UK Friends! Riding/Stay Outside Of London This Fall

Hey all! Appreciate any insights…I have two meetings in London around Oct and Nov 18-20, 2020…awaiting dates of the first meeting, but if they’re more than a week apart, I may rent an apartment outside of London and just stay in town.

Where would you recommend to stay if I’m looking for a 1) cool smaller town, not crazy busy like London 2) rideable access to the best riding 3) ideally has a train I can take into London. Hopefully not much longer than 45-60 minutes away.

Thanks so much!!!

Brendan

Richmond.

Richmond Park is great for cycling. A train into London should be easy from there.

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Knowing where in London your meetings are will have an influence on which area/towns might be suitable as the London stations are all terminii and you’d need to use the underground to get across town.

Unfortunately I’m a northerner so can’t really recommend anywhere - a bit like asking someone from New York to recommend somewhere outside New Orleans.

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I should have specific Ed: would be looking for 100-200km routes so thinking more quiet farm roads outside of small city / town etc etc as opposed to a park. Thank you!

Brendan John Housler

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Here are some cycling club routes that might help you get started: https://www.dirtywknd.com/pages/london-cycling-routes

Agree with BobW that knowing where your meetings are will help you determine where you want to go.
No point staying somewhere that comes into KingsX if all your meetings are going to be south of the river/vice versa.

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I live about 160 miles from London and can get there in 90 minutes on the train. I’m sure others can come up with suggestions but you could stay somewhere quite outside the city and still get within the travel times you have set. And as a consequence have better riding…

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Hi Brendan. The best cycling around London is in Kent and Surrey.

Dorking in Surrey is the closest town to Box Hill of Zwift and RideLondon Classic / Olympic Road Race fame, and a host of other great climbs like Leith Hill. It’s less than an hour into central London by train.

Sevenoaks in Kent is a similar distance from London by train, and you can ride to climbs like Toys Hill, Ide Hill overlooking Bough Beech reservoir, climb the North Downs, or head to the Ashdown Forest (officially an Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty).

Alternatively you could stay on the outskirts of South London, maybe somewhere like Bromley. It’s even closer to central London, but you can still really easily get into the countryside. Put it this way, I live even closer to central London than Bromley, did 92km this weekend and most of that was out in the countryside:

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Cambridge is a short train ride from London, one of the flagship cycling cities in the UK and closer to some great riding (if a little flat!)

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East Grinstead is on the train line to london. About 50 to 60 mins via train and only 9 miles from Gatwick.
Loads of great rides around the Ashdown Forest roads.

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I would also consider Oxford. Easy to commute to and from via train and you’ll get a little culture thrown in for free.

It might not be iconic cycling ground but you’ll have access to the Cotswolds and Gloucestershire, which can offer some brilliant rides :+1:

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Richmond Park is best early in the morning before the gates open. But it’s a short ride, even if doing loops.

Recommendation: be wary of doing the loops on a fixed gear as one of the downhills is a bit hairy on a fixie, but your experience may vary.

Hey @brendanhousler, as a former resident of west London (W4), and if your meetings are in London, I’d stick closer to London than a 60-90min train away. If you’re on the outskirts, along the south or the west, you still have easy access to the city and yet easy access to the “local” rides from London. @martinheadon 's rides are great suggestions, including onward from Kent to Dover (see the cliffs of white), there is also down to Brighton (which, tbh, wasn’t terribly impressive but makes for a good out and back from London), etc.

By all means, if you’re there enough to rent an apartment, consider an overnighter. Take the train, or rent a car (can be inexpensive) and get out to the Wessex area (for route suggestions, besides Strava, see the Tour of Wessex routes (see routes tab here), which are open roads during the event (it’s a sportive / fondo), and you’ll pass great history and castles. Or get down to the New Forest (which was “new” a thousand years ago when it was named). Watch for the wild horses and cattle roaming the road. For both places, getting a train or car and find a place for a quick overnight might be worth it. If you’re training, the inn/hotel will of course keep your bag until you’re down with the ride and head off to the station.

As @bobw mentions, it’s best to know where you’re meetings will be or simply pick a location that has a nearby tube stop (which is not always underground) or Overground station (which will likely require an additional change to get to where you want to be). Google Maps does have the British transport network data, so that’ll tell you your commute options.

There are, of course, excellent ride options in the North and Midlands, but I’m not familiar with those so I’ll let others contribute.

It’s great riding there. The roads can be a bit rough. Don’t forget to ride on the opposite side!

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On the other side, if you can find somewhere to stay North of London, there’s some great cycling in Essex and Hertfordshire.

Our club rides out from Barnet/Whetstone 4 times with various pacing over the weekend and has mid week rides too over the distances you mention. I’d be happy to hook you up with the club rides as a guest but can’t really help with Hotels I’m afraid.

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Was going to recommend Essex if your meetings are around Liverpool St / City or Canary Wharf.
23mins from Shenfield for Liverpool St or 30 from Billericay.

There are plenty of clubs that would be happy for someone to turn up and ride with (from Billericay Yellow Jersey Cycles and Essex Roads).

Only thing I would say is November can be pretty crappy in the UK so mudguards and an unbreakable resolve might help (notwithstanding you may come from somewhere worse).

+1 to all that from another South Londoner!

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Another vote for Surrey, get yourself to Shere for some good cake.

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+1 for Surrey. Dorking would be good, or if you wanted to have a shorter trip into town then somewhere like Esher or Surbiton will get you into Waterloo station in less than 30 minutes, and is on the edge of where the good riding (Surrey Hills) starts.

Also, if you want to fit in with the locals you’ll need to call it autumn, not fall :wink:

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If you’re willing to push the time a little, I’d suggest you go as far from London as possible that still meets your travel requirements. The south-east is crazy busy with traffic, even when you get to the ‘nice’ bits.

I’d take a look at places that let you ride in the Peak District. Maybe Macclesfield? Direct train to London from there is maybe just over 90 minutes. Amazing riding on your doorstep, especially if you want proper hills and scenery. Manchester would be easily accessible too, including the possibility of flying direct to there? South Wales might work too, but I’m less familiar with the train travel from there and your airport options might be limited.

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If you are feeling very adventurous you could get your riding done in Scotland and still make your meetings by using the Caledonian Sleeper. It’s an overnight train to/from London.

Destinations include:
Fort William

Aberdeen (For access to the shire & Grampian mountain range, climbs like the Lecht below)

Inverness (For access to portions of the North Coast 500, western Grampian mountains and the West Coast - including the Bealach na Bà)

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Just come to the north. :smile:

Peak district is close or Yorkshire is not that far by train, maybe 2.5 hours. It’s much quieter, and the roads are small, rough, and steep.

Maybe get the meetings done and go ride somewhere nice. “Stay out of London” is good advice anytime of the year :joy:

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