One of the largest cities in Europe, with a population of about 13 million, and some of the densest, most infuriating traffic congestion you’re ever likely to encounter, the idea of crossing London on a bike may seem like a daunting prospect to all but the most experienced of city cyclists. Yet it is for exactly these same reasons that one of the best ways to see this city as a tourist is by bicycle. Tourists only in town for short breaks can skip the traffic, save the soles of their shoes and get around quickly and easily, all while getting a bit of exercise.
London has recently started to embrace cycling as a means of transport (possibly something to do with those congestion charges) and there is a large number and wide variety of interesting, enjoyable cycle routes all over the city. In actual fact, the first of the BCS (Barclays Cycle Superhighways) have recently been opened, with more to come in the near future. These superhighways are direct bike routes from the outer areas of London into the city centre and can prove a faster option to get into the city than braving London traffic. There is also a huge range of signposted cycle paths throughout Central London.
For first-timers on weekend breaks, a guided bicycle tour may be the best introduction to cycling in London. There are a number of companies offering cycling tours all over the city. But for those with limited time, some of the best are based in London central, taking in some of the city’s most famous, and impressive sights, such as the London Eye, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey and over to Buckingham Palace just in time for the changing of the guard.
For those with a little more time on their hands, and a desire to get off the beaten path, there are a number of local cycle routes. You can pick up one of the 14 free local bike maps at Travel Information Centres or download them to your phone. For less experienced cyclists, the Greeways are routes off the road which run through parks and along the water. These routes provide a more relaxing alternative, where beginners can take it easy and soak up their surroundings. Some of these routes take you right through London central without ever hitting the road, such as route 1/7 which runs right through Little Venice, Regent’s Park and Camden Lock. You might even catch a free glimpse of the animals of London Zoo, which can often be seen from the path once you pass Camden. Or try the wonderful route which starts from Tower Bridge and runs along the Thames, past the Cutty Sark, right through to Greenwich Park.
Cycling is also an excellent way to cut costs during cheap city breaks. No tube tickets or taxi fares required.And, if you’re wondering where to stay, there are a number of bike-friendly hotels in London, located along cycle routes and with bicycle storage facilities. For more upmarket options, try the area of Mayfair near Hyde Park, where the Boris bike rental scheme is available. Or for hotel prices which are a little easier on your pocket, try the range of cheap hotels in areas such as Bayswater and Queensway.
So, no excuses; cheap, exciting London city breaks are only a bike ride away!
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Jason Casey is a professional content writer and website SEO Expert . He has been involved in content writing since last five years and his areas of interest are Web Design, Internet Marketing, Technology and Travel writing etc.