Any bike | Fully Guided | Traffic-free | Cycle paths & trails | Some hills | 22 miles |4 to 5 hours
Hampton Court doesn’t need much in the way of introduction. What a joy to see the William and Mary façade and gardens from the Thames as part of a ride that links the Palace with Georgian Epsom, a racecourse in Esher, Richmond Park and Wimbledon Common.
We meet at Labaita Café by the bandstand on Clapham Common before catching a train for the 25-minute journey to Epsom. Quickly leaving suburbia and diving into woodland, we pass the source of the famous salts and its modern well before following winding tracks all the woods to Claygate.
We’ll stop for refreshments at one of the numerous cafes in East Molesey before crossing the river and joining the Thames path heading downstream. River to the right, rather grand and recently restored gilded gates to the left, you get a splendid view of the Privy Garden and the William and Mary façade of Hampton Court, then a short detour to the end of the Long Water for another unexpected view of the Palace.
Leaving Hampton Court Park, we cross back over the river, skirt Kingston and head into our second royal hunting ground, Richmond Park. Up Dark Hill and coast down the other side, taking care on the descent, but stopping for a second to note the view of St Pauls in the distance! It’s a shady cool climb to the top of Wimbledon Common, passing one of the few working windmills left in London before park-hopping back to Clapham Common.
Labaita Cafe, Bandstand, Clapham Common, London SW4 9DE
Duration: 4-4.5 hours.
Distance: 22 miles.
Estimated average speed: 5 mph.
Trails: Predominately off-road with sections of natural trail combined with compact gravel and cycle paths and quiet roads.
Technical Grade: Blue – relaxed ride taken at an easy pace, so suitable for novices and near novices with reasonable levels of fitness and those looking to progress their riding ability
Group Size: 6-8 people.
This ride includes a train journey from Clapham Junction to Epsom. Epsom is in the Contactless/Oystercard zone and the fare is £3.70 using your bank/Oyster card.
A refreshment stop mid-way (cost of refreshments is not included in the ride).
Is this ride for me?
This ride is a moderately intense physical challenge suitable for regular riders with reasonable levels of fitness and some off-road experience
The pace of the ride will be adapted to suit the cyclists on the day and the route may change to meet the capabilities of the group as a whole, the leader will make sure that no one is left out or behind!
Is my bike OK for this ride?
Although taken at a relaxed pace this is a true off-road ride and is suitable for novice or near novice riders with reasonable fitness looking to progress their all-terrain riding ability.
There will be a basic bike check before each ride to ensure riders' safety, so please make sure your bike is in good condition with working brakes and gears, along with pumped up tyres and an oiled chain.
If in doubt, please get your bike checked over by a competent mechanic or bike shop before the ride. Here is a list of local bike shops we're happy to recommend.
Remember to plan ahead, many bike shops are very busy and service slots are often booked out in advance.
What do I need to bring?
Helmet (wearing helmets is a must on our rides)
Spare inner tube
Rain jacket (if required)
Suitably warm/cool clothing for the weather
Sunscreen (as necessary)
Homemade fudge and flapjacks to power you along!*
* If you have any food allergies, please bring your own snacks.
What's included in the price?
Guide for the entire ride
Coaching hints and skill tips about 'off road' cycling