You’re probably thinking, “London by bike? Are you mad?” Not quite, but to explain why this is a golden travel experience, perhaps we should clarify. Fortunately for cycling enthusiasts who don’t have time to muster up the courage to tear through the streets on two wheels, London has some superb cycling opportunities if you’re willing to go just a little further than the downtown core.
A quick 20-minute train jaunt will take you further down the Thames to the London Borough of Richmond, home to some truly lovely cycling trails in Richmond Park and along the Thames to Hampton Court Palace. The former residence of King Henry VIII, Hampton Court Palace is a magnificent place to visit, and even more enchanting when arriving by bicycle.
Set to host the start and finish of the Olympic road cycling events, Hampton Court Palace is a particularly fitting place for non-Olympians to envision their own cycling triumphs, amid rich history and a picturesque setting. The Richmond to Hampton Court cycle journey is nearly entirely traffic-free, and is a gentle, enjoyable route (compared to frenetic city cycling!).
For those looking to venture further from the city, cycling in Windsor is an excellent option. The historic home of Windsor Castle and Eton College, Windsor is about a 30 to 45 minute train ride from central London, and is home to the rowing and canoe sprint events in the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Traffic-free country lanes meander past the rowing venues, Jubilee River, Tudor mansions, the Thames, Windsor Castle, and Eton College, making a Windsor cycling journey a charming and historic one. Be sure to explore St. George’s Chapel to find King Henry VIII’s resting place, and seek out the famously ornate rooms of Windsor Castle.
Seeing London by bike is the perfect way to get into the sporting spirit and experience history, culture, nature, and the charm of England’s open green spaces, all while feeling connected to the 2012 Games.
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