Cycling from Balham, always takes me south, this is my favourite default ride. When I wake up at the weekend, with no route prepared or a plan in mind, I head to Reigate Hill in the knowledge that after half an hour of cycling, I will be out in the country-side.
Balham to Reigate Hill
Elevation gain 512m
From Balham this route heads out through Tooting and Mitcham, after about 30 minutes you reach the leafy suburbs of London, and will find yourself at Carshalton Ponds. The ride takes a few turns to reach Woodmansterne Road, which climbs gradually for a couple of kilometres. As you reach a crossroads, you may catch the scent of lavender in the air, reaching you from the Mayfield Lavender Farm. In the summer months when the organic lavender is in full bloom, you will be greeted by a spectacular carpet of blue.
Mayfield Lavender Farm
Open daily 9am to 6pm June to mid September
The route now continues south towards the North Downs. After a short hill and beyond Chipstead the countryside opens up with farmland, and the urban streets of London feel many miles away. When you reach the end of Blackhorse Lane and meet the A217 it’s worth stopping to check the map to navigate safely around the multi-lane roundabout to Reigate Hill.
At Reigate Hill, there is a cafe, with outdoor seating, where you can sit and appreciate the elevation you have gained, if the weather is kind, you will have views across Surrey to the South Downs and beyond into Sussex.
Reigate Hill Tea Room
Open daily 9am to 5pm except Christmas day.
Reigate Hill marks the furthest point of the route, so now you start your return journey. You can practice your Strada Bianchi skills on the first few metres, which take you off-road. After negotiating a short section of the A217, you then re-join your outward route to continue your return journey, where you can enjoy a few gentle descents.