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Cycle between nature and urban life in London – Capital Ring

Chang Tai Jyun (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Cycle between nature and urban life in London – Capital Ring

Bike Touring Collection by Amy

3

Tours

10:35 h

84.4 mi

3,050 ft

From leafy suburban streets to sprawling parklands, towering skyscrapers to thriving wetlands, and bustling cityscapes to calm lakes – London is a place where urban life and nature combine.

This Collection guides you around the Capital Ring, an 86-mile (139-km) circular ride around the outskirts of London. Despite being a busy metropole, England’s capital has a surprising amount of green spaces and nature reserves spread out across the city, many of which you explore on this adventure.

I’ve split the ride into three stages between 25 and 31 miles (40 - 50 km) in length. The gradients are mostly flat, allowing you ample time and energy to explore the sights along the way. You could also use the routes as inspiration for new day rides in London. There’s so much to see and do that you can take as much or as little time as you like.

Cycling through diverse boroughs in every compass point of the city reveals many wonderful sights. You visit impressive castles and palaces, picturesque riversides, tranquil historic villages, and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Each borough has a unique history and charm, from regal townhouses in Richmond to graffiti-covered warehouses in Stratford.

Whether you are a local Londoner or just visiting the city, you’ll discover a fresh perspective of London and its nature. Countless parks and commons tempt you to take a break and picnic on the grass and you even have the chance to go wild swimming. Despite its proximity to urban life, wildlife thrives in the nature reserves, wetlands, marshlands, woodlands, and reservoirs. In Richmond Park, the largest of London’s Royal Parks, you can even spot deer.

Any bike is suitable for this adventure, but bear in mind that some paths can be muddy after rain. This route makes use of some of London’s best traffic-free cycleways and paths, and quiet streets. However, you still cycle distances along busy roads. You should be confident cycling in heavy traffic and always take care, even on the cycle lanes.

The Capital Ring was created in 2005 as a walking route through London’s green spaces and parks (komoot.com/collection/896741). However, riding the route on two wheels is great fun too. The route is signposted, but it’s a good idea to download the Tours onto your phone or GPS device to help keep you on-track as it can be difficult to follow. London’s roads are constantly evolving, so be ready to stay flexible and ride at a slow pace – spontaneous detours may be necessary.

If you want to stick to the original walking route, there are some unavoidable short sections where you have to hop off your bike and push (you'll notice some sections marked as 'forbidden to cyclists' on the route planner). These are usually short passages, walkways, or sections through parks, but always comply with the traffic signs as you ride. I’ve also re-routed the original route in a few places so that you can stay on your saddle.

As is to be expected in London, accommodation and eateries are found in abundance. On every street corner, you’ll find another delicious cuisine or snack to try. Each stage ends close to an overground train station so you can easily travel home or to alternative parts of the city at the end.

You begin and end your Tour from King George V station in North Woolwich. As the station lies on the DLR overground line, you can take your bike with you during off-peak hours and on weekends.

On The Map

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Capital Ring

82.9 mi

2,950 ft

2,950 ft

Last updated: December 20, 2021

Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
    Difficult
    03:39
    27.8 mi
    7.6 mph
    1,325 ft
    1,225 ft
    Expert bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    It is no secret that London is a diverse city, but you may be surprised by the amount of green spaces and nature on this first stage. Today, you ride southwards from the banks of the Thames in North Woolwich and cross London from east to west. After 27.8 miles (44.8 km) and 1,312 feet (400 metres) in

    by Amy

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  • Difficult
    03:20
    24.7 mi
    7.4 mph
    900 ft
    850 ft
    Expert bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Wild deer roam freely across sprawling parklands as they have done for centuries; trains pass over an impressive viaduct in the Brent Valley designed by Isambard Kingdom; daily life unfolds in historic villages where Charles I once fled in the lead up to the English Civil War. Stage 2 reveals many magical

    by Amy

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  • Intermediate
    03:37
    31.9 mi
    8.8 mph
    850 ft
    975 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Your last ride takes you through calm and green nature spots once again as you pedal 31.6 miles (51 km) across the north of London, completing your loop of the capital. From Olympic bike parks to the Hackney Marshes – you’re in for a varied ride.

    

    From Preston, you ride through the rolling fields and

    by Amy

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    3
  • Distance
    84.4 mi
  • Duration
    10:35 h
  • Elevation
    3,050 ft

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Cycle between nature and urban life in London – Capital Ring

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