Newhaven > Reading and Reading > London routes?

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Samuel D
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Newhaven > Reading and Reading > London routes?

Postby Samuel D » 14 Jun 2018, 11:10am

How viable is it to cycle from the ferry at Newhaven to Reading on Friday, June 22, starting in the mid-to-late afternoon when the ferry disgorges me? (I’ll have good lamps.)

And then from Reading to central London the next morning on Saturday the 23rd?

I don’t know the layout of the land, areas to especially avoid (also for safety if necessary as a solo, skinny male possibly pushing into darkness on Friday night).

I’ll be on a road bike with a light saddlebag, and I want to avoid hills or bad surfaces in order to travel efficiently. I’ll already have many miles in my legs when I get to Newhaven.

Thanks!

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mjr
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Re: Newhaven > Reading and Reading > London routes?

Postby mjr » 14 Jun 2018, 11:46am

It looks difficult to do Newhaven > Reading in much under 80 miles even if you're willing to ride some IMO-questionable roads like the A283. How fast can you go? Overall, not only moving. What time's the ferry get in? I wouldn't be able to do it and would probably pay some or all of the £33 train fare.
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Samuel D
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Re: Newhaven > Reading and Reading > London routes?

Postby Samuel D » 14 Jun 2018, 12:03pm

Ferry arrives in Newhaven about 16:30 on the Friday.

The trouble is, I’ll already have ridden 200-odd km in France from Paris to the ferry. And I’ll have started that trip shortly after midnight, so I’ll be low on sleep.

There is a four-hour break on the ferry during which I hope to sleep for a couple of hours. Maybe also some rest while waiting for the ferry, etc. The French leg will be in a small group, but in England they’ll continue to London while I want to travel to Reading. So in England I’ll be alone.

I might be able to cope with the distance but I’ll be slow after the French leg. Wild guess of 18 km/h true average? (About 12 miles per hour.) So I’ll be pushing midnight, I suppose. Is approaching Reading in darkness a major problem with good dynamo lights? Is it safe enough on a Friday night? I’ll have an eTrex 20 for navigation.

I’m used to traffic but the A283 looks grim on Google Images.

Trains: which train are you referring to? How would I book it? What about my bicycle?

Thanks for your help!

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Re: Newhaven > Reading and Reading > London routes?

Postby jgurney » 14 Jun 2018, 12:26pm

If I was to do that I'd probably go by way of the edges of Lewis and Horsham then through Guildford, to minimise exposure to the North and South Downs and Wealden hills. Just as Mr J writes, it would be about 80 miles so you would be looking at arriving in Reading in the early hours of the morning.

There are direct trains from Gatwick Airport and Dorking to Reading, so how about riding to one of those and completing the journey by rail. Gatwick Airport is about 35 miles and the last through train to Reading leave at 23:18, the fare is £19. Dorking Deepdene is about 50 miles from Newhaven, last train 23:42, fare £13. (N. B. Dorking Deepdene station, not Dorking Main).

For Reading to London I'd take the route passing just outside Wokingham, through Binfield, across Windsor Great Park (all tarmac through the Park) to Staines then straight up the old Roman road through Hounslow and along the Chiswick High Road, to the southern edge of Hyde Park, then it depends quite where in central London you want to go next. About 45 miles, depending where in Reading you start from.

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Re: Newhaven > Reading and Reading > London routes?

Postby Samuel D » 14 Jun 2018, 12:35pm

Many thanks, jgurney.

One more question: how would I go about booking one of these trains with a bicycle? Is it just a matter of rolling up to the station, buying a regular ticket with a French bank VISA card, and jumping aboard with my bicycle? If the trains are unlikely be jam-packed on a Friday night, that would work fine. I don’t need an ironclad guarantee of a place, just a very good probability. The later I can buy the ticket, the better, allowing me flexible planning.

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Re: Newhaven > Reading and Reading > London routes?

Postby mjr » 14 Jun 2018, 12:38pm

Samuel D wrote:Is approaching Reading in darkness a major problem with good dynamo lights? Is it safe enough on a Friday night? I’ll have an eTrex 20 for navigation.

I've never done it. Hopefully someone more local will be along shortly. I wouldn't expect the darkness to cause problems, but drivers or drinkers might on a Friday night.

Samuel D wrote:Trains: which train are you referring to? How would I book it? What about my bicycle?

