London may be dominated by concrete, but there are plenty of parks to call on if you’re ready for a bike ride but really don’t want to head out to the countryside – just make sure you stick to the permitted routes. Here are the five best.
1. Richmond Park
The biggest of London’s parks is the capital’s premier cycling destination and is visited by thousands of riders each week.
Around its outer edge is a rolling, 6.7-mile-long loop road that is just as suitable for beginners on Boris bikes as it is professionals on state-of-the-art speed machines.
The scenery is a joy and there’s even a café for that all-important coffee stop.
2. Lee Valley VeloPark
Built in and around the London 2012 Olympic Games velodrome, the Lee Valley VeloPark caters for every two-wheeled taste.
As well as track cycling, there is a newly laid, one-mile road cycling circuit, a BMX track and even five miles of mountain biking trails.
You can also hire bikes on site, so you don’t even need to own one to start pedalling.
3. Bushy Park
If you already know Richmond Park like the back of your hand and need a change, a couple of miles up the Thames is Bushy Park, home to Hampton Court Palace and some of the most tranquil scenery in the city.
In the eastern half of the park, just north of the palace, there is a flat, 3.3-mile loop on a gravelled track also used by runners and pedestrians.
The London 2012 Olympic time trial was held here, so this is your chance to recreate the gold medal-winning exploits of Sir Bradley Wiggins.
4. Regent’s Park
Regent’s Park’s central location makes it handy for a quick spin before or after a long day at work in the city.
The road around the outer edge is 2.8 miles long, perfectly flat and fairly light on traffic, so it’s largely cycle-friendly and you’ll find a lot of other riders and runners here.
5. Hyde Park
Hyde Park is also ideal for city workers wanting to extend their cycle commute.
There is a three-mile loop around the eastern half of the park that is both picturesque and pleasant to ride.
You’ll have to share the paved paths with runners and pedestrians, though, so keep in mind that you’re unlikely to get chance to reach top speed.
The London to Brighton Bike Ride is happening on Sunday 18 June. Take on the challenge and help beat heart disease. Sign up now at bhf.org.uk/l2b2017