Detailed route description

The Urban Half of the Ride
  1. Start at Nightingale Lane just off Clapham Common. Downhill watching out for the speed bumps and Clapham Tractors then straight ahead over the railway line and up Bellevue Road past Wandsworth Common on the right.

  2. At the lights straight across onto Burntwood Lane. Downhill (using the cycling lane but watching out for road debris) until the junction with Garrat Lane. Turn left.

  3. Keep on Garratt lane (flat) and, after a mile or two, the house numbers on the right reach 1011. Straight across the lights with Tooting Broadway Underground on your right. This is often a busy and bustling and slightly dangerous bit of the route.

  4. Following signs to Mitcham swing round right past Tooting Overground station and then a large field, Figge's Marsh, on your left. (You're on the A217 London Road)

  5. When you enter the Mitcham one way system on Holborn Way you keep left on Upper Green East. The road surface is strangely lumpy as you pass the first duck pond on your left, round a roundabout to go straight across and then follow Commonside West (both the A236)

  6. Over a railway bridge you will come to a large-ish roundabout with a bad cycle lane, 2nd exit right onto Carshalton Road (A237). Soon after Mitcham Junction Station is on your left.

  7. Keep straight on, on the London Road (A237) until you turn right onto Hackbridge Road, which doesn't look like a major road so don't miss it. There is a right filter.

  8. Hackbridge Road becomes Nightingale Road and you swing round to the left onto North Street

  9. At the end, you'll reach a T junction with a pleasant pond on either side. Look for the Greyhound Hotel down on the right. You're nearly in the countryside now. Turn right onto Pound Street (A232) up a small rise bearing round to the left.

  10. At the lights go straight across and up Park Hill (the first hill of the route after more than 9 miles).

  11. Keep straight on up The Beaches Ave. At 10 miles you'll go past Carshalton station. This is the first time you should see unfit people pushing their bikes! After some undulations you'll come onto Woodmansterne Road for a mile or so. This is a drag with the junction on a small rise at the end.

  12. At the end go right onto Woodmansterne Lane but immediately left onto Carshalton Road (it is pretty much a dog-leg straight across) to begin a very long drag up to Woodmansterne. If you're not fit, this is when it will start to tell!

  13. At the top there is a T junction (look out for the wonderful fallen tree on the right where someone has carved the village name and woodland bits). You turn left onto a welcome descent down Rectory Lane. Can be quick and has bends.

  14. At the bottom bear left onto Chipstead Valley Road and then immediately right onto How Lane. This is the first real climb of the route and a nasty, narrow long one too.

  15. At the top you'll see a big sign saying Chipstead. Keep going straight on and catch your breath as you go along High Road. The scenery is pleasant and you go past Elmore Road on the right and Castle Road on the left.

  16. Then past Hogcross Lane on left and White Hill on right before turning left into Markedge Lane. Brow the hill and swoop down (going past the great Fanny's Farm Shop - a favourite Pee and Tea stop but also a dangerous spot).

  17. People are often injured coming off on this hill. Take it easy, it's fast and you will go under the M25 bridge at high speed and have to brake hard as you stop at a T junction to go right onto Gatton Bottom (believe it or not).

  18. Take the first left up Rocky Lane for a little climb through Gatton Park and then fast, narrow and dangerous down (again, another spot that sees injuries every year) before racing down to a large junction in Merstham. You'll see an industrial estate across the road to the left. Turn left and immediately right at the lights into it keeping left onto New Battlebridge Lane. Keep left again.

  19. When you reach a small roundabout turn right into Nutfield Road towards Nutfield Marsh. This is the point when you move from short urban roads to long country roads right the way until Lewes.

The Country Half of the Ride
  1. As you leave Merstham and emerge onto Nutfield Marsh, keep left onto
    Nutfield Marsh Road. The road surface is really poor here as you pass Mercers Country Park on the left. As the area opens out however you'll see the Inn on the Pond pub over to your right with a cricket pitch in front.

  2. Breathe hard as you prepare to go up Church Hill. It is just as you pass the 20 mile mark. This road - like Dennis Wise - is a little psycho. The bit by the Church is vicious and the road narrows dangerously past parked cars near the top.

