Despite living in London most my life I only really got to know the city when I started cycling. Tired of the underground crush, I dusted off my childhood bike and joined in the pedal powered movement. I can best describe it as revelation and I am not alone, thousands of new cyclists throng onto London’s streets every year. So what is the draw?
The cool, dry climate and flat terrain are a good start; then there are the mighty parks and treasured commons while thanks to its layers of history, the city also hides tranquil canal towpaths, riverside walks and disused railway lines, all of which make brilliant car free cycling routes. But this is just the start. In recent years the city authorities have invested in better provision for cyclists on the roads too. The introduction of cycle superhighways and the city’s cycle hire scheme are both in addition to more parking stands, safe storage spaces, free maps and business development, encouraging companies to provide showers and changing rooms as well as subsidised cycle purchase.
However the greatest driver is the ever-increasing number of cyclists themselves. Some take it up as a way to beat the system and avoid the congested roads and public transport, others see it as a way of keeping fit, while some start for environmental reasons however most do it for fun. Whatever the motive it is generally, faster, cheaper, cleaner and nicer than any other mode of transport and it is perfectly suited to both London’s multicentric geography and her particular immediacy and disorder. More cyclists mean more bike shops and cycle organisations. The London Cycle Campaign, Sustrans and CTC are just some of the groups promoting cycling in the capital and further a field. Many boroughs have their own clubs and groups for mountain biking, racing, touring and even commuting. However, it’s not just London’s cycling credential that make it a great city to explore by bike; it’s the cafes, cultural sights and views it gives of every day London life from fishing to finance.
The 50 rides in this book are tailored to make the most of the city’s car free cycling routes whilst tapping into her sights and areas of beauty. They range from road rides to tough muddy mountain bike tracks, from tranquil riverside paths to cultural odysseys weaving through the intense urban fabric. So no matter which cycle tribe you belong to, or if you haven’t yet joined the velorution, there will be a ride for you. The guide has been broken down into six chapters and there is an easy to use rating scale so you know what to expect. We have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of these rides but it is worth noting that trails are regularly being improved. If you discover any errors or would like to comment on any of the rides in this book please email us at email@example.com
So all that left is for me to say is have fun and enjoy the rides.