Ride 1: Thames Barrier to Gillingham (Kent) - 35 miles

The Ride

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

http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/194439338

(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:

http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/195344066.

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.

The Route 

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.

Pit-Stops

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
Runny Horses
23 High Street , Erith
DA8 1QY

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,
Darenth Rd,
Dartford,
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
Gravesend

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

Railway Tavern
Chequers St
Lower Highham
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.

 

 

 

Time Schedule

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,
Rochester,
Kent ME2 4DR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting home:

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

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

Weather

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]

Join or login to comment.

  • marie C.

    Hi,
    Lovely to meet you all & thank you Vineet, sadly cristina and I had to finish at Grevesend due to a puncture. I really enjoyed it and realise I have much work to do, my bike and I for the forthcoming challenge.

    I wont be able to attend in the next couple of weeks or so but will join you again thereafter. Happy Sunday :)

    May 12, 2013

  • Sen

    I missed you guys by 15 min. Sorry.

    May 12, 2013

  • Rob C

    Excellent well organised ride. Pre-ride information was very useful. Love the idea of using the national cycle network.

    May 12, 2013

  • Jackie

    Vineet, thank you for organising. I really enjoyed the ride. Unfortunately I am unable to attend the next few rides but will join you again soon.

    May 11, 2013

  • Neetha

    Thank you Vineet, for your meticulous organisation (as usual). weather was not as bad as we thought it would be! cant wait for the next ride and meet you all again!Had a great time.

    May 11, 2013

  • olga

    Hi all. Glad you had such a nice ride. Hope to join you next time.

    May 11, 2013

  • Deborah

    Great ride, well planned and organised, many thanks Vineet.
    Looking forward to the second outing.

    May 11, 2013

  • Androniki S.

    Very nice experience! Waiting eagerly for the next one hoping that British weather will just be a little kinder to us! Nice to meet you all!

    May 11, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Thank you Vineet for arranging such a lovely ride today. Sorry I didnt see you at the end but had to get away. I will certainly come on your rides in future. Such nice people - thank you.

    May 11, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    a brilliant way to spend a Saturday

    May 11, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Really hate to pull out, but i've come down with a pretty nasty cold...just in time for the weekend! :-(

    May 10, 2013

  • Ravi K.

    Unfortunately, I am unable to make it to this ride. Will meet you on the Kent ride next.

    Hope you'll have an awesome time!

    cheers,
    Ravi.

    May 10, 2013

  • olga

    Hate to tell it. But I have other commitments this Sat. Would be glad to do catch up ride Sunday instead. Anybody to join?

    May 10, 2013

  • Stephen B.

    Sorry, I was just looking at the group, I didn't realise I'd confirmed, but then I'm useless with computers. I'm riding another event, but I'd love to come along in future. Once again, sorry for the confusion.

    May 10, 2013

  • Jasmin

    Unfortunately, I am working on Sat am. But, I am very interested in completing this first leg so if anyone is doing a "catch up" ride, I'll be up for it...as long as it is not on Sat as I work then. Thanks, have a great day! J :)

    May 10, 2013

  • Tak T.

    Have to pull out sorry - feeling a bit under the weather at the moment, and probably need another day to recover. Will try and make the next one!

    May 10, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    So organized. I hope i can finish the course!

    May 9, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Im looking forward to this - due to an evening commitment I wont be able to stay for drinks! Boo hoo

    May 9, 2013

  • Deborah

    This sounds great, wish I could come but I'm working, next time hopefully.

    May 6, 2013

  • Victoria

    Hi, I've only done leisurely cycling and have a small folding bike. Is it still ok to come along? Thanks

    April 30, 2013

    • Ravi K.

      Hi Victoria, You can definitely be able to ride, if you are comfortable riding your bike for an hour non-stop :). Mostly its not about the size of the bike, but how comfortable it is to the rider. Do come and have fun! - Ravi.

      April 30, 2013

    • Vineet

      Victoria, the folding bike may not be that suitable for the sections that are off-road , that is not on hard surface. However as I wrote in the description everyone is welcome to come along and try ths segment. There are on-road options as well and if you have a probem at any point there is scope to take the train back.

      May 1, 2013

  • Shaun S.

    i might go but ill have to cycle up from pitsea (basildon) AND cycle all the way home again. my maximum daily mileage has only been 100 miles and i think this trek would top that!

    April 30, 2013

  • Ravi K.

    Will definitely join.

    April 30, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Unfortunately, I cannot make this day, but will hope to see you on the some of the others. Enjoy!

    April 27, 2013

  • DONGWOO

    My bike is small is it ok to join the meeting?

    April 27, 2013

  • DONGWOO

    I would like to join this meeting

    April 27, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hi Vineet. Great idea, but just wondering if you've considered the logistics of getting up to 30 bikes on a train back to London?

    April 19, 2013

    • Vineet

      Riko, if we do end up being 30 or more on the ride, it will indeed be quite a handful. We will need to stagger our return, the pub I pick at the end of the ride will be happy for us to stay there as long as we want :). Fortunately there is a train back from Gillingham to London every 15 minutes.

      April 20, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Great, that sounds like a good solution :-)

      April 20, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Can't make the first one unfortunately :(

    April 19, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Would be interested in attending, will wait for more details.

    April 18, 2013

  • Peter

    I would come, but I'll be in France

    April 18, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great idea. Will not be able to do the first couple of rides as I will be out of the country. Otherwise, I ride around between 100 and 150km per week via daily commutes and Spinning classes.

    April 17, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Getting Married ;)

    April 17, 2013

  • olga

    I have an old mountain bike and I am not quite fit yet. I have done around 14 miles today in some 4 hours. Will I be able to keep the pace? I never participated in such rides, though always wanted.

    April 17, 2013

  • Karen P.

    I only have a mountain bike, so wondered whether the route is suitable.

    April 17, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    any prep advise? I've never done this mileage before.

    April 17, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Brilliant idea, tnx for organizing the group!

    April 17, 2013

  • marie C.

    Sounds good, hope I am fit enough to complete it :( lol

    April 17, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hi there. Could you tell me the average pace of the ride? Thanks!

    April 17, 2013

  • Jasmin

    Definitely up for it, but I work Sat so I'll need to do a make-up ride if anyone is interested in doing it on Sunday instead? Time to wipe those spider webs of me wheels! :)Thanks for organising Vineet, great group as the previous one was! I still have two walks left in order to complete my Sea2Source! Can't wait! :)

    April 17, 2013

  • Ziggy F

    Hi
    I just wanted to ask - given that this is a 35-mile ride ( and meant to be a reasonably leisurely-enjoy-countryside cycling group - do we have reasonable breaks along the ride - for lunch , snacks, loo/ rest breaks and photo ops ?!
    Cheers
    Carol

    April 17, 2013

  • Ziggy F

    Great ride, exploring countryside, making new friends !

    April 16, 2013

  • Rachel

    I have to go on a rescue mission to get my bike so if I'm back in time I will be in on this!

    April 16, 2013

  • Martin

    Not sure if I will make this....sure would help if we could get some more cyclists....would be happy to do a tandem ride if anyone has one too....I am in Sussex so I cycle home from there Gillingham...

    April 16, 2013

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