FNRttC rides vary in distance and difficulty. This handy guide will help you choose the rides that most suit you.
The easiest ride we do. It's 55 miles, with a refreshment stop. There's not much by way of hills.
We leave the South Bank at midnight, cross over the Thames and travel east to Aldgate, and then head for Stratford, Ilford and Romford. By the time we reach Romford the traffic has all but faded away. There are then some little ups and downs to Harold Wood, a dark stretch across the M25 and the long drag up to Brentwood.
After Brentwood, we are in open countryside. Our route may vary but often we will go through the ford at Buttsbury and then into Stock via Honeypot Lane, exiting past the windmill and down Old Stock Lane, one of the sweetest roads in Essex. There's a pleasant trip down to Battlebridge and then a busier section that takes us to a vantage point overlooking the Thames. The last five miles run along the northern side of the estuary. We take breakfast within a stone's throw of the Pier.
The most popular ride. It's 61 miles with a stop near Horley. The route varies according to the weather, but the highlights are Lonesome Lane, the smoothest, snakiest, silkiest bit of cycling in all of Surrey, the Horley Badlands, home to wallabies and peacocks and the wonderful Ditchling Beacon. We have breakfast right on the seafront, and, while some brave souls ride home, quite a few of us will head off to Wetherspoons for a bit of a freshening up.
The most scenic 'short' ride. It's 70 miles with a stop at the Cabin Cafe in Faygate. We head out of London through Sutton and then drop off the North Downs at Pebblecombe Hill. The roads to Faygate are quiet and are just as much fun taken slowly as they are taken at a clip.
The Queen of Rides. It's a schlep down to Greenwich before we leave the main roads at Plumstead, and travel to Erith before going south to the Dartford Crossing and Gravesend. From that point on, the ride becomes ever more dream-like. Refreshments are taken at the Church of the English Martyrs in Strood, before crossing the Medway and heading east through Lower Rainham, Upchurch, Sittingbourne, and out to Teynham. The road from Faversham to Whitstable runs across the Graveney Marshes, a delight that you can take at your own speed. We enjoy our breakfasts overlooking the sea.
|© Adam Bell 2013.|
Cardiff to Swansea
60 miles along the South Wales coastline. We start at the Wales Millennium Centre on Cardiff Bay and leave Cardiff by Butetown and Ely, following the A48 (empty at this time of night) to Bonvilston. We then go southwest down narrow lanes to Llantwit Major and on to Ogmore for refreshments, before heading north and northwest over the hills to Neath. There's more narrow stuff from Skewen in to Swansea, a tour of SA1 and then on around the bay to Mumbles Pier for breakfast.
York to Hull
72 miles long, but the flattest of all our rides. We start at York Minster and head southeast to Goole and then on to the Isle of Axholme, stopping at the Bay Horse in Garthorpe for tea and sandwiches, then on to Flixborough and north over the Humber Bridge and in to Hull. This is an enchanting ride - Goole at two thirty in the morning puts one in mind of L'Atalante by Jean Vigo, watching the skein of red lights wind across the drained flatlands to Garthorpe is a memory in the making, and if you've never cycled across the Humber Bridge then there's no better time than just after dawn.
|© Dave L 2013.|
Manchester to Morecambe
At 65 miles, this ride is not the longest FNRttC but it may be the hilliest. The cameraderie of a smaller group makes it one of the most enjoyable and rewarding for many.
We meet in front of Manchester Town Hall and head out of town up Bury Old Road towards Whitefield. After passing through Bury and Tottington, we enjoy some steep dips as we climb from Edgworth onto the West Penning Moors, topping out at 350m, the highest point on any FCRttC. Our reward? The long flowing descent towards Blackburn.
A mid-ride pitstop is usually via a 24-hour McDonalds, we go down and then up again out of the Ribble valley to Longridge and Lancaster. Then onto an excellent cycle path and hence to breakfast in Morecambe.
After breakfast, we return to Lancaster for trains to home.