Author Topic: ACH "The Way to the Sea" 200 from Greenwich 3/7/2021  (Read 2637 times)

αdαmsκι

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ACH "The Way to the Sea" 200 from Greenwich 3/7/2021
« on: 24 February, 2021, 06:43:34 pm »
Now seems a good enough time to advertise a new Audax Club Hackney ride that's been in the planning during the various lockdowns.

"The Way to the Sea" is a new 200 km ride that starts in Greenwich and visits some of the coastal areas of Kent. The ride leaves Greenwich via Shooters Hill and the pretty village centre of Bexley. After ~15 km the urban sprawl of London is over. The first control will be the Tesco in Meopham before the route descends to the Hoo Peninsula. This is where Charles Dickens set some of "Great Expectations". This is what he said about the area: it is a "dark flat wilderness beyond the churchyard, intersected with dykes and mounds and gates, with scattered cattle feeding on it, was the marshes; and that the low leaden line beyond, was the river; and that the distant savage lair from which the wind was rushing, was the sea". Hopefully in July the sun will be out.

The ride heads all the way across the Hoo Peninsula to a control on the Isle of Grain at the Co-op. From there to the next control, in Minster it's ~6.5 km in a straight line across the Medway Estuary, but it's 50 km on the road back across the Hoo Peninsula, through historic Rochester and crossing the Swale at the Kingsferry Bridge onto the Isle of Sheppey. The Kingsferry Bridge is a vertical-lift bridge that is still in operation to allow boats to sail along the Swale. It'll be down to luck if anyone has an enforced rest at this point. The Minster control will be overlooking the sea with an ACH spread of food and goodies.

After the ACH control the ride returns to the mainland, again using the Kingsferry Bridge, and what follows is a lumpy section across the North Downs to get back to Greenwich. At times the ride is within 1 km of the M2 and yet sticks to some typically tiny Kentish lanes. After climbing over the North Downs the ride drops down to the River Medway and then climbs over the North Downs for a second time.

The final control is West Kingsdown (Co-op), after which it is a pretty easy ride back into London via picturesque Eynsford. Hopefully by July the COVID situation will be OK to allow the ride to finish at one of the riverside pubs in Greenwich.

It's definitely a ride of two parts, with the flat coastal scenery for the first 140 km, followed by a hilly section over the North Downs on the way back to London. The rewards are wonderful coastal views, big skies, visits to lesser known parts of Kent, and beautiful country lanes.

The ride is planned for Saturday 3rd July. Entries are currently planned to open in early May to avoid having to refund anyone if COVID restrictions change between now and July.

There'll be a routesheet and .gpx file published nearer the time once the route has been finalised. For the moment here's the outline:



What on earth am I doing here on this beautiful day?! This is the only life I've got!!

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citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: ACH "The Way to the Sea" 200 from Greenwich 3/7/2021
« Reply #1 on: 24 February, 2021, 07:34:35 pm »
That looks like a most excellent route. :thumbsup:
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

Re: ACH "The Way to the Sea" 200 from Greenwich 3/7/2021
« Reply #2 on: 24 February, 2021, 08:37:48 pm »
And a control on my front door!

Redlight

  • Enjoying life in the slow lane
Re: ACH "The Way to the Sea" 200 from Greenwich 3/7/2021
« Reply #3 on: 24 February, 2021, 09:01:42 pm »
Looks lovely - apart from the diversion on to Sheppey, that's pretty much the same as one of my days out during lockdown. I hope the horrible roadworks around the bridge at Rochester are completed by July. 
Why should anybody steal a watch when they can steal a bicycle?

Re: ACH "The Way to the Sea" 200 from Greenwich 3/7/2021
« Reply #4 on: 24 February, 2021, 09:03:32 pm »
A ride starting close to home is always good, especially when it's not a gratuitously hilly one

αdαmsκι

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Re: ACH "The Way to the Sea" 200 from Greenwich 3/7/2021
« Reply #5 on: 24 February, 2021, 09:45:08 pm »
@tomj: Some of those are info controls.

Meopham: Tesco
Cliffe: Info
Isle of Grain: Co-op
Minster: Audax club Hackney
Burham: Info
West Kingston: Co-op
Swanley: Info

@Redlight 🤞 about the road works

@jsabine Yeah it isn't gratuitously hilly, but as I say there's a hilly section. Tho if it's windy....
What on earth am I doing here on this beautiful day?! This is the only life I've got!!

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Re: ACH "The Way to the Sea" 200 from Greenwich 3/7/2021
« Reply #6 on: 24 February, 2021, 10:14:42 pm »
A ride starting close to home is always good, especially when it's not a gratuitously hilly one

It's an ACH ride involving Kent. Bring gears.

