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Epping Forest Mountain bike Club | mtb cycle riding in North East London, and Essex

Hi and welcome


We have been riding mountain bikes in Epping Forest which is in the north-east corner of Greater London and up into Essex for the past 15 years. So if you have been in or around the forest on a Saturday you may well have seen us passing by.

Over the next few pages you can find information about us, what we get up to and hopefully you’ll get a good taster of what to expect if you come and join us for a ride sometime.

We meet each Saturday at on Bury Rd car park just past Chingford Golf Club in Epping Forest for a few hours riding fun (quite often in the mud).

A fun group not a club

Over the years and with the changes time brings we have kept our well known name but are no longer a club as there is no membership and no fees to pay. Instead people simply apply to go on the rider list and we keep in touch with each other by emails and announcements on this site.

All change in 2007

We has gone through a number of changes over the years from large groups to just a few regulars. Over the last couple of years there hasn’t really been an organised club at all and just became a few friends riding on Sunday morning.

In the summer of 2007 a large injection of fresh enthusiasm has helped us take a new direction and carry on as a social group of riders aimed at the over 35’s.

Elly – was one of the regular riders from the original Epping Forest Mountain Bike club in the 90’s. She started a new group for riders aged 35+ and it’s taken off in a big way which shows there are many people who are no longer 18 but still enjoy mountain biking. In fact over 80 people have registered in the first 3 months. A few are older but age is not important as long as you’re reasonably fit and love biking you could join in.

The Club

Epping Forest Mountain Bike Club was founded in 1988, which makes us one of the older mountain bike clubs around. Over the years we has taken several forms and changed quite a bit along the way. At our peak in the early nineties there were about 70 members with a core of about 20 regulars, who rode each week, raced and organised nights outs, a newsletter, and club jersey.

But as to be expected people move on and expectations change. The club spent the last few years barely existing with just a few friends meeting on a Sunday, but not really announcing themselves as Epping Forest MTB club.

However today we are growing again after changing direction and aiming to attract the older riders amongst us. Actually there always were quite a few riders in their thirties and forties, just today we aim the group towards those people. And what a great bunch we are.

Now we are a Social Group rather than a real club

Over the years and with the changes time brings we have kept our well known name but are no longer a club as there is no membership and no fees to pay just come along on a Saturday morning.

If you decide to join us you will need to be reasonably fit and have a bike that is up to the job.

If you feel up to the challenge then join us and come along one Saturday or Wednesday and join in. There are no fees to pay just read the disclaimer and send us a message to join – all info is on the “join us” page.


Where We Ride

Our main biking playground is obviously Epping Forest. We also organize the odd away day and trips further afield. A few guys are also into a bit of racing and go to some of the local events around.

Epping Forest

Yep our regular Saturday rides are here in the Forest. We meet up on Saturday at Bury Rd car park just past Chingford Golf Club at 10.45am for a couple of hours riding before circling back for cake and tea. If anyone is still feeling keen and strong then its off again for a smaller loop. Nowadays we tend to ride the single-track that threads its way through the forest most of the time. The bridle ways are faster and fun cycle routes but are used by a lot of the other people in the forest including horse riders and dog walkers, so we head off under the tree cover into the windy single-track.

In the summer it can be fast and furious but unforunately all winter the tracks become very wet and muddy and riding is a hard slog. In fact to be honest it can be wet in places all year round. The London clay under the top layer of ground makes an impervious barrier to the rain that it not sucked up by the trees. That said if we actually get a summer as hot as this year and it dries out fully the riding is fantastic. All that twisty stuff, drop-offs, hard little climbs and roots jutting out really keep you on your toes, or your backside if your not careful.


A few times a year on a pretty adhock approach we organize riding somewhere other than the forest. In the past these have included the North Downs, The Chilterns and Thetford Forest.

The Forest

Epping Forest is the largest public open space in the London area, measuring 19km x 4km, two-thirds of which is wooded and the same proportion designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest. (Map of Greater London)

In the second half of the 19th century, large areas of the Forest were being enclosed for development, with scant regard for commoners’ rights or general recreational needs. The Corporation of London fought a legal battle against the enclosures that culminated in two ground-breaking Acts of Parliament passed in 1878. One of these entrusted the ownership and care of Epping Forest to the Corporation, with the second making similar provision for other open spaces under similar threat.
(courtesy Corporation of London).

