Road cycling in London


April 25, 2020☕️ 4 min read 6

Looking for a great London cycling route to escape the city with? Refer to my favourite routes to hit the road and get some safe, solo miles in and cycle during the coronavirus lockdown.

First thing I did after moving in to London was getting a proper road bike and I would recommend it to anyone. Places like Richmond Park or Regent’s park are thriving with the cycling culture on every weekend. Moreover, cycling is a great option for the everyday commute and it allows you to explore London and the neighbouring towns. Here is a list of my favourite places for cycling after living 4 years in London.

Early Saturday morning in Roehampton Gate cafe in Richmond Park. Disclaimer: This photo was taken in Fall 2019, cycling in Richmond is forbidden as of now because of COVID.

Short routes

Richmond park loops

A short ride out from the centre, the city’s most popular spot for a few hours of training — even some of the cycling stars, including Fabien Cancellara, have been known to ride here.

At any time you can see cyclists lapping the perimeter road, a circuit of about 12km with two climbs. And on Saturday mornings overenthusiastic local club members form huge pelotons and race around, full of Tour de France delusions, barking at anyone who gets in their way.

Strava activity

Regent’s park loops

Regent’s Park’s central location makes it handy for a quick spin in the city. The road around the outer edge is 4.5km 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. Don’t jump red lights when you train there.

Strava activity

Longer routes

London to Windsor

A flat and fast route from Richmond Park out to Royal Windsor. The profile is pancake flat, so it’s perfect if you’re looking for a longer ride without the hills. The return leg is shorter and faster, so you’ll be home in no time. I was recommended to stop by at Cinnamon Café to try their cinnamon buns but unfortunatetly it was closed due to the coronavirus.

Strava activity

Windsor route

London to Box Hill

South West London and Surrey are famous when it comes to cycling. The 2012 olympic road race, and the Prudential Ride London route that followed, have firmly put Surrey on the cycling map. Starting in Richmond Park, this route heads out into the Surrey Hills and to the famous Box Hill, a (not so) steep climb of 2.5km and 129m elevation gain. According to Strava’s leaderboard for the Box Hill climb there are more than 120,000 attempts recorded on the app, with the best time of just under 5 minutes.

Box Hill climb. Picture thanks to Cycling Weekly.

This is my favourite bike ride so far. The route I followed goes through Richmond, Bushy Park and then follows to Surrey Hills through quiet and cycling friendly roads. The return leg, after Box Hill, is not as nice with more busy roads.

Strava activity

Box hill route

London to …

Brighton (and Seven Sisters)

From the city, through the suburbs and into the countryside, with the testing climb of Ditchling Beacon just before the beach below, the London to Brighton route is full of action and should be around 100km from the center of London. If you are looking for more adventures you can add some miles by cycling to Seven Sisters cliffs and back. You can come back to London by bike or take a train back, I recommend the latter. You can refer to this GPX trace on Strava for a route to Brighton and this trace for the route to Seven Sisters cliffs from Brighton.

Direct route to the coastline through a sheep pasture > muddy road.

Seven Sister cliffs and English Channel.


Cycling from London to Oxford can be cumbersome, since there no signle best route there. You need to trade off going fast on busy roads and going slower on quiet roads with bad asphalt (not recommended for a road bike). I followed a 120km route similar to this one but I needed to check maps often as many intersections lacked signs. If you have more sturdy bike you might consider following the Thames Valley bike route.

My friend Szymon and I decided to cycle to Oxford just to try Moo-Moo’s milkshakes, so don’t forget to give it a go once you reach the city. I recommend going back to London by train.

Looking for more routes?

For those who want to explore even more routes I strongly recommend Strava’s Local Guide for London and Dirty Wkd London routes. You can find there GPX trace with a detailed descriptions of the routes.