Riding London – I love cycling!

Cycle City London

Seeing things from the perspective of a cyclist is great, especially when you experience it in a foreign city. The city where I learnt to ride a bike is Berlin. Even though it’s biking infrastructure is way behind other European cities, getting around the city by bike is fun and relatively safe…that makes it pretty difficult for other cities to compete with.

Recently I visited our friends from London Bicycle Tour Company. But the real reason for my short trip was a powwow of Cycle Cities, which is a loyalty programme amongst city bike tour operators. Sharing experiences and ideas is always great fun. After our first meeting in 2015 in Berlin, this year’s get together felt like a family reunion! And it is good to know that there are other companies that love to give city sightseeing tours from the vantage point of a bike.

LDN Ride 12 London Bicycle Tour Company

London Bicycle Tour Company

LDN Ride 11 London Bicycle Tour Company

Gabriels Wharf – Home of London Bicycle Tour Company

LDN Ride 15 LBTC Bell


Arriving in London, it was clear to me that taking the underground, overground or one of the world famous red double-decker buses was not an option for me.  I wanted to feel the heartbeat of the city,  that has twice the population of Berlin. So it was clear to me that I would rent a bike for the duration of my stay, even though I was a bit uncertain of what to expect from riding on the other side of the road, and in such dense traffic. In fact, it took me just two minutes to feel comfortable on the left side of the road, and if you’re an experienced cyclist you will experience the same.

LDN Ride 18 LBTC Central Tour

Being on LBTC Central Tour

LDN Ride 19 Red Double-Decker Bus

Caution! Red Double-Decker Bus

LDN Ride 23

On my way to Camden Town

One of my first impressions was the Londoners are health nuts! I saw hundreds of runners and even more cyclists on the streets of the city.  It felt really good to see them making their way through the urban jungle, not using public transport.  The greatest difference to Berlin is probably the higher number of racing bikes around, the lack of bike racks within the city, and the far greater number of bike shops and bike cafes in the inner city. The bike paths on the streets are narrow like in other cities, but it is totally okay to take the bus lane. If you avoid the arterial roads you may come across some of the so-called ‘Cycle Superhighways” whose network is being expanded around the city these days.

LDN Ride 10 Cyclist at night

Cyclist and Big Ben at Night

LDN Ride 16 ... some bike racks

Some private bike racks

LDN Ride 02 Streetart Bricklane

Bikes and Streetart in Bricklane

LDN Ride 05 Spitalfield Market

Spitalfields Market

LDN Ride 06 Bike Cafe - Look Mum No Hands

Bike Cafe – Look Mum No Hands

LDN Ride 07 Look Mum No Hands

Little garden at bike cafe – Look Mum No Hands

LDN Ride 08 Bike Cafe - Look Mum No Hands

Bike Cafe – Look Mum No Hands

LDN Ride 09 Bike Cafe - Look Mum No Hands

Bike Cafe – Look Mum No Hands

LDN Ride 14 LBTC East Tour

East Tour of London Bicycle Tour Company

Traffic in general is much slower than in other places, which makes it easier to make your way safely through the cars. Waiting in front of the cars and buses at a traffic light, surrounded by other cyclists, you feel like you’re part of a vast school of fish.  Once the light changes, it is fairly easy to figure out what your position amongst the others is. The atmosphere is friendly, as other road users seem to be much more aware of cyclists than elsewhere in the world. And if you experience rudeness, it will mainly be in rather well pronounced British terms like ‘Get out of my way, Darling’!

LDN Ride 01 Truman Brewery

Truman Brewery in Shoreditch

LDN Ride 03 Shoreditch

Streetart in Shoreditch

LDN Ride 04 Boris Bikes

Once Barclay Bikes, then Boris Bikes and now … Santander

LDN Ride 17 Bike sculpture

Bike sculpture in the bank district of London

LDN Ride 20 LBTC Tour at Thames

LBTC Tour at Thames – View on St. Pauls Cathedral and bank district

LDN Ride 21 Metropolitin Police on bikes

Metropolitin Police on bikes infront of Buckingham Palace

LDN Ride 22 LBTC Tour

Cycle Cities Crew on a LBTC Tour

So if you plan to see London, get hold of a bike! And if you are not going on your own, you might check out the tours of the London Bicycle Tour Company or Alternative London.  I tried both, and can recommend them with enthusiasm!

Feel free to share, and safe riding! – Martin.



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