London to Southend Bike Ride 2012

15th July 2012 – London to Southend Bike Ride

After training for months, the time finally came to ride the 52 miles from Victoria Park, London to Priory Park, Southend. It started well and I was up at 4.30am (alarm set for 5am and 5.30am but just kept waking up). I had some breakfast, showered and was ready to go. The train was at 6.54am so I’d left home at 6.10am, cycled down to the station and waited for Gary Jones and Paul Heasley to join me.

I’d got chatting to another guy waiting at the station for the train too with his bike, when I suddenly realised I’d left the second most important piece of equipment at home – my water bottles. So I phoned Laura and she very kindly brought them down to the station, after getting a not so pleased Adam out of bed.

We got on the train and was chatting to a few guys, one guy in particular we were talking to, had his good road bike on the train, but was actually going home after a night shift and had no intention of cycling from London to Southend… 🙂

We planned to get out at West Ham and follow other cyclist in the vane hope that there would be other people getting off and cycling to Victoria Park. Fortunately there were, and there wasn’t just a pack of cyclist following some random fellow home. It was actually a pretty fast pace to the start as we tried keeping up…

We got to Victoria Park and it was pretty relaxed, you handed in your entry card at the start tent, swapping it for a route map. Then made our way up to the start line where a guy in  a very yellow suit, started us off.

Here’s a picture of the route map

We started dead on 8am, our official start time, and made our way out of London. It was stop start at the traffic lights getting out of London and there were a good few cyclists (strange I know) but it soon thinned out.

We had said that we’ll stick together and keep a sensible pace of around 10mph, but we soon found ourselves up at the 15 / 16mph until we hit the hills running up towards Chigwell. Gary had said there was a big hill… there were 3 in succession!!!

We missed the first refreshment stop and get going until “The Windmill” at Mountnessing which is a grade 2 listed Post Mill , which has been restored to working order.Mountnessing Windmill was built in 1807, replacing an earlier mill. There was a convenient place for a comfort break and a place to refill water bottles. We refueled with energy bars and were ready to go again.


We were feeling good at this point, pleased by the progress we had made so carried on. We hit some traffic through Stock, as we went up another steep incline, but made good time and soon passed the Hanningfield Reservoir which looked very full indeed, no drought here.

We continued on until Battlesbridge where we were so shocked by the time that we had made and had to call ahead to let the respective other halves know we had 13 or so miles to go. We finished our energy gel packs and had a couple of sports carb sweets. Feeling very buoyant and stating that we would definitely do it again next year, coupled with the knowledge of where abouts we were, we headed off towards Southend.

Spurred on with the knowledge that 13 miles is the same distance as one of our training runs, we were off, a little slow over the actual bridge, we were soon on pace again, however I was feeling it a little now with the occasional cramp in my right thigh and the back of my left leg feeling the strain, but I wasn’t exhausted or out of breath as I expected to be.

We made our final rest stop at the Royal Oak in Great Stambridge so that we could stay close and finish altogether. With c. 3miles to go we should be finishing around 1pm… Fantastic.

We cycled into Southend, passing Southend Airport, with a few hills but nothing too serious as the start; getting stopped twice at the traffic lights to cross the A127, a final hill and on to Prittewell Chase, down hill to the A127 again and across to Priory Park.

We made it by 1.15pm!!! 5Hours and 15minutes journey with actual cycling time of 4hours and 43minutes. A total of 54.85 miles on the route, but actually 60miles including the cycle from home and from the station.

I was very please with myself and crossed the line, with a smile, feeling quite emotional with the achievement and also feeling really please with myself and proud of my fellow cyclists…

Next time, and I will do it again, I think some more photos enroute may be in order, or a helmet mounted camera..

I would like to thank everyone that donated money to the British Heart Foundation by sponsoring me, so far I have raised £246.

I’d also like to thank my riding partners, Gary and Paul, and also my family for coming down to Southend to see us cross the line (and take me home again).

You can view the “mapmyride” details here: http://www.mapmyride.com/workout/152101231

Here are some photos taken, during the ride by me and at the finish by Laura.


Here are the details of my ride:

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About the Author: Neil Frost

4 Comments + Add Comment

  • Well done Neil!! A great achievement. Didn’t realise you were coming via Retterdon, we could have come and waved.

    • I didn’t know either, was just following the guys in front 🙂

  • Well done to you, Gary and Paul.

  • Well done to you, Gary and Paul a great achievement

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