My favourite London bike ride

This is a guest post by Graham Hills of Bikers Delight.

borough-marketCycle – eat – cycle – eat – cycle – eat – cycle. The perfect day out?!

Combining some of the best grazing in London, with diverse cycling sights, this London bike ride gives a full workout for the senses.

A triangular route visiting three markets, starting with the now famous Borough Market by London Bridge. A favourite haunt of every foodie and good restaurant buyer, this showcase of quality suppliers blows my taste buds every time I visit! My tip is to pick up one or two special items to perk up your dinner that evening. Of course, being cyclists, you need some cake for your saddlebags (pardon the pun) so forage away!

As long as you haven’t eaten too much hop on your bike and head north over London Bridge to the City. On this part of the London bike ride there are great views down the river, especially East towards Tower Bridge and beyond. The City is a treat at weekends, devoid of boring grey suits, you can enjoy the imposing architecture for all it’s worth.

london-bike-rideHead up to Bank, the ancestral home of great power and wealth, and site of the Bank of England. Find your way to Bunhill Row and head North until you hit the canal. Take advantage of this waterside cycle super highway! Enjoy the limbo under the bridges as you head East to Hackney’s Broadway market. A richly eclectic street market, parading hipsters buy classic records and breakfast on aromatic Vietnamese Bahn Mi.

Back on the canal, ride all the way down to Canary Wharf. So named as freight from the Canary Islands used to arrive here in the 60′s. Gaze skywards to three of London’s tallest peaks then bike ride southwards down the peninsula to enjoy the fine vista towards Greenwich. Behind the Royal Naval College, on top of the hill you will see the Royal Observatory. The basis of longitude, the Prime Meridian, and Greenwich Mean Time were both established here. If you are there at 1pm you will see the time ball on the roof fall, a sight by which all ships in the Thames used to set their clocks by.

Now don’t worry, you won’t have to swim, there’s a foot tunnel under the river. Be prepared to carry your bike up and down stairs, I’m not sure if the council will ever finish the lift repairs. Wheel down to Greenwich market, that specialises in cool and quirky arts and crafts.. It’s a great place for presents and unique goods. There’s also a fine undercover pub and yet more fantastic food stalls.

Conveniently National Cycle Network route 4 will take you along the river back to London Bridge, weaving through marinas and cobbled streets. To follow this part of my favourite London bike ride make sure you keep your eyes open for the sign posts as they are occasionally hard to spot. If you fancy peel off at Shad Thames and walk along the riverfront to finish the day along this lively stretch of magnificent London!

TFL provide free cycle maps that cover this London bike ride. For those who fancy an easier day in good company I lead this Saturday markets tour, amongst others. See our Cycle Tours for details.

See also:

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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

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4 Responses to My favourite London bike ride

  1. Knit Nurse 06/04/2011 at 10:12 am #

    I’m liking the whole cycling and eating combo thing and this sounds like a great route for it!

    Just wanted to add a warning note for those people who’ve never been to the Greenwich foot tunnel and are envisaging a few pesky steps – there are approximately 100 steps at each end, so carrying your bike up and down them is no mean feat, particularly if you’ve got shopping in the panniers! It can also get quite busy at weekends.

    As an alternative, folding bikes can be taken on the DLR, or you can pay to take a bike on the riverboat.

  2. Ben Brown 06/04/2011 at 1:03 pm #

    Great route, most of it’s very familiar to me but much appreciated anyway. Sometimes we need to be reminded to look up now and again and take it all in.

  3. ross 08/04/2011 at 12:23 am #

    I’d like to add…

    …when you get to Greenwich, turn ‘left’ (east) and head along the river, then around the Millennium Big Top (check out Gormley’s Millennium Man sculpture man in the river next ti it), keep going, (stop at the pier near Alcatel where the first sub-Atlantic cables were loaded on to ships), weave around industrial Woolwich, then pass the Thames Barrier, then over the the river on the free Woolwich Ferry (check it’s running first though!). There’s an old train station near the ferry terminal too.

    Then head back West on the north side of the river. Stop off at the Thames Barrier Park for an ice lolly, then head towards City Airport to watch the planes land (there’s something about arriving at an airport on a bicycle!). Back down to Silvertown to see the sugar refinery and the fading industry beneath the DLR. When you hit the Lower Lea Crossing go down to Trinity Buoy Wharf where Jem Finer’s 1000 year long music piece is playing in a light house. There’s also a tiny museum to Michael Faraday in a garden shed. They have open days once a month or so, but you can look around pretty much any time.

    Then aim back West towards the Isle of Dogs and Limehouse, and on to Whitechapel for a samosa and some aubergine curry.

  4. Best Accommodation UK 08/04/2011 at 12:21 pm #

    There is nothing like a bike ride in big old London, If you havent done it before, i suggest you do and like Ben said, actually open your eyes. Great Post !

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