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London beginner

Posted: 28 Mar 2015, 10:03pm
by Ingoiolo
hi all and I apologise if this post is not in the right place - I promise I will be a good citizen when I learn the ropes of this forum

Im Italian, 33yo, been living in London for more than 10 years and recently picked up urban cycling as a way to spend my weekends as far away as possible from the City (or canary wharf to be precise) crap daily life of the working part of my week.

I recently moved to Wimbledon from zone 1, so I have plenty of local routes i can follow - my usual quick fix is Wimbledon - Wimbledon Common - Richmond Park - Richmond - Sheen - Putney - Wimbledon... quick 30Km afternoon leisure ride

However, I was starting to look at longer, more diverse rides... would you have any recommendation for websites and/or books where I could get inspired?

Also, I am intrigued by the Capital Ring - is this something feasible by bike, over 2/3 days? I guess it would require some stops in hotels/bed and breakfasts along the way?

Finally - I have decided to try the charity London-Brighton in September... wish me luck :)

Re: London beginner

Posted: 29 Mar 2015, 8:48am
by DaveP
44 views and no one has said hello - Oh Dear!
Its perhaps not the perfect place to introduce yourself, but you're asking for information as well - so that's absolutely fine.
Your motive for cycling does you credit, but I'm afraid I cant help you with London local knowledge.
I have, however, bumped you back up the page for when it gets busier :D
Good Luck!

Re: London beginner

Posted: 29 Mar 2015, 11:32am
by Sweep
Welcome ingoiolo (you italians and your vowels!)

First thing i would get a complete set of the free london cycling maps and just start exploring.

That's what i did.

In no time at all you'll be wandering all over this fascinating city and out of the other side.

Re: London beginner

Posted: 30 Mar 2015, 2:53pm
by Slow Loris
Welcome :) . The free TFL maps are good for getting around your local area – you can order online here:

There are plenty of ways to escape the city – the easiest is to find a local group and try them out as they tend to know the best routes. I'm more familiar with North London but you could look at Pollards Hill and the Central London CTC, or you could search the London Cycling Campaign and CTC websites. The Central London CTC often take trains out from South London to Surrey and Kent.

If you prefer to go out on your own, I can recommend this book which has lovely rides accessible from London:
It's also worth looking at the OS Landranger map series – no. 187 may be good for you if you order the TFL maps to cover the relevant London zones.

Best of luck for the London to Brighton ride!

Re: London beginner

Posted: 30 Mar 2015, 3:04pm
by MLJ
To complement the TFL cycle maps, Surrey CC has a matching set for their area:

Re: London beginner

Posted: 30 Mar 2015, 3:11pm
by Slow Loris
Ingoiolo wrote: Also, I am intrigued by the Capital Ring - is this something feasible by bike, over 2/3 days? I guess it would require some stops in hotels/bed and breakfasts along the way?

I forgot to answer previously – this is a walking route mainly on footpaths. Some very short sections are on shared pedestrian/cycle paths but it's not a route for a bike trip.

Re: London beginner

Posted: 31 Mar 2015, 12:00pm
by mercalia
London a good place to explore -

the thames path from waterloo bridge to Dartford

the lee and stort canal path to either hertford or bishops stortford from nr Victoria park nr Islington

the Wey navigation to Guildford from Weybridge

a nice little ride is take the thames path to woollwich ferry cross over the ferry take the Greenway back to Victoria park. The Greenway is a path over a main trunk sewer so cant be built on. The Woolwich end can be a bit hard to find but is nr the sewage works there.

This little ride -

can be extended to Hounslow Heath ( if you have a mt bike - there are some wild parts of the heath that go by the side of the river crane - easy to get lost and not find a way out :lol: Havent seen any dead cyclists bones)

or can be extended thru Hanworth park thru various cycle ways thru scrub land to Feltham and then to Bedfont lakes country park, which has a nice gravel surface and rides around the lakes there

Mitcham Common a pleasnt little common with a lake/pond

Horton Country Park nr Chessington has some nice rides but can be muddy so only when its dry

Look at an A-Z map - thats how I found most of my places, exploring London can be real fun as you step out of the normal routine without stepping out of London

Re: London beginner

Posted: 31 Mar 2015, 7:13pm
by BE1
Welcome :)

With the North Downs and the Surrey hills within striking distance you have some fine rides available to you. South West London CTC do a lot of rides in that part of the world, you may want to join one or two and see if it is for you.

Good luck with the charity ride to Brighton, some people love it, others less so. If you fall into the latter category do not give up on Brighton: there are plenty of fun ways to get there by day or by night.

Re: London beginner

Posted: 1 Apr 2015, 12:55am
by maxcherry
I hope to see 'Tropical London' one day. I hear they have 'Horseless carriages' and the lady's show there ankles :shock:
Have fun, stay dry :D

Re: London beginner

Posted: 1 Apr 2015, 9:18am
by jgurney
Greetings from Teddington. Being here, I have just the same problem as you, that for long rides there is a lot of suburb to get through before getting anywhere really rural.

However once you get beyond Oxshott, Leatherhead or Tadworth there are several back-lane options. I've never found books or websites much use - just get the Ordnance Survey 1:50 000 maps for 'West London' and 'Dorking, Reigate and Crawley' and plan your own routes to suit your preferences.

Do remember the potential of taking your bike beyond the suburbs by train. Possibilities include:
- train to Effingham Junction or East Horsley, to ride into the North Downs.
- train to Alton and ride in the South Downs (excellent cycling country) or to Winchester.
- train to Winchfield or Micheldever (change at Woking) and ride in the Hampshire countryside.
- train to Horsham and ride to the coast and back.
- ride along near one of the railway lines until you get tired then get a train back from wherever you reach (e.g. Winchester or Portsmouth) However don't rely on the Basingstoke - Salisbury - Exeter line for this, as it is the only one of the Southern lines to require cycle reservations in advance.

If you want to meet some local cyclists, why not join some of Kingston Cycling Campaign's organised rides:

There is also your local branch:

Re: London beginner

Posted: 1 Apr 2015, 10:13am
by AM7

Other posters have given you good advice about exploring London, but I'd like to offer a tip about the London to Brighton ride: go for the earliest start time (6.30am?) or you'll spend more time stationary in queues of cyclists than you will riding.

If you've got a later time, it used to be the case that you could turn up earlier on the day and change your time. Even if you don't 'officially' change your time, there are so many cyclists that I doubt anyone would notice you leaving in an earlier group.

Good luck with the ride!

Re: London beginner

Posted: 6 Apr 2015, 10:01pm
by mercalia
the op seems to have left the shop?

Re: London beginner

Posted: 7 Apr 2015, 8:35am
by Heltor Chasca
mercalia wrote:the op seems to have left the shop?

Why does this happen? And it only ever seems to be the ones you put loads of effort into helping! Here you are Mercalia, this is what is missing and it's on the house:

'Please & Thank you.' ...b

Re: London beginner

Posted: 7 Apr 2015, 10:28pm
by Sweep
Yes, very bad form to not give some sort of feedback.

Re: London beginner

Posted: 13 Apr 2015, 5:54pm
by Abu Milhem
Personally, I would favour the Dunwich Dynamo over L To B any day and I have done both; the former once and the latter about a dozen times. Excellent advice otherwise from others.