The forest is used by many people for various activities as well as cycling including horse riding (there are a number of stables in the area), The Scouts at Gilwell Park, fishing, orienteering, running, walking the dog and a few others you occasionally come across as you cycle by.

FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)

Here are some answers to some of the common questions we get asked in the emails we receive. Hopefully this will make it easier for you to find the information you’re after.


Where can I hire a mountain bike?

Specializing in bike hire in Epping Forest check out Go Further Cycling.

or try these

  • London Bicycle Tour Company 1a Gabriels Wharf, 56 Upper Ground, London, SE1 9PP tel: 020 7928 6838
  • OYBike a street-based rental station network tel: 0845 226 5751
  • www.actionbikes.co.uk folding bikes. 19 Dacre Street, SW1 tel: 020 7799 2233
  • Velorution rent a folder. 18 Great Titchfield St. London W1W 8BD tel: 020 7637 4004

What time do you start?

Saturday rides are in the Forest. We meet at the far carpark on Bury Rd (not golf club carpark). So if you need a cupper first get there a bit ealier.

How do I join your club?

There is no real club to join but information on coming along can be seen on the join us page.

How many members do you have?

The numbers have gone up and down over the years. At the moment there are about 100 riders on the Social riders list and around 25 who ride regularly.

What age are your riders?

We are a group of over 35’s both men and woman.

How far do you ride?

We ride for about 2-3 hours on a Saturday morning covering about 15 – 25 miles. Sometimes its more and in the winter probably less as it gets muddy.br />

Whats the terrain like there?

The forest is a great resource and probably the best offroad riding area this close to London. Its an ancient woodland of oak and elm trees on a rolling ground. Its not mountainous like Wales or Yorkshire but there are some climbs that are short and hard. There is a network of surfaced (sand and mulch) bridleways running through the forest that make for easy riding. The suitably nutty and kitted out of you will like the bomb holes and the rest of us keep exploring the singletrack that runs throughout the forest. Be prepared it does get muddy in winter – well anytime it rains for a week or two actually.

Whats the best way to get there?

If you are less than 10 miles away the best way to get to Epping Forest is on your bike. Otherwise drive or get a lift.

Can I get the tube (subway) to the forest?

You can get close by tube but as you may guess there is not a station in the middle of the forest. The Central line runs passed the forest. The best stations being Woodford, Buckhurst Hill and Theydon Bois. Regulations say that you are not allowed to take your bike on any sections of track that go in a tunnel, which means using the Central line only from Stratford in the west. London Transport have a good website at www.londontransport.co.uk

Whats the nearest railway station?

You might want to tie in your journey with the overland train service. You can get to Stratford on the main line from Liverpool Street or the North London Line that runs around North London (surprise surprise) from Richmond to Woolwich.

Will I be able to keep up?

If you can ride twisty singletrack up and down small steep hills through sticky mud and not keel over you’ll be OK.

Are there any facilities at High Beech?

There’s Carl’s tea hut that has snacks and drinks (he also sells maps of the forest). Over the other side is the Royal Oak pub that also has a snack shop attached to it that does a good range of bacon sarnies and other stuff. There is a good amount of parking and a public toilet that is next to the pub.

What time do you start?

Saturday is our regular ride day and is on each week all through the year – regardless of the weather. We meet at 10.45am and leave at 11.00am sharp.

How much is the membership fee

The club doen’t exist in any formal way. So no membership fee or benefits from such a fee.

Do you also have women riders?

Yes since starting over as a social older group of riders we have a good mix of men and woman.

What do I need to take for a Saturday trip?

The only compulsary item is a helmet, which should be pretty obvious. Other than that a bike that will get you around the forest, spare tube and pump and a few pennies for a cup of tea.

What are the best places to ride.

If you ask most of our regulars they will say firstly the singletrack. And then their favourite area. We have a classic route around Theydon and the fast but flat summer run all the way down to Whipps Cross. Its very difficult to explain a singletrack route, the best idea is to come along and just follow the guy in front. For a beginner its probably best to stick to the bridleways.

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