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Petal To The Metal: Swapfiets Reveals Top London Cycling Routes For All Levels This Spring

cyclists on swapfiet bikes the mall london

As spring blooms and cycling numbers soar in London, the Dutch cycling pros at Swapfiets have curated the ultimate list of biking routes for every level of rider in the city.

From simple laps of Hyde Park for first-time riders to pushing 15 miles in one journey, the routes highlight some of London’s top sights and greenspaces while offering prime spots to stop for coffee, snacks and Insta-worthy meals along the way.

Swapfiets

The tailored routes come as the latest Transport for London data shows more than 1.26 million daily cycle journeys now take place across the city, up 20% since 2019 as more Londoners embrace biking for commuting, exercise and exploration – it’s no wonder Swapfiets found that Brits believe London will be the first major city in the world to go car-free by 2050*.

Katarina Hvlata, UK Country Manager and cycling expert, at Swapfiets, said: “Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned cyclist, London’s bike-friendly infrastructure and blossoming greenery make spring the perfect time to discover the city’s incredible sights, parks, and hidden gems by bike.

“Our new curated routes make it simple to plan an enjoyable ride no matter your cycling confidence level or type of bike.”

The routes are designed for all types of cyclists and bikes – from simple pedal bikes to high-tech e-bikes that can provide an extra boost up hills or through heavy traffic zones.

The below routes have been ordered from easy to advanced, with each providing a breakdown of distance, time and a few of Katarina’s favourite stop-off points across the city.

A lap around Hyde Park – the beginner’s ride

Distance: 3 miles

Time: 15 mins

Difficulty: Very Easy 

Best for: push bike/rental 

Elevation: Flat

A new rider-friendly route to get you building confidence cycling in the city. This loop takes you from Hyde Park Corner past Speaker’s Corner and over The Serpentine – perfect for getting used to cycling while taking in the views of the park, artworks at the Serpentine North Gallery or to admire the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain.

Those feeling brave after a few laps can extend their cycle to include all of Hyde Park, going through Kensington Gardens to find the perfect spot for a picnic.

Holborn to Primrose Hill – the best view in town 

Distance: 5.2 miles

Time: 39 mins

Difficulty: Easy

Best for: E-bike

Elevation: mostly flat

Already cycling on the streets? This route is an easy ride that will take you from the weird specimens of the Hunterian Museum through King’s Cross and into Coals Drop Yard.

Stop off here and pop into Lightroom for the latest fully immersive experience, or grab a bite to eat at one of the trendy cafes and restaurants lining Regent’s Canal.

Once all rested, this route will take you up to Primrose Hill to enjoy some stunning views of the city.

Shoreditch to Walthamstow – an easy ride through North East London

Distance: 5.9 miles

Time: 32 mins

Difficulty: Easy

Best: for: push bike/rental

Elevation: mostly flat

Starting on the quieter back roads around Shoreditch Church, this route will take you through to Columbia Road; a must-see on a Sunday providing you walk your bike.

Looking to avoid the busy flower market? Take this route on a Saturday to enjoy the local sights without the hustle and bustle.

Ride on up to Hackney City Farm, a great stop-off point and a rare chance to see farm animals in the centre of town.

With your fill of cute animals, head on over the Regents Canal, through London Fields and beyond before making your way to Walthamstow.

Here you can hunt for bargains at Walthamstow Market (Tues-Sat) or head over to God’s Own Junkyard before a pint at one of the area’s breweries.

Hackney to Highgate Cemetery – Green spaces and Guinness

Distance: 5.2 miles

Time: 33 mins

Difficulty: Medium

Best for: push bike/rental

Elevation: mostly flat

Sometimes we forget just how many green spaces there are in London. If you’re one of those looking for your next favourite park, this is the route for you.

Starting around Hackney Central, make your way through Hackney Downs Park across Shacklewell and into Clissold Park.

This is the perfect park to soak up that spring sun with a quick coffee stop at the park’s cafe. 

Once you’re done taking in the scenes, head through Finsbury Park to avoid the busy Seven Sisters High Road and treat yourself to a stop at The Faltering Fullback for (arguably) the best Guinness in London and a spot of Thai if you visit in the late afternoon.

Back on two wheels, make your way north to Highgate Cemetery to explore some very elaborate gravestones and monuments.

Balham to Telegraph Hill – Sunday views in South London

Distance: 7.3 Miles 

Duration: 45 mins

Difficulty: Medium-Hard

Best for: E-bike

Elevation: relatively flat, with a few hills

The perfect Sunday south of the river. Start your cycle route off with lunch at Milk in Balham (the hash browns are a must) before making your way through Dulwich and its stunning parks.

Next, head into Peckham, making a stop in Copeland Park to see if you can find any deals. 

Feeling tired? Keep pushing through as you head towards Telegraph Hill, but not without stopping off for a quick pint at Skehan’s (easily one of the best pubs in London).

Once you’ve made it to Telegraph Hill, enjoy a congratulatory pizza from D4100. Get it to takeaway and sit in the Upper Park to take in views of the city. If you make this journey on a Saturday morning, you’ll find the Telegraph Hill market at the bottom of the Lower Park – perfect for picking up fresh meats, cheeses and coffee to stock up your kitchen. 

C3: Barking to Lancaster Gate – The Tour de London

Distance: 14.9 miles

Duration: 1 hour and 15 mins

Best for: E-bike

Difficulty: Hard

While this isn’t a new route per se, why try to fix what’s not broken? C3 is the longest of all the cycleways in London totalling almost 15 miles – perfect for breaking a sweat while seeing some of the city’s most iconic architecture.

Sure, you may see the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye and the River Thames every day, but do you really see them?

This route will remind you why you fell in love with the city in the first place while getting you ready for your own Tour de France.

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