Cycling in London

Hi everyone,
I am about to move to London from August 1st. I have lived in Copenhagen for the past six years, so I am used to riding in the city / urban area. However, London should be a different beast from what I have heard. Hence, I am looking for any advise on riding in/out of London. I will be staying in Vauxhall, so I guess I will be going south. Or maybe it will be all indoor TR?

Any tips and tricks or routes will be much appreciated. Thanks!

Best, Kasper

2 Likes

Short trek to Regents Park for early morning laps… longer rides south into the country (Surrey). There’s a lot of decent cycle lanes to get around London but not at a decent pace e.g. Z1

3 Likes

An also jump on a train from Clapham 20/30 mins south to say Guildford or smaller station and do a 150km loop to the coast and back and explore the South Downs

1 Like

Hit up your local clubs.

Theres an outdoor velodrome in Herne Hill which you should 100% get involved with, it’s super cheap and also has every range of ability riding there.

I live in brixton and i hit up the kent lanes 4-5 days a week. its half an hour for me out to a place called west wickham and then it’s green from there on out. have a look at my strava routes if you need any ideas. https://www.strava.com/athletes/33912179

1 Like

From Vauxhall there are direct South Western Railway trains to several commuter towns on the edge of the Surrey Hills, in addition to the South Downs mentioned by @Theyids61.

There are also direct trains to Richmond were you can ride around Richmond Park which is very large and beautiful park and is an extremely popular destination for cyclists.

2 Likes

from vauxhall its probably 20-30 mins ride to richmond lol

2 Likes

Also an option, depending on one’s tolerance for micromorts.

2 Likes

Welcome!

I dont know what its like at the moment with covid and various lockdown measures easing, but Vauxhall is normally a very busy place and has had to have several cycling modicifcations to make it safer. You can ride to south east, south west, and west pretty easily imo, out into the sticks. Richmond Park is popular but has been overwhelmed in recent months. There are some riverside cycle paths as you get out of central London both east and west.

Enjoy exploring.

2 Likes

If you have any interest in riding fixed/single speed I couldn’t recommend the lfgss.com forum more highly.

When I lived in London they provided an excellent community to be a part of with riders who had a variety of interests (including serious racers - a young Tao Geoghan Hart was a member at the same time).

A lot of people ride Richmond Park and you can search for routes around the Surrey Hills.

There’s also Herne Hill velodrome (and the former Olympic track in E. London) if you want some track time.

1 Like

Listen to @noahpence. The best riding from South London is into Kent. You won’t need to take trains anywhere if you live in Vauxhall.

2 Likes

That is good to hear. That was something I was dreading!

Thanks for the comments everyone. If any of you are on Strava, please provide your handle and I will give a follow to get some inspiration. If not I will have to rely on Strava
s heatmap. :smiley:

Ive ridden in London once, and was scared shitless! Train indoors, much safer and more effective, then when youve time drive or take train(if youre not too bothered about covid) out to Surrey/Sussex where there is wonderful on and offroad cycling. Im sure Copenhagen is much, much nicer to cycle in. Same as Belgium and Holland where they have a totally different attitude to cyclists. I`m ashamed of being British at times. Over here the car is priority, and drivers in many areas resent cyclists. The New Forest, and parts of Surrey , to mention a couple.
Unfortunately some cyclists have made it worse for the rest of us, by being rude, and maybe not thanking drivers when they do slow down ,or wait behind us.

1 Like

To echo what others have said, there are some really nice routes out towards Surrey and Kent and they are not too difficult to get to from Vauxhall. Any ride starting round central-ish London has a bit of an unpleasant start and finish as you get out of London but the rides themselves are lovely.

I’m partial to a spin out to Windsor , it’s very flat and once you are out to Hampton Court, on some ride roads. You can add/take bits of the routes and see some of Windsor Great Park which is really nice. From Vauxhall it would be about 100km for a decent loop.

3 Likes

Thanks! I heard that the traffic should be really bad around London. Unfortunately, it is not good around Copenhagen either (it is good in the city, where there are bike lanes though). I will give it a go until it surpases my threshold for “micromorts” - and if not, TrainerRoad is a good alternative for shorter rides!

I’ve cycled on and off in London for about 20 years. Its not that dangerous. Just make sure you don’t jump lights, be on the lookout for pedestrians and newbie cyclists, and don’t drive down the inside of vehicles. I would see roughly 1 crash every week in the dedicated bike lanes. Sadly, this would often involve idiots riding over 20mph, without a bell. This also applies to Richmond Park, which is nice for a pootle, but too tight and busy for group rides, in my opinion.

For racing, there are loads of events advertised on British Cycling’s website. Good to join BC to get some insurance cover. Also look to an insurer for some theft protection of your bike.

2 Likes

I use my bike to commute for the last 5 years (every day) and I don’t regret it. I don’t even own a car.
A lot is changing, some for better some for worth.
Your biggest prob will be the pedestrians. You need 10 set of eyes to keep track off things!
Car and buses are easy, you are either in front or behind them never side by side (did you ever heard the expression “dead man zone”?)
Be polite, respect the traffic signs and you should be fine. It’s the best way to get around London even in raining days.
Plenty of good advise already for outings!
Enjoy London

P.S.-Gatorskin Hardshell are your best friends!

2 Likes

I have lived in london my whole life and currently live in east london. From Vauxhall there are plenty of routes around, i recommend going onto ridewithgps website, typing in your postcode and looking for some decent routes from there.

IMO the best routes will be heading south into surrey, lots of hills and lanes.

But, the best thing you can do is join a local club ride, just google it on british cycling and jump in with some folks on a sunday morning club run.

There is no need to take a train anywhere! You can even ride down to Brighton beach if you wanted to, only 60miles or so.

1 Like

The traffic is quite bad but as long as you are sensible then it is absolutely fine. I’ve been commuting 20/30k everyday for 3 years and also do longer rides at weekends and have generally been ok. There will obviously be some poor drivers that put you in a dangerous position but as another comment said, don’t go up the inside of cars and it will eliminate a load of accidents.

1 Like

Central London is incredibly busy (obvs!) but you soon get to know the traffic hotspots and unpleasant roads.

One of the joys is finding quieter routes and imho the best part about travelling on two wheels is connecting parts of the city together which you otherwise miss by taking alternative transport. Night riding in London can be excellent fun also.

I think the SW/S/SE routes have been covered. It’s also possible to get into the countryside to the North through Epping Forest - from there you can head up towards Cambridge or NE to Essex, Suffolk & Norfolk for longer rides. The Dunwich Dynamo is a popular 120ish mile overnight ride which takes place every summer (London Fields to Dunwich on the Suffolk coast).

1 Like

Kent will have you exploring quiet lanes, steep ramps, awesome coffee stops etc for years before it starts to get repetitive. Lots of accessible loops in Sussex too or head to the coast and back (Brighton the most popular but much nicer alternatives).

My advice would be to avoid Regents Park and Richmond Park. Both get really congested with cars, pedestrians and cycling clubs all trying to share the same space and certain riders treat it as a circuit race - they are generally an embarrassment!

2 Likes