7 March 2022

What: Gravel ride
When: Thursday, June 2
Distance: 86m
Ability level: Technical – medium, Fitness – high

Simon Richardson will be leading a gravel ride from Caterham to Dover this summer, open to all members and friends of members. It’s a big day out following the North Downs Way and Pilgrims Way down through Kent to finish at Dover Harbour for a dip in the sea.

Although there are only two major climbs on this route, fitness required is high due to the length of the ride. Technically it’s not too demanding with a mixture of bridleway, tarmac, tracks and paths making gravel bikes the best option to cope with the mixture of terrain and keep the average speed up. A cross bike would work just as well and if it’s dry a file tread tyre is recommended. A mountain bike would likely be too slow, so not recommended for this ride.

The meet point for the ride is at the bottom of Tupwood lane where the Sustrans route 21 crosses the A22. For users of the What3Words app, thats forget.coffee.fancy. The ride will be leaving at 6am, please do not be late.

The aim is to reach the Dirty Habit pub in Hollingbourne for tea or coffee at 9am, Canterbury for lunch around 12.30pm and Dover harbour for fish and chips and a dip in the sea by 2pm. The finish point on What3Words is depth.dignitary.remote. Simon rode the whole of the North Downs way in two days last last autumn, writing about it for CW. Check it out if you want to know a bit more about the ride.

If you want to look at the route in more detail it’s plotted here on Komoot. Premium Strava users can download the gpx here.

What will I need?
All the usual spares including tube(s) pump, tyre levers and tools and a whatever you think you’ll need for the journey home, change of clothes etc. The two stops mentioned above are for food and drink, but there is little else on the route. It goes through a few small towns but skirts around most built up areas, meaning you’ll need to be self sufficient with enough food for the ride. Swimming trunks and a lightweight towel are essential for those who fancy a swim. Please no mankinis.

Getting home
Trains from Dover Priory station take 1hr 5m to get to central London with prices starting at around £37. It’s a fast service so please check how to book a bike on. Otherwise invite friends or family down for a day on Dover beach (pebble beach, but nice on a summers day with plenty of places to get food) and get a lift home. They could even meet us on the way. Hollingbourne is just by Leeds Castle (M20 junction 8) and Canterbury is always good for a day trip.

Please let Simon know if you intend on riding via info@norwoodparagon.co.uk


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