The contemporary two-wheeled models are designed for comfort over speed, with a lightweight frame and agile handling that will take you across London to a multitude of must-see spots…
It just makes sense to start off any cycle day be fuelling up. The Town Hall Hotel’s Corner Room serves everything you’d need. From as early as 7:00am, enjoy the à la carte menu of poached eggs and salmon on a toasted slice of thick sourdough, traditional English porridge or a sweet plate of warm Belgian waffles. For something a little more playful and a lot more filling, opt for the breakfast buffet in the studious ante-chamber. It includes everything from warm croissants and a selection of cold cut meats, to fresh fruit, yogurt and a cereal bar.
Once you’re well fed, a ride through the popular Shoreditch district will provide not only ample coffee shop opportunities, but also a great concentration of other local cyclists. Nearly unrecognizable, Shoreditch has undergone a complete revival over the past 20 years — from derelict buildings and somewhat unsavoury happenings to glossy storefronts and Michelin-starred restaurants.
After a short ride south across the River Thames, the city’s contemporary art mecca sits stoically at the end of the Millennium Bridge opposite St. Paul’s Cathedral. A run-of-the-mill facade of the former Bankside Power Station, the Tate Modern is host to internationally acclaimed artists. Inside, the cavernous Turbine Hall welcomes guests at one of the most visited modern art galleries in the world.
Back north in the center of the city, the Barbican Complex — shrouded by its own size — has an air all its own. A leading example of brutalist architecture, the complex was developed during postwar 1960s and ’70s as a means for affordable and fortifiable housing. While the term brutalist architecture sounds harsh, the building’s striking design is in fact quite calming in contrast to the downtown bustle.
Continue your ride west through Soho, Marylebone and Paddington until you reach Notting Hill, a final stretch that’s rewarded at the apex of Hyde Park. Following the wide pathway for pedestrians and cyclists, which is the easiest place to ride in the city. Sandwiched on either side with 350 acres of green, the park is home to Serpentine lake, named for its snakelike curving waters, and has overlaying views of the West End skyline. Take some time to enjoy the views before hopping on your bike once more.
After a full day of riding there’s nothing quite like resting those tired legs. Make the journey back east to the Town Hall Hotel, an Edwardian building providing a bit of sanctuary. Built in 1910 as the original town hall — and a reflection of Britain’s booming economy — the hotel is outfitted with the finer details. Walnut wood and mahogany lend warmth to the polished green and white marble foyer, as glints of brass accent its splendid history.
On the tube, double-decker buses or in a cab, traversing London’s some 3,200 square miles can be exhausting. Factoring in an allotment of at least 40 minutes and a lot of waiting around, getting anywhere in town can be overwhelming. The most surprising thing that happened when cycling around the same distances was that it seemed, counterintuitively, more manageable. Taking in this iconic city on two wheels provides an entirely different sensation.
Written by Sheila Lam
Headline photo by Sheila Lam