101 reasons to love cycling in London #21 - makes a big city small

When I first moved to London it seemed enormous to me: Exhibition Road was a whole world away from E2... (or at least an hour by public transport)  I have, in the past, got the Undergound from Covent Garden to Leicester Square, only to realise that the tunnel between the two stations is not much longer than the train itself.  Visitors wishing to use the Underground to get from Bank to Mansion House would probably board a Central Line train to Liverpool Street, transfer to the Circle Line and continue for another five stops to Mansion House. At which point they would emerge 200 yards down the street from the location they'd started at...

Cycling over Tower Bridge

And so it is that the good old bicycle can expand the area you cover above ground massively, and thus shrink the 'bigness' of London itself.  If I want to visit the museums I now know it's just a gentle 40 minute ride through the centre of town.  If I want to stretch my legs up on Hampstead Heath , it's no longer a slog over two different tube lines and a bus and then a walk, but a nice ride up the Cambridge Heath road.  (And what a treat, come the summer, to cycle to Highgate Ponds and go for a dip when you get there)
I cycle through Soho nearly every day, and often get asked for directions by tourists when I'm waiting at the lights. Cyclists, it seems, know their way around.
Unravelling the complexity of life in the big smoke, and making a big city actually seem small?  It's reason 21 to love cycling in London!
This week's reason was suggested to me by Andreas, the author of the London Cyclist blog - follow him on Twitter here
Why do you love cycling in London?


Andeas said...

Thanks very much Mark. I've never enjoyed seeing London as this massive place that was too much to take in. It just boggles my mind! I think the bike was my solution to that. I know from my house to Canary Wharf will take an hour. But I know along the way all the sights I will see. I couldn't possibly face travelling there to visit my friend if I would be stuck on the underground.

All these areas you see on the map, Soho, Putney, Richmond suddenly become places you have cycled round and places you use in your mind to form a good route. Definitely one of the best parts of cycling in London and if you have a vote in the end of your 101 reasons I'll be drumming up support for that one!

Sue 'sans' helmet said...

ahhh! your post makes me feel all nostalgic!

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