If you’re lucky enough to have a bike, the chances are you’ve been on it a lot more than usual in the last few months. Alternatively, you might have been scrambling around trying to get your hands on one now they’re more in demand than ever. Either way, Londoners have gone mad for cycling, including our very own Mayor of London. Here, Sadiq Khan shares his favourite spots for getting around on two wheels in the city.
Tooting and Clapham Commons
‘Like many Londoners, I’ve rediscovered the joys of cycling over the past few months. I was a bit rusty to begin with but I’ve found it really relaxing to ride along Tooting and Clapham Commons among the greenery, like I used to do with my daughters when they were younger. The last few months have been tough and being in the great outdoors is a good stress reliever. There are plenty of places nearby to stop off for a coffee or a bite to eat too: Cut the Mustard is [open for] collection at the moment and Megan’s on the Hill is dog-friendly, so I love popping in when I have my dog Luna with me.’
‘Cycling along The Mall always brings back memories of taking part in the London Marathon. It also feels a bit like I’ve won the Tour de France! It’s great that Royal Parks have closed both it and Constitution Hill to traffic on Saturdays as part of a six-month trial, and I hope it continues. You see people of all ages and abilities making the most of it and it brings the spirit of the RideLondon FreeCycle to the area every week. I must admit my e-bike boost comes in handy on the inclines – there are more “gentle slopes” in central London than you might think!’
‘There’s something really special about cycling along the Thames and glimpsing so many landmarks, from Big Ben to the London Eye to Tower Bridge. You feel like a tourist in your own city, and it’s almost fully segregated from other traffic. It’s one of my favourite routes.’
‘There’s a traffic-free cycle track through the northern part of the park which takes you past the pagoda and zoo. For a longer ride, cross over Chelsea Bridge, turn right and cycle up to Lambeth Bridge. This newly segregated cycle route was upgraded through our Streetspace plans to avoid a damaging car-led recovery from the pandemic. The route also takes you past Tate Britain, where Steve McQueen’s exhibition of year 3 pupils has been extended until January, which I’m really pleased about.’
‘This never used to be one of my favourite cycling routes, but the area between Shoreditch and London Bridge is now being transformed by our temporary traffic restrictions to prioritise walking and cycling on weekdays between 7am and 7pm. We aren’t able to hold a central London event on Car Free Day this year for obvious reasons, but the changes in Bishopsgate are making a difference every single day. It’s incredible being able to cycle more safely surrounded by some of our city’s tallest buildings – and it makes it even more tempting to pop into Spitalfields market.’
Car Free Day is on Sep 22. It is being celebrated with a virtual campaign in the run-up and free Santander Cycles on the day.