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Cycling Holidays in the UK

Fantastic Ideas for Cycling Holidays in the UK

This guest post is by Shannen Doherty of http://www.iexplore.co.uk/activities/cycling.

While the French can perhaps be justified in their claim as being the leaders in cycling holidays, others are now not so far behind. This includes the UK and discovering London on a cycling holiday is surely one of the finest ways to spend part of your summer. Here is how to make the best of it.

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The Beauty of the Bicycle

There is perhaps no better way of experiencing a new destination than on a bicycle. Indeed, for family holidays in the UK, arranging a cycling tour of the country’s capital city is sure to go down well with everyone. Cycling at a pace that suits you and the rest of the family, stopping for a chat with the friendly locals or visiting the local sights has never been easier. In fact, simply watching the world drift slowly past is a pleasure in itself.

Cycling in London

The good news is that recent improvements mean that riding through London is now better, safer and infinitely more enjoyable than ever before. In particular, the addition of numerous new cycle lanes and special cycle routes makes cycling in London considerably more pleasant than you would imagine. Furthermore, the recent introduction of the cycle hire scheme means you could always choose to pick up your bikes when you are there.

Nonetheless, cycling in London, much like any other major city, is not without its dangers. With this in mind, some safety measures should be adopted. For example, wearing a safety helmet is essential while wearing some kind of reflective clothing, such as a high-viz vest, is highly recommended. You must certainly always make sure your lights are all in good working order before setting off.

One point to bear in mind should you or the family not be ready for great distances is that much of London’s transport will allow you to take your bike on board. However, more often than not, this allowance is restricted to folding cycles. These can be taken on virtually every form of public transport including overground and underground trains, the tramlink and even some buses (this often depends on the driver).

Meanwhile, non-folding bikes can be taken on the majority of overground trains, while non-folding bikes are allowed on certain underground lines outside peak hours, such as the Circle, Hammersmith & City, District and Metropolitan lines. The best thing to do, however, is to check in advance when planning your route.

Cycle Route Options

One of the best ways to take in London on a bicycle is to restrict yourself to the banks of the River Thames. Much of the river is lined by long stretches of traffic-free routes. Indeed, the Thames Path National Trail that runs from the source of the River (in the Cotswolds) to the Greenwich Thames barrier is one of the nineteen official UK national trails.

The official Thames Cultural Cycling Tour, which stretches for some 27 kilometres, is another fantastic option. This route is specifically designed to include much of London’s maritime history and begins at the famous South Bank then winds through Rotherhithe towards Greenwich. From here, the route then continues beneath the Thames to Canary Wharf and onto Wapping, before winding back over Tower Bridge to the South Bank.

Further options include the Lee Valley route, which lies to the North-east of London’s centre and strectches for some 26 miles. In addition, the route that takes in the south-westerly region of Sutton, Croydon, Merton and Wandsworth and is known as the Wandle Trail has always proven a popular favorite.

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