Recommended Ride: South London Downs National Nature Reserve

Recommended Ride: South London Downs National Nature Reserve

With a group of friends now all kitted out with e-bikes, Ray decided to lead an e-bike ride through one of South London's greenest landscapes:

"They say 'never sell a bike to a friend' but we've broken that rule and gone even further.

Firstly, Helena who works for us handling accounts and admin decided to dive in and buy a suitable e-bike to keep up with her husband. She is a compact person and the challenge was to find a bike suitable for her size. The Corratec E-Power Urban stepthrough was the one to fit the bill. With a 39cm frame and 26inch wheels, it's the e-bike of choice for a petite rider.

Our workshop team fitted mountain bike tyres to it so she could go off-road too. Soon, in a complete reversal, she was leaving David, her husband, behind and so another e-bike was earmarked for him so they could ride together. David went for a Haibike hardtail offroad bike, which gives him the ability to together. He went for a Haibike hardtail offroad bike which gives him the opportunity to ride on Walton Heath, which is a stone's throw from where they live. 

Soon, Helena invited her friends - a husband and wife - to borrow David's Haibike, and ride out with her. The couple were 'converted' and it wasn't long before professional advice was sought from Energise E-bikes to find two e-bikes for the duo.

After test-rides at both the Coulsdon and Tunbridge Wells showrooms, they purchased two E-Helix bikes by Bergamont, which they love. This is a new breed of electric bike which provides comfort for both road and off-road journeys. It won't be long before you see many of this style out on the trails.

With all four friends now kitted out with e-bikes, we decided it was time to lead them through a local ride put them through their paces.

Starting in Chipstead

From Chipstead follow the High Road and join Portnalls Road heading towards Coulsdon. There is now a bike friendly route through the new Cane Hill Park development which comes out at the main roundabout near Coulsdon South station. Under the bridge and take Marlpit Lane then turn right at the second exit which climbs rapidly (bless the e-bikes) right up into Farthing Downs which is now only a site of special interest but has recently been designated a National Nature Reserve thanks to its abundance of rare, chalkland flowers.

Take the road through the center with a climb of 500 feet until you get to the car park on the right. On a clear day, you can see Canary Wharf and The Shard over 17 miles away. Turn left off road here and drop down taking the wide trail through the woods to the right. When you emerge into fields you will see ahead a wide trail going up the other side of the valley. Take this trail which lead you up to the Coulsdon Common. You pass the Fox Pub, and you may even decide to drop in there.

"On a clear day you can see Canary Wharf and The Shard"

Across the road and follow the trail and just before the next road turn right on the off road trail and weave your way down the hill. Join the road at the bottom and take the second right which takes you up to the Tesco Supermarket where you turn right - pop in if you need a mid-ride refreshment. Go right through until you reach the path short of the golf course.

"The oldest English wall painting on record"

Turn left and go right up to the road and then turn right. Head along this road for half a mile and turn right at Doctors Lane which leads you back to Farthing Downs past Chaldon Church. If it's open, head inside the church to view the oldest English wall painting on record: a mural depicting heaven and hell which dates back to around the year 1200!

Once you pass the car park, go off-road and along the grassy paths on the left of the road. Then let fly down the hill, gathering pace to the exit and to the small road where you can cross the A23 to make the climb into Chipstead.

This route is approximately 12 miles with a good deal of undulation both on and of road. It is relatively traffic free. There are stunning views when the sun shines (which it did) so it is a truly wonderful experience, greatly enabled and enhanced by e-bikes.

Thanks to Energise E-bikes, there are more e-bike converts and a whole new world opening up for these two sets of friends who now all cycle together locally and further afield with the help of their Thule bike carriers.

Helena says, "The ride was perfect for an evening pre-supper jaunty. It was varied as we cycled in open areas such as Farthing Downs , smaller tracks leading to Old Coulsdon and down quiet, leafy lanes like Doctors Lane in Chaldon." 

Have fun and if you do this ride, let us know how you get on."   

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