London is gearing up for all things bike in 2014 as the world’s greatest cycling extravaganza, Le Tour de France, whips through the capital’s streets on July 7 before weaving back to its Gallic homeland for the denouement of the toughest test on two wheels. Why not channel your inner Chris Froome with a whiz round the capital yourself...
Relive the furore of the Olympic Games at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London. The freshly-landscaped south of the park is now open for all to enjoy, with parklands, fountains, children’s play areas, and most importantly, world-class sporting venues such as Lee Valley VeloPark where you can give Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton a run for their money. Europe’s biggest cycling hub lets you tackle rugged mountain bike trails, bump the berms of the re-modelled Olympic BMX track, race on the road circuit and whizz around the Velodrome. Book a taster session and try them all out at once. It’s not every day you can say you’ve cycled at the same venue as olympic legends!
If you’re more about pedal-powered pootling than burning up the track, London is a city that’s easily negotiated by bike. You can hire a trusty cycle from sites all over the capital. These affectionately-nicknamed ‘Boris Bikes’ (named after the mayor of London, famed city cycling advocate Boris Johnson) offer the chance to hop and go – you just need to decide where. If you’re after a quiet route, head for the stretch of the Regents Canal which takes in the delights of Little Venice, London Zoo, and the shopping opportunities of Camden Lock and Broadway Markets.
If you’re after something a little more off the beaten track, plump for the Thames Cultural Cycling Tour Route. This 27km (16.8 mile) route is great for experienced cyclists and offers the chance to explore the parts of the capital that tourists rarely see. Start at the South Bank, carrying on through Rotherhithe to the maritime marvel of Greenwich. You’ll continue to Canary Wharf before looping round back to the South Bank via Tower Bridge.
Sightseeing from the saddle offers a great way to see some of the capital’s most famous sights and a trip along the Jubilee Greenway Walk provides the perfect opportunity to tick a fair few of them off your must-see list. Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, Tower Bridge, Greenwich Park and the Olympic Stadium all line the 37-mile route so make sure you remember to take a camera to capture some holiday snaps en route!
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