Probably one of the first things that will come up while planning your visit to London is the plain and simple fact that transport is not the cheapest available. If you’re traveling on a budget – do not fear, the city provides as many means of transport as you can imagine and cycling is definitely not only efficient but also pro-active – and provides the best views! There are even cycle-friendly London hotels for you to choose from, and the range is incredible: from 2- or 3- star affordable stays to luxury The Cavendish, priding itself on being environmentally friendly and offering cycle hire and route information as well as secure bicycle parking.
Once your accommodation is sorted, it’s time to find a pair of wheels. If you’re planning a short stay, Barclays Cycle Hire, the latest London transport hit, is the best option. The access fee is minimal (£1 for a day, £5 for a week) and if your journey is less than 30 minutes long – it’s completely free! There are docking stations dotted around the whole Central London and cover all major sightseeing spots, as well as many hidden gems. The Cycle Hire’s website offers a very detailed maps of the scheme and they feature both leisure routes and cycle superhighways, very handy when you want to really explore the city to its maximum.
For all of you who intend to stay in London a bit longer and prefer to have their own bike but without splashing out a huge amount, I highly recommend ReCycling – a shop that offers serviced, second hand bikes. They have a really handy ‘no lemons’ policy: within 21 days you can change your bike without the change of value and if by the end of it you’re not entirely happy – they’ll give you your money back.
The cycle routes are all you need now, and I can assure there are plenty of them. Cycle-route.com is a great place to start – you can watch a chosen area for new routes or chose from a huge selection already submitted, each described with the amount of miles it covers and the time it’ll approximately take. My favourite is definitely the one along Regent’s Canal, my own beloved bit of industrial London that provides much needed peace and quietness in the always buzzing city. Another source of routes is the good old Transport for London website, and if you’re planning your visit in advance, you can even order free printed local cycle guides.
With all the preparations done, all you have left to do is to enjoy London’s sites. There’s been a lot of cycling promotion recently so you might as well bump into (hopefully not literally) quite a few London celebrities on their sets of wheels, including London’s own Mayor! Now wouldn’t that be a treat?