Sustrans is encouraging Londoners who have decided to forgo a holiday away from the bright lights this year to explore their city using the Greenways network of walking and cycle routes based around the capital’s green spaces and providing a link between local attractions.
Based around quiet, often traffic free routes that Sustrans says are perfect for families and those new or returning to cycling, recently opened routes include one along the River Ravensbourne in South East London that allows cyclists to explore the nature found in Beckenham Place Park.
Earlier this month, another route opened at Happy Valley in Redbridge, while elsewhere in the capital, Greenway routes can be found close to the Hogsmill River in Kingston upon Thames and the Hounslow Heath Nature Reserve.
The projects are funded jointly by Sustrans, Transport for London, the Olympic Delivery Authority, London boroughs and other bodies, and include schemes delivered the TfL Greenways Programme, the Mayor’s Great Outdoors programme and Sustrans’ Connect2, National Cycle Network and Greenways for the Olympics and London (GOAL) projects.
Carl Pittam, Director of Sustrans in London, said: ‘London is a short journeys city where the average trip is just three-and-a-half miles, a distance which can be easily walked or cycled by most people if there is a safe and attractive place to do it in, like the new greenways network.
‘Increasing cycling levels in London is vital for tackling congestion, reducing carbon emissions from transport and addressing the health problems associated with inactivity. But cycling needs to be made accessible to people of all ages and abilities if more people are to be encouraged to travel by bike.
Kingston resident and mother-of-two Michelle Young told Sustrans that her local route had made a difference to her daily life. “My cycle to work has been improved no-end by the new bridge over the Hogsmill,” she explained. “Previously it was such a hassle negotiating the narrow paths and barriers, but now it’s my favourite part of the route. The kids love it too, we regularly go the playground next to the bridge at the weekend.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.