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  1. #1
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Touring in England

    I have to go to London, England at the End of October. I thought I might buy or rent a bicycle and tour for a couple of days.

    Does anybody have any suggestions?

    Especially, what is the best way to find reasonably priced lodging? London hotels are insane expensive. What is the alternative?

    Does anybody have any suggestions as to where to buy or rent a bicycle for a few days tour?

    Is it worthy to stay around London, or grab a train for a better tour?

    All suggestions welcome.
    Mike

  2. #2
    Curmudgeon Wil Davis's Avatar
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    I lived in the UK until 1983 when I moved here (N.E. USA). I don't know what touring in the UK is like these days, but I'm sure there will be lots of useful comments posted here, and until then here's something to get you going:

    Cycle Touring in the UK



    - Wil
    "" - Marcel Marceau

  3. #3
    ... part of the machine. the engine's Avatar
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    I have stayed in "Bed and Breakfasts" in London, and found them very hospitable, and not too expensive. There are also Hostels around the city.

    If I were going back to the U.K. for touring, I'd head out of London ... if you really want a great tour, go to western England, Wales or Scotland. You can get a train out of Kings Cross Station to Waverly Station in Edinboro, and head out from there. Scotland is awesome, and so is the rest of the countryside thoughout the U.K.

    Riding in London can be very congested, and if you forget where you are, very dangerous. Don't forget you'll have to ride on the left side of the road, and watch for traffic coming from the right. The roundabouts can be tricky as well.
    http://www.tek-kneescycling.com
    RUSA #8931 - UMCA #8552

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    I stayed in Holland House youth hostel the last two times I passed through London, I plan on staying there again next spring.

    I would hop a train out of town for any touring, how much time will you have? It seems pretty common for Londoners to take a train out of town for a day of mountain biking, a train as far as Reading or Oxford would get you into some pretty cycling country. If you want to go further afield, Wales has lots of good cycling country. Scotland is nice too, the Highlands and west coast are very pretty. I don't know what the weather would be like in October, though, and I would expect rather short days.

    Train travel in the UK isn't quite as user friendly as countries on the European continent. There can be big variations in price for a given journey depending on the day and time of day you travel,as well as far how far in advance you buy your ticket and how many changes of trains you're willing to make. I got an overnight sleeper train from London to Edinburgh a few years back for 19 pounds, just by buying in advance and picking the right day to travel. This website was really useful to me for planning rail journeys.

    Sustrans has a lot of info on touring routes around the UK, with an emphasis on off-road cycle routes. London Cycling Campaign has a lot of info on, you guessed it, cycling around London. It's mostly commuter/utility cycling oriented, but you should still be able to get some good info about leisure cycling.

    Spend a day cycling alongside the Grand Union Canal, it's a great ride.

  5. #5
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Check out Earl's Court hostel. It's nice ... looks like it has been recently redone and is all freshly painted and clean. It is also quite conveniently located to Heathrow on the Picadilly line. I spent three nights there, two at the beginning of August when I first went to Europe ... and last night, my last night in Europe.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Check out Earl's Court hostel. It's nice ... looks like it has been recently redone and is all freshly painted and clean. It is also quite conveniently located to Heathrow on the Picadilly line. I spent three nights there, two at the beginning of August when I first went to Europe ... and last night, my last night in Europe.
    How's the bicycle storage there? Is it just luggage lockers or is there a room you can stash luggage in?

  7. #7
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markf View Post
    How's the bicycle storage there? Is it just luggage lockers or is there a room you can stash luggage in?
    It's a locked shed where they store bicycles for hire too. As for the rest of your luggage, they've got a room where you can stash luggage, or wardrobes in the rooms which can be locked.

    They've got three rooms, I think, on the courtyard in the back. We stayed in one of those rooms the first night and were allowed to take the bicycles right in there. However, it would be a little bit awkward to take them to rooms in the rest of the hostel. So, the rest of the time, we stored our bicycles in the shed.


    Oh, I should add ... if you are coming in from Heathrow, or going out to Heathrow, bicycles are not allowed on the Picadilly line unless they are in boxes. When we arrived, ours were still in boxes all the way to the hostel. It's about 3/4 of a km from the Earl's Court station to the hostel, but hauling everything in boxes was a bit of a challenge ... if you haven't got a lot of stuff, carrying it would be OK, but if you've got a lot, you might consider building your bicycle in the Earl's Court station. On the way back this morning (or whenever that was - jetlag setting in!), we rolled the bicycles to the station, and packed them in our boxes at the station for the train journey to the airport.

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