As a Londoner myself who has had to base a lot of her midweek endurance training in the city whilst cramming in the day job, and other commitments, I have been introduced to some great urban cycling spots to build up the mileage and strength building, whilst remaining within the city walls.
The cycling scene in London
The cycling scene in London is flourishing and more and more of us are uncovering some great spots in addition to the commute that can get us sportive-ready. Whilst training to cycle London – Paris in 24 hours earlier this year, I spent most of my time at some of these urban locations to stimulate parts of the course and prepare for a 200 mile slog on no sleep.
Hill training in North London
Hills are my ultimate nemesis and the only way to beat them is to tackle them face on. Although many would sniff at the notion there were any hills in London, you can definitely find some in the North. In fact, there are three in particular that form part of a glute-burning trilogy if done together.
- Swains Lane: A scenic but steep lung-buster past Highgate cemetery
- Alexandra Palace: A steady climb up to Ally Pally with breath-taking views as your reward
- Muswell Hill: Compared to the others, Muswell Hill is quite a busy traffic road but definitely a good leg-burner to make up the triangle
Laps around Regents Park
Regents Park is a popular choice for those who want to get some mileage in before they head to the office. At 7am it’s not unusual to see blurs of cyclists whizzing around the three mile loop in an early morning frenzy. What I love about morning laps in Regents Park is the excuse for flat white in trendy Soho after a high-octane wake-up session.
This park is ideal for sprint training and ten mile TT’s – basically for those that are time poor and need somewhere central where they can slam out a few miles.
Richmond Park for course variation
I spend a lot of time in Richmond Park. It has enough hills on the six-mile course to keep me busy as well as plenty of flats and downhills to get a really good variety of what to expect on an endurance event. It’s perfect for a mid-session of around 30 miles if you don’t want to roll too far out into Surrey.
The views are beautiful too and there is one hill from which on a clear day you can see right out into the city. Hazards to look out for are strolling deer, the occasional over-zealous Strava- segment hunter and car drivers frustrated by the 20 mile hour speed limit and cyclists riding two abreast!
Aside from that it’s my favourite as it has everything – it’s one of my happy places when the city gets too loud!
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