Cycling in London

Defy the winter chill this year by exploring London by bike. Te enormous array of parks and gardens in London ensures a beautiful ride and the different bike serv- ices available allow anyone without their own patented mountain bike to travel on two wheels. Here are some of the best places to ride in London this winter. Don’t forget a hefty pair of gloves.

The Tamsin Trail

Tis 12km trail sweeps around Richmond Park for an easy ride almost completely free from cars. As Richmond Park is the largest Royal Park in London, it’s a popular weekend destination for those optimistic enough to swipe a few rays of sun. Te Tamsin Trail can be accessed from any entry gate. Be sure to check out the view of St Paul’s Cathedral from King Henry’s Mound.

The Wandle Trail

For a longer ride, consider the 20km Wandle Trail along the River Wandle. Traversing three boroughs, this trail hosts Andrew Sabin's fantastic artworks of en- trances, gateways and bridges throughout. Attractions such as Merton Abbey Mills, Deen City Farm and Wandsworth Museum accompany the already impressive choice of pubs, cafes and restaurants that line this friendly route. Remember to

30 FOCUS The Magazine January/February 2020

search for the blue plaques of the lovely ‘Wandle Art Trail’ on your way.

Hyde Park

While some parks discourage cyclists from using their paths, the 142 hectare Hyde Park positively encourages them. Te Serpentine Gallery is especially popular with tourists and locals alike and the Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain is a good resting place if you need a break. Be sure to check out the amazing view of Buckingham Palace at Constitution Hill if you are looking for a longer ride.

Kensington Gardens

Directly connected to Hyde Park, this ride through Kensington Gardens could be tacked onto the same day or saved for a special occasion. Although cycling is only allowed on Palace Walk, Mount Walk and Broad Walk, you can hop off your bike and take a tour of Kensington Palace to extend your outing.

Battersea Park

Cycle through the northern part of Battersea Park to see the River Tames this winter for a lovely display of nature’s best. If the kids are coming along, you can visit the children’s zoo on foot in the midst of this beautiful greenery and wildlife. If

you’re feeling brave, there is even a boating lake on which you can float and forget your city life worries. If you don’t have your own bike, don’t

worry, you can rent one from one of London’s many cycle hire schemes. Te most popular are Santander Cycles, Mobike, Mobike Lite, Lime, Jump and Freebike. All but Santander require an app to hire a bike and most must be returned to a dock or a parking zone to avoid extra charges. Fees differ across companies, so it is a good idea to research the beginning and end of your route to see which scheme will work best for you. Want to cycle in London but uncertain

about your cycling skills? Transport for London runs free courses for all abilities and goals that can teach you how to ride safely in the city. Choose from basic cycle skills, urban cycle skills, advanced cycle skills and family cycle skills – there’s a class for every level. Safety obviously comes first when cycling

in London, so make sure you are equipped with both the skills and knowledge to make your day-to-day travel a success. We know early dark afternoons can get you down, so get going this winter and spite the cold as you peruse the best of London’s parks and gardens.

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