Westerham, Kent to Waterloo

Origamist

Guru
Location
Sandbach
I might be moving and am considering a longer commute. The location is approx 1 mile south of Westerham heading to Waterloo.

I have a couple of routes in mind (Biggin Hill, Lewisham or via Croydon), but I'd be interested to know if other people who commute part of this route have some advice/tips.
 

BentMikey

Rider of Seolferwulf
Location
South London
Wow, nice climbs for you. You'll have to stop in for a hot cuppa once in a while. Me, I'm lazy and just go A233/A21/A20/A2/A202 to get to the West End, so most of that wouldn't be remarkably dissimilar to yours. Westerham Hill is a busy one to grind up, perhaps Titsey Hill might be nicer for you?
 
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Origamist

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Sandbach
Wow, nice climbs for you. You'll have to stop in for a hot cuppa once in a while. Me, I'm lazy and just go A233/A21/A20/A2/A202 to get to the West End, so most of that wouldn't be remarkably dissimilar to yours. Westerham Hill is a busy one to grind up, perhaps Titsey Hill might be nicer for you?

Thanks - those A roads were pretty much what I was thinking about. How long does that take you?

I don't know Titsey Hill, is it shorter? Westerham Hill is a long drag as I recall, but not too steep. I've no idea what it's like in the rush hour as I've only ridden through that part of Kent at the weekends.
 

gaz

Cycle Camera TV
Location
South Croydon
If you go Croydon way. Then either a21 all the way to Brixton or a21 partly and cut through to tooting for cs7. If you want some routes around Croydon, let me know as I got some fast routes
 
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Location
Sandbach
If you go Croydon way. Then either a21 all the way to Brixton or a21 partly and cut through to tooting for cs7. But that's a lot of miles

Yeah, via Croydon is longer but the route is more familiar to me. I got a beep from a HGV on CS7 this morning for not using the blue lane!

It looks like it would be a long time in the saddle due to all the traffic lights...I'd not be that upset if the move does not come off!
 

martint235

Dog on a bike
Location
Welling
Westerham Hill is a long drag as I recall, but not too steep.


Ok now I feel really ashamed. The last (and only time) I attempted Westerham Hill on a racing bike (about four years ago) I got three quarters of the way up and couldn't actually make the pedals go round anymore. Only just saved myself from a clipless moment!! :blush:

From riding out Biggin Hill way at weekends, I'd just go for the direct approach. If you go through Biggin Hill, Lewisham, I'd say you could do it to Waterloo in 60 -90 mins
 
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Ok now I feel really ashamed. The last (and only time) I attempted Westerham Hill on a racing bike (about four years ago) I got three quarters of the way up and couldn't actually make the pedals go round anymore. Only just saved myself from a clipless moment!! :blush:

From riding out Biggin Hill way at weekends, I'd just go for the direct approach. If you go through Biggin Hill, Lewisham, I'd say you could do it to Waterloo in 60 -90 mins


I grew up on steep Devon gradients, but I imagine after 25miles or so, Westerham Hill on the return leg will feel a whole lot worse than I remember. I'll probably do it fixed, but I need to gear down.

I was thinking more like 90mins for a 26 or so mile commute.
 

BentMikey

Rider of Seolferwulf
Location
South London
LOL, I suppose it doesn't compare with Devon, but it's one of the bigger ones in this area. I like to think I'd make it up there on 69" fixed without walking, but I imagine not on a more tired day.
 
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LOL, I suppose it doesn't compare with Devon, but it's one of the bigger ones in this area. I like to think I'd make it up there on 69" fixed without walking, but I imagine not on a more tired day.

How long does is take you from Biggin Hill to HPC on the bent?
 

gaz

Cycle Camera TV
Location
South Croydon
I got a beep from a HGV on CS7 this morning for not using the blue lane!

A motorcyclist who smidsy'ed me had a go at me for not using the csh when i was going up bedford hill and overtaking cyclists and going as fast as the motorcyclist in front of me.

As you say, the downside to going Croydon way, will be the added traffic lights, i got a few routes that take me around Thornton heath and off the a23 that are faster. But getting to them is still a pain. and there are no cycling facilities so you have to fight with the cars, not a problem on most days, but can be harder if i'm tired.
 
All the lovely hills!

I find the A233 hard work on the bike. It would be a lovely road if it weren't for the the traffic. The problem I find is that it is easy to carry speed, up to the limit even in some of the 40mph areas, but even traveling at the same speed as general traffic it's a very difficult road to maintain road position. There's often too much width to be able to control overtaking vehicles but frequently insufficient room to allow comfortable passage side by side. I've sat in primary along stretches of this road and slowly been bumped back ten or fifteen cars as I've had to ease off as each driver pulls alongside and then inserts themselves into the gap I'm maintaining in front of me. Mentally tiring and physically harder work too.
The local driving mentality is also why I wouldn't necessarily recommend the lanes that by-pass Biggin Hill. In the rush hours otherwise quiet country roads are used as rat-runs by people looking to make quick progress despite blind corners and general narrowness. Layhams Road and particularly Fairchilds Road are worth being wary of which is a shame as they both by-pass New Addington which is somewhere I'm told you should never go on a bike unless armed.
Despite what I've said, as a ride that I'd be able to roll along as un-interrupted by traffic lights as possible my route would be: Clark's Lane; Beddlestead Lane; Skid Hill Lane; Layhams Road through West Wickham to Eden Park Road and Elmers End to filter through all the traffic to begin the ascent of Anerley Hill. Taking the route down College Road and Croxted Road to Herne Hill can result in a long fast stretch as long as the traffic isn't completely ballsed up. There would be another bout of creative filtering as you approach Brockwell Park before what is usually a very clear run along Railton Road and Atlantic Road to emerge on to the A23. This route from Crystal Palace and then running up through Brixton and on to Kennington and Baylis Roads I find to be the swiftest if noticeably longer journey than the alternative through Dulwich, Denmark Hill, the Walworth Road and the Elephant and Castle. The downside of this route though would be the ups - it's stupid hilly, though it might make a nice occasional ride in. That's probably the best aspect of your journey - you probably have enough decent options to ride a different route each day of the week, possibly a different route home each day too.
 

buddha

Veteran
+1 to benborp's route. Clarks Lane (inc Croydon Rd B2024) is better/easier than Titsey Hill. Although my only issue with taking Beddlestead Lane would be Heisers Hill at the end, which is a bit steep if you have panniers/ don't want to get sweaty. I'd carry on along Clarks Lane, Croydon Rd and then take Beech Farm Rd.
 
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Origamist

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Sandbach
Thanks Ben et al for all of the advice. However, I won't be moving after all (I'm actually releived) - so apologies for wasting bandwith. Looks like Tooting has got me for another year or so...
 
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