Cycling: London to Dover via Margate and Ramsgate

Yesterday (Saturday) I done one of my rather large February cycles. I didn’t go quite as far as last year’s 150 mile cycle, though I still done more than the 70-100 miles I was anticipating doing. In total it was about 115 miles (the last 4 miles were from Bromley South station home). The total journey time to Dover was about 12 hours. When I set out I decided that my camera would stay at the bottom of the pannier, otherwise I’d spend too much time taking photos, rather than getting somewhere.

The route I took was heading out fairly direct to Faversham, via Bromley, Swanley, unmapped Cobham, Rchester, Rainham, and Sittingbourne. After Faversham I headed to the coast all the way round to Ramsgate, where I hit the A256, and then the A2 to race down the road to Dover to get the last direct train back to Bromley South.

I hadn’t prepared quite enough with my GPS tracking. For those who don’t know I use a private beta of TrackMyJourney on my Sony Ericsson K850i with a bluetooth GPS for most of my location logging and mapping. I know that my main 5Hz bluetooth GPS lasts only about 8 hours, so I got my older, less reliable on cities, GPS partially charged, but not enough to last until the phone ran out of power. After I ran out of power I was using a fast direct route, so it was easy to get the route’s distance using CloudMade’s routing. I did have a GT-11 GPS as a backup, however the 16MB card is too small for my extravagant cycle journeys, though the battery did last for the whole journey. Ah well, couple of lessons learnt.

It’s been great to be able to have live re-routing over the web,  constantly updating my ETA, and the ability download map tiles live, thus able to have the cycle map wherever I am within mobile phone signal range.

I did find a part of the NCN1 to the east of Sittingbourne, where the route took you into a pile of trash at the side of a traveller camp, with no further signage.

I really enjoyed cycling along the coast, I found it quite rare to be able to go for so far that close to the coast, because usually you have private properties next to the coast for much more of the coastline. There was one place where I saw a sign telling cyclists to slow down and give way, where you would normally just get the irritating and unnecessary “cyclists dismount” sign. I really should have taken a photo of it, but then would I have had to go via London Bridge?

In the future I’ll hopefully get around to cycling from Margate to Folkstone at a more leisurely pace to be able to take in the scenery.


  1. That bit of NCR1 on the east side of Sittingbourne is pretty dire. Just go past the concrete blocks then try to avoid the broken glass and litter scattered along the path. Signs regularly disappear from this stretch of NCR1.

    I keep meaning (but forgetting) to map the byway where this route rejoins the road. Signing resumes a little further on, but last time I was there the sign had been twisted round the other way. I was too short to be able to twist it back again.

    As an aside, has the milepost that’s fairly near the golf course on the edge of Rainham been “replanted” yet? The last couple of times I was there it was uprooted and leaning at quite an odd angle.

  2. And to think when I lived in thanet for over two years, I used to cycle that Thanet, London route and vice versa almost on a weekly basis, and the worst part was and still is the A2 either way, Medway to Falconwood approx 18 miles, and if you look at a utube name called LetsCycleToday, you’ll see that section of the A2 in it’s glory.

    I lived in Margate during 2001 and Broadstairs 2002, before moving back to Crystal Palace, but I occasionally still do ply that route on my cycle, thanks for reading, feel free to keep in touch, Tom

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