Any bike | Fully Guided | Traffic-free | Cycle paths & trails | Some hills | 19 miles | 4 to 5 hours
Ah Happy Valley, it always brings a smile to your face. This ride connects a wide-open chalk valley, home to rare butterflies, festooned with cowslips and Iron Age Barrows, with Pilgrim’s Way It visits a church with a 12th-century route map to Purgatory and Hell, before climbing the downs in Yew Valley and passing the Alpaca farms of Halliloo.
Yup, all of this in a three-hour ride!
Meet at Labaita café on Clapham Common and we'll start with a short train trip out to Happy Valley skipping the boring bits. It’s a gradual climb over the grassy downlands past Neolithic remains followed by a climb through the woods to Chaldon, with its ancient church and demonic mural.
Following the ridge of the North Downs on Pilgrims’ Way, we pass Tower Folly before riding though the beech and yew woods to a look point, where on a fine day it’s possible to make out the thin grey outline of the South Downs in the far distance.
Few more woods, past old mines and quarries and then the easy bit, a delicious steady 2-mile descent on a traffic-free tarmac gem, you’ll feel like a God riding this section! Prepare to face the last climb aside the Halliloo Valley, past the Alpaca Farm to a well-earned break at the Garden Centre Café in Warlingham.
Post refreshments, we continue back towards Purley along the ridge and Riddlesdown Common, a massive open space of chalk downland before our last long descent into Purley where we catch a train back to Clapham Junction, again skipping those boring bits.
Labaita Cafe, Bandstand, Clapham Common, London SW4 9DE
Duration: Ride time 3½ to 4 hours, 5-6 hours total time.
Distance: 19 miles.
Estimated average speed: 5 mph.
Trails: Off-road mostly compacted gravel trails with some sections on country lanes
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: 8 people.
This ride includes train journeys from Clapham Junction to the start and back. Train fares are included in the ride cost.
A refreshment stop mid-way (cost of refreshments is not included in the ride).
This ride includes a train journey to start and from the finish. Fares are included in the ride cost
Is this ride for me?
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.
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?
Bikes suitable for this ride include off-road bikes, for example, Mountain, gravel and CX bikes as well hybrids and road bikes fitted with all-terrain tyres.
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
Pre-ride bike and helmet safety checks
Fixing mechanical faults/punctures where possible
Train from Clapham Junction to the start of the ride at Coulsdon and from the end at Purley.