αdαmsκι

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Re: ACH "The Way to the Sea" 200 from Greenwich 3/7/2021
« Reply #7 on: 24 February, 2021, 10:34:01 pm »
Here's the elevation profile



(If it doesn't load click here: https://i.ibb.co/12cKrhR/Screenshot-20210224-222522.jpg)
What on earth am I doing here on this beautiful day?! This is the only life I've got!!

https://tyredandhungry.wordpress.com/

Re: ACH "The Way to the Sea" 200 from Greenwich 3/7/2021
« Reply #8 on: 24 February, 2021, 11:04:02 pm »
A ride starting close to home is always good, especially when it's not a gratuitously hilly one

It's an ACH ride involving Kent. Bring gears.

There's a difference between a route that's a nice one and happens to be hilly, and one that's been designed to seek out every hill going, and happens to be nice.

I'm focussing on the words 'hilly section.'

Redlight

  • Enjoying life in the slow lane
Re: ACH "The Way to the Sea" 200 from Greenwich 3/7/2021
« Reply #9 on: 26 February, 2021, 11:58:45 am »

There's a difference between a route that's a nice one and happens to be hilly, and one that's been designed to seek out every hill going, and happens to be nice.

I'm focussing on the words 'hilly section.'

A windy day on the Isle of Grain and you might as well be climbing Alpe D'Huez  :facepalm:
Why should anybody steal a watch when they can steal a bicycle?

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: ACH "The Way to the Sea" 200 from Greenwich 3/7/2021
« Reply #10 on: 26 February, 2021, 12:10:47 pm »
Here's the elevation profile

Am I right in thinking that big spike near the end is Birling Hill?

One of my favourites... I hate it.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

αdαmsκι

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Re: ACH "The Way to the Sea" 200 from Greenwich 3/7/2021
« Reply #11 on: 26 February, 2021, 12:28:02 pm »
Yip Birling Hill :thumbsup:
What on earth am I doing here on this beautiful day?! This is the only life I've got!!

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cygnet

  • I'm part of the association
Re: ACH "The Way to the Sea" 200 from Greenwich 3/7/2021
« Reply #12 on: 27 February, 2021, 02:57:20 pm »
Looks good αdαmsκι
I did a version of Greenwich-Grain-Sheppey last year as part of my tour of the SE isles (except I forgot Thanet  :facepalm:)
The Kingsferry bridge is impressive

Bridges of the Day
Reasonably Inconsiderate

Re: ACH "The Way to the Sea" 200 from Greenwich 3/7/2021
« Reply #13 on: 27 February, 2021, 06:50:58 pm »
I won't be able to do this one this year, but if it runs again in the future when I can stay with and maybe ride this with friends from South London I can see myself signing up.

αdαmsκι

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Re: ACH "The Way to the Sea" 200 from Greenwich 3/7/2021
« Reply #14 on: 27 February, 2021, 07:20:43 pm »
Cheers @cygnet; the bridges are quite impressive. Tho could suck wasting time if one is unlucky and the bridge is up! The Isles of the SE sounds like it could make a good 400(?).
(PS: hope you're well.)

@Tommyp27 I know it hasn't happened once yet but certainly envision it running in the future too, tho probably earlier in the year when life is a bit more normal.
What on earth am I doing here on this beautiful day?! This is the only life I've got!!

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citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: ACH "The Way to the Sea" 200 from Greenwich 3/7/2021
« Reply #15 on: 27 February, 2021, 08:01:45 pm »
could suck wasting time if one is unlucky and the bridge is up!

AIUI there's a very limited window for when the channel is navigable1 - a few hours either side of high tide, or something. And according to the tide tables2, high tide on 3rd July is 7.58am and 8.12pm, so it seems extremely unlikely that the bridge will be up when riders are passing through on the day.

1. for the kind of boats that need the bridge lifting
2. the ones I found on the internet just now, so I don't know how reliable
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

αdαmsκι

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Re: ACH "The Way to the Sea" 200 from Greenwich 3/7/2021
« Reply #16 on: 27 February, 2021, 08:04:58 pm »
That's fortuitous well planned about the bridge ;).
What on earth am I doing here on this beautiful day?! This is the only life I've got!!

https://tyredandhungry.wordpress.com/

Re: ACH "The Way to the Sea" 200 from Greenwich 3/7/2021
« Reply #17 on: 01 March, 2021, 08:54:47 am »
Looks Good. Let me know if you need any local knowledge on the section through Strood, so you can avoid main roads. 
The Isle of Grain is a delight. Although it is likely you will have a headwind on part of it.

