Off Road Cross Country / CX route from London

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  • Off Road Cross Country / CX route from London
  • fakiee
    Member

    Hi,

    I have planned (not very well) a ride from London to Brighton Off Road on June 17th only to realise its the same day as the official BHF on road route, so getting back on trains that day will be a nightmare.

    Any suggestions as to alternative off road routes out from London(+/- 30 miles) that we could take.  Will be a mix of MTBs and CX riders.

    Thanks!

    Premier Icon bikebouy
    Subscriber

    Follow Rapha’s Hell of the North route.

    Plenty of maps on Strava to download..

    belugabob
    Member

    I always try to get the train out and ride back, to avoid getting stranded.

    With this in mind, my suggestion would be…

    Train to Luton airport parkway

    Sustrans routes all the way back to London, via Harpenden, Hertford, Welwyn Garden City and the Lee valley navigation.

    Lunch stop at the cafe at Hoddesdon then depending on where in London you live, finish up down the Isle of Dogs, or along the north bank of the Thames to Tower bridge.

    Now, this is mostly cycle paths and canal-side gravel, so may not be your idea of an off road ride, but it’s a great day out, taking in quite a variety of environments in its 50-ish miles.

    Check out my ride on Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/1064472757/shareable_images/map_based?hl=en-US&v=1499021827

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Subscriber

    Train out to Farnham (every other one is direct from Waterloo, otherwise change at Woking) in about 60 mins.

    Farnham, get on the NDW – some road and bits of footpath where you should use the road but mainly bridleway as far as Guildford, then you could get on the Wey navigation up to Weybridge / Walton where you can then get the Thames path into London.

    Not challenging technically, some hills around the western end and then flat, but it is distance wise quite a trek (42 miles driving via mainly direct routes so allowing for meanders would be I’d guess 50+, maybe closer to 60?)

    dovebiker
    Member

    To add to  otherjonv’s post, if you take the train to Liss or Petersfield, head north on the Shipwright’s Way to Bentley, either NDW/Wey Navigation or head north from Bentley to pick up the Basingstoke Canal which then joins the Wey Navigation / Thames Towpath.

    Bit further / another option would be train to Winchester, head down the Itchen Valley and pick-up the Oxdrove / various bridleways to join the end of the Basingstoke Canal at Greywell, and take the towpath to join the Wey Navigation / Thames towpath at Weybridge.

    Premier Icon oysterkite
    Subscriber

    Downs Link trail goes all the way from just outside Guildford to Shoreham, it’s an old railway line, dead easy to follow and ideal for cx (you can then ride along the coast to Brighton or take the SDW behind the Downs)

    coconut
    Member

    You can pick up Sustrans NCN rotue 4 at Putney Bridge and head out over Richmond Park, Kingston, Staines, Windsor to Reading. The road winds around a lot but is 85% off road.

    Premier Icon senor j
    Subscriber

    Bikebuoy’s suggestion is good.90% of my riding is in and around Herts. Perfect for cx tastic fun. It’s quiteeasy to make a decent loop using rapha route,Lea valley canal up to Hertford,sustrans to Welwyn and the worlds is your oyster using chilterns cycleway-loads of bways codicote/ayot st Lawrence/whitewell/Preston out to junction 12 of the m1/hitchin.

    aP
    Member

    Where are you starting from?

    Solutions will result from that.

    fakiee
    Member

    Thanks for all the suggestions!

    @bikebouy

    Rapha’s Hell of the North route looks great, well definitely give this a go! Is it off road / gravel or road riding?

    @belugabob

    Yes you make a good point, we’ve come unstuck a few times when reaching a destination only to find trains fckd then struggling to get back.

    The route suggested is an excellent idea, I live nr Greenwich.  Will definitely give this a try one weekend.  The canal paths are well suited to beginner riders as well so as they are normally put off by roads.

    @theotherjonv

    Another great suggestion, and sounds well suited for mixed ability riders and bikes.  Will see if I can piece together a gpx route, always nice ride back into London

    @oysterkite

    Shorham is a good suggestions as could probably follow some of the L2B off road route, then veer off to Shoreham or Worthing for the train back.

    @coconut

    I’ve done the Windsor Canal/Road which are fun as its so flat. Never knew there were more off road options to Reading so will take a look.

    @senor j

    Yeah the Hell of the North sounds great, I think I’ll do this one with a few of my mates into CX.  The ride I’m planning will have mixed abilities so looking to keep it fairly easy.

    Lots to go on so should be able to work a decent route out.

    belugabob
    Member

    @fakiee

    I’d give Shoreham swerve during the BHF event, as trains from that area to London are likely to be affected by any bike restrictions that are in force

    As far as the Luton route is concerned, you might want to adjust it, for your beginners, to avoid the only sharp climb that it contains. Not long after the cafe at Hoddesdon, the official route hangs a left, then (a short time later, goes up and over the only hill for miles- see zigzag part of route trace) this can be avoided by sticking to the canal, and merging back to the route after the hill

    fakiee
    Member

    Thanks Belugabob, yeah good point to avoid the south coast on that weekend. Noted on the hill for the ride back along the canals.

    I’d love to get piece together an off road route to from outer London / South East that follows the pilgrims way, then onto the crab and winkle way into Whistable.

