MTB/CX/Gravel Bike | Fully Guided | Challenging singletrack | 71 miles | All Day
Brighton, the default destination for London’s cyclists. There are numerous routes and many organised rides to the seaside but very few of these are off-road adventures across the North Downs, the Greensand ridges, High Weald and finally the imposing (well for Southern England, they are imposing) South Downs.
This ride is a challenge, largely off-road the route passes through some of the most outstanding scenery in the South East along some of the more challenging bridleways.
Meeting at the Rockery Café on Streatham Common, we head out via Mitcham Common and Carshalton gently climbing the North Downs to the lookout point atop of the ridge. On a clear day, it’s possible to make out the thin line of the South Downs on the horizon.
Plunging down the escarpment the geology changes as we leave chalk behind and hit sandstone big time as we circle an enormous sandpit and climb the next ridge. This section of the ride is predominantly off-road passing through fields and woodlands to almost the mid-point at East Grinstead where we’ll stop for a break.
Through Ashdown Forest and over the next ridge into the Ouse Valley, at every crest the South Downs can be seen – we’re getting there!
Leaving the road for the last time at Wivelsfield, we head directly towards the scarp slope, the woodlands are behind us and the steady ascent of the South Downs ahead. It's amazing how quickly you climb leaving the Weald far below you, the views from the top make the effort so worthwhile.
We follow the famous South Downs Way to Castle Hill and it’s all downhill from here, through Snake Pass, around High Hill and down, gloriously down to meet the sea at Rottingdean.
Our entrance to Brighton is along the coast following the sturdy path at the foot of the cliffs, past Brighton Marina and to the traditional end of all London to Brighton routes, Brighton Pier, for a well-earned ice-cream and paddle in the sea.
(We’ll let the train take the strain back to Clapham Junction, the fare is included in the ride and we’ll catch the train most convenient for the group.)
The Rookery Cafe 37 Streatham Common S, Streatham, SW16 3BZ.
Duration: 8-9 hours.
Distance: 115km (71 miles).
Estimated average speed: 10-12 kmph.
Trails: This a ‘gravel ride’ predominantly off-road trails of differing quality linked together by quiet lanes.
Technical Grade: Black – Moderately intense physical challenge taken at a sensible pace to suit regular cyclists who have some experience of off-road riding
Group Size: 6-8 people.
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?
The ride is suitable for well-maintained mountain, gravel or CX bikes.
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)
Snacks and drinks are not provided on this ride - please ensure you have adequate food and drink, as for East Grinstead aside, there are few opportunities on the route to buy provisions.
What's included in the price?
Guide for the entire ride
Coaching hints and skill tips about 'off road' cycling