Recommend a cycling route for others

double the number of cyclists - cycling through richmond parkSay your long lost cousin is coming over to visit. All you know about them is their name, they like marmite and they are into their cycling. You know you are not a big fan of marmite and let’s be honest there’s a pretty limited range of conversations that can arise from that. So the thing you are going to connect on is cycling. If you were to go on a cycling route with them (Let’s call them… Mary) where would you take them?

I’ve got the ball rolling with my comment below which took me about 30 seconds to put together. Plus 10 seconds think time (yes my brain ticks over at a slow pace) and 10 seconds staring idle out the window.

Now I realise London Cyclist gets a lot of readers from all over the UK and world so I want to hear from everyone.

What would be helpful is if you could say roughly what the route would be and why you think Mary would enjoy it. If this is a route you have done before then feel free to link to it.

I’ll pick some of the best entries and write about them next week. Don’t be shy, go ahead and contribute any route you want!

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16 Responses to Recommend a cycling route for others

  1. Andreas 17/02/2010 at 10:14 am #

    I would take Mary across the Thames bridges on a Sunday evening. Starting at Putney Bridge and then zigzagging the way over to Tower Bridge. Going in the early evening is a good time as there is less traffic. All the bridges are pretty interesting to look at and the riverside views of London are a good backdrop to the cycling trip.

  2. Paul Doran 17/02/2010 at 10:46 am #

    (How old is May, is she fit? :O) – If she’s up for it I’d take Mary up the back passages, of the Southbank, early Sunday morning is the best as its quiet. Then onto Waterloo bridge for officially the best view of London. Along the Strand, across the corner of Trafalgar Square and then down Whitehall all the way around Parliament Sq back on yourself, and along the side of St James Park towards the Mall (check out the views through the park up to Buckingham Palace) then all the way down the Mall, off to the right of the palace up to and through the centre of Hyde Park corner and into Hyde Park. Do the full loop of the park and then head down for coffee in the Serpentine park cafe. Off toward Sloane Sq and ultimately The Thomas Cubit for a roast Sunday lunch and a pint. And get a cab home. (Have you got any pictures of Mary?)

  3. Andreas 17/02/2010 at 10:47 am #

    hahaha! Leave poor Mary alone! She’s a long lost cousin!

  4. Chris Lee 17/02/2010 at 11:47 am #

    Richmond Park is about the only safe place in London to ride. I like to start at the Roehampton Gate and follow into Richmond (town) and get on the towpath.

  5. Adam Edwards 17/02/2010 at 12:54 pm #

    How about getting the train out to Letchworth and then following the Great North Way (NCN12) all the way back to Hadley Wood?

    Lots of rural Hertfordshire, historic Knebworth House and Hatfield House and Mill Green watermill in Hatfield. See how new towns developed from leafy Letchworth and Welwyn Garden City in to the not so lovely Stevenage and Hatfield. And the unique experience of turning off the cycle path into the services at South Mimms. Yes NCN12 has it’s own services complete with slip cycle path and Services sign! Plenty of pubs along the route too.

    It’s quite steep between Stevenage and WGC in places, so you could miss that out by train if cousin is finding it hard going.

    Map as Pdf at

    Hope helps
    (Resident of Hatfield, not WGC!)

  6. David 17/02/2010 at 12:56 pm #

    Probably around the Regents canal, around Regents Park/Camden/ through Islington and then down to Limehouse Basin. Returning via the Thames/City

  7. Ben Brown 17/02/2010 at 5:21 pm #

    I would recommend Newcastle to Berwick Upon Tweed along cycle route No1 – Coasts and castles, does what it says on the tin but with bird reserves too and lots of old English charm

    • Kim 30/07/2010 at 1:27 pm #

      If you taking the Coasts and castles route and stop at Berwick Upon Tweed, you get the worst bit of path and miss all the best bits, which are north of the Tweed on the way to Aberdeen (where the route ends). Push on at least to Edinburgh, also note that the route has now changed between Berwick Upon Tweed and Edinburgh, you now have a choice of following the coast on the NCN 76 or going up through the borders on the NCN 1 (both routes meet just outside Edinburgh), not all the books, maps and web sites have picked up this change. The whole route is recommended, just be prepared for some really rough off road sections in Northumberland.

