Planes, Paddles, Parks & Pedals in the Wandle Valley
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Join us for a leisurely Sunday ride taking in the historic mills and parks of the Wandle Valley, followed by a glimpse into Croydon's rich aviation history from the golden age of air travel at Croydon Airport, then finishing off with a relaxed ride up the scenic Waterlink Way and exploration of the Surrey Docks.
We’ll be taking cycle trails and quiet roads where possible so this event is open to members with all levels of experience.
Once we've ridden to the mouth of the River Wandle, we'll proceed along the route of what was once London's hardest working river, taking in Merton Abbey Mil (with its market and pottery), Morden Hall Park, Snuff Mill and Beddington Park.
After stopping for lunch we'll then cycle to Croydon Airport (London’s original International Airport) where a fellow ODL member will provide a 30-minute guided tour to the world’s first Air Traffic Control tower and fully integrated passenger terminal, with time to look around ourselves afterwards.
Admission to the museum is a £4 donation payable on the day directly to the museum. Participation in the tour is at the rider's discretion and is completely optional.
The second half of the ride takes in the Waterlink Way, which joins up many of Lewisham's parks and nature reserves (inlcuding South Norwood Country Park) whilst following the course of the Pool & Ravensbourne Rivers. After arriving at Greenwich we'll then follow the Thames Path north west to enjoy the riverside views and old docks of Rotherhithe, finishing with a ride through Stave Hill Ecology Park to Greenland Dock where we'll stop at a dockside venue for some refreshment.
This is intended for anyone with a bike, but short sections in the 2nd half of the ride can be gravelly and muddy in winter and so may not be suitable for slick tyres on a road bike. I'd suggest at least 28C tyres if using a road bike and avoid bringing carbon road bikes to prevent damage on bumpy ground.
Worried about doing the full distance?
The pace will be very relaxed, but if you'd like to leave the ride early then we'll pass by both West & East Croydon stations around the 15 mile mark (just after the airport visit) and will then pass a station every few miles along the rest of the route.
Travelling back to start point?
The ride ends at the Surrey Quays Overground station with trains to Clapham Junction every 15 minutes.
What to bring
Bike: any bike you like, though avoid very slick tyres
Helmet: OutdoorLads requires you to wear one
Clothing: lightweight and layered, shorts are great even in rain as they allow free movement of your legs. Avoid jeans, which are uncomfortable when wet, and baggy tracksuit bottoms, which can snag in the chain. Colourful and/or reflective clothing will make you more visible to other road users
Footwear: grippy soles if your bike has standard pedals
Gloves: cycle gloves help avoid blisters, and are good in the cold
Punctures: spare inner tube, bike tyre pump and tyre levers
Tools: any special tools that your bike needs
Small snacks: such as chocolate or energy bars
Plenty of water: in bottle/s on your bike or in a daysack/bladder
Medicines: if you have hay fever, diabetes, minor ailments etc.
Eye protection: avoid getting grit or insects in your eyes, sunglasses are OK if they are not made of glass and not too shaded
Sun cream: take care, even on overcast days
Bike lights: be seen and safe
Storage: small day-sack or a bag on your bike
Mobile Phone: keep it in a waterproof bag for use in emergencies
Food & drink
We’ll stop on the way for a picnic so ideally bring a packed lunch with you. Food can also be purchased on the way at Merton Abbey Mill if preferred. Also bring water and some snacks for the journey