This summer, the Beeline team has taken on the challenge of completing all of the rides in Phoebe Trimingham's You had me at velo! article for Time Out London (June 20-26 edition). Each Friday we'll be giving you the lowdown on one of the eight great cycle routes she's suggested.
This week sees us head east to join Chet and his friend Steph as they test the Greenwich to Gravesend route. They followed National Cycle Route 1 most of the way on this peaceful bike ride. The path isn't overly popular with other cyclists or walkers either, meaning that you won't have any of the crowds of Ride 3 (Putney Bridge to Windsor) to contend with. It's a slow and windy route so if you are after a relaxed weekend afternoon or evening cycle this is the one for you.
Leg I: Greenwich to Woolwich
A journey through time (quite literally)
This route starts in glorious Greenwich - a beautiful, leafy area in South-East London that marks the place where the western and eastern hemispheres meet. If you have never explored Greenwich, be sure to arrive there for the beginning of your ride with some time for a look around. Park your bike near Greenwich Park and head up the hill - you will be rewarded with some wonderful views as you look back across London towards the Royal Maritime Museum and Canary Wharf. If you fancy yourself as a time-traveler head in to the Royal Observatory to straddle the world's hemispheres...or avoid the ticket price and take a good enough peek and photo from over the fence.
If you have time, head back down the hill for a wander around Greenwich. If you need to fuel up pre-ride, try out The Brasserie and the National Maritime Museum for some delicious British food and beautiful surroundings. If it's a burger or chicken and chips that you're after, head down towards the river for Byron and Nando's - both of which can offer you a riverside table.
And, of course, we can't talk about Greenwich without mentioning the newly restored Cutty Sark which is well worth a look around (inside or outside). It was built in 1869 and is the world's oldest surviving tea clipper (and where would we be without our tea?).
Sightseeing complete, set off on your ride from the Cutty Sark and follow the river! That's basically all there is to it. If you are a nature lover, stop by at the Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park. No bikes are allowed but you can walk around the outer boardwalk for free.
Leg II: Woolwich to Erith
Escape the city
As you head towards the suburbs, this ride starts to feel quite industrial - hold your nose because you will pass a sewage works or two! But for all of the industrial activity, there is also a lot of beauty. Take a tub (again) to fill with blackberries, or gorge yourself on your breaks. Enjoy the views, stop at the Anchor & Hope for a pint in their beer garden, and watch the sailboats sail on by. This section is so calm that it is possible to forget that you are on the doorstep of a huge metropolis.
Leg III: Erith to Gravesend
Okay, we need to be honest here! Steph and Chet didn't continue to Gravesend; instead calling it a day at Erith. If you were to continue towards Gravesend, you would find a little more of the same riverside path before you joined the A2026 and A296 for the last leg into Gravesend. Greenwich to Erith made for a great 2 hour ride (with some blackberry stops), but continuing to Gravesend would get you closer to the beach! If the sea calls you, head over the river on the Gravesend-Tilbury ferry and continue eastwards towards the beaches of Canvey Island and Southend-on-Sea.
If you take on this cycle to Erith, let us know, we'd love to hear about your experience. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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