Guest post by Ethan Mays from Active Pedal
With good infrastructure and lots of tourist attractions, London is definitely a perfect place to cycle around. Here are some suggestions for you to make the most out of your time, here in the capital city of UK.
1. For romanticists: Regent’s Canal flowery route
Located in the North of Central London, Regent’s Canal is a lovely safe space tucked inside the crowded area. Popular among bikers, this route offers you a fantastic combination of traditional, country-like architecture and beautiful nature with lots of seasonal flowers. While you are at it, make sure to visit some other sights like Victoria Park and London Fields.
Start at Limehouse Basin and follow the waterway that runs along Mile End Park. End your journey by stopping at Broadway Market – where you can visit small shops, bookstores and cafes.
2. For adventurers: Regent’s Park to St. Albans
Feeling daring? This is definitely your to-go choice! Incorporated with National Bicycle Route 6 with slopes all across the 38-kilometre length, you will need to equip yourself with high stamina and a very good commuting helmet. This will also require some hiking at the famously steep Highgate Hill, which might make you feel a bit uneasy, but the beautiful and comforting landscape of Barnet should be worthy. Lighten up your mood by cycling on a road filled with trees and nostalgia sounds like a really good plan for the afternoon, right?
3. For peace-seekers: Wandle Trail
Long-distant but friendly for all ages option, this is a 20-kilometre long route with a wide gravel road and signs everywhere. From Wandsworth down to Croydon, the route follows the bank of River Wandle and introduces you to a multitude of parks in southwest London. You can make some stops to check out historical sights and slow down as you pass the pretty Wandle Art Trail – a dedicated work created by sculptor Andrew Sabin and students from Chelsea College of Art.
4. Want to travel only in one space? Visit Richmond Park right away!
Richmond is the second largest park in London and is initially (and still is) the home for a very special friend: Deers! With an area of 995 hectares, this place offers a wide range of activities for everyone – As a national nature conservation space, a golf court and even a cycling route both for leisure and sports. If you don’t have a bike, it’s okay – There is a bike rental service ready to serve your needs. If you fancy buying one, have a look at this list of the best cruiser bikes for women. Mystical and wild, you will be surrounded by trees and even animals throughout your trip. It is highly recommended that you start at the Roehampton Gate and finish at either Ham Gate or Richmond Gate.
5. In need of purely Vitamin-N(ature)? Try The Olympic Park – Epping Forest
Described as a “vast ride” by a lot of cyclists, this trip takes you along River Lea with lots of reservoirs, locks and home yachts on the way. Enjoy London’s biggest open space where you can soak yourself in the greenery. Just a warning: This route gets tricky sometimes – road gets muddy during the rain, tree branches can become obstacles and bikers may end up getting lost. Also, pay a visit Queen Elizabeth I’s hunting lodge on the way – It’s super stunning and interesting.
6. Wanna get Instagram-worthy shots? Choose Greenwich – Gravesend route!
This cannot get any more iconic: Traffic-free and very, very green. You start at Greenwich, located right on the bank of Thames. Antony Gormley’s “Quantum Cloud” is on your route. You come across sights like O2, Canary Wharf and The Millennium Dome at your pace. If your type of aesthetic is open to post-industrial era, there are also some cool abandoned sites on the side as you bike through the strangely peaceful path. Once you have finished your ride and rewind the day in your head, you’ll figure that very aspect of London has opened up right in front of your eyes in a way you simply could never resist.
7. Thinking of going out of town? Hertfordshire awaits!
Tear yourself away from the city and head North to Hertfordshire by taking the Expressway out of Highgate and cycle along the laneways of the town. Get some fresh air and lines of idyllic houses as you cycle, then head back to Herdford’s downtown by following Lord Street. While you’re there, why don’t you consider coming to St Alban Cathedral, or “the Abbey” for short, and experience the spectacular design that tracks back to Norman times?
8. Olympic-wannabe? Pick the Westminster Bridge to Box Hill route!
As a part of the 2012 Olympic road cycle routine, this Zig Zag Road sure isn’t easy – after the flat road comes the 120 metres pass and then, of course, the ramp to Hampton Court Palace. London’s horizon, though, is breathtaking with lovely scenery of houses and trees. After 10 AM, the Ancient market opens and if you happen to stop by, enjoy the delicious cuisine that they have to offer you – juice, pulled pork baps and even grapes if it’s in the season. Sounds like a plan, eh?
These are just some of our picks, but we strongly recommend you to follow at least two out of eight! Pick your route, have your gears ready and climb on your bike, because you are about to have a good time. Cheers!
About the author
Ethan Mays has been a close friend with cycling for 15 years. He loves to share his biking experience in ActivePedal. Grabbing some coffee and enjoying a good book is also his favorite daily activity.