Did a trial run from Ramsgate to Canterbury yesterday (it was very nice) and have slightly updated the route & tried to remember any notable features/hazards:
SRA ticket office opens at 09:00, we should be at the front of the queue with cash in hand! Very slow lift will only take 2 bikes down at a time, and there are a lot of stairs. Train departs 09:16, arrives 10:27.
From RAM station ~10:45, dip down to the seafront; a couple of sections here might be rather busy, but I don’t see much of an alternative and it’s not far. WC on the seafront before we climb back up on the shared path to the clifftop. We then follow an off-road path along the coast to Sandwich, passing the Viking ship (WC) and then skirting the Pfizer industrial estate. A quick go around the surprisingly picturesque Sandwich one-way system (WC), and then out into the countryside; relatively quiet roads should let us hear the skylarks. No hills in the first 2/3 of the distance, but don’t get complacent.
A brief diversion to the Mermaid pub in Bishopsbourne for lunch. I guess we will be there approx. 13:00-13:30. They have a couple of tables out the front, but more in the sun-trap garden at the back. Terrible phone reception here for some reason. Don’t know how busy it will be, but we should be able at the very least to get a beer / orange & soda with a packet of crisps. The menu is on their website http://www.mermaidinnbishopsbourne.co.uk/. If on offer, would be best not to have a full Sunday lunch with pudding, because after the pub ~14:30 are… the Duck pub, where we won’t be stopping, unless WC, Ian Fleming’s house, and…
…a couple of hills, both up and down; none are Mont Ventoux, but it would be sensible to check that both gears and brakes are functioning well beforehand. One section has grass up the middle and is adorned with some flint pebbles, and bonus potholes, but manageable on all bikes. Reward of the hills is a lovely long run back into Canterbury, with a view of the Cathedral in the distance.
We do have to cross a couple of big roads on the route, but the nastiest bit is probably the last few hundred metres into Canterbury including large roundabout.
I’ve ended at another Shepherd Neame pub in Canterbury, the Millers Arms ETA ~16:00, to refresh before heading to CBW and the ~1 hr train back to SRA. Trains: 14:43* / 15:25 / 15:43* / 16:25 / 16:43* / 17:25 etc (trains marked * require change at Ashford and take 15 mins longer). Could easily go straight to the station if the times don’t match up nicely.
Route is here, for some reason it comes up as 50km, but it’s really ~40km / 30miles: http://www.gpsies.com/map.do?fileId=kntddwmavaesqwvh