This is to remind you of the the ride taking place tomorrow.
Please note that I'm varying the published return slightly, on the grounds that the Watling Street route from Dartford to Blackheath may be a little too much for me. I am riding a new bike (again a fixie) with a slightly higher gear than I'm used to. I struggled a bit yesterday on the Surrey-side North Downs ride with Stephen Craven, and for this reason an easterly ascent of Shooters Hill is unwise at the end of a long ride to the Hoo Peninsula and back. Instead, I plan to follow the flat terrain from Dartford to Erith, and then the Thames Path to Greenwich.
As for Rochester, our small detour to this Medway town will depend on outward progress, and I suggest that we come to a consensus decision over lunch in Cooling. The finale procession of the Rochester Sweeps Festival begins at 14:45 from the castle grounds. Miss this, and there's little point going at all to Rochester. I recommend that we make it to Rochester for the procession.
Where: Hoo Peninsula (and possibly Rochester)
When: Monday 7 May 2012
Meet: 08:00 @ General Wolfe statue in Greenwich Park
NB: Early start time – 08:00!!
Join us for a 130-ish kilometre bank holiday spin out to and around the Hoo Pensinsula: the hooknose-shaped lump separating the Thames and Medway estuaries. The Hoo Peninsula is made up of sandy clay hills and marshland composed of alluvial silt, and derives its name from the Old English word for 'spur of land'.
The return journey could see us stop in Rochester for the end of the Rochester Sweeps street festival…
The ride east out of London will follow the main road from Greenwich to Woolwich and beyond, before diverting onto slightly quieter roads south of Thamesmead, and rejoining the A206 at Erith. From Erith it's on to Greenhithe, Swanscombe and Northfleet, and a stop at the seaside-like Gordon Promenade to pick up any riders coming by train to Gravesend. Maybe the café will be open.
From Gravesend we cycle by the old Thames and Medway canal, enter the Hoo Peninsula at Lower Higham, and turn north up to Cliffe and Cooling, before stopping for lunch at the Horseshoe and Castle pub.
The return from the Hoo Peninsula takes us from High Halstow down the Ratcliffe Highway, and then on to Strood and Rochester, where we can catch some Morris dancing and the grand procession at the finale of the Rochester Sweeps festival.
From Rochester we then ride northwest along National Cycle Route #1 toward Dartford, and from there to Erith, and the Thames Path to Greenwich.
Please ensure that your bikes are in good working order, with tyres free of debris that could cause punctures. Bring lights, tools, a spare inner tube or two, and a puncture repair kit. Also pack plenty of water and energy rich snacks, especially if you are intending to do the entire kilometre ride.
Bail-out points on the return leg include Rochester, Gravesend and Erith. If you wish to train it to Gravesend on the outward leg, please note that I cannot guarantee our arrival time. All I will say is that it typically takes an hour and forty-five minutes to cycle from Greenwich to Gravesend, where the meeting place would be the café on Gordon Promenade, which may or may not be open.
(07840 191336; no texts please)
Dr Francis Sedgemore
journalist and science writer