Sunday, August 9, 2015

Out and about in London #6: Cycling to Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens

Today was the culmination of a long-held cycling dream: cycling from our home in south-east London to Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, via the Mall and Buckingham Palace. Before returning home we had a park-based lunch complete with sunshine and grassy reading time. It was a 20 mile (32km) or so journey, we were out for about 5 hours, and I loved every minute of it.


The journey was aided by Mr Bite planning our route around cycle paths and on road but cyclist friendly cycle routes. We had a few busy stretches but they were minimal (getting on and off bridges to cross the Thames were the most trying sections). We had our first experience of London's 'cycle superhighways' and also benefited from the closure of some central London roads to Sunday traffic.

A traffic-free Mall, approaching Buckingham Palace


We took books with us and enjoyed relaxing in a shady spot in Kensington Gardens after eating lunch. I will confess that part of my enthusiasm for the route stemmed from the Kensington Whole Foods being available to provide food. I enjoyed veggie rice paper roll bites with peanut sauce and a raw vegan mango-coconut blondie.


The rice paper rolls and blondie were both delicious. As pictured, I also enjoyed experimenting with a stevia-sweetened black cherry soft drink, but probably wouldn't have it again. The stevia aftertaste was noticeable and the cherry flavour was rather strong, especially in contrast to the more natural ingredients of the rest of my lunch. It was nice for a one off but I suspect that will be it.


Mr Bite wasn't forgotten and his lunch was provided by Pret-a-Manger. We both enjoyed being able to find a spot to ourselves in the gardens despite a large proportion of London being out enjoying the sunshine. London really is blessed with huge parks.


We did have to stop and check our route quite frequently (thank goodness for mobile phone mapping) but even with that, the journey felt relatively straightforward. As per my June post on cycling in London, if you choose your route with care, you can bypass most of London's traffic and enjoy quiet streets and bicycle networks around the city.


We returned home hot, sweaty and with sore posteriors, but I wouldn't have cut a single mile out of the journey. It was a blissful day.


How did you spend your Sunday?

12 comments:

  1. What a beautiful ride-- I'm not a confident cyclist and only stick to bike paths (not shared with cars) and back streets with no traffic! I'd love to ride more in Melbourne but need to find tracks I'm confident on!

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    1. I used to be the same but I've found London surprisingly okay for gaining confidence. It's odd given how big a city it is, but there are so many on road cycle routes, it somehow makes it easier!

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  2. I have never cycled round London before. Every time I go, I always say I will and I never have time.

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    1. You'll have to try a Boris bike at some point :-)

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  3. Sounds like a perfect active Saturday!!

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  4. Wow what a joy to ride through central london and see all the sights from your bike - I love with biking how easy it is to stop where you want (unlike finding parking with cars) and go when you want (unlike having to wait for a bus) and you can go so much further than walking.

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    1. Yes and yes and yes :-) I think we are kindred cycling spirits.

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  5. It looks like the weather for this ride was gorgeous. I do love London in the summer and yes, the parks are numerous and stunning. That's very brave of you to ride your bikes around London - I'd be only okay once I got to the park. And that's great you've been to the Intercontinental at Sanctuary Cove! We had a really lovely weekend and I can report it looks just as good this time as it did when I was there 15 years ago - it's ageing gracefully xx

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    1. Funnily enough, there were so many people in the parks that sometimes the paths there were more hazardous than the quiet roads! It was a relief to reach them though.

      I did love reading your Sanctuary Cove post :-)

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  6. What a glorious ride - thanks fot taking us along.

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