Train to Lewes, change for a train towards London, change at Gatwick Airport and sometimes also Redhill for a train to Reading. http://traintimes.org.uk/newhaven/readi ... =Guildford

Now, this is far too much info but you seem unfamiliar with trains: those trains are not bookable. Cheapest seems to be to buy two singles: Newhaven-Gatwick (£20ish) and Gatwick-Reading (£14ish). Those are commuter-style trains a bit like smaller TERs where bikes are carried off-peak but cannot be booked - this is both a blessing (no pressure to catch your booked train) and a curse (no guarantee they'll take you on any particular train). Look for the cycle symbol where possible but there's not always one, so try to stand where you expect the back of the train to be (guess) and try to look in the windows as it passes for areas without seats - sometimes without windows but I think not on Southern. Failing all else, ask any staff you can see - I think all of those should have guards who usually open the doors near the back and look out. The weak spot is the GWR train into Reading which officially takes only 2 bikes, so you might be required to wait for the next train - in practice, I never had a problem with trains with that official restriction in the Bristol area but I've not tried it recently or into Reading. Bike policies for first two or three trains and final train.
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Re: Newhaven > Reading and Reading > London routes?

Postby mjr » 14 Jun 2018, 12:40pm

jgurney wrote:Mr J

Love you too, J Gurning(!) :-P ;)
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Samuel D
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Re: Newhaven > Reading and Reading > London routes?

Postby Samuel D » 14 Jun 2018, 12:46pm

mjr wrote:Now, this is far too much info but you seem unfamiliar with trains

Wrong and right, respectively!

This has helped enormously. Makes it much easier to plan when you have a few solid starting points. Many thanks to both of you for taking the time to help.

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Re: Newhaven > Reading and Reading > London routes?

Postby mjr » 14 Jun 2018, 12:46pm

Samuel D wrote:One more question: how would I go about booking one of these trains with a bicycle? Is it just a matter of rolling up to the station, buying a regular ticket with a French bank VISA card, and jumping aboard with my bicycle? If the trains are unlikely be jam-packed on a Friday night, that would work fine. I don’t need an ironclad guarantee of a place, just a very good probability. The later I can buy the ticket, the better, allowing me flexible planning.

They're walk-up tickets which cannot be booked but cannot sell out. Buying in advance only saves you time queuing at the ticket machine/counter. You should be able to buy with a Visa, even contactless in many places now, or cash - maybe someone knows if foreign cards generally work on Southern but I'd be surprised if not. Buy your ticket first and just climb on with the bike and keep an eye on it. No need to compost your ticket before boarding - you may have to put it through Metro-ish gates (wide gates are available for wheelchairs/bikes/luggage - put the ticket in the slot on the right-hand side!) to get onto the platform or the on-train guard may stamp it. Usually, the last exit gate for the ticket will keep it, but not always, so be prepared to take it back before the gate will open - many people bump into the gates when it returns the ticket unexpectedly.

Some trains will be jam-packed on a Friday night but your route would be in less busy directions (not heading out from London or Brighton) so should be OK.
Last edited by mjr on 14 Jun 2018, 12:51pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Samuel D
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Re: Newhaven > Reading and Reading > London routes?

Postby Samuel D » 14 Jun 2018, 12:47pm

Got it.

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Re: Newhaven > Reading and Reading > London routes?

Postby jgurney » 14 Jun 2018, 12:50pm

Samuel D wrote:Many thanks, jgurney. One more question: how would I go about booking one of these trains with a bicycle? Is it just a matter of rolling up to the station, buying a regular ticket with a French bank VISA card, and jumping aboard with my bicycle? If the trains are unlikely be jam-packed on a Friday night, that would work fine. .


The Gatwick - Reading trains are not bookable, and at that time of night are unlikely to have many passengers on board. At Gatwick you would buy a ticket from a ticket office or a ticket machine. At Dorking Deepdene there is no ticket office so you would buy the ticket from the ticket machine. Using Visa cards should not be any difficulty.

To go the whole way by train, just as MJR wrote, you would probably have to change trains twice, at Lewis and at Gatwick Airport. None are bookable.

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LinusR
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Re: Newhaven > Reading and Reading > London routes?

Postby LinusR » 14 Jun 2018, 12:50pm

Samuel D wrote:
I’m used to traffic but the A283 looks grim on Google Images.


You could ride along the Downs Link track which is sort of parallel to the A283. But the surface is not particularly good. https://www.westsussex.gov.uk/media/2203/downs_link_6_stage_route_2010.pdf

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Re: Newhaven > Reading and Reading > London routes?

Postby Norman H » 14 Jun 2018, 1:42pm

Can't add much to what others have said. Other than, whatever course you decide, you might like to use part of Chris Smith's excellent Newhaven to London route to get you out of Newhaven and over the South Downs. It passes very close to Gatwick and would also be handy for Horsham and Dorking.

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Re: Newhaven > Reading and Reading > London routes?

Postby nirakaro » 14 Jun 2018, 5:29pm

I was getting a train from Newhaven to London a couple of weeks ago. The ticket machine at Newhaven station wanted £30, but when I booked it online (to travel half an hour later) it was £18! Worth knowing…

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Re: Newhaven > Reading and Reading > London routes?

Postby Samuel D » 15 Jun 2018, 3:53pm

Thanks for these additional tips and suggestions, all.

Nirakaro: is there an official website for booking trains in the way you did? I live in France and am not familiar with the names of the various train companies, etc.