αdαmsκι

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Re: ACH "The Way to the Sea" 200 from Greenwich 3/7/2021
« Reply #18 on: 01 March, 2021, 10:52:20 am »
Veloboy and I rode this yesterday. We set off from Greenwich in mist that just got thicker as we went up Shooters Hill and it was pretty bad around Meopham as well. It was a cold easterly wind too, but we made progress. Work on a railway bridge just before Meopham caused a re-route partly along an unsealed track, but as this was a fraudax (™ Deano) controls didn't matter.

We dropped down to the Hoo Peninsula and the busy road into Cliffe meant I'll do a tiny tweak of the route that'll add ~100 m to the overall distance. The ride across the Hoo Peninsula was into a stiff, cold, headwind.



It's a big, wide, road across the Isle of Grain and through all the industrial areas where the UK's supply of gas comes onshore. It's a surreal area, rather than postcard picturesque. At least the sun was making an appearance, lighting up the massive silos.



The ride back across the Isle of Grain and the Hoo Peninsula was with a strong tailwind with more and more sun appearing. The approach to Strood is difficult to route in order to avoid the A228. We went via Upper Upnor and the cyclepath that pops out near the Black Widow Submarine.

The ride through Rochester and beyond was a bit busy and a bit annoying, not helped by the stiff headwind meaning it was hard work and slow going. However there's not a lot of other route options. The wind continued as we crossed onto the Isle of Sheppey. We stopped at a takeaway cafe on Minster beach and shivered as we stood around eating.

Minster feels like it's halfway, but is in fact beyond the halfway point (117 km there and 90 km on the way back). With a tailwind we were able to make quick progress across the Isle of Sheppey, although another road closure just after Iwade was frustrating. This time it was a static caravan parked on a lane making it absolutely impossible to pass. Hopefully it'll be gone by July!



The ride back through Kentish lanes with the sun out was fantastic, and in contrast to the more urban first part of the ride. This was also most definitely the hilliest section. The first pass over the North Downs was a relatively gently affair, but the cimb up Birling Hill was tough. From Vigo Village there were still a few more uphill pitches, but the worst was done. And the reward was a stunning view of London on the approach to Stansted Village. 

After the final control in West Kingsdown we plunged down Knats Valley, crossed the River Darent at Eynsford, via the bridge rather than the ford, and did the final really noticeable climb out of the Darenth Valley to cross the M25. The approach to Greenwich involved ~12 km of urban riding but there weren't too many traffic lights for suburban London. Home before the need to dig out the light :thumbsup:
What on earth am I doing here on this beautiful day?! This is the only life I've got!!

https://tyredandhungry.wordpress.com/

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: ACH "The Way to the Sea" 200 from Greenwich 3/7/2021
« Reply #19 on: 01 March, 2021, 11:04:45 am »
Isle of Grain ... a surreal area, rather than postcard picturesque.

You're not wrong there. The Grain Battery Tower is worth a look while you're there - if you continue through the village, the trail eventually brings you out by the tower, and if the tide is out you can walk along the causeway for a closer look, with the Sheppey docks in the background, a short but ill-advised swim away.


"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

telstarbox

  • Loving the lanes
Re: ACH "The Way to the Sea" 200 from Greenwich 3/7/2021
« Reply #20 on: 11 March, 2021, 10:36:28 pm »
Grain and Sheppey in one ride - definitely the Garden of England :)
2019 🏅 R1000 and B1000

Re: ACH "The Way to the Sea" 200 from Greenwich 3/7/2021
« Reply #21 on: 23 March, 2021, 06:53:25 pm »
Look forward to this.
I lived near Cliffe when I was young and spent many an hour riding round the Hoo Peninsula lanes. The hill into high Halstow was always a big challenge, on a 3-speed on which the gears often slipped.
Never been to Sheppy though, would be interesting to see it.

αdαmsκι

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What on earth am I doing here on this beautiful day?! This is the only life I've got!!

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citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: ACH "The Way to the Sea" 200 from Greenwich 3/7/2021
« Reply #23 on: 08 May, 2021, 10:20:23 am »
Entries are now open.

https://audax.uk/event-details?eventId=8909&Evno=21-485

No dithering about this one... I'm in!

So that means I have slightly under two months to get fit enough to ride 200km. Hmmm!
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

Redlight

  • Enjoying life in the slow lane
Re: ACH "The Way to the Sea" 200 from Greenwich 3/7/2021
« Reply #24 on: 08 May, 2021, 02:43:38 pm »
No dithering about this one... I'm in!

So that means I have slightly under two months to get fit enough to ride 200km. Hmmm!

I'm in too, but will have the chance to test my legs on the Hop Garden 200 tomorrow. If I'm not fit enough to ride a 200 by July, I'm in big trouble!
Why should anybody steal a watch when they can steal a bicycle?