    Premier Icon El Vino
    Subscriber

    https://www.strava.com/activities/1241974433

    This route uses the Thames path and the canal system to get to the start of the Downs Link at Guilford, Only road section was Shoreham to Brighton

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Subscriber

    @theotherjonv

    Another great suggestion, and sounds well suited for mixed ability riders and bikes.  Will see if I can piece together a gpx route, always nice ride back into London

    I might see if I can RidewithGPS one a bit later.

    Premier Icon The Pinkster
    Subscriber

    Possibly a daft question but rather than getting the train back from Brighton couldn’t you get the train to Brighton and cycle back to London on that date, following the same route but in reverse?

    Premier Icon nedrapier
    Subscriber

    L2B off Road to the NDW,. then follow NDW west to Puttenham, south through Puttenham common, Hankley or Thursley common, up round Devils Punchbowl and down Hindhead common to Haslemere and trains back.  About 55 miles I think.

    Shorter: come off the NDW at Guildford for trains home. 30ish.

    Longer from Haslemere: carry on south west through Linchmere, over to Weavers Down to Liphook and trains, or down through and Rogate and  QECP and Trains from Petersfield, or carry on East on SDW to Winchester and Trains home.

    Or through Linchmere, then straight south over Iron Hill then on to Cocking, pick up SDW east to Petersfield/ Winchester

    Premier Icon jimdubleyou
    Subscriber

    Bookmarked: London CX routes

    fakiee
    Member

    @pinkster Thats the kinda genius im looking for!  Haha, yeah I think that could be a great option!

    Premier Icon benp1
    Subscriber

    The Rapha HotN ride usually finishes in my home town in North London, but I’ve never actually managed to get on one of the rides, the places go like hot cakes.

    It’s offroad for sections with sections of road in between but it’s not technical at all, just standard mud/soil based bridleway. There’s usually the odd pink ribbon knocking about after they’ve cleared/finished

    belugabob
    Member

    @pinkster Thats the kinda genius im looking for!  Haha, yeah I think that could be a great option!

    Be careful with this, too, as there tends to be a blanket embargo on bikes, all day long, on routes that would be useful during mass participation events (so it’s not simply a matter of avoiding the crowds)

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Subscriber

    plus you could be riding up the L2B route as several hundred people ride down it in the other direction. Depends how much you like playing Frogger……

    fakiee
    Member

    Be careful with this, too, as there tends to be a blanket embargo on bikes, all day long, on routes that would be useful during mass participation events (so it’s not simply a matter of avoiding the crowds)

    The plan was to get the train from London Bridge around 8:30 in the morning, I can’t imagine they’ll be banning bikes on the train here?

    plus you could be riding up the L2B route as several hundred people ride down it in the other direction. Depends how much you like playing Frogger……

    We will be following the off road route back to Brighton so didn’t think we would cross paths with the road lot coming the other way?

    belugabob
    Member

    , I can’t imagine they’ll be banning bikes on the train here?

    Never try to second guess the train companies – they’ve been doing it for much longer than you have, and have got it down to a fine art. (Where ‘it’ is working out how to subvert the plans of other people)

    fakiee
    Member

    Never try to second guess the train companies – they’ve been doing it for much longer than you have, and have got it down to a fine art. (Where ‘it’ is working out how to subvert the plans of other people)

    Yeah point take, they do like to f things up for the sake of it!

    I’m riding 40 miles from Welwyn to Cambridge along the Ickneild way on Sunday, depending on the terrain I might just extend this to start from Stratford and ride all the way into Cambridge.

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Subscriber

    We will be following the off road route back to Brighton so didn’t think we would cross paths with the road lot coming the other way?

    My mistake, for some reason thought they were the same day, clearly not!

    fakiee
    Member

    TL;DR

    Luton to London gravel and canals, thanks to @belugabob

    https://www.strava.com/activities/1064472757

     

    Welwyn to Cambridge via the Icknield way,

    This could be linked to @belugabobs ride to take you from London to Cambridge all the way using off road (AFAIK)

    https://ridewithgps.com/routes/27512220

     

    Rapha Hell of the North, Gravel & Road grinder, thanks to @bikebouy

    Search Strava/RWGPS for different versions

    https://ridewithgps.com/routes/317213

    Hot Chilli off Road London to Brighton, thanks @El Vino

    Slight variation from the BHF route.  I think this route ties into @theotherjonv suggestion of getting out to Farnham then heading back to London via Wey navigation?- Just pick that point in the trail nr Farnham and go in reverse.

    https://ridewithgps.com/routes/27530444

    Guildford to Shoreham / Brighton, thanks to @oysterkite

    I think this takes on part of the London to Brighton off road route via Shoreham

    http://www.cyclingfromguildford.co.uk/route3.html

    Petersfield to London

    Nice suggestion from @dovebiker to ride from Petersfield/Liss heading North on the Shiprights Way, then link onto the Wey Navigation back into London.  I don’t have a map for this one.

     

    London to Windsor / Reading

    @coconut I’m aware of the London to Windsor loop as it’s a popular charity event, but I can’t work out the off road version and links to Reading.  Any info on this route would be great.  The road/Thames path version:

    https://www.strava.com/local/uk/london/cycling/routes/124

    aP
    Member

    We’re going out tomorrow morning from Richmond via Littleworth Common and Polesden Lacey to Newlands Corner and then around and about returning probably along the Wey Navigation and then the Thames Path. It’ll be mixed road/ dirt. With ice cream. About 100km.

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