  3. At the top, go straight across the A25 and descend Cooper's Hill Road at speed. Some bends - take care. You will then duck under the M23 go past 'Such Fun Kennels' on your right and keep straight on.

  4. Past Crab Hill Lane on your left the road becomes Prince of Wales Road and drags up for a mile and a half up Daysey's Hill. You pass the Dog and Duck at Outwood on your left (another victim of the recession - currently closed!) and then a respite down Rookery Hill.

  5. Carry straight on as the road becomes Chapel Rd. Go into Smallfield and keep straight on as the road becomes Redehall Road for a mile and a half.  The road surface is a bit dodgy and lots of parked cars & speed humps.

  6. Near the end of this road is the large Burstow Scout Hut on your right where in June everyone usually stops for lunch as the half way point. Very busy on the actual day so keep going and turn left at 26 Miles onto Effingham Road - another gentle drag for a mile until you turn right on a newly created and smoothly resurfaced roundabout onto West Park Road. You'll see the Copthorne Hotel signs on the corner.

  7. Past the hotel is a good point to take on more water and a banana (and an energy bar if you're new to this as Turners Hill is close). You'll see the golf course on your left looking lush. 
  8. Another series of short drags as you go straight on over a roundabout into Turners Hill Road. The road slopes gently up for a few miles until a small dip down to the foot of Turners Hill. This is often regarded as the second worst hill of the journey. Long and steepish, it narrows near the top so not easy to get off even if you want to.

  9. As you get to the top, the false summit is marked by the pub. You then dip down for 100 yards across a mini-roundabout before climbing again for about 50 yards. 

  10. At 32 miles, you get the benefit of all the climbing and cruise down Selsfield Road bearing right as the road forks (follow B2028 NOT signs to West Hoathly). This is one of the best bits of the ride as you descend the centre of this Sussex ridge all the way to Ardingly. There's this a nasty little kick up just before entering Lindfield and a glide through the town (poor road surface) past the beautiful pond and park.

  11. Follow the road through Lindfield bearing right at the mini-roundabout  and then bear left, descending Black Hill. At the roundabout you begin the slow, sapping climb into Haywards Heath just as you're keen to save energy for Ditchling Beacon. This takes you up Oathall road (now the B2112) becoming Hazelgrove Road and on into Haywards Heath itself.

  12. At the roundabout in H. Heath go straight across into Sussex Road which becomes Wivelsfield Road and (after a new roundabout with a big road now joining on your left) Fox Hill/Lunce's hill. To date, this downhill has featured some potholes and 'joins' between tarmac slabs. Beware. Also, around here you start getting the first glimpses of the 'Green Monster' up ahead!
  13. The next then begins to drag up a little as the road undulates to a roundabout with Middleton Common Lane on the left and Folder's lane on the right.

  14. You cross a railway line (the bridge has a concrete section on the left to stop for some pre-Beacon sustenance) and follow it on into High Street, Ditchling, through the village straight and then left onto Beacon Road

  15. The road is rising here and you'll be going slowly as you steel yourself. The Beacon is very steep but not that long. It is 183m above sea level. There are three left hand twists. Round two of them you should take in the stunning views to the left to distract yourself.

  16. At the top begins the most amazing descent with the road sloping down more than it looks. You should hit 35 - 40mph on a good day past fields full of sheep and huge vistas to the right.

  17. At the end, turn sharp left. The road kicks up for 20 - 30 yrds you then begin the descent of Coldean Lane: very fast, quite dangerous. You will go through a speed camera at more than 30mph most likely but please beware of cars turning right into side roads. At the traffic lights at the end brake hard and wait ages for them to change. Turn right

  18. You now follow the cycle lane on the Lewes Road (Westbound) for 3 miles all the way down into Brighton, only turning left when you see the large church at the end. These have been updated recently and feature some chicanes behind busshelters. Beware if tired. 

  19. When you approach the large church and pavillion keep bearing left towards the pier. Lots of lanes, traffic lights and potential hazards.
  20. When you see the Pier congratulate yourself and turn 2nd left on the roundabout into Madeira Drive. Follow this for 400 yds to reach the end that they use on the day.

  21.  Drink a chocolate or banana milk (the protein aids muscle recovery and the sugar replenished lost reserves!) You deserve it!