An invite for a train-assisted sociable full day's ride through the most attractive High Weald countryside of Sussex and Kent and on through the South Downs to the coast at Eastbourne.
The total distance will be approximately 50 miles, with around 30 miles being completely off-road. There are a few moderate hills, but most of the route is flattish.
Description: We will get the train well out of the London suburbs to start the ride from Three Bridges. The route we will then take is based on Sustrans National Cycle Route 21 and follows several stretches of abandoned railways, now converted into cycle paths, with the rest of the ride being on roads through both countryside and a few urban areas. We will also detour off the route to visit such "must-see" sights as Pooh Sticks Bridge (for pooh sticks rules, see http://www.pooh-sticks.com/content/rules)!
The pace will be moderate (~10mph average when moving) and the ride will take place irrespective of the weather. Due to the length of the ride, you will need to be a regular cyclist and / or reasonably fit from other activities and be in posession of a well-maintained and comfortable bike to enjoy this ride.
TRANSPORT: Meet from 09:30 and 09:45 at the latest at London Victoria station by the main National Rail ticket office ("Ticket Counter" opposite platforms 13-19 on this map: http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations/sjp/VIC/plan.html) in good time to catch the 10:02 train (from Platform 17) to Three Bridges. For anyone joining us at the ride start, please be outside the main entrance to Three Bridges station, by the ticket office, ready to go, at 10:45. There is a station car-park, but note that charges apply. We will get the train back to London (via Three Bridges) from Eastbourne at the end of the ride at around 19:00.
Terrain / Surface: The route is overall gently undulating, with several moderate climbs. Hybrid bikes or mountain bikes fitted with road / intermediate tyres and front suspension will be ideal for comfort, but this ride is also suitable for road bikes - however, all out racing models with narrow slick tyres are not recommended, as the disused railway sections are a little bumpy and have loose gravel in places and may also be muddy /slippery if there is rain.
Refreshments: we will stop en route for a picnic lunch on the route (if the weather is suitable) and at a pub or cafe for drinks and toilets. At the end of the ride, there will also be an optional pub stop, where food will be available and games may be played, to socialise before we get the train back to London.
Please bring along any food and drink you need to sustain yourself on the ride - there are plenty of outlets in the station for last minute purchases. A free "Bite" card gets you 20% off at many station outlets: https://www.bitecard.co.uk/Home
What not to forget: obviously bring an operable bike (with lights, as it is likely to be getting dark by the time we get back to London), a lighweight bike lock for the stops, suitable clothing for the weather, spare inner tube that fits your bike, pump and food / drink. Helmets are recommended, as is a bell / whistle to warn pedestrians and dogs of your presence!
Cost: £15 per person, including all train fares (travelling as a group) to and from London - please pay in cash on the train. This cost includes a small contribution towards Meetup fees and the organisers' costs. The first aid trained & experienced ride leaders will provide basic mechanical assistance, a backmarker and some random commentary! If you make your own way to Three Bridges, a donation of £4 is requested if you enjoy the ride!
Rides for this Meetup are organised by fellow cycling enthusiasts. Only RSVP YES if you are certain that you can come to this event and please update your RSVP if you can no longer attend. Members who RSVP yes and don't show up may be banned.