There are few greater places in the world than London, and even fewer that can top London in the summer time. From the late evenings that seem to go on forever to sleepy Sundays on the South Bank, the big smoke has got it all. Best of all, summer is when London really opens up for cycling.
The wet and dirty streets that are rife for punctures in the winter suddenly and mystically begin to dry out, after what seems like endless months of drizzle. You can finally ride to work and back without worrying that you’ve only got two spare inner tubes on you. Instead of a gloomy LED-lit expedition for only the hardiest riders, post-work forays into the countryside become a very real possibility – with Kent, Hertfordshire and Surrey just an hour’s ride away. I bet if you snuck out of the office at half 4 you could even make it to Box Hill and back to catch the Tour de France highlights on +1.
Of course, if you don’t feel like cranking out 90km of an evening you might be looking for something a bit more low key. You could always explore the canalside paths that run along the Grand Union. We’d recommend getting on the tow path out west in the Kensal Green area, then scooting along through Little Venice and Maida Vale. Pass by the Zoo in Regents Park and wave hello to the Giraffes (which you can sometimes see from the path). Next you’ll breeze through Camden and reach Kings Place, a top spot for a bit of lunch. After that you’ll tackle a few complications as the canal disappears underground for a short while around Angel, before rejoining it on the other side of Islington. Pootle through Hoxton, take a left at De Beauvoir Town and cruise up to the final stop, the craft beer pub The Fox, in Haggerston. You can even take your bike on the East London line (Haggerston station is just round the corner) if you don’t fancy the ride home.
It’d be remiss of us to talk about summer cycling in London and only mention one park. Of course, if you’re absolutely dying to rack up some miles then you could always try the ‘100 miles of nowhere’ challenge –that’s 160 laps of Regents Park’s inner circle. It’s a popular lap with city cyclists as it’s almost completely traffic-free and has a nice surface.But we think 160 reps would mess with our heads. Some riders had a go at it back in 2009 and to our knowledge nobody has bothered to repeat the feat!
Richmond Park is another haven for cyclists (and deer) and everyone should go down there at least once when the sun is shining. Take a picnic, take your boyfriend/girlfriend, make a day of it and explore the pathways and tracks that crisscross the park. Don’t believe us? Just ask Instagram.