London’s biggest and wildest park is a fantastic place for cycling. A tarmacked 7-mile loop has a varied and surprisingly hilly terrain, making for a popular training circuit for road cyclists. Running outside that is another loop of offroad trail. All types of bikes including tandems are available for hire from next to the cafe at Roehampton Gate.
Riding alongside the Regent’s Canal from Little Venice in Maida Vale to Limehouse in east London is a pleasant and gentle 12-mile off-road route with riverside views all the way. The route takes in Regent’s Park, Camden Lock, Islington, Hackney and Victoria Park, the Olympic Park and the Lee Valley before
reaching the Thames.
The ‘Dun Run’ is a legendary informal annual ride that begins at London Fields in Hackney. Cyclists set off at dusk and ride through the night to the tiny village of Dunwich on the Suffolk coast, 115 miles away. It’s a friendly, noncompetitive event and an exhilarating and rewarding experience.
The Critical Mass ride takes place on the last Friday of every month. Cyclists meet under Waterloo Bridge in the early evening before taking off on an unorganised ride with an ambiguous purpose but it’s an opportunity to ride in a community group and ‘reclaim’ the streets from traffic for a short while. This can occasionally lead to antagonism from motorists, but the ride is fun and a little anarchic.
By bicycle is one of the best ways to explore and discover London. A safe and fun way to do it is with tour company Tally Ho!, which is run by a small group of cycle (and vintage, beer and beard) enthusiasts. They lead a range of engaging and informative rides that take in the sights, history and culture of the city. There even is a ‘Gin and Food’ tour.