Cycling in Kent

West Kent CTC

Cycling in Kent

Looking for information about cycling in Kent? Cycling UK's guide to cycling in Kent gives you routes, events, clubs and advice to inspire you to cycle in the county.

The ‘Garden of England’ is densely packed with trails, quiet lanes, big-ticket sightseeing, quirky coastal towns, salubrious towns and villages, and curious one-offs. Access is easy thanks to a network of trains, and you can even cycle to Canterbury from central London largely car-free beside the Thames (along NCN1). You could cycle a whole summer here and never see it all, and below is only a fraction of what there is.

Kent’s coast is cyclable virtually all the way, often on traffic-free promenade routes, many stretches of which are great for family riding: NCN2 links Folkestone and Dover, NCN1 runs from there towards Ramsgate, and NCN15 links the vibrant and characterful art-towns of Ramsgate, Broadstairs and Whitstable, past beach huts and fresh seafood stalls. This is, subtly and pleasantly, unlike any other cycle touring in England.

Other family-friendly routes include the Harty Trail through the Isle of Sheppey past beaches and bird reserves. A unique experience kids will also love is to take your bike on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch miniature (but very much practical and useful) railway, and explore the weird shingle beaches of Dungeness.

The Crab and Winkle Way (part of NCN1) is a delightful, mostly car-free link through varied inland scenery from Whitstable to Canterbury; a tourist magnet that’s well explored by bike. While the 27-mile Viking Coastal Trail around the Isle of Thanet is a great cobweb-blower.           

Tunbridge Wells is a destination for mountain bikers, with the wooded trails of Bedgebury Forest – the rolling country round here is lovely for slow back-lanes touring too. Back up towards the Thames, Dartford boasts a BMX centre – and a free coach service to transport bikes across the Queen Elizabeth bridge to Essex.

Cycling groups and clubs in Kent

West Kent CTC (West Kent)

http://www.cyclinguk.org/local-groups/west-kent

http://www.westkentctc.org.uk/

Umbrella organisation for 15 groups across Kent and SE London

Sevenoaks Cycling Campaign (Sevenoaks)

http://www.cyclinguk.org/local-groups/sevenoaks-cycling-campaign

Penshurst Off Road Cycling (Penshurst)

http://www.cyclinguk.org/local-groups/penshurst-road-cycling

Off-road centre in Kent woods

Velo House Limited (Tunbridge Wells)

http://www.cyclinguk.org/local-groups/velo-house-limited

Southborough and District Wheelers (Southborough)

http://www.cyclinguk.org/local-groups/southborough-district-wheelers

Kent Trails (Kent)

http://www.cyclinguk.org/local-groups/kent-trails

Meridian CC (SE London & West Kent)

http://www.cyclinguk.org/local-groups/meridian-cc

https://meridiancyclingclub.co.uk

Cycle Club Bexley (Bexley)

http://www.cyclinguk.org/local-groups/cycle-club-bexley

Time trials, road races and tourist events; social rides, too

Gravesend Cycling Club (Gravesend)

http://www.cyclinguk.org/local-groups/gravesend-cycling-club

Cycle Healthy Cycle Happy (Kent)

http://www.cyclinguk.org/local-groups/cycle-healthy-cycle-happy

Team Sidcup Cycles (Sidcup)

http://www.cyclinguk.org/local-groups/team-sidcup-cycles

Tenterden Cycling Club (Tenterden)

http://www.cyclinguk.org/local-groups/tn30cc

https://www.tenterdencycleclub.com/

Enjoying the ride, whatever your ability; two weekly outings

Shepway Bike Project (Folkestone)

http://www.cyclinguk.org/local-groups/shepway-bike-project

http://cycleshepway.org.uk/

Campaigning for better cycling facilities round Folkestone and Hythe

Spokes (Kent)

http://www.cyclinguk.org/local-groups/spokes-kent

http://www.spokeseastkent.org.uk/

Campaiging for better facilities in East Kent

Thanet Road Club (Thanet)

http://www.cyclinguk.org/local-groups/thanet-road-club

http://www.thanetrc.org/

Time trials, road racing, circuits, Audax, MTB and social rides

Herne Bay Ladies Cycling Club (Herne Bay)

http://www.cyclinguk.org/local-groups/herne-bay-ladies-cycling-club

Canterbury Bike Project (Canterbury)

http://www.cyclinguk.org/local-groups/canterbury-bike-project

Friends of Pilgrims Hospice Social Cycling (Canterbury)

http://www.cyclinguk.org/local-groups/friends-pilgrims-hospice-social-cycling

Calendar of rides through the year across Kent

Ashford Road Cycling Club (Ashford)

http://www.cyclinguk.org/local-groups/ashford-road-cycling-club

http://ashfordroad.cc/

Regular rides with a ‘no drop’ policy round Kent and beyond

Ashford Wheelers (Ashford)

http://www.cyclinguk.org/local-groups/ashford-wheelers-cycling-club

http://www.ashfordwheelers.org.uk/

Time trials, races, rides, MTB, sportives, Audaxes, training and more

Royal Marines Cycling Club (Sittingbourne)

http://www.cyclinguk.org/local-groups/royal-marines-cycling-club

Medway Velo Club (Medway)

http://www.cyclinguk.org/local-groups/medway-velo-club

http://www.medwayvelo.org.uk/

Road racing, time trials, track racing, cyclocross and more

San Fairy Ann CC (Maidstone)

