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|Cycle Route Details|
|Route Name||North London Hills via Hampstead Heath and Alexandra Park|
|Distance : miles (km)||19.93 (32.07)|
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|This is an early morning or weekend ride for those that want an urban ride with some challenging but not too challenging (I'm 50 years old) ascents and lots of time to recover on intervening flats and descents.
It starts and ends in tranquil Hampstead Garden Suburb and takes in most of the local hills in broadly a 33km round trip. Other than a crossing of the A1 at Highgate and back at East Finchley, there are no main London artories to deal with but traffic would be uncomfortable beyond the suggested times.
The notable points. Starting with a lazy ascent through the Heath extension and up to Whitestone Pond before a fast descent down East Heath Road and into that part of Hapmstead known as South End Green; left towards Gospel Oak station and then Swains Lane is the first real spike as we head towards Highgate village.
This is probably the most challenging hill and we dispense with it early. Through Highgate village, accross the A1 and down pretty Wood Lane and a good fast descent down Cranley Gardens towards Crouch End. Left at the bottom and up and over Alexanra Palace which is reletively comfortable and a nice quick descent the other side.
A little spike again around Palace Gates Road, before heading south, skirting Wood Green and heading back Crouch End. A left into Inderwick Road will brush away any remaining cobwebs and raise the pulse a little, especially if you have to stop at the junction at the bottom and lose your head of steam for the ascent.
A nice flat along the ridge to recover before down to Hornsey Rise and then heading north (either Hornsey Road or Hornsey Rise)and a comfortable ascent up Crouch Hill, into Crouch End. Heading again toward Alexander Palace but this time ignoring it and tackling Muswell Hill. Not as steep as Swains Lane but a longer sustained effort and remember to concerntrate at the top to negotiate Muswell Hill roundabout.
Straight over for a long flat into East Finchley to recover. Left at High Road East Finchley and then right at East Finchley Station into The Bishops Avenue and the home straight. Once accross the A1, Bishops Avenue is about a mile of steady ascent.
Turning right at the top and past Spanniard's Inn, we again head for Whitestone Pond from the east rather than the north. Heath again on both sides. Into and down through Hampstead village, this time saving East Heath Road for the final ascent.
Back up East Heath Road to Whitestone Pond; back through Spaniards and a nice and final long descent down Winnington Road to finish at the Norrice Lea junction.
So for an urban route, nine decent ascents and five passable descents.
|Landmarks/Pubs for lunch/Sites to see?|
|Bull and Bush pub on left as head to Whitestone Pond for first time.
Whitestone Pond supposed to be highest point in London. Descending East Heath Road, I imagine Wilkie Collins Women in White did similar at a more sedate pace on her infamous walk. Highgate cemetary (last resting place for Karl Marx as well as various rumoured vampires), is on both sides of Swains Lane.
Pretty Highgate village and Dickensian connections. Cranley Gardens (no 23) has a macabre history. Alexander Palace is the site of the first BBC broadcast and commands spectacular views across the City. Instead of heading north at Hornsey Road, Arsenal's Emirates stadium is a mile futher south. Nice art deco archer statue at East Finchley station. Mansion houses in The Bishops Avenue. Rural aspects as go through the Heath.
The Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead is on right before the ascent up East Heath Road. More superb views across London from top of Heath, heading toward Spanniards. More very large houses in Winnington Road as you wizz by.
I think the trip is best made in one go but if you need to stop, lots of cafes in Hampstead and Highgate but probably heading Crouch End is more of a half way point. No bike shops that I use are en route.
|Near By Cycle Shops|
|Cycling Clubs located in this region|
|Anerley Bicycle Club|
|Herne Hill Youth Cycling Club|
|Kenton Road Club|
|Kingston Phoenix Road Club|
|London Clarion Cycle Club|
|posted by:Marcus||Rating :||difficult :|
|I really enjoyed this ride but it was alot easier than I expected I'm doing a cycle ride across the alps and am in training now so was hoping for something a bit more challenging. For some of my training I do alot of these hills everyday so does anyone know of a more challenging route. Must appreciated as my ride is imminent and I need to get fitter.|