Ride of the Falling Leaves

For the latest details on 2019’s event, click here.

When the days start growing shorter, and the green starts to turn orange and yellow, it can only mean one thing – it’s time for the Ride Of The Falling Leaves.

RotFL (as the cool kids call it) is Dulwich Paragon’s annual sportive, held on the first Sunday of October. We like to think of it as one last hurrah before winter riding proper begins. For many riders it’s their first introduction both to us as a club, and to the fantastic roads in Kent we find to ride.

The ride was started in 1998 in memory of Ruth Picardie, a journalist and friend of the club. Proceeds from the ride have gone to The Lavender Trust set up in Ruth’s memory by her sister Justine. In recent years the club has made a matching donation to Prostate Cancer UK.

The money you pay gets you a timing chip, signposting, food and drink at the start, finish, and feed station, medical and mechanical support and includes a donation to charities chosen by the club.

The routes (70km/105km) may change a little each year but always starts at the iconic Herne Hill Velodrome, before heading up and over Crystal Palace and out of London via Layhams Road. The first challenge is the climb to Woldingham, after which the routes split. The shorter route descends directly towards Westerham, whereas the longer route takes in a Kentish loop featuring Edenbridge and the less-than-playful Toys Hill. From Westerham (where you’ll find the feed station) the routes re-combine, and then tackle the steep slopes of Sundridge Hill before the (mostly) downhill run to home.

The event finishes at Dulwich Sports Ground, where a free drink and hot meal await the tired riders.