Tomorrow morning a team of six of us set off on our journey from Rutland to Dover by bike. Over the last couple of weeks, members of the team have been asked details of the trip. How many miles will we be doing each day? What is the route and where will we be stopping? Are we aware how hilly Kent is?
While we have tried to put questions of the latter kind to the back of our minds, we do have a fair idea of what lies before us, and here it is.
Thanks again must go to Rutland Cycling who have provided us with bikes, clothing and essential advice to get us from start to finish in good shape.
Day one – Lyndon to Abington – 66 miles
Chris and I have ridden this day’s route and (hopefully) have already taken all the wrong turns available. We will start our trip at the Lyndon Visitors Centre at about 9am with our first nasty climb up to Manton Road. From here the route takes us on quiet roads through Edith Weston, Ketton, and after a short section on the A47, down to King’s Cliffe. We then wiggle towards Warmington where we cross the A605 and head across beautiful, but hilly, countryside east of Oundle. When we reach Alconbury, we will have our first longish stint on busy roads to Huntingdon before a lovely tarmac track takes us past the National Trust’s Houghton Mill and onto our lunch stop at picturesque St Ives at about noon.
After a well-earned rest, we will say farewell to our support driver for about 12 miles as we take to the cycle track which accompanies the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway through the middle of Fen Drayton Lakes nature reserve and onto Cambridge. We leave the busway to take the B1049 over the A14 and straight through the centre of Cambridge, past Addenbrookes Hospital, between Wandlebury and the Gog Magog hills and on to our first stop at the Abington Travelodge for around 3pm.
Day two – Abington to nr Rainham, Kent – 75 miles
By far the longest day of our trip, but with a welcome rest for a ferry ride acrosss the Thames at Tilbury. Another 9am start and after two or three miles on the A1307, we turn right at Linton towards Ashton and remain on country lanes through Great Bardfield and Felsted. We join the B1008 at Little Waltham, through Broomfield and into Chelmsford where we will probably take a break for lunch at midday.
We then switch to the B1007, over the A12 and through Billericay before winding our way to Tilbury, crossing the A127 and A13 en route. Again, we will have to part with the support vehicle for our ferry trip to Gravesend (around 3pm?) and then it is on to Rochester, Chatham, past Gillingham Golf Club and eventually to our second stop at the M2 Medway services near Rainham for about 4.30pm.
Day 3 – Rainham to Dover – 45 miles
I’m hoping that 45 miles will seem a doddle after day two, but I think we’ll be loath to get on the bikes for the up and down final stint to Dover. Heading north-east at first, we turn east at Upchurch River Valley Golf course and then on to Sittingbourne from where we cycle alongside the railway to Faversham. From there we skirt the A2 to Canterbury – a nice spot for lunch. Then the final slog passing Bekesbourne, Shepherdswell, Whitfield and then, finally, Dover.
Assuming a 9am start again, I would suspect we will be finishing at around 2pm near to the docks and the start of next year’s rowing challenge across the channel.
Of course, it’s going to be tough, but hopefully our team spirit will get us through and then there is our cause to spur us on. We’ve already raised over £1000 for the Osprey Flyways Project and if you would like to add to that, please visit our fundraising page. If you would like to have a closer look at the route, check out the Google Map below.
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