Wheels of Wisdom

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Cycling the Box Hill Olympic route

View from top of Box Hill Olympic routeEver since the Olympics I’ve been wanting to cycle the iconic Box Hill route in Surrey.

Neither Sir Bradley Wiggins nor Mark Cavendish may have managed a medal, but it was a wonderfully democratic day for the Olympics as many thousands lined the route, needing no ticket, just the get up and go to find a suitable spot.

Those on the Box Hill section of the route were rewarded with not just one, but nine glimpses of their heroes as they completed the nine laps aimed at splitting the field as they ascended one of the most aptly-named roads in the country – Zig-Zag Road – which curves back on itself like an Alpine mountain road.

For those who wish to emulate their heroes, there are several options.

For the real enthusiasts, you could do the full nine-laps, and even the accompanying in-and-out to London. For a twist, you could start with a lap of Richmond Park’s ring road and then head off to Box Hill.

For the less fit, you can simply ride as many laps as your legs and lungs can cope with.

Parking for Box HillIf you want to get there by car, then there’s a very handy National Trust car park just down Old London Road and a mere hundred yards or so from the start of Zig Zag road (see map and the ‘P’ for parking).

Head up the hill and then turn right and you’re on the hallowed route (along with half the peleton it seems if it’s a weekend).

The surprise for even an averagely fit cyclist is that it’s not as steep or as long a climb as you’d think, but then again nine laps may well change your view.

To encourage you to keep going you can still see the relics of the Olympic route with painted messages on the road to the great and the good along with my personal favourite ‘Kiss My Cav.’

If you’re really struggling there’s a cafe near the top, but keep going and you’ll be rewarded with one of the best views in the area as the trees part and Surrey stretches before you.

It’s then a plateau of sorts for a few miles until you take a left into Headley Common Road and start slowing winding your way back to Old London Road with a few hills to keep you interested in what is mostly a descent back to the starting line.

If you’re on a mountain bike, then there are some off-road routes to your left as you head along Boxhill Road that with a little navigation will take you onto Headley Lane and back onto the loop home.

Unless you are doing the epic re-enactment, it’s not one of the great endurance challenges, but it is a simply glorious bike ride that has nearly everything – a taste of the Olympics, a relatively traffic-free ride, a cafe if you need it and some of best views in the south of England.

Box Hill Olympic Route

Kiss My Cav!

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This entry was posted on June 21, 2013 by in challenges, cycling.
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