London Cycling routes11 February, 2013 0 comments
London’s top five cycling routes
Last summer, London played host to some of the finest moments British sport has ever seen. Achievements by the likes of Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and the Brownlee brothers are firmly lodged in the public consciousness, but for many, it was Bradley Wiggins’ remarkable Olympic Gold medal in the Road Time Trial that will live in the mind forever. Fresh from the first ever British Tour de France victory, Wiggins tore his way through the streets of London, leaving iconic images of the capital in his wake – and on the way, made 2012 the year of the bike.
Wiggins cleared 44km of London roads in 50 minutes and 39 seconds – the streets of London had never looked so ripe for cycling and suddenly everyone wanted to tour the capital by bike. So to help you achieve this, the Mio team has pulled together some of the big smoke’s finest cycling routes. We can’t all cycle like Bradley Wiggins, but we can enjoy London by bike in a way that Bradley probably didn’t have a chance to.
Richmond to Hampton Court
Distance: 7.5 miles
Duration: 1 hour
This relaxing family bike ride takes you along the river Thames, and is one of the most picturesque routes in London. This is a particularly easy ride, and is suitable for all members of the family.
Starting at Richmond Park, make your way to the riverside where you’ll see signs for the Thames Path. On the first stretch of the route you will pass the odd sandy beach, and as you proceed upstream, past Eel Pie Island and Teddington Lock, you will say goodbye to the river and head into the countryside. Continue for roughly a mile, over Kensington Bridge and pick up the Barge Walk path, which will take you all the way to Hampton Court, one of only two surviving buildings once owned by Henry VIII.
Limehouse to Little Venice
Distance: 8.5 miles
Duration: 1.5 hours
The architecture where Limehouse meets the Thames is worth the trip alone, but after you’ve stopped to admire the scenery, cycle onwards past the Mile End Lock, to Mile End Park, then continue on, all the way to Hackney Gasworks.
Once you arrive at Hackney Gassworks it’s a short ride to Camden Town, so get your head down and pedal hard. Once you’ve passed Camden you can enjoy some of the sights in London Zoo before continuing on. After admiring the animals, ride around Regent’s Park and onto Little Venice. There are plenty of restaurants to enjoy once you arrive.
London Night Ride
Distance: 5 miles
Duration: 45 minutes – an hour.
The hustle and bustle of city life looks very different after hours, making it the perfect time to explore the City’s architecture, lit up in all its glory.
Starting at Bishopsgate head towards Leadenhall Street and take the main road into the City. At the corner of Leadenhall and St Mary Axe you’ll see the Gherkin, Richard Roger’s Lloyd’s building and the Natwest Tower - stop here and take in the view before heading towards Leadenhall Market.
At Leadenhall Market, weave in and out through its narrow passages that were used in the first Harry Potter and then head onwards to Cornhill, where you will come to the Royal Exchange Bank, followed shortly followed by St Paul’s Cathedral. This will complete what should be a stunning tour your tour of wealth and decadence in the heart of London.
The Lee Valley
Distance: 7 miles
Duration: 1 hour
The Lee Valley has grown in popularity since the Olympics, but it has been loved by locals long before this summer’s sporting triumphs. The valley, full of beautiful rivers, reservoirs and nature reserves was created in 1967 and is 26 miles long, so you can extend this ride significantly if you want to!
To get started, head down the pathway alongside the River Lee Navigation, head onwards for the Middlesex Filter Beds Nature Reserve and on to Hackney Marshes. Go south and you’ll come to the blue wooden wall surrounding the Olympics site. From here, turn north riding along the Lee Valley Pathway, which runs adjacent to the Waterworks nature reserve and golf centre.
At Coppermill Lane you will reach a five foot railway bridge, go under and dash around the marina. Once you arrive at the park there are plenty of places for you to stop and have a bit of lunch.
Duration: 20 minutes without stops
If you want a quick and easy route to stretch your legs one evening then this is the ride for you.
Starting west of Finsbury Park, the bridge across from the current railway transforms into a disused railway. In 1984 the tracks were removed from the old railway and the Parkland walk was opened. The track goes all the way to Alexandra Palace and is flat most of the way, making it the perfect ride for any new riders. Trees shelter either side of the track, meaning you can escape the city and feel like you’re in the middle of the countryside. The sign at Highgate ends the route, and you can either cycle home or hop on a train to rest those tired legs.