Our friends over at Sunday Echapee were way stoked to be the next in our ‘Roads Like These’ series! So happy to share what these dude’s have been up to! Check them out on Instagram and on their website.
Here in the UK we’re not blessed with mountains proper and especially not so in London. The terrain (and weather) here is more akin to that of our Flandrian neighbours and so the punchy Surrey and Kent hills to the south of London are popular targets for many riders based in the UK’s capital. Box Hill, Ide Hill and their many counterparts draw thousands of us out of the flat, sprawling metropolis each weekend in search of fresh air and vertical challenges. We are Sunday Echapée, a London-based crew who head for these hills most weekends. But increasingly our target isn’t the well-known hills themselves, but the forgotten, often anonymous roads, tracks and pathways leading to, up and around them.
Roads like these often run a matter of yards from the major highways joining inner-city London to the country. There are seemingly hundreds of them, some occasionally used by motor traffic, others are a decaying arteries of a pre-industrial network of farm tracks, barely fit for road vehicles. Sometimes muddy, often unpaved, nearly always dissecting dense woodland, these roads are understated, beautiful and tranquil. But it is not their aesthetic alone that draws us, the allure is also in the thrill of their discovery; continually unearthing what feels like forgotten places so close to one of the worlds great mega cities is revitalising. It is easy to tire of the same old training routes, and it is equally easy to think there are no other options but the well-trodden path. But by peppering our regular routes with these forgotten lanes can turn an otherwise characterless training run into something that we as friends reminisce about for weeks on end.
We would like to tell the world about them, but doing so would simply spoil it. Besides, there are probably some that are just as beautiful much closer to where you regularly ride. All it takes to ride them is the bike you currently own, a thicker set of rubber and a decent sense of balance. All it takes to find them is a bit of pre-ride planning, a creative mindset and a dash of intuition along the way.