  8. Andreas 17/02/2010 at 6:31 pm #

    Adam, a good recommendation. Thanks for adding. I’ve cycled around that area before along a path that goes to this really nice cafe that I can’t for the life of me remember the name of.
    David, The Regent’s canal route is a classic. I’ve done that a couple of times. Not a lot of people know but the canal at Islington where you can’t go through and have to go up onto the road there was a canal boat going down there once carrying gunpowder and it exploded. The tunnel was from then on known as “blow-up tunnel” – very imaginative I thought!
    Ben, Thanks for links to pics, taking a look now!

  9. Joby 18/02/2010 at 12:30 pm #

    I would take Mary along National Route 5 from Llanfairfechan to Anglesey – very well looked after, stunning scenary – and most of it away from traffic (although Welsh drivers are much more aware of cyclists than English drivers):

  10. Nick in London 18/02/2010 at 5:06 pm #

    I’m taking my girlfriend for a leisurely ride around the Great Park in Windsor this weekend. Combined with a pub lunch, a spot of shopping and a trip around Windsor Castle, you can’t really go wrong! If it’s good enough for Her Maj…

  11. MarkA 20/02/2010 at 8:55 am #

    If you want to stay in London I’d take the Regent’s canal out East to Broadway Market (shopping and coffee) then out again to Victoria Park (pretty, more coffee) to the Hertford and Union canal which will take you to the Olympic 2012 site – there’s the new cafe (really great coffee) up on the Greenway and a great view of the 2012 stadium and park – then I’d follow the Lea down towards Limehouse, past Bow Mills (pretty) down the Isle of Dogs (thames path) to Mudchute tunnel and Greenwich – where I’d probably put my bike on the back of a Thames Clipper and go back into town by boat, which is the best the way to see the city for a visitor.

    There, how’s that for an itinerary?! If you go late in the afternoon it will be dark when you get back to Westminster pier and you could cycle round Parliament Square / Whitehall / Trafalgar Square / the Mall / Bucks Palace, which is always really beautifull at night.

    Have fun!

  12. Andreas 22/02/2010 at 7:09 pm #

    Joby, thanks for recommending route 5. One to try out one day.
    Nick, very nice idea for the weekend and thanks for recommending to others.
    Mark, I’ve done the route you have suggested, very very nice. You named some of my favourite spots in London there

  13. Knit Nurse 23/02/2010 at 3:11 pm #

    @ Mark A – or if you were feeling particularly energetic, the Thames path back to Tower Bridge on the south side is a great route too – once you get past the annoyance of the closed section through Deptford’s Pepys Estate you’ve got the Foreshore, Surrey Docks, Russia Dock Woodland, the back streets of historic Rotherhithe and the dramatic approach to Tower Bridge.

  14. Kenny 06/03/2010 at 5:46 am #

    well next time you are in Antartica, I’ll take you on the Castle Rock Loop, it’s only 12 miles, and pretty flat, but it can be a little demanding when it hits minus 30 C and the winds are 22 knots. you’ll likely see a few penguin, and seals. The Ice is a little slick so you’ll want to bring the knobbies.

  15. Wulfhound 19/07/2010 at 3:14 pm #

    Depending just how in to cycling they are – National Cycle Routes 1 & 21 out of London to the East and South are favourites of mine, great day rides to various scenic points (Whitstable, Canterbury, Eastbourne etc.) & the trains home in the evening are quiet & bike friendly. Kind of need to ride a hybrid tho’.. too far for comfort on a mountain bike & parts of those routes aren’t suitable for road bikes. Wonderful scenery on the way.

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