Epic bike ride time! Another part of the ‘see London’ mission this month was to explore the Thames Path, which runs along the river for 184 miles! I only did about 5 miles, from Kew Bridge to Hammersmith Bridge, but that was still pretty awesome, and another 5 miles getting to and from the river.
Firstly, I was convinced that cycling in London had about the same risk level as playing Russian Roulette. Everyone is in a hurry and every other vehicle is either a car or a bus, and I have seen way too many medical emergency programmes of cyclists being horribly injured and killed in London to reinforce this view.
So once I was adequately attired (helmet, hi-vis), and with my back pack of extra bits (lock, puncture repair kit, more jackets, scarf, NO WATER) I set off from my house towards Kew Bridge. But happily, I actually found the first sections quite reasonable. The buses kept an eye out for me, and there were more cycle paths than I thought. On the main road the pavement served pedestrians and cyclists, and this was pretty much the same the whole way through the M4 motorway junction (terror) and down to Kew Bridge.
Once over the bridge, the path was easily accessible, and completely separate from traffic. The surface varies in quality; my tyres are designed for light gravel and they struggled in some sections. Definitely not for road bikes, that’s for sure.
The path itself is so amazing – you wouldn’t get it anywhere else in the world, I am sure. I took it extremely leisurely (there were runners who kept overtaking me) to see the view and try and take it all in. At this point the river is wide and pretty slow, and just surrounded by so many trees and green spaces, especially on the south bank. I can’t believe that such a place would exist in such a large city, but I guess this is why London works.