48 HOURS IN LONDON, ON A SINGLE-SPEED BIKE…..
DAY 1: STARTING WEST AND HEADING INTO TOWN…
Wherever you start your day on a bike in West London, you won’t be far from the Thames Embankment and it is a pleasure to cycle on with great views especially from the South side. Cross beautiful Chelsea Bridge and keeping left work your way along Embankment until you reach Lots Road, and follow it up past Chelsea Design Centre and up to Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea FC, from there head North and into Brompton Cemetery for one of London’s best kept secrets, a huge plot housing 35,000, it is beautiful, atmospheric and filled with history. From the cemetery, you will arrive at Lillie Rd, where we recommend breakfast at Pedal Back Cycling, a great cafe / bike shop run by Nicky and Ria where you will get a fab breakfast and delicious coffee. They also offer servicing and sell a nice range of accessories.
With your breakfast on board, head back through the cemetery and wiggle your way down Edith Grove to the beginning of famous Kings Rd, heart of Chelsea’s best boutiques, great bars and cafes. Make your way up all the way to Sloane Square stopping anywhere that takes your fancy. The road is dotted with council provided secure cycle racks in well populated areas so you can stop and check out the shopping along the way confident that your bike will be there on your return. A definite stop off is Duke of York Square just before Sloane Square with 3 bike racks, great shopping, dining and cafe options. On Saturday’s there is an excellent Fine Food Market offering amazing street food as well as great ingredients from niche suppliers.
The Square also houses the beautiful Saatchi gallery which has a constantly changing menu of contemporary art exhibitions, less daunting and quieter than some of London’s bigger galleries, you can take in an exhibition in an hour or two and leave yourself with plenty of time to keep exploring.
From Sloane Square cycle through Eaton Square to Buckingham Palace – Meander up through beautiful Belgravia past some of London’s best houses and many countries’ embassies up to Wellington Arch, hop off the bikes and walk across the square to the other side where you can remount and cycle alongside Green Park to Buckingham Palace, from there you can keep going along the famous Mall with St James’s Park your right. Both these parks are beautiful and there is the plenty of options to cut into the parks to explore. If you are ready for a coffee, a great option where you can keep your bike in sight is the St James Cafe set in an award winning contemporary wooden pavillion overlooking the lake.
Just a few yards from the cafe, you can wheel your bike over can watch the pelicans being fed at Duck Island Cottage at the end of the lake by Horse Guards Rd. Then head back up to The Mall and head under Admiralty Arch and into Trafalgar Square where you can hop off and wheel your bike past the famous Lions and stop for a photo, there is often some great street performers in front of the National Gallery which is worth a visit in it’s own right but maybe when you have more time!
Back on the bike for a short push up Haymarket, past Piccadilly Circus and into Regent Street, its busy here but it’s just a few hundred yards and it’s time for a rest. Drop your bike at BIKE DROP on Conduit Street, you can pre-book on-line and they will take your bike off your hands and store it securely while you enjoy some lunch and a wander round Soho.
You are now in the heart of London’s dining area with endless choices but we have picked a few great options here:
£ – Rapha Clubhouse – their original and still a great spot to stop buy with great coffee, light meals and amazing retail space.
DAY 2: EAST AND CENTRAL ROUTE – Approx 10 miles allowing to get to start
Our East to West bike day has to start at Look Mum No Hands, London’s first and best known cycling cafe. There is plenty of secure bike parking and they serve a great breakfast from 8.00 weekdays and 9.00 at weekends.
Full of breakfast, you are ready for some culture, The British Museum is worth visiting just to see the famous atrium but is also a great museum. Check out what is on and pick something that interests you as you could easily spend a full day here and we want you to be out exploring in 2 hours. Bicycle racks are available inside the gates of the Main Entrance on Great Russell Street.
A short spin south to just by the famous Piccadilly Circus to Bike Drop’s valet bike parking, book on-line and just drop and go at this secure storage facility and take a lunch break on foot. Take a short walk north into Soho (see restaurant recommendations in West to Central route) or if you are on the 2 day tour, we recommend heading up Wardour Street into Chinatown (by all means stroll through Leicester Square but please don’t eat there, it is a tourist trap of epic proportions and disappointment is guaranteed. Fancy something exotic? Wander down pedestrian Gerrard Street and take your pick or try Vietfood on Wardour Street.
When you are refuelled and ready, pick up your bike and head to Convent Garden where you can store your bike safely with Spokesafe as it is easier to explore on foot.
Convent Garden is an iconic London attraction and is a great place for a wander with endless bars, cafes, restaurants and boutiques as well as the covered market which is great for gift shopping. Around the square you will see some excellent street entertainers and the side streets are well worth exploring.
Then it is back on the bike for the longest leg of the day cycling East away from Central London down the famous streets The Strand, Fleet St, and Ludgate Hill with next stop St Pauls Cathedral which is well worth a stop with a visit to the Whispering Gallery a must if you have the energy in your legs for the 259 stairs. There is a large bike rack on New Change to the East of the cathedral.
Next stop is South of the river to check the views from London Bridge and Tower Bridge, definite photo stops. Foodies might want to make a very small detour as you cross the London Bridge and head a hundred metres straight on to Borough Market on your right hand side, London’s most famous food market. If not, you will head down Tooley Street before turning back over the river across the iconic Tower Bridge and past the Tower of London.
It’s due North close to where your day started to reward yourself with a pint at Boxpark in Shoreditch where you can park your bike up on their secure well-lit racks with 24 hour CCTV. If you need a snack, there are around 20 street food options at this funky space created from shipping containers.
From here, we recommend a good walk around Shoreditch, London’s hippest area where the fixie is the preferred method of transport for London’s hipsters. There is so much going on in this regenerated area but you must take a wander down buzzing Brick Lane and The Truman Brewery for street art, street food, music venues, cool bars, restaurants and clubs. There is too many options to cover but if you are a curry fan, this is the place. If not, there are few more options here:
And that’s the end of your 2 days cycling on a single-speed in London.
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