Having moved to London from Toronto at the end of December, I have spent the past few months searching for lockdown-friendly ways of getting to know my new city. In February, I decided to purchase a bicycle and venture into the world of road cycling. Admittedly, navigating traffic in London (on the opposite side of the road from what I’m used to in Canada!) was a steep learning curve, but I’ve slowly built up my confidence and mileage.
Each weekend, I aim to explore a new neighbourhood on my bike and stop at a local café for a treat along the way. So far, my favourite routes have been through Richmond Park, the Thames cycle path from Battersea Bridge to Tower of London, and through the Surrey Hills up Box Hill.
As warmer temperatures and longer days approach I am looking forward to taking longer rides outside of the city. Here’s what’s next on my list:
1. London to Windsor Castle: This 40-mile route starts at Battersea Park and weaves west through Richmond, Walton on Thames, and Chertsey, ending in Windsor Great Park.
2. The Chiltern Hills Cycleway: The cycleway is a 170-mile loop through the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. While I certainly don’t plan to do the whole loop, portions of the path look quite scenic!
3. London to Brighton: This ride is well-loved by cyclists in London and follows a 55-mile route along quiet country lanes towards the coast. Just before you reach Brighton, cyclists are met with a mile-long climb up Ditchling Beacon. I’ll be saving this ride for the end of the summer when I have my stamina up!
So, to escape the pressures of daily life, see some sights, and get some exercise, I recommend getting on your bike!