Any bike | Fully Guided | Traffic-free | Cycle paths | Mainly flat | 17 miles | 6 hours
This is an experience!
20 traffic-free, pan flat miles of easy riding exploring 1000 years of London’s industrial and maritime history. This ride discovers heaps of London's surprises and how they have changed over time.
Hidden architectural gems, street art, beaches, canal boats, ships, cable cars, aeroplanes, trains, over 88 football fields and 2 stadia interspaced with cycling that’s just fun – floating boardwalks and cool curly wurley bits make this an all-round great day out on a bike.
Starting from The Urban Barista Café just outside Wapping Station (on the bike-friendly Overground Clapham Junction/West Croydon/Crystal Palace to Highbury and Islington line see map)
This is an action-packed leisurely ride, so much to see and do on such a short trip.
We can’t even complete the first mile on Dickensian cobbled streets before making a quick diversion to the foreshore to see the gallows where many a pirate was strung up. Great place to watch the river traffic but we must get on further downstream to the Limehouse Basin. Built in the 1820s it was a hectic entrepôt for every commodity imaginable. Hard to image now with all its peaceful, smartypants yachts and pristinely restored warehouses.
The Regents Canal towpath is a bit narrow out of Limehouse, so we’ll take it carefully for the next ½ mile before turning into the Mile End Park, a Millennium Project with Arts Centres, edgy sculpture, oddly shaped hills which seem to be randomly scattered about. A complete contrast to the formal Victoria Park with its bathing pond and Chinese Pagoda.
Back to the Navigation and onto the Hackney Marshes, home to over 88 football fields before passing the Olympic Park, home of the Pringle (Velodrome), Stingray (Aquatics Centre), Anish Kapoor’s twisted Orbit helter-skelter and the Stadium itself – which doesn’t appear to merit a nickname.
Back on the towpath to Three Mills Island where over the years rockets, gin, soap and a host of other useful things have been made. Time for a quick look at Bazalgette’s masterpiece of high Victoriana, Abbey Mills Pumping Station, before joining the old railway line to the Royal Docks.
Emerge opposite City Airport and follow the edge of the vast dock, under the cranes to the 'Emirates Airline'. Yup, it's the best, most magnificently childish way to cross the river - by cable car. The cabin soars into the sky revealing awesome views of London, the surrounding countryside, Croydon and Crystal Palace before plunging back to terra firma.
Joining the Thames path to Greenwich, through the Royal Naval Hospital (1692), we ride around the Cutty Sark before dropping by Old Deptford’s Captain’s Houses, skirting the back of the Millwall Stadium, before finally reaching the Surrey Canal to Peckham.
Urban Baristas 138 Wapping High St, Wapping, London E1W 3PA
Duration: 3 hours riding - overall allow 6 hours as there's so much to look at!
Distance: 21 miles
Estimated average speed: 5 mph
Trails: Quiet roads and cycle paths with added cobbles
Technical Grade: Easy, on quiet roads with occasional cobbled section and minimal hills
Relaxed ride with minimal hills suitable for novices or near novices
Group Size: 10 people
A refreshment stop mid-way (cost of refreshments is not included in the ride)
Is this ride for me?
This is an approachable ride, you need to be able to cycle at a gentle pace for a few hours.
The pace of the ride will be adapted to suit the cyclists on the day and the route may change to meet the capabilities of the group as a whole. The leader will make sure that no one is left out or behind!
Is my bike OK for this ride?
The ride is suitable for all bikes, including hybrids and folding bikes.
There will be a basic bike check before each ride to ensure riders' safety, so please make sure your bike is in good condition with working brakes and gears, along with pumped-up tyres and an oiled chain.
If in doubt, please get your bike checked over by a competent mechanic or bike shop before the ride. Here is a list of local bike shops we're happy to recommend.
Remember to plan ahead, many bike shops are very busy and service slots are often booked out in advance.
What do I need to bring?
Helmet (wearing helmets is a must on our rides)
Spare inner tube
Rain jacket (if required)
Suitably warm/cool clothing for the weather
Sunscreen (as necessary)
The leader will have supplies of Charlie's homemade fudge and flapjacks to keep you going during the adventure. However, if you have any food allergies or dietary requirements please bring your own snacks.
What's included in the price?
Guide for the entire ride
Coaching hints and skill tips about 'off road' cycling
Pre-ride bike and helmet safety checks
Fixing mechanical faults/punctures where possible
Charlie's famous homemade fudge and flapjacks to power you along