cycling routes - around town

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    New_33 C 00164_CREDIT_Richard Keenan.jpg
    St George's Circus

    Bisect the capital – from Crystal to Alexandra Palace

    Start
    Crystal Palace
    End Alexandra Palace
    Time 1hr 15mins

    Start in Crystal Palace Park. See the foundations of the reconstructed Crystal Palace of 1854 which burnt down in 1936. You’re at one of the highest points in the city.

    Take a right out of the park on to Anerley Hill. At the junction at the top, take a right down Crystal Palace Parade. As the road bends to the right, take a left turn for Sydenham Hill. This is a pleasant, wide, tree-lined road. At the small roundabout, turn left down the steep hill with fantastic views of the City. Take a right fork down Sydenham Rise which will bring you to the Horniman Museum on London Road. Pay it a visit some other time.

    Turn left on to London Road and carry on as it becomes Lordship Lane. Take a right at Barry Road, which is a great one for cycling down – wide, quiet, residential and straight. You could freewheel all the way to Peckham Rye Common. Head left into Rye Lane, the street for all things African (it’s known in Nigeria as ‘Little Nigeria’). At the end, dismount and cross Peckham High Street, passing the coloured-glass-fronted Peckham Library on your right. Head down the old canal path all the way to Burgess Park, and cycle straight to Wells Way.

    Turn right and then left at Albany Road, and then first left down the cycle-friendly Portland Street. Once past East Street Market, take a right in to Larcom Street and first left in to Rodney Road. Take the next right into Rodney Place, which leads on to the New Kent Road. Turn left.

    The traffic volume is turned up here. Take the inside lane at Elephant and Castle roundabout, coming off at the third exit, London Road (bus and cycle only). At the end, go straight over to join Waterloo Road, which takes you past the Old Vic on your right, through a hideous stretch by Waterloo Station.

    At the Imax roundabout, take the second left to go over Waterloo Bridge, where you will see two of the finest views in London: looking left, downriver, to the Royal Festival Hall, London Eye and Houses of Parliament, and right, to the City, St Paul’s and Canary Wharf.

    Go straight over the Strand up Wellington Street into Covent Garden. Look left at the Royal Opera House, before turning left then immediately right down Endell Street, left into Shelton Street and first right down Neal Street.

    Turn right into Shaftesbury Avenue and first left up St Giles High Street, noting the new Technicolor behemoth designed by Renzo Piano now dominating the whole area. Centre Point looms overhead. Turn right into Charing Cross Road, which becomes Tottenham Court Road. At the top, cross straight over Euston Road and up Hampstead Road.

    Pedal past Mornington Crescent into Camden Town. Bear right up Kentish Town Road (Camden Town tube on your left), over Regent’s Canal (Camden Lock on your left) and along busy, grim Kentish Town Road. Past Kentish Town tube, take the right fork up Fortess Road, past Tufnell Park tube to Archway. You may notice at this point that you have been following the Northern Line (an option for getting home).

    Circumnavigate the Archway roundabout (is there another more depressing in London?) and take the second left up Archway Road. This is where some pain starts: it’s a long unforgiving ascent. Take a right past Highgate tube station down Wood Vale. You can enjoy the respite of a decent downhill stretch to Crouch End.

    Take a left on to Park Road, and bear right and up Alexandra Palace Way. Alexandra Palace looms up ahead. Make a beeline for it off the road, up the grass banks – it’s steep, but worth the final effort. You made it!

    Get yourself a cold beer from the bar, then wash down one of the biggest views you’ll get anywhere in the capital. Words and photography Richard Keenan

    From urbane Upper Street to off-roading in Epping Forest

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    Epping Forest

    Start Islington
    End Epping Forest
    Time 1hr 45mins

    As a big fan of both road and off-road cycling, my favourite ride is this route from my workplace in Islington to my home in Woodford Green in Essex.

    From Upper Street at Angel, dive down on to the Regent’s Canal towpath. Although it’s devoid of cars, you will need to carefully negotiate walkers, runners, other cyclists, dogs, and the occasional aggressive goose or swan. It feels on most days more like a weekend jaunt than a commute along here. It gets even better as you swing into Victoria Park, where the car-free road really gives you an opportunity to wind it up a couple of notches in complete safety.

    Leaving the park, turn left under the railway bridge (just past the on road to the A12) and ride past the ever more spectacular sight of the Olympic Village, which must be the biggest and busiest construction project in Europe. I’ve never seen so many cranes in London.

    On past New Spitalfields Market, cross Leyton High Road and on to Leytonstone. Turn left under the Green Man roundabout
    and the fun really begins.