http://www.cyclinguk.org/local-groups/san-fairy-ann-cc

http://www.sanfairyanncc.co.uk/

Caters for cyclist of all ages and levels

Maidstone Cycle Campaign Forum (Maidstone)

http://www.cyclinguk.org/local-groups/maidstone-cycle-campaign-forum

Sofa to Saddle (West Malling)

https://www.cyclinguk.org/group/sofa-saddle

https://sofa-to-saddle.org

Veterans Time Trials (Kent)

http://www.cyclinguk.org/local-groups/veterans-time-trials-association-kent-group

https://www.kentvet.org.uk/

Racing and time trialling club for the over-40s

GS Avanti (Kent)

http://www.cyclinguk.org/local-groups/gs-avanti

https://www.gsavanti.co.uk/

Kent-based club

C5Alive (Margate)

https://www.cyclinguk.org/local-groups/c5alive

Deal and Walmer Wheelers (Deal)

https://www.cyclinguk.org/group/deal-and-walmer-wheelers

Wye Active (Kent)

https://www.cyclinguk.org/group/wye-active

Catha's Seat Group (Stour Valley)

https://www.cyclinguk.org/group/cathas-seat-group

Cycle Circle (Ashford)

https://www.cyclinguk.org/cycle-centre/cycle-circle

http://cyclecircle.co.uk

AXA Cycling (Royal Tunbridge Wells)

http://AXA Cycling (Royal Tunbridge Wells)

Sevenoaks Post-Office Chain Gang (Sevenoaks)

https://www.cyclinguk.org/group/sevenoaks-post-office-chain-gang

West Kent Road Club (Dartford)

https://www.cyclinguk.org/local-groups/west-kent-road-club

http://wkrc.org.uk

Cyclopark Trust (Gravesend)

https://www.cyclinguk.org/cycle-centre/cyclo-park-trust

Gravesend CTC (Gravesend)

https://www.cyclinguk.org/group/gravesend-ctc

http://www.gravesendctc.org.uk

CTC Swale (Swale)

https://www.cyclinguk.org/local-groups/swale

http://ctcswale.org.uk

Dartford and Gravesham Cycle Forum (Dartford)

https://www.cyclinguk.org/group/dartford-gravesham-cycle-forum

Gay Outdoor Club (Tonbridge)

https://www.cyclinguk.org/local-groups/gay-outdoor-club

http://www.goc.org.uk

Tonbridge Bicycle Users Group (Tonbridge)

https://www.cyclinguk.org/group/tonbridge-bicycle-users-group

The De Laune Cycling Club (Maidstone)

https://www.cyclinguk.org/local-groups/de-laune-cycling-club

http://www.delaunecc.org

Community Cycleworks (Maidstone)

https://www.cyclinguk.org/group/community-cycleworks

What to take with you on your ride 

The only thing you really need for cycling is a bike. And maybe a phone, and credit card: in Britain you’re only a call away from any service you might need.

But unless money is no object, it’s wise to take a few things with you on a day ride. A saddlebagpanniers or bikepacking bags are best for carrying stuff. A front basket is second best. A rucksack is third best. Your sweaty back will soon tell you why.

Cycling short distances in jeans and t-shirt is fine, but on a long or strenuous ride – over ten miles say, or in hills – those jeans will rub and the t-shirt will get damp and clingy. Shorts or, yes, lycra leggings and padded shorts will be much comfier, and merino or polyester cycling tops wick away the sweat, keeping you dry and comfy. (They don’t have to be lurid colours.)

If rain’s in the air, pack a rainproof top. If it might turn chilly, take a fleece or warm top. But the thing you’re most likely to forget is the sunblock. 

It’s remarkable how often you enjoy being out on the bike so much that you suddenly realise it’s getting dark. So take lights (which are legally required at night). They’re price of a sandwich, take no space, are easy to put on thanks to tool-free plastic clips, and the batteries last for ever.

Take a puncture repair kit (with tyre levers) and pump. Make sure it fits your valves, which will be either ‘Presta’ or ‘Schraeder’ – realising they don’t match is a very common roadside discovery! Carrying a spare inner tube (make sure it matches your tyre size) makes puncture repair much easier: mend the old one back at home. If you do get in trouble, some kindly passing cyclist will probably stop to help.

Using a helmet is a personal choice – they’re not legally required.

Cycling makes you thirsty, so take lots of water. Long-distance riders talk about ‘the bonk’ – a sudden loss of energy rendering you almost stationary. It’s miraculously and instantly cured by eating something sweet. On short rides you’re unlikely to run out of energy, but just in case, take a snack like flapjack, banana, chocolate or jelly babies. 

Taking a packed lunch or picnic will save you money, though that hot drink and cake in a cosy cafe could yet prove very tempting!

Your phone GPS could be invaluable for showing where you are when lost; you can download free detailed UK maps and GPS software before your trip. 

Paper maps are still useful, though, so take one: no power source or wifi signal required, and they’re great for suggesting possibilities or changes of plan.

What have we missed? Let us know your favourite routes by leaving a comment below. 

Sponsored Advert
Sponsored Advert
Sponsored Advert
Sponsored Advert

Comments

<p>More here:</p>

Join Cycling UK to help us change lives and communities through cycling
Join Cycling UK to help us change lives and communities through cycling
Membership gives you peace of mind insurance, discounts in cycle shops, rides & routes