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Beginners trails near London

jimineepjimineep Posts: 6
edited May 2008 in MTB beginners
OK here's the deal..

I've been commuting to work on an old hybrid for 6 months now. I had a couple of operation over the last couple of years on my right knee (meniscus problems, nothing too structurally wrong with it..) and the only sport that seems to help my knee is cycling.

So although I enjoy the commuting I'd really love to get off-road. With that in mind I bought a Dawes 1.6 xc. I've been using it on the road and its great fun, although the front suspension seems quite soft, has taken some getting used to!!!

Anyway, why am I telling you this? I'm looking for some simple trails near london where I can go with a couple of mates, and we can cycle around and I can build up some muscles. Doesnt have to be hardcore jumps or whatever, just a good beginners ride. I've had a look on the route planner, but the majority near me seem to be onroad....

Cheers!

Posts

  • xcracerxcracer Posts: 298
    Any part of London in particular?
  • jimineepjimineep Posts: 6
    Im in Islington. But I've not been here long. I've gone around hamstead heath a few times but I'm not sure if your supposed to go on the trails there! Im just looking for somewhere nearish maybe some woods someone knows about. I dont mind travelling a bit to get there. Basic beginners trails really...
  • clipperclipper Posts: 60
    i don't know of anything in London but it might be worth taking a trip out to Epping Forest. trains run from Liverpool Street or you can cycle to Clapton and pick one up there. it's fairly flat but keep your eyes peeled and there are lots of nice trails. a bit further afield and a little more hilly are the North Downs which you can reach by train from Waterloo and getting off at Dorking.
  • FloggerFlogger Posts: 23
    Yup, I'm basically in the same position as you: got a bike a few months ago and want to start using it properly as soon as my exams are over. Epping Forest is a good place - 45 mins of easy cycling for me to get there (from Newham) but I'm also thinking of going up to the Chilterns and Henley-on-Thames. I saw a couple of map pull-outs for rides near there in some past issues of WMB.
  • ylawayjdpylawayjdp Posts: 44
    Another option is the south downs, jump on the train to Hove in Brighton from Victoria and then its a 10 minute ride right up into the south downs just head for devils censored . Really amazing down hill section there. Absolutely censored scary!

    Epping is very good and it's also huge, I'm yet to try the North downs.
  • jimineepjimineep Posts: 6
    Epping looks ideal for me to test out my knee...I can get to chingford quite easily on the road, ~15km, then get into epping forest from there, put the proper tyres back on my bike, have a razz about and see how it goes! Quite excited now...
  • xcracerxcracer Posts: 298
    Yep...Epping Forest has miles of nice, easy bridleways if you don't want anything too technical. The River Lee towpath is also an option if you want something really easy and flat.
  • FloggerFlogger Posts: 23
    ylawayjdp wrote:
    Another option is the south downs, jump on the train to Hove in Brighton from Victoria and then its a 10 minute ride right up into the south downs just head for devils censored . Really amazing down hill section there. Absolutely shoot scary!

    Just don't go after a downpour; it's a very chalky surface which becomes very sticky and gloopy when wet. My bike was literally twice the weight, completely covered in chalk-gloop. It could hardly move.
  • jimineepjimineep Posts: 6
    xcracer wrote:
    Yep...Epping Forest has miles of nice, easy bridleways if you don't want anything too technical. The River Lee towpath is also an option if you want something really easy and flat.

    Will it not be full of people walking their dogs and saying "mind out, coulda killed me"?
  • xcracerxcracer Posts: 298
    If you go on the a Sunday afternoon on the hotest day of the year then yes. If you go on a slightly overcast Tuesday morning then no. These places are the same as anywhere else. Busy when its nice and quiet when its not.
  • The BIG GTThe BIG GT Posts: 655
    jimineep wrote:
    xcracer wrote:
    Yep...Epping Forest has miles of nice, easy bridleways if you don't want anything too technical. The River Lee towpath is also an option if you want something really easy and flat.

    Will it not be full of people walking their dogs and saying "mind out, coulda killed me"?

    I'd recommend getting a map of the forest and surrounding area if you are not familiar with the area! It's huge and is very easy to get lost in the Forest, especially when overcast and no sun to guide you...

    The bridleways and other wide trails will give you a fairly long ride with some lovely scenery and stopping at High Beach for a pint/cuppa and grub can be a pleasure on a sunny (week)day or quiet weekend!

    If you get bored of just wide bridleways/fireroads, contact these guys as they do rides from South Woodford (yes, the Forest does go that far South!) every Saturday & Sunday from 10am and occasionally midweek & evening rides too.

    Epping Forest Epics

    They have a mixed group and will always be happy to wait for any slower riders, social riding being more important that ripping up the trails. If there are a few out, they may split into faster and slower groups but will not leave you to get lost.

    I used to ride with them fairly regularly when I lived in that area and can recommend them for Epping 'virgins' as there are probably 50-odd miles of 'hidden' trails through the South section of the Forest that you'd never find on your own, with the added bonus that you can get back without getting lost for the night!

    But don't worry, the rides normally vary between 20-25 miles (halfway stop at High Beach cafe!) depending on the conditions, usually returning to South Woodford (Central Line tube) by 2-3pm at weekends.

    Hope that this helps.
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    Now living happily at http://www.uk-mtb.com !!
  • grantwaygrantway Posts: 1,430
    East London here !!! Try Epping Forest, I dont know if you can take a bike
    on the underground, if you can get a Central Line train from Liverpool Street
    and get off at Theydon Bois, or get the same line to Hainault for Hainault Forest.
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