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Canals, reservoirs and 3,000 parks all make cycling in London an absolute joy. As the famous River Thames cuts through the centre, it’s easy to enjoy flat bike rides throughout the city. Gentle hills can also be found here though, offering rare chances for views across the capital.
It might be the most populated city in the country but you’ll find plenty of cycle routes throughout London and its leafy suburbs. From Richmond Park to Hampstead Heath, it’s easy to get out for a spin and find yourself in surprisingly wild nature.
If you’re based in London, you have innumerable opportunities to cycle out into the verdant surroundings. Epping Forest is a fantastic example, an extraordinary ancient woodland just a stone’s throw from the city. With green spaces wherever you look, cycling in London is fast becoming a way of life.
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Cycling in London is an increasingly popular way for commuters to get around and with money being ploughed into cycle paths, it’s only getting better. The capital’s myriad parks provide wonderful green spaces for rides and you can easily rack up the hours and the miles.
Richmond Park and nearby Bushy Park are both excellent places to explore by bike. A National Nature Reserve, Richmond Park is home to a large population of deer and spans 2,500 acres (1,011 ha). Ride here and pedal through Kingston to explore Bushy Park too.
Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens are lovely spaces for a gentle ride in exquisite surroundings. They’re often busy with runners, pedestrians and other cyclists but if you’re carrying a picnic in your panniers, they’re great parks to stop off in.
It’s easy to enjoy rural cycle routes in London’s outskirts with the majestic Epping Forest just a 35-minute train journey from Liverpool Street Train Station or a 16 mile (25 km) bike ride. This former royal forest is home to 5,900 acres (2,400 ha) of ancient woodlands, open grasslands, lakes and other special habitats. Cycle trails abound in this magical place, making it simple to take wild bike rides within London’s limits. Is there anything more exquisite than pedaling under aging boughs of beech and oak trees with no noise but birdsong?
With Colne Valley Country Park to the west and the exquisite Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to the south, cycle routes from London take you out into fantastic countryside surprisingly quickly.
With a population of nine million and its historic streets thronged with traffic, cycling on London’s roads requires having your wits about you. The city’s cycle paths are increasing though, including those which are traffic-free.
Not all of London’s parks, including its eight royal parks, permit cycling. Some allow riding on designated trails only so it’s wise to check which routes allow bikes. Cyclists riding on restricted paths through parks can be fined and plain-clothes policemen have been known to patrol.
Using a good, solid bike lock will keep your mind at rest if you’re leaving your bike alone in the city while you get a coffee and a snack. Put the lock through your frame, your front wheel and the post or bike rack.
Explore more of England: Browse the best Cycling Routes in other regions.