Sunday 7 June 2020

Reviving the 'London Classic' on a Brompton

This morning I was clearing out one of the draws in our study and I found a route guide from the 'London Classic' that I got when I did it in 2015. This got me thinking - always a dangerous prospect!

The 'London Classic' was once an annual event that started and finished at the Gipsy Hill Tavern not far from Crystal Place in Southeast London.

The event involved cycling over numerous cobbled sections of road - there are quite a few of these still left in London - and ascending more than a few hills!! It was an homage to the Tour of Flanders and although most participants completed it on road bikes, I and many of my friends did so on our Brompton bicycles.

The route was only about 35 miles in total but the cobbles and the hills - the worst which appeared in the last 10 miles of the ride - made it a demanding few hours.

The route looped into central and east London to get all the cobbles before heading back up to Gypsy Hill. One infamous road that struck fear into all was Canobie Road. This started off quite steep and then a sharp turn to the left revealed an even steeper section of road to ascend. It was brutal and took the scalp of many a rider. (Me included the first time I tried it).

I have been up Canobie Road quite a few times since and even now I still treat it with some respect. Once up at the top turn around to face the way you just came and you are afforded solemn wonderful view of central London.

When I get a free weekend in the coming weeks I have set myself the challenge to complete the 'London Classic' route once more. Rather than start and finish at the Gypsy Hill Tavern, I will have my start and end point somewhere much more central - probably near to Leicester Square.

Again I will complete it on a Brompton and if social distancing cycling is feasible, I might invite a few fellow Brompton riders to make proceedings more interesting.

Stay safe out there people!!!


  1. Sounds great - as soon as it's feasible, I'm in. I live down in East Sussex, about an hour from London Bridge by train. Have Brompton, will travel. Nick


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