Sunday, 8 November 2009

Heading for the Hills

There are lots of hills around near where I live. South London is full of them. As soon as I leave my home in the morning to go to work I am woken up with a steep hill.

The training rides that my club, Dulwich Paragon organises tend to go into the Kent Hills. Over the years I have learned to like hills and make them part of my cycling life.

The ones I really enjoy riding though, are the Surrey Hills. They are not the nearest hills to where I live, and my ride there involves the tedium of crossing the urban sprawl of Croydon. Once I reach the quiet leafy lanes around Dorking and Leatherhead, however, I am rewarded with beautiful landscape, spectacular views of the Downs, and delicious cakes at the Box Hill National Trust tea shop.

That's where I was today (riding around the hills, not just eating cakes!). Although it was a cold, damp, and at times a grey day, the beauty of the Surrey Hills failed to disappoint me. The various autumnal shades of browns, yellows, greens and red were really pleasing to the eye. The cover provided by the canopy of branches gave me a feeling of safety and warmth.

Today I was at Ranmore Common and Box Hill with club mates Steve, John and Emily. A good ride was had by all, despite us having to cut out Leith Hill due to time constraints. That'll be for another day I imagine.

Anyway, here's a quick shot of the route we took from Crystal Palace and the loop we did once we reached the Surrey Hills. A fuller route is detailed in an article I wrote for Cycling Active magazine. (Currently available in all good newsagents!)

Hopefully my next visit to this area will be in the near future.

View Crystal Palace - Surrey Hills (Ranmore) in a larger map
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