London to Southend-on-sea - 18 March (night ride)
Ride leader Ross says:
Our traditional season opening ride to Southend-on-sea has had a refresh for 2022. The ride has a new leader, Ross, and we'll be taking a more northerly route than we've used previously as we take advantage of our new half way stop in the village of Doddinghurst. The Southend ride, like all London based rides, will start at Fridays Central which is located under Waterloo Bridge on the Southbank next to the British Film Institute.
After the usual briefing we will set off at midnight, crossing the Thames and following the Embankment to the City with its amazing views. From here we’ll brave the cobbles as we soak up the atmosphere of the Wapping wharves before we head north east, catching a glimpse of the Olympic stadium along the way. We cross the A12 and the M25 on our journey into the wilds of Essex to our half way stop at the Doddinghurst scout hall. Suitably refreshed we'll head into the sunrise through the stunning Essex lanes, maybe going via Buttsbury ford if the weather is kind (the ford has had a new walkway built since the last time we were there), skirting Hanningfield reservoir until we turn south via sleepy Battlesbridge to reach the delights of the Thames Estuary, Southend-on-Sea's splendid promenade and the dash to the world famous Southend pier.
Breakfast will be at Beaches Cafe right on the beach with south facing views overlooking the pier and Thames Estuary. There are trains back to London Fenchurch Street and London Liverpool Street.
At around 56 miles, the Southend-on-Sea ride is one of our shorter night rides, and although the terrain is rolling, there are no leg breaking hills, so it’s the perfect way to start the season or experience your first Friday Night Ride.
Note. Our half way stop at the scout hall is manned by volunteers who will be getting out of their warm beds to make sure we are fed and watered. So that they are not out of pocket if people cancel at the last minute or don't show up for the ride at all, we are asking for a non-refundable pre-payment of £7 (tbc). For this you will get a hot drink and a sandwich - a selection will be available - and perhaps a banana or something sweet. Details of how to make payment will be available when registration opens in February. Your registration for the ride will not be complete until payment has been received.
To whet your appetite for this adventure you can read the 2019 ride report.
Registration will open approximately four weeks before the ride.