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Top 4 cycle routes around London

Tuesday, 21 October, 2014

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Richmond Park

London has become increasingly more accommodating towards cyclists over the course of recent years, with a number of council-led schemes making it easier than ever to explore the capital on two wheels.

Yet cycling need not be a method of simply avoiding the commute on the Underground, as there are a number of great routes available that allow cyclists to gain a unique and interesting perspective on the city.

Corkscrew Lane, south London

It is sometimes easy to forget that the city is so close to the countryside, yet there are some great routes available for those looking to get back in touch with nature.

This secret corridor leads from south London into winding, empty country lanes and typical picturesque English villages.

Simply drop away from Crystal Palace towards Elmers End and through West Wickham and you come across Corkscrew Lane. The first thing you will notice is that the concrete of the city is replaced by woods, valleys and fields, which provide a fantastic route for even the fussiest of cycling enthusiasts.

Carry on until you reach the North Downs and you will eventually get the chance to take in some breathtaking views, some of which allow you to see for nearly 30 miles. Remember to take care when approaching the drop down to Westerham though, as bikes have been known to go as fast as 40mph.

Limehouse Basin to London Fields

There are also a number of great canal routes throughout London, with the waterway connecting Victoria Park with Limehouse Basin a particularly good ride for urban cyclists, especially those looking to take the family out and about for the day.

Leaving from Limehouse, take the Thames Path towards Islington, before swerving into the recently renovated Mile End Park, which offers a number of great activities for the kids.

Get back on the canal route and take a right by the orange fishtail bench, where you will eventually come up to the Ecology Centre, full of lilies and reeds, ducks, moorhens and coots.

Finally, head on over to Victoria Park, where there is ample opportunity to take a break and enjoy the surroundings.

Rejoin the canal again by Rose Gate and then continue to London Fields following signs to Broadway Market, which is a great place for anyone on the lookout for a bargain.

Parkland Walk

This route runs along a disused railway line and is a great option for those looking for a leisurely yet historic route.

Beginning at the west end of Finsbury Park just above the tennis courts, the bridge across the current railway eventually leads to the disused railway of Parkland Walk.

The railway was closed in 1970, while the tracks were removed in 1984 to give way to what is now Parkland Walk. The resulting cycle route is arguably the flattest in the whole of London, with trees on each side, giving it a distinctive countryside feel.

The route allows users to travel over bridges stretching above Upper Tollington Park and Stapleton Hall Road, as well as under Crouch End Hill and Stanhope Road.

One of the most interesting sights is the abandoned Crouch End Hill Station, which is largely still intact. It is worth bearing in mind that much of the route is not tarmacked, meaning that a mudguard is really a must.

Thames Path

Another picturesque jaunt that poses few hills is the Thames Path from Richmond to Hampton Court.

Although this is a particularly flat route, it is also around eight miles long, so be prepared for a long journey.

You can either start by take your bikes on the newly revamped London Overground line and hop off at Richmond, or stick them on the back of the car and stop off at Richmond Park. Make your way to the riverside and you will see signs for the Thames Path.

Once you head off along the left bank path in the direction of Kingston and Teddington Lock you will pass Eel Pie Island, home to Pete Townshend’s famous recording complex.

Soon afterwards, the path becomes flanked by trees and undergrowth as you head upstream towards Teddington Lock, beyond which is the secluded and altogether peaceful countryside.

Continue for about a mile to Kingston Bridge, before reaching Hampton Court Park, close to Hampton Court Palace, where you can let the kids loose in the world-famous maze, while absorbing some of the local culture.

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