With such a vibrant and enthusiastic cycling scene, there are plenty of places where you can head for your cycling fix. Here’s 5 we think are well worth a visit.
1. Herne Hill Velodrome
Built way back in the 1890s, Herne Hill Velodrome is an outdoor cycling track situated in Dulwich. We almost lost it during the early noughties due to lack of funding, but since then has gone from strength to strength and now supports a strong cycling community. There’s usually one or two evening races to keep you occupied during the season, and if you’re new to track riding there are taster sessions with free bike hire on offer. There’s even a cyclocross circuit for those who fancy some winter mud and fun/suffering. All in all, a brilliant cycling facility.
Also – Bradley Wiggins used to train here!
2. Swain’s Lane
There are not many options in central London if you want to get your climbing fix, but Swain’s Lane perhaps offers the closest thing to a tough urban climb. It hits 20% at its steepest and while it might not be long, you can still get some proper training done in a short amount of time. If you fancy pitting yourself against some stiff competition, Rollapalouza have an Urban Hill climb, which goes up Swain’s Lane on September 30 in front of an enthusiastic crowd.
3. Richmond Park
Richmond Park is an absolute classic London cycling venue and for good reason. The 7-mile circuit has some fairly sharp hills and a few longer drags to get the legs burning. Most riders choose to go in an anti clockwise direction to prevent having to stop at the mini roundabouts, but really the choice is yours. Richmond can get very busy at times, so you need to keep you wits about you and we wouldn’t recommend tearing round at full gas during one of the busy periods. However, for a gentle base ride, it’s another great facility to have in the heart of the city.
4. Redbridge Cycling Centre
Redbridge Cycling Centre, sometimes known as Hog Hill, is another dedicated cycling facility located to the north east of the city. Its 2km circuit regularly holds evening races and time trials, featuring a variety of route options; meaning you never race the same circuit week in week out. For all you climbers there’s a reasonable short hill on the circuit too, although it can become a device of torture after multiple laps, so don’t say we didn’t warn you. There’s also a mountain bike circuit for all the city dwellers who like to get their local off-road fix.
5. Lee Valley Velopark
If there’s any venue that has it all, it has to be the Lee Valley Velopark. Built on the site of the London 2012 Olympics, you obviously have the world class velodrome where all those muscly people won their shiny medals, but there’s also a road circuit, mountain bike track and BMX track. It’s open Monday – Sunday from 9am to 10pm and the road circuit is floodlit, so even if you’re on a late shift, there should be time to get an hour of training in at this world class facility.
As summer shifts to winter, ride on as the clocks go back in the world's longest one-day road cycling race. Find out more about Red Bull Timelaps here.