We've launched a new Blog Network that involves getting a bunch of cool bloggers to write for us, such as Jude from I Speak Bike. Here are her favourite places in London.
1. Brockwell Park
BMX track I have never quite grown out of my BMX phase and I sometimes commute to work on mine. There are lots of free outdoor BMX tracks all over London and are a great place to go and watch the pros doing tricks or have a go at not breaking your face. During school hours or past bedtime you get them to yourself without the youth trying to race you or shouting ‘be careful you don’t break a hip’. The one in Brockwell Park has to be my favourite. I like to bike-dry my hair on it after swimming in the Lido. SE24 9BJ.
2. Turquoise Island
This angular structure with its striking glazed turquoise bricks was completed in 1993 by CZWG, the same architects that worked on the old Time Out offices on Tottenham Court Road. When you cycle around London you are always looking for places you can get changed and clocks that can tell you how late you are running. This multi-functional structure is a public toilet, a florists and a clock and is surrounded by trees, benches and a cycle hire dock. I dance as a masquerader with the Arawak Mas Band at Notting Hill Carnival and we usually reach this point of the parade route just as it gets dark, the music goes off and we start to get into after party mode. Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill, W11, 2RJ.
3. The River Fleet
I love cycling around knowing there is a whole subterranean world of tube tunnels and lost rivers beneath me. It reminds me how layered London is with veins running in all different directions. It flows from Hampstead Heath ponds to Blackfriars Bridge where you can see the river empty through an arch when the tide is low. It makes a wonderful four-mile cycle ride. It was covered over in the 1800s but still lives on above ground in the names of many locations including Fleet Street, River Street, Fleet Road and Fleet Primary School. There is a grate on Ray Street outside the pub where you can still see and hear the River Fleet flowing beneath. For more information on London’s lost rivers see Londonslostrivers.com.
4. Rotten Row
Deriving it’s name from the French name for King’s Road Route du Roi, this path through the south side of Hyde Park is shared by pedestrians and cyclists and has an adjacent sanded bridleway where the Household Cavalry exercise their horses. In Victorian times this was a very popular place to promenade (we should totally bring back promenading), and was the first lamp-lit road in Britain and still has beautiful old fashion style street lamps along the row. In the morning it is nice to escape the rush hour traffic and cycle along. The light is amazing and you can see Big Ben, The Shard and London Eye but best of all you get to see horses. You hardly ever see horses on the tube. Rotten Row, Hyde Park, W1.
This 114-year-old famous map and travel bookshop is no secret with map porn galore, a room full of globes and just about every travel guide you need. If you have a thing for floors this is the go to place for you to go and take pictures of your shoes. Every one of its three floors is a different map. The ground floor is covered with the National Geographic map of the world, the first floor with the NG map of the Himalayas and the basement with a giant A-Z map of central London. I run home from Covent Garden to Ealing once a week so I like to go to the basement to plot out my route on their floor. 12-14 Long Acre, WC2E 9LP.
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