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Cycling in London

You may have read some really loud headlines over the years about cyclists on the streets of London such as the Daily Mails ‘HIT AND RUN LYCRA LOUTS’, ‘WHY CYCLING TO WORK IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST CAUSES OF HEART ATTACKS’,  The Guardian’s MAN KILLED IN COLLISION IS 10TH CYCLING DEATH IN LONDON SO FAR THIS YEAR’.

The Media’s negative onslaught on cycling was huge. At one point, I wanted to cycle to College but got put off by what I saw on the streets on a daily basis, the way London drivers disrespected cyclists causing near fatal collisions and also the way cyclists seemed to be so oblivious and careless about their own safety by cutting up cars, dangerous weaving through moving traffic and bus lane thuggery. Don’t let all this  negativity put you off!
When you’re planning a bike ride, traditional roads may not be the best routes for people to cycle on. I am a lover of quietways, the quieter and safer alternative to cycling  on the main roads.
Quietways are continuous and convenient cycle routes on less-busy backstreets across London. They  are ideal for people who want to cycle on lower-traffic streets, especially if they are new to cycling in London.

“I wanted to create map where the cycle routes stood out – trying I wanted to create map where the cycle routes stood out – trying to apply mapping simplification to cycling, rather than just road or rail. There’s been a lot of new infrastructure in the past few years, too, and I was trying to consolidate that.” said Dermot Hanney, under the guise of Route Plan Roll, keen cyclist enthusiast and  developer of the London Cycle lane map,  a Tube-style view of how cyclists can travel across the city. If you can decipher it, then it may be quite handy.

Alternatively, you could try one of our favourite routes below

Islington to Victoria Park

This route by Sustrans (founders of the National Cycle Network) follows the towpath that runs east alongside the Regent’s Canal, and provides an attractive family-friendly off-road link between Islington and Victoria Park.

Route Details

  • From – to: Angel Islington – Victoria Park
  • Type: Towpaths, park tracks
  • Access: Angel tube station, Haggerston overground station, Cambridge Heath railway station
  • Surface: Tarmac / gravel towpaths, tarmac path tracks

Route Description

This route follows the towpath that runs east alongside the Regent’s Canal, and provides an attractive family-friendly off-road link between Islington and Victoria Park.

Beginning in Islington, the route follows the towpath along the length of the canal, and passes a series of attractive buildings including the Rosemary Branch Theatre, as well as several ornate locks. The towpath often gets very busy on the weekend, so both cyclists and walkers should be mindful of other users, particularly those with dogs. Care should also be taken around moored longboats, which feature along the length of the canal.

In Hackney the towpath runs south of the popular Broadway Market, which is filled with stalls selling hot food, deli items, clothing and records every Saturday, so if you’re on the towpath that day it is worth visiting to try a delicious burger or sample some cake! There are also several independent shops, cafes and pubs, so there will be something for everyone. For those willing to head further south of the market, Haggerston BMX track is a popular haunt for young cyclists.

From here the route leaves the towpath and heads through Victoria Park, one of the largest green spaces in east London. The route ends in the park, so why not sample one its fantastic sporting facilities, including football pitches, cricket wickets, tennis courts, a rugby pitch and a bowling green.

Local attractions

  • Broadway Market
  • Regent’s Canal
  • Haggerston BMX track
  • Victoria Park (sporting facilities)

Tower Bridge to Greenwich

We also love this route: Sustran’s  National Route 4 starts from the iconic Tower Bridge and weaves around the Thames through various parks and past docks, to Maritime Greenwich.

Tower Bridge. Photo from Bob Collowan

Route Details

  • From – to: Tower Bridge to Cutty Sark, Greenwich
  • Type: traffic-free paths, and on street sections
  • Access: London Bridge Station, Greenwich Station
  • Surface: Tarmac
  • National Cycle Network: Route 4

Route Description

This section of National Route 4 starts from the iconic Tower Bridge and weaves around the Thames through various parks and past docks to Maritime Greenwich.

Linking together two of London’s leading visitor areas, this route has plenty to see and do. Tower Bridge itself, as well as the nearby Tower of London are both open to visitors. On most days you can also look around the steel and glass City Hall building.

Heading east from here, the route goes along narrow streets, where disused waterfront warehouses have been converted into sought after apartments. At Bermondsey Wall the route goes along a historic alley way with old pubs and buildings.

Crossing the Rotherhithe Peninsular, the route passes through relatively new housing developments and parklands. This area was once dominated by docks but was transformed in the 20th century with only Greenland Dock and South Dock remaining.

Local attractions

London bike Schemes

TfL’s own bike hiring scheme, with its Santander bikes has been in operation since 2010. It was a strong force in popularising cycling. However, I have lost a couple of quid trying to get one of these bikes off the docks with no refund.

In recent months, dockless bike rental  provided by Ofo, a Japanese company joined the London bike scene but  they unfortunately have also recently pulled out too as reliable sources confirmed earlier this month.  It is beyond the remits of this blog post to delve into the reason for the exodus out of our beloved City but according to China Entrepreneur Magazine, Ofo

 

 

 

Lime, which also makes electric scooters, has thankfully joined the London schemes and has debuted its   Image result for lime bikes pictureselectric lime green dockless bikes in London last month. They are everywhere in Ealing and Brent and people are leaving them literally anywhere leavable. The bikes feature a 250 watt motor and battery that needs to be recharged about once every two days; Lime staff will pick up the bikes wherever they’re parked and recharge them. The e-assist has a top speed of 15mph. A 10 minute journey including the unlocking fee will cost £1 more than a single bus fare which currently stands at £1.50.

 At the moment, the winner of the battle of the London bike scheme is Santander Cycles purely for its availability around most parts of inner London and cost. So now you know!
                                


 

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