This is the inaugural Ride of the “Cycle 30” group, the start of the Around England in 30 rides. Ride 1 is around 35 miles, it goes mostly along the River Thames as it meanders down to the sea; because we will go downstream it is an easy ride without any big climbs (there are only 3 places where there is a bit of an incline). The route is very scenic, but is likely to be windy. 75 % of the route is traffic free but around 8-10 miles of the route are on soft surface track so not that suitable for road bikes, especially if you have very thin tyres. You can do the route on a road bike, if is not rainy and muddy but be prepared to walk along in a few places and don’t be too surprised if you get a puncture. There will be an alternate route along the road for road bike users if you are scared of punctures, this is along a regular “A” road not a very interesting route but it will get you to the end and quicker than the rest of the group.
The link below shows the main route including an elevation graph
(Please note by default the distance markers are shown in km, if you want to see these in miles you need to create an account on mapmyride and then you can change the setting to imperial)
This link shows the alternate route for road bike users:
Getting to the Starting Point
The starting point is the Thames Information and Learning Centre at the Thames Barrier. 1 Unity Way, London SE18 5NJ. Meet at the car park next to the Information Centre, there is a café next to the Car Park.
The nearest overground station is Charlton. The Thames barrier is less than a miles from the station. This link below shows the route from the station to the Thames Barrier Information Centre and the meeting point. http://goo.gl/maps/BLlhV
Charlton station is on the South Eastern trains and trains to Charlton come from London Bridge, Blackfrairs , Charing Cross and London Victoria. There are no restrictions on taking bikes on these trains on the weekends.
If you want to drive, there is parking at the Thames barrier information centre, it is a pay and display car park and the cost for parking is £1.50 for the day.
Meeting time is latest by 10:00am, we will start exactly at 10:15am so if you can’t get there by then you won’t find anyone at the meeting point.
We are expected to be more than 30 people, therefore riding in one big group won’t be practical as it will look like a procession and the Kent police may get worried. The route follows the National Cycle Network Route 1 (NCN 1) and is sign posted all along the way. So people can ride at their own pace along this route. Just keep looking for signs for Cycle Network 1 , it is mostly along the river until Gravesend, so when in doubt go along the river. After Gravesend it goes through the country. The towns and villages we cross are Woolwich, Thamesmead, Erith, Dartford, Ebbsfleet, Northfleet, Gravesend, Lower Higham, Upnoor and Strood, so watch out for these signs.
There will be 4 designated pit stops along the way. The pit stops are after every 8-10 miles. Each pit stop will be 20-30 minutes only. At these pit stops the group can bunch up again before moving along
It is advisable to print a copy of the route or bring a map or gps along.
The pit stops have deliberately been kept to be frequent and of short duration, so don’t expect to sit down for a proper Sunday roast on the ride. Stopping for a long lunch is not advisable as your muscles may refuse to work after such a long rest. The stops are near pubs or high street, so you can get a quick drink and a sandwich, but it is advisable to bring your lunch. The ride will end at a pub where you can get a proper meal if you wish.
The four designated pit stops are shown on the map, and they are near these pubs.
Pit Stop 1
23 High Street , Erith
This is opposite a riverside garden in Erith. You won’t miss it. It is approx. 9 miles from the start of the ride.
Pit Stop 2
The Ivy Leaf,
Kent DA1 1LS
This will be a short 15 minute stop, just before we climb up a short incline.
Pit Stop 3
The Promenade Café
This is a large spacious park area next to the river, this will be a longer schedules stop where people can buy things from the café for lunch/
Pit stop 4
Rochester, Kent ME3 7JB
This is a pub in a little village, only 5 miles from the end of the walk, this is will be a short 15 minutes stop. Please note this pub is not exactly on the route, look out for the cross road where chequers Street crosses the Lower Rochester road and go up chequers street for a few meters to get to the pub.
The appox time schedule is as follows:
10:15 am Start from Thames Barrier Information Centre
11:15 am – 11:45am: Pit Stop 1 - Erith (Runny horses)
12:30-12:45am: Pit Stop 2 : Dartford (IVY leaf)
1:45 – 2:30 pm: Pit stop 3 – Gravesend (Promenade Café)
3:15 – 3:30 pm Pit Stop 4 : Lower Higham (Railway Tavern_
4:30 pm Riverside Tavern
End of Ride
The ride finishes at the Riverside Tavern near Rochester (I know it not quote Gillingham but close).
The Riverside Tavern is a riverside pub and we can stay here to have a pint or two. Rochester town centre is less than a mile away and if people want to wander over to see the famous Rochester Catherdral they can do that. There are many good restaurants on Rochester High Street if people want to stop to have a boite/
The Riverside Tavern
Canal Road Strood,
Kent ME2 4DR
The closest train station to Riverside Tavern is Strood, Rochester Station is also less than a mile from the pub. Trains from Strood back to Charton are every 30 minutes. and if you want to go back to Victoria or Kings Cross you can ride to Rochester and take the train.
For people going back from Strood we will stagger the return to maximum 6 people per train, so some of us will have to stay a little longer at the pub.
Break-downs, getting lost, giving up or arriving late
Recognising that for this first ride, there will be many people who don’t have much long distance cycling experience, not sure if their bike is suitable, not sure how fit they are or don’t know what they are getting into, this route is planned such that it is mainly in an urban area and there is a train station every 5-6 miles.
If you have a breakdown, or realise you can’t go the distance or if you are lost, you will be able to make your way to the nearest station and go home. There will be no black marks for stopping half way.
If any of the above happens to you and there is nobody around to help you , just send me a text and follow the signs to the nearest station. In case of a breakdown the maximum distance you will have to walk is probably 2 miles.
The Stations along the way include the following, and there are signs for the stations along the route: Plumstead, Abbeywood, Belevedere, Erith, Slade Green, Dartford, Greenhithe, Gravesend, Lower Highham, Strood, Rochester.
If you are unable to make it on time, at 10am to the starting point, you can take the train to any of these stops and find your way to the route, although it might be easiest to try and meet us at the first Pit Stop which is near Erith Station.
Safety along the route is your responsibility, while the route is mostly traffic free, that doesn’t mean it is free of pedestrians and they can be more unpredictable than drivers. You will definitely need one of the following accessories, a bell, a horn, a trumpet or a loud voice.
What to bring
Here is an initial list of things you should consider while packing for this trip ; Water; Food, including lunch, chocolate energy bars ; Helmet; First aid kit ; Shinny Safety jacket ; Waterproof gear (depending on the weather forecast); Money for pint and train tickets
The ride will go ahead under most weather conditions, it will be only be cancelled if the forecast if heavy thunder showers or flood warnings.
Any other questions?
Send me a message or call me on[masked]