, access to workshop and cleaning equipment, and a buffet breakfast.
On-route signage and GPX tracks will be provided, as will food and water stops. The route will apparently consist of “bridleways, byways, singletrack, quiet lanes, woodland, heathland and urban, all with a huge variety of trail surfaces including rocks, roots and river crossings.”
Entry is open now through 18th May (ten days before the event) and the £180 cost seems reasonable for a long weekend of organised riding.
Given the course description, what would the ideal Smoke Ring bike be? 29er hardtail for speed? Short-travel full-susser for big-day comfort? Or (whisper it) would a ‘cross bike give riders the tarmac edge, you masochist?