" Us out-of-towners get a bit nervy in the big smoke. "
Fred (aka The Artful Dodger) will look after you ladies, though I might be up for it.
Here's the spiel from Fred's latest brochure :
London, as you know, is the Greatest City on Earthâ€šÃ‘Â¢. It is full of wonderful things. It also contains That London's famous London. So, we could have a choice of what such a bikey could contain.
There are some options:
* Industrial Thames, Riverside + Greenwich: Ride along the River, through Docklands, across on the Woolwich Ferry (a real cultural treat), back past the Thames Flood Barrier, Millenium Waste Of Money Big Tent Thing, then to Greenwich, which has nice pubs and foodie places. then, back up towards Tower Brij and the South Bank. A nice, easy, flat ride, not demanding at all, maybe a few steps and things for the silly to jump off. Not a big adrenaline junkie type thing, but plenty of photo-opportunities, and loads of history stuff. A fair few inertesting industrial bits, for those what like stuff like that, such as bits of Brunel engineering, cranes, that sort of thing. Some big architecture, too. A 'surprising' little ride; it might seem a bit boring on paper, but is actually pretty good fun. One of my faves.
*Regent's Canal: Starting in Limehouse, this can be as long or short as you want. Praps one for smaller groups, this is very flat, and sedate. Not as inertesting as the river ride, but it does get you round London peacefully, and can spit you out in all sorts of unexpected locations, like Angel, pubs and bars; King's Cross/St Pancras, big train station stuff; Caymden market; Regent's Park; Little Venice, Paddington Basin, near Hyde Park; past the Westway and Ladbroke Grove, Wormwood Scrubs, big prison; and various bits of West London, including Wembley, with the huuuuuge stadium. Finishes right over near Southall/Heathrow, then comes back in along the Grand Union bit, to Brentford, whereupon you can head to either Richmond, or back in towards town. The full loop is a 50-miler, slow and steady, good leg-stretcher.
*River Lee and Epping: My local 'off-road' fun. Starts with a stretch along the River Lee, from Limehouse, past the Olympic site. An opportunity to see it before it's all radically changed. Big building site really, but some good wildlife stuff to be found, speshly further up, in Walthamstow Marshes. Then over to Whipps Cross, and head into the forest. Probbly very muddy, tbh, better in summer. Option of the early turn around back down the canal, from Chingford, or the extra push to High Beech. Bout a 40 miler in total, a bit knackering if you push it some. Nowt too technical or dangerous though. Gentle forest trails. Can be lovely, on a nice day.
* London Mountain Route: up the Lee, from Limehouse again, to Springfield Park. Up Spring Hill, bit of road riding, to Finsburg Park. Then, onto the Parkland Walk, a disused railway viaduct that takes you up to Highgate. Short, but very steep, climb up to Highgate Village. Steep, fast road descent to Hampstead Heath. Nuther climb back up to Sawyers Hill, then a long, long descent back into town. Flattens out at Caymden. Then across to Primrose Hill, and onto the Regent's Canal, and back down into Paddington Basin,Hyde Park and the River. This one's got some fantastic views of London, and is fairly strenuous, but your efforts are rewarded with those descents. Be warned, we're talking about 30/40+mph stuff here, on roads. With traffic. Factor in the odd idiot in a car, and this one can be scarier than any Black downhill run, trust me. Mind, a group of cyclists can command the road, and be as fast as cars down there, so it's actually not too bad. Safety in numbers. This is the one with the highest danger of Death, mind.
Cheeky City Ride: Best done on a Sunday, this one involves pootling around loads of little back streets and alleyways in the City, part of That London's famous City of Londonâ€šÃ‘Â¢. I tell you, this one's an eye-opener. I discovered a lot of this stuff when I worked as a courier. If you do this ride, you will be amazed at the stuff you can find; old Roman remains, architecture dating back to the Great Fire, proper famous old buildings, places that are great institutions, and a really good look at the world of finance, law and social organisation. Photo-opportunities? Just ridiculous. Gotta be one of the most photogenic places in Britain, if not the World. I have lived here all my life, and can still find new stuff. It's just amazing how much there is. Little 'secret' hidden gardens, great courtyards, Old and New, it's all there. Ever seen the Temple? Where all the law people work. Fabulous buildings. And right in the heart of it, is the Cheshire Cheese. The pub where Dickens and Dr. Samuel Johnson would go and quaff an ale or two. You can sup a pint, whist sat at the very same table as Dickens did, or see original copies of works by the great men. Just incredible. And that's just a tiny, tiny little bit of what's on offer! This ride is the one with probbly the greatest risk of encountering our Babylonian friends. City of London Police can be a bit twitchy, and are armed, and occasionally can take a dim view of a bunch of nutters on bikes careering about the place, but as long as people are careful, we shoon't face too many problems. Greatest risk of arrest and incarceration with this one. Bear in mind, CoL police are a Law unto themselves, quite literally. Different laws apply here, and they have powers beyond yer common or garden rozzer. But we should be ok, as long as we're polite and friendly.