What rides up must skid down! This was going to be a hilly one. A journey from Cycle PS Camberwell to Canopy Bar & Tap, south side to south side...
Setting off at 7:30 with a hint of rain in the air we crossed the road. I wanted to head up Champion hill avoiding the direct route and taking in the many side streets and public pathways. From Grove lane we turned right weaving through the trees on Daneville Road and turning left into Allendale Close. Deep in the corner of this small cut-de-sac we found a cycle path nestled between the houses called Evesham Walk which brought us out onto the delightfully named Love Walk. Still together and climbing we turned left to cut across a small estate landing on De Crespigny Park. Here we quickly regrouped turning right to re-join Grove Lane and begin our first small slog up the hill, broken briefly by a quick cut through to Camberwell Grove which landed us on Champion Hill Road.
Slightly sweaty from the climb but still together and enjoying a sense of accomplishment we followed Champion Hill Road till its end where is becomes a cycle path called Green Dale. This is a long downhill run with the occasional dangerous speed bump to stop cyclists picking up too much speed. It ends at a crossroads which we crossed to join Townley Road. Meandering around the back of Dulwich Village via Dovercourt Road and Eastlands Cresent we eventually discovered Dulwich Park.
The weather was warm and the park presented itself perfectly complete with a vintage steam fair and ferris wheel. We briefly debated doing a lap of the park but instead we pressed on taking a left out of the park onto Firemans Alley. This took us briefly down onto the South Circular which we used to connect to Cox's Walk. Slowly manoeuvring our way through the gate a look of horror cast itself across the faces of our group. We were going, off road. Because it had rained a couple of days ago I worried that mud would end our adventure. Feeling brave and pumped I led the charge as we hammered along the dirt path and up to our first stop, the bridge in the woods.
As I neared the bridge I was a little shocked to discover that we weren't the only visitors to the bridge that evening. Arriving from the other direction, it transpired, were a group of bird watchers, all crowding onto the bridge totally ruining what I had planned to be a chilled little break. Undeterred we hung our bikes from the bridge and tried to decide which route would be the best way to find the road again. We decided on the low road and handed each bike over a fence and started the steep journey down towards the exit. Sadly I took a wrong turn, innocently trying to avoid some mud and routing us past a swamp and up to the wrong side of two fences. Undeterred by this the group shrugged and one by one jumped the fence happy to have experienced something new.
Cleats cleaned and mud removed we were once again on the road literally and metaphorically, climbing up the steep curve of Peckarmans Wood and up onto Crescent Wood Rd which we used to cross Sydenham Hill Road before dropping down through the wonderful sweeping roads of Sydenham Hill Estate and into Sydenham Wells Park. Here we took a proper break, cracking open drinks and enjoying the view. At this point someone had the bright idea to suggest a skid competition down the grass verge we were sat upon. So taking turns, myself, Jan, Harvey, Alessandro and Hussain took our best shot at getting the furthest across the grass. Check out the slideshow below!
From the Park we still had to get to the top of Westwood Hill. The quickest and most car free route was to take Ormanton Rd, cross Westwood Hill Road and cut through Charleville Circus to join Crystal Palace Park Road. Once on here we made a short accent to the hill top and cruised along Crystal Palace Parade in the relative safety of the bus lane. At the end, on the junction where the famous Cadence resides, we took the Church Road loop, round past The White Hart pub and down Westow Street to the precipice of Gipsy Hill.
Gipsy Hill, a long stretch of Tarmac, all down hill, in a fairly straight line to The Paxton Pub. With just a few seconds to say, "See you at the bottom" the traffic lights changed and we launched ourselves down the hill. Alessandro quickly peddled past me on his low geared beater, treating me to some of the raddest skidding I've seen, wiping one way then the other, his legs spinning furiously. As we sped past I clocked Beer Rebellion, a cool Indy bar we visited for ride IV and its fantastic range of craft beers.
At the bottom of the hill, which everyone seemed to enjoy, we regrouped and began our relaxing decent down towards Our end point. First taking South Croxted Road all the way down to Norwood Road we finally arrived at Canopy Bar and Tap where we all relaxed, congratulated each other for beating the hills and enjoyed a well earned beer.