The best cycling routes in and around Teddington

Cycling is one of the best ways to explore Teddington. There’s space for even the most fanatical distance cyclist, but there are also loads of opportunities to take a leisurely trip with a partner, or cycle out to a picnic spot with the family.


If you’re not a cycling aficionado, don’t worry. There are safe routes, flat routes and routes where no-one will see how wobbly you are. The dazzling British summer we’re enjoying this year presents the perfect opportunity to wheel your bike out of storage, rent a bike for a day, or commit yourself and buy one. Besides the obvious benefits of fresh air and exercise, cycling is a great hobby to share with your loved ones. It’s also the ideal way to get to know your neighbourhood on a different level. You can range further afield than you can on foot, but you can also explore the byways and back ways in a way you can’t in a car. Cycling locally is also the way to build up confidence for longer trips. A cycle commute may seem daunting now, but start small and in a year or two’s time you could be saving yourself a lot of money and getting fit on your trip to work.


So where do you start?


Renting a bike in Teddington


If you’re not sure cycling is for you, or you want to cycle for the day but you don’t want to make a regular thing of it, bike rental is a great option. A rental bike is guaranteed to be ready to ride (no messing around with bike pumps and tire repair kits!), and most rental outlets will help you choose the bike that’s right for you, and set it up so you can ride smoothly. Safety’s taken care of too, with lights and reflectors sets up and helmets to rent.


At Moore’s Cycles on Kingston Road, bike rental starts at just twenty-five pounds a day. That fee includes a helmet, a bike lock and a pump and repair kit in case you run over something sharp. You can choose from an eclectic range of top-of-the-range bikes, including road bikes, mountain bikes, ladies’ bikes with attached baskets, folding bikes you can transport in the boot of your car and even tandem bikes. Just call in advance to reserve your chosen steed. If you’re closer to the north end of town, Moore’s also have a branch on London Road in Twickenham.


You can buy bikes at Moore’s, but if you’re in the market it’s also worth a look at Birdie Bikes, on the far side of Bushy Park. Birdie Bikes is a charming, family-run bicycle shop where you can pick up a brand new or a fully-serviced second-hand bike.



Bushy Park


The cyclist’s first port of call in Teddington is, of course, Bushy Park. Sir Bradley Wiggins won his time-trial gold medal in the 2012 Olympics here, so you’re in good company. If you’re used to exploring the Park on foot, you might be surprised how much more of it you can see with a pair of wheels. Paths and roads run everywhere, which means you can get around on any type of bike, although an off-road bike gives you a few more options. It’s pretty flat, so just about any route will be manageable, however out of practice you are. If you’re sticking to the paths, a circuit of the whole park is about eight miles. Last year the controversial cycling ban in the Duke’s Head passage was lifted, so there’s no need to avoid it. If you want to build fitness and confidence on your bike, the gravelled path in the east of the park presents no challenging terrain and forms a loop of just over three miles. Be aware of joggers and pedestrians, but you should have the track to yourself most of the time.


A wonderful service provided at Bushy Park is Companion Cycling. It’s a registered charity which provides the opportunity for people who can’t easily cycle by themselves to enjoy a bike ride in the park with the help of a specially-made bike and a pilot. The pilot can be a friend or carer, or a Companion Cycling volunteer.


If you want to play tourist, a few companies offer guided cycling tours of the park and Hampton Court Palace. Take the time to investigate the available options. Each tour has a different route and includes different options. For instance, some tours include a picnic or cover your entrance to the Palace, while others don’t.



Cycling down the Thames


The Thames Path National Trail attracts thousands of tourists every year, but most of it is a designated footpath, so you can’t cycle along it. One of the few exceptions is the twelve-mile section of the path that starts at Hampton Court.


This scenic bike ride takes you past Teddington Lock, the Royal Botanical Gardens and the London Wetland Centre. If you haven’t visited the Wetland Centre yet, then this is a great way to do it. The Centre is an urban nature reserve for birds, animals and wildflowers. There’s lots to explore and enjoy, and a cup of tea in the café is just the thing to refresh yourself after a leisurely cycle along the river.


If you live in Teddington, then you already know that the Thames remains the vital artery of London’s urban life. There’s plenty to see just watching the river. As always, be aware of pedestrians, and the occasional spot where losing control of your bike might earn you a dunking.



Richmond Park


Although a circuit of Richmond Park covers a shorter distance than a circuit of Bushy, it provides more off-road paths with varied terrain, and a more challenging cycle for intermediate or experienced bike-lovers. Sawyers Hill offers a steep climb and there’s a tricky (but fun!) descent from Broomfield Hill. These can both be tackled on the road or on off-road paths. Serious cyclists can add distance to their ride by looping in Wimbledon Common.



Be safe


Cycling is not a dangerous activity, but it does carry risks. It’s a good idea to bring a first-aid kit whenever you cycle, especially if you’re cycling with kids. Be careful on the roads, and avoid heavy traffic unless you’re a confident cyclist. In warm weather, remember that you’ll sweat through your sunscreen quicker on a bike than you would in the garden, so bring a bottle with you, and sunglasses are a must. From a legal perspective, you accept a certain amount of risk whenever you ride a bike. If you’re injured through someone else’s reckless or negligent behaviour, however, you may be entitled to compensation. In the unlikely event that this happens to you, your best bet is to speak to an accident claims solicitor. They can talk you through how to make a compensation claim for a cycling accident


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