Doing a Southwark Healthy Ride to Dawson's Heights is great, but how many of the Southwark Healthy Riders realise that by cycling just 20 miles from Dulwich Clock Cafe, the typical distance covered by a Southwark Healthy Ride+, you can reach Box Hill?
But this is where the bike politics comes in. It appears that LCC, Cycling UK and British Cycling have formed a cartel, with the Cycling UK group Pollards Hill Cyclists having been shut down, handing a monopoly of group cycling in south London to British Cycling. It would be great if LCC could challenge by this by being a free-rider, but it's hard work persuading them to do this!
However, despite all of this politics, there were four of us on this ride to Box Hill. Interestingly, one of had been a member of Pollards Hill Cyclists, which used to do rides in the region we visited on this ride. In case you don't know, Pollards Hill Cyclists (http://pollardshillcyclists.org.uk/history.html) was a Cycling UK splinter group from Greenwich Cyclists that was formed by Mark Dawson, who fell out with Barry Mason because he was "fed up with pedalling 13 miles to Greenwich for rides with London Cycling Campaign or jumping onto trains out of town for CTC outings".
We cycled out via Crystal Palace, East Croydon, the Wandle Trail and Nonsuch Mansion, where we stopped for coffee. We then went along the Hogsmill River and through the wooded Epson Common. There is then an excellent segregated cycle path which took us to Denbies Wine Estate, where we had lunch in the conservatory resturant,
After lunch we climbed up Box Hill, which is relatively easy as there is a zig zag road which reduces the gradient. At the top two of us decided to repeat the climb and we then returnde to Epsom Downs, where one of us left to get the train home from Tottenham Corner. The remaining group then returned to Epson, Ewell, Nonsuch Park, Mitcham and Tootling, where the ride finished.