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London’s Best Bike Rides

2 April 2019 Eva de Valk

Spring is in the air, which means now is the perfect time to get on your (Boris) bike to explore the city. And don’t worry, you don’t have to have calves of steel and a full spandex getup for these routes - but don’t forget your helmet.

The Tasmin Trail, Richmond Park
A particularly accessible route for families and less confident cyclists is the 12-kilometre Tasmin Trail, which does a loop around the always scenic Richmond Park. The track is almost entirely off road, which means you don’t have to worry about cars – but keep an eye out for those deer! Other highlights along the way include the Isabella Plantation, a beautiful woodland garden famous for its azaleas, historic houses Pembroke Lodge and Ham House, and the wonderful view of Saint Paul’s Cathedral from the top of King Henry’s Mound. You can find a map of the route here.

The Wandle Trail, Wandsworth to Croydon
Another firm family favourite is the Wandle Trail, a 20-kilometre route that follows the river Wandle from Wandsworth to Croydon. It’s a flat, well-signposted trail that takes in no fewer than ten parks along the way. Nevertheless, cyclists don’t have to forgo their creature comforts either, as there are plenty of pubs and cafes en route, as well local attractions such as Wandsworth Museum and Deen City Farm. The artistically minded should also keep an eye out for the ‘artistic interventions’ of Andrew Sabin, who was commissioned to turn the route into an art trail. You can find a map of the route here.



Regent's Canal Towpaths
If you’re after something a bit more urban, spend an afternoon following the towpaths along Regent’s Canal across London. Start by taking in the houseboats of Little Venice before heading through Regent’s Park, where you make your way between some of the enclosures of London Zoo (don’t forget to wave to the warthogs). Camden Market and Victoria Park are also along the way, before the canal, and the towpath, end at Limehouse Basin and the Thames. The full route is 16 kilometres, but thanks to its central location, there are plenty of transport connections all along the trail. You can find a map of the route here.



Putney Bridge to Greenwich
Those who just can’t get enough of a good river-based cycle trail should also try out the 23-kilometre ride from Putney Bridge to Greenwich, which follows National Cycle Network’s route four along the Thames. It’s the perfect way to entertain any sporty friends or family members visiting the Big Smoke, as it takes a lot of the major landmarks, from the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye via Saint Paul’s, Tate Modern and The Globe all the way to the Cutty Sark. (Feel free to add on a hill climb to the Royal Observatory.) This too is a route with lots of transport connections, so you can jump on and off as desired. You can find a map of the route here.

Olympic Park to Epping Forest
If, on the other hand, you like to get a bit more adventurous, go for some off-road action en route from the Olympic Park to Epping Forest. The 25-kilometre trail starts on the towpath at Hackney Wick and follows the river Lea up north before plunging into London’s largest public park, which is criss-crossed with muddy, leafy tracks that feel way too outdoorsy for zone six. Stop off for a well-deserved break with a gorgeous view over the forest at Butler’s Retreat, and don’t forget to check out the historic hunting lodge next door, which was built by Henry VIII. You can find a map of the route here.
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