    At this stage it may be time to point out I chose my trusty Condor mountain bike for this ride, as the rest of it is off-road through beautiful Epping Forest (bar a few road crossings). I engage the pop-lock on my forks with a grin.

    The forest stretches over 12 miles from east London into Essex and is London’s largest public open space. There must be 40 miles of surfaced and unsurfaced trails through the forest and I am always discovering new ones.

    Starting at the Hollow Ponds, I normally give in to temptation and do a couple of quick laps before heading almost due north to Walthamstow Forest and on past the golf course and beautiful boating lake which is part of Hymes Park. The forest between here and Chingford is spectacular and ranges from narrow, technical single track to wide-open, fast stretches beneath ancient oaks.

    Plough on, heading north-east and cross the A1069 (I’m not a road-spotter but I don’t want you to miss what’s next). Slightly off to the left of the main track is Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge, built by her father, Henry VIII. I love this building and no matter how many times I go past, I always want to go in.

    The furthest point of this ride is High Beech, which, after a quick ten-minute blast on packed gravel and a sharp climb, rewards with amazing views over the old beech forest to Enfield Lock and Waltham Abbey. The green hut at High Beech is the meeting place for mountain bikers from miles around, and is always a good spot for a Coke, a cake or a ham sandwich (10am on a Sunday!).

    It’s now back in the direction that I came, but the choice of trails means a completely new way home. I emerge from the forest close to Bancroft’s School, which would not look out of place in Oxford, head back along Woodford High Road for 400 metres, and I’m home. Just one more place I must visit, and that is my lovely local pub, The Traveller’s Friend. After all, I think I’ve earned that pint. Andrew Brabazon, Cycle Show Event Director. Photography Craig Deane.

    The Cycle Show takes place at Earls Court,
    October 9-11 2009. To book tickets go to www.cycleshow.co.uk.

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Islington Epping Forest 1hr 45minsAs a big fan of both road and off-road cycling, my favourite ride is this route from my workplace in Islington to my home in Woodford Green in Essex.From Upper Street at Angel, dive down on to the Regent’s Canal towpath. Although it’s devoid of cars, you will need to carefully negotiate walkers, runners, other cyclists, dogs, and the occasional aggressive goose or swan. It feels on most days more like a weekend jaunt than a commute along here. It gets even better as you swing into Victoria Park, where the car-free road really gives you an opportunity to wind it up a couple of notches in complete safety.Leaving the park, turn left under the railway bridge (just past the on road to the A12) and ride past the ever more spectacular sight of the Olympic Village, which must be the biggest and busiest construction project in Europe. I’ve never seen so many cranes in London.On past New Spitalfields Market, cross Leyton High Road and on to Leytonstone. Turn left under the Green Man roundabout and the fun really begins.At this stage it may be time to point out I chose my trusty Condor mountain bike for this ride, as the rest of it is off-road through beautiful Epping Forest (bar a few road crossings). I engage the pop-lock on my forks with a grin.The forest stretches over 12 miles from east London into Essex and is London’s largest public open space. There must be 40 miles of surfaced and unsurfaced trails through the forest and I am always discovering new ones.Starting at the Hollow Ponds, I normally give in to temptation and do a couple of quick laps before heading almost due north to Walthamstow Forest and on past the golf course and beautiful boating lake which is part of Hymes Park. The forest between here and Chingford is spectacular and ranges from narrow, technical single track to wide-open, fast stretches beneath ancient oaks.Plough on, heading north-east and cross the A1069 (I’m not a road-spotter but I don’t want you to miss what’s next). Slightly off to the left of the main track is Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge, built by her father, Henry VIII. I love this building and no matter how many times I go past, I always want to go in. The furthest point of this ride is High Beech, which, after a quick ten-minute blast on packed gravel and a sharp climb, rewards with amazing views over the old beech forest to Enfield Lock and Waltham Abbey. The green hut at High Beech is the meeting place for mountain bikers from miles around, and is always a good spot for a Coke, a cake or a ham sandwich (10am on a Sunday!).It’s now back in the direction that I came, but the choice of trails means a completely new way home. I emerge from the forest close to Bancroft’s School, which would not look out of place in Oxford, head back along Woodford High Road for 400 metres, and I’m home. Just one more place I must visit, and that is my lovely local pub, The Traveller’s Friend. After all, I think I’ve earned that pint. Easy | Medium | Advanced

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1 comments
Jesse Martin
Jesse Martin

Great guide to some lovely social rides in London. Just need to remember the nicer the day the more packed the paths are!