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Best Cycling Routes UK – South London


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The Area

Getting out of town in London on a bike can, at times be a case of dodging all manor of obstacles, so it pays to know a few routes that minimise the hassle. After all, who wants to be stuck behind a Bus / Black Cab / Truck / Car / Uber when they could be enjoying quiet traffic free lanes?

For those around South London we think Crystal Palace is an ideal starting place. From here, you can head out into the Kent Countryside and get training for your 2020 events. We quite often bump in Dirty Wknd members training for the Tour of Flanders or Etape du Tour. There’s also many great café start/end points and only a few miles (mostly down hill) before getting to those lanes we all seek.

It’s somewhat of a popular misconception that the south of England is not particularly hilly. The glorious truth is that there are in fact plenty of hills that will test all but the highest level of cyclist. Heading South from London it is hard to avoid The South Downs, a ridge of chalk hills that stretch 260 odd miles across Hampshire, Kent and Sussex. What these hills lack in  absolute length, they often make up, for in gradient but its not just short punchy climbs here, there are a great number of 10-15 minute, steady climbs. Perfect for getting into a rhythm and building that endurance.

Ride 1 – https://www.strava.com/routes/23043193

This 49 mile route serves up some of the top ”go to” climbs in the area and as a result is a little ‘lumpy’. It’s a year round option in that the we avoid the narrowest lanes which can become puncture playgrounds in the winter months or after heavy rainfall. We start and end at the small but perfectly formed Four Boroughs Cafe. A lovely independent café serving all you might need pre ride. They even provide locks outside to keep your pride and joy safe. For the cycle aficionado’s, the other go to option round the corner is Cadence, a cycling mecca  with a well stocked shop, workshop, bike fitting, coaching and off course the café.  It’s a busy spot from where many of the local clubs start from

Heading south it’s 4-5 miles of ‘London’ before hitting the lanes. Starting out before 9am on a weekend means you tend to avoid much of the worst traffic! Our favourite climbs in the area are included, namely Beddlestead, Chart Lane, (Toys Hill) Ide Hill – with a Café Stop at 25 miles at the Ide Hill Café. After that the final real test is Titsy Hill, so save something for this one. Most of the climbs are 10-15 minute steady effort as opposed short lung/leg busters. They are also well known Strava segments, with the option to test yourself against the local talent! Roads are generally in good order on the route but there can be varied services and t pays to always be on the look out for rogue pot holes.