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Lockdown guide to rides and guides

London Cycling Campaign | 27th April 2020

Lockdown guide to rides and guides

Before the lockdown, experienced riders and new cyclists alike could enjoy hundreds of free guided cycle rides run by LCC members - we even ran 30 rides for families to the annual Freecycle event.

But do not despair – we have a solution. Even though all group rides are cancelled and we are advised to exercise only locally, there are still hundreds of attractive and inspiring local London rides, recorded by LCC members, and others, that you can make with, or without, children. There are some in every part of London.   

The great reduction in car traffic, especially on residential streets, has made those rides more pleasant, and safer, for novices and youngsters. Identifying where to ride is not that difficult, though at busy times you may wish to avoid canal routes and some parks to keep 2m apart from others. 

For those riding with children we've provided links to a useful series of videos.

Please follow government advice and do not travel across town to enjoy rides - stick to local routes near your home.

Journey planners:

LCC’s route  planner  (top left of  home page) uses Cycle Streets mapping – enter where you’d like to go and select quietest route option.

TfL’s journey planner  (select Edit preferences and choose the Cycling tab) is another option – again choose the quietest route option.

Google Maps cycling option – sometimes hit and miss but often picks out useful routes.

Local Council online route guides - Some councils have posted popular routes this is one from Islington 

Guide books and maps

Many of the rides favoured by LCC ride leaders are chronicled in illustrated guide books– often available second hand online for a couple of pounds. They are also included in the (out of print) hard copy maps which LCC created and are effectively a part of the online journey planners which drew on the same user input. 

Guide books

London Cycling Guide 3rd edition IMM,  - Tom Bogdanowicz

This recent guide, written with the assistance of numerous LCC members, features more than 30 classic London routes from 1hr to 4 hrs (they can be easily split into sections) along quiet streets plus 10 popular park rides. There are detailed maps (Open Street map) of each route, instructions, route timings, descriptions of sights and illustrations.

Cycle London,   Time Out, 2 - rides by Patrick Field

Another guide with LCC heritage, the ride editor is an LCC veteran, you get 13 rides in London plus another dozen longer trips beyond London and therfore only local for those who happen to live on the outskirts of the capital. There are detailed maps for  all the London routes plus instructions and plentiful photos.

Where to Ride London, BA Press - Nick Woodford

A grand total of 50 rides, mostly loops, of which the majority are within Greater London with notes on distances, terrain, and traffic plus descriptions and photos  The maps are not detailed so you will have to rely on the provided ride logs or use a smart  phone.  

The London Cycle Guide, Haynes,  – Nicky Crowther (out of print)

While this guide was last updated in 2000 and predates the many improvements in cycle infrastructure since then,  it was written in consultation with LCC members and features some classic local rides. The maps are based on the A to Z London mapping from the Ordnance Survey

Mapping sites:

Sites such as https://www.mapmyride.com/gb/london-eng/ show dozens of local rides. Cross check them with the journey planners above to make sure you are choosing quiet streets.


Local Cycling Guides 1 -14 Transport for London,   (out of print)

These maps are ideal for local route planning largely because they are so much bigger than a smart phone or even a PC.  If you are lucky enough to have a cycle shop (many are open to service key worker and other bikes) which has old copies or an LCC member as a  neighbour who may have old stocks then you are sorted.