Slow travel ideas #1: cycling ideas
Updated: Apr 5, 2021
A few suggestions for a slow adventure on your bike not far from London
We are now in lockdown number 3 (I think I'm starting to lose count now) and, although overseas travel should resume at some point, many people will probably opt for a new staycation summer. Personally I expect next summer to be very much like last year with restrictions lifted and reintroduced as the situation evolves globally, so I am already gearing up planning some local slow adventures!
The three below are some adventure ideas that could be suitable for a half day, full and multi day trip; hopefully you will find them useful or maybe they might help you coming up with more ideas!
Monopoly Board Bike Ride
Did you know that all the locations on the monopoly board are actual places in London? They are mainly north of the river and gravitate around the central London so it is a good way to take advantage of the limited traffic on roads right now.
The route I have designed is about 26 km and doesn't follow the order of the actual board (if you were to follow that, it would be way longer) and I haven't included the electric company (which could be Battersea Power Station) nor the Water Works (the Thames was enough water for me). Depending on what time you start, Borough Market could be a nice spot for lunch (when it will open again)!
London Iconic Sporting Locations
This is definitely a full day slow adventure as we are looking at over 130 km! I've designed this route, trying to avoid busy roads as much as I could; this will definitely add a few more km but I think it's worth the extra effort! Starting from Trafalgar Square (not really a sporting location but still an icon of London), you will cycle south to Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Club and then out of London to Box Hill, in celebration of the 2012 Olympic road race (they climbed it 9 times but you don't have to do that!).
Coming back into London, the first stop will be Twickenham (rugby), followed by Wembley Stadium (football) and then Lord's Cricket Ground, where you can maybe have a break in the nearby Regents park.
The last stint will take you to East London to the Olympic stadium and across Tower Bridge to finish at the Mall (both part of the London Marathon route).
King Alfred's Way
Last but not least is this new off road route that was recently designed by Cycling UK (www.cyclinguk.org). I haven't cycled it myself yet but it is very high on my list of slow adventures, when it will be a bit warmer and hopefully allowed to travel again!
It is a 350 km off road circular route starting and ending in Winchester, mostly suited for gravel bike and bikepacking (although I will attempt it with my touring one), and it packs plenty of iconic locations like Stonehenge, Avebury stone circle, Iron Age hill forts, Farnham Castle, and Winchester and Salisbury Cathedrals. From what I can see, it seems ideal for a multiday slow adventure with a few nights of wildcamping!
The route is below but you will find plenty of information on the official website