I have a friend who is coming to London and will have most of a Sunday free and wants to get a ride in around Epping Forest.
If he's hiring... what are his options?
Alternatively, does anyone have a L or XL bike they would loan for the day? He currently rides a an XL Evil Following : https://www.evil-bikes.com/products/following
I'm the person he's referring to. Going to be in town on Sunday, July 29 and have most of the day to ride. I'll be holed up at the Hilton Bankside near the company office, and from what I've been able to glean Epping Forest is the most comprehensive nearby trail network.
Looking for a loaner or a recommended shop to pick one up for the day that's pedaling distance from the trail head, along with (ideally) a recommended route.
Here in central Texas we don't have a lot of sustained climbs, it's mostly punchy ups and downs with a lot of technical features (big limestone steps, lots of scree, etc). It looks like Epping is mostly fast and flow which sounds great.
Thanks in advance!
Epping is good fun but there are no signposted trails.
So unless you ride with someone who knows their way around it’s not the best for rocking up and riding.
Not sure about bike hire.
For a trail centre with dedicated bike hire Swinley is the best bet locally. Signposted trails and onsite hire.
A coworker recommended Swinly as well and it looks like a fine choice...but according to Google Maps that's a nearly 2 hour commute: https://goo.gl/maps/shgJq64jU492
It's doable, I suppose. Looks like the shop closes at 17:00 and if I can get there around noon that should provide enough time to ride.
Is it worth the commute in your opinion? Considering the lack of signage at Epping (assuming I'd be alone)?
There's this place. @Aroogah used them a few years ago.
Go further cycling
And if you're going to Swinley this is a good overview resource: http://www.essexhertsmtb.co.uk/mtb-trails/swinley-forest.php
The closest mainline station to the office and the Hilton you're in is Waterloo, so it's pretty convenient though you'll need a cab from the station at the other end to get to Swinley Trail Centre itself to pick up the bike.
GTF out of here >>>>>>>>>>
Waterloo > Bracknell is 1hr 6mins: https://goo.gl/gGpw1g
It's about 10 mins from the Hilton to Waterloo... and a taxi at the other end should be about 10-15 minutes.
theres a bike hire place between the station at chingford and the big car park on the edge of the woods, just next to chingford golf club
can't vouch for what bikes they hire though
They cater for the fire road pootling crowd
Nice bike wash though and they are nice guys
If you can get a trail bike from somewhere I’m sure myself, @platypus @dicki @crop @7Üp could be persuaded to give a tour
Skull Bike Club cycles (SBC) ride there a bit, might be worth hitting them up to see if they could help you out.
Otherwise yes - I think if you were alone and needed to hire Swinley would be better in those circumstances
Oh, I see. So if I walk to Waterloo station from the hotel, then take the rail to Bracknell and cab from there it's a more reasonable commute; that sounds doable.
re @Howard, I found a few spots up near Epping where I could pick up a trail bike; but it sounds to me like Swinley may be a better choice all things considered. Even if I find someone to ride with I'd likely want to stay out all day without imposing on anyone.
What's the ride at Swinley like compared to Epping Forest?
I have a Xl cannondale f3 caffeine with a lefty fork which I'm planning to sale soon , happy for you to borrow with feedback in return, I don't get time to go off road and it's kind of wasted on my comute , of course I expect it looking the same when returned, pm if interested cheers
Thinking I might try https://www.trailforks.com/routepopular/922720/ at Swinley. I've only got one day to ride and don't really want to spend it hunting down routes. With bikes and refreshments available right at the trail head it seems like the best option for me.
I'll take that as a no then, good luck
Sorry, didn't see your comment until after I posted mine since I had the page open already.
Anyway, I looked into that bike and it looks like a short travel XC bike, I don't think it'd be the right fit for me; I'm hoping to pick one up with similar geo to my Following.
What's the ride at Swinley like compared to Epping Forest
What's the ride at Swinley like compared to Epping Forest
Epping is all natural and there is no ‘sanctioned’ trail building. A good portion of the trails there are undulating flowy XC. You pedal a lot :) in contrast there are some mini downhill trail lines around Claypit hill where there are some purpose built jumps built by kids with spades. I’m surprised by how these seem to be tolerated as there are wardens who used to destroy this stuff on sight. They are fun with a light trail bike - the climb back up is testing.
Swinley used to be a similar set up until people started getting hurt and suing the land owner - so the Crown Estate that owns the land built sanctioned trails on existing lines and put insurance in place. It’s pedally trail stuff on a purpose built surface with a lot of burms and some switchback climbs that lead to longer descents than you see at Epping. It’s easy to ride but it takes skill to ride it fast. There are a few trickier technical bits on natural lines deeper in to the red trail. There are no black runs only red and blue, but there are still unsanctioned hidden features deeper in the forest.
It’s next door to crowthorn wood which is pretty similar to Epping and has a whole load of unsanctioned light XC trails. You can hook the two up.
Unfortunately I'm busy that day plus my bike is in the shop
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