Wednesday 8 May 2013

London to Paris Cycle - Day One - London to Portsmouth

"A long day with some notable climbs through beautiful Surrey countryside"
77.4 miles (11h 30m)
Download route (coming soon)

This is a tough cycle through some beautiful Surrey countryside with a few bonus hills thrown in for good measure. Leaving from Surbiton there's little trouble with traffic so an escape can be made down the aptly named Portsmouth Road before leaving for a less direct route around Cobham.

From Cobham you head south skirting round Guildford on the east and taking in the North Downs and Surrey Hills. The scenery is fantastic and the few small hills keep things lively. Dunsfold at ~35 miles proves itself to be a welcome and worthy lunch stop with simple home cooked food at The Sun Inn and a village shop for basic amenities.

With a few hills under your belt, a belly full of pie and nearly half the distance covered you could be feeling proud of yourself leaving The Sun Inn. However, keep something back as the second half of this route is characterised by unrelenting undulations, kickstarted by the formidable Bexley Hill which at 17% is no laughing matter with panniers, a race compact crank and two pounds of beef and gravy in your stomach.

Bexley over the route saunters pleasantly to the coast along small roads with a pleasant climb up Hyden Hill shortly after passing under the A3 marking the home straits. The route winds down into Portsmouth over many more miles than tired legs would prefer; a late adrenaline surge being provided by the Portsmouth traffic and crossing of four lane carriageways to reach your final destination, Portsmouth Travelodge.

Portsmouth Travelodge is basic but well provisioned with a Wetherspoon's style eatery downstairs serving 'til 10pm. Bikes can be stored in your room but prepare for some bemused looks as you sweat your lycra-clad way up the stairs against a tide of shiny shoed revellers.

Other stages

  • London to Paris Cycle Route
  • Day 1 - London to Portsmouth
  • Coming soon - Day 2 - Portsmouth to Caen by ferry, then Caen to Villerville
  • Coming soon - Day 3 - Villerville to Les Anderlys
  • Coming soon - Day 4 - Les Anderlys to Paris
  • Coming soon - Day 5 - Paris to London by Eurostar

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