I'll be in England in early August for a few days and would like to rent a road bike in order to ride the TdF Stage 1 route to Canterbury. I'm no racer, but retracing an actual TdF stage has been on my life to-do list for a long time. I would greatly appreciate suggestions as to where I could rent a bike comparable to my Lemond Sarthe 59cm, as I'm quite partial to steel and comfortable geometry. Alas, it would just be a one day rental, as my time in England is limited and the schedue is already rather full. After meeting the family there to tour the cathedral, I'd like to take the bike back to London the the train. Is this a feasible plan? Also, is there a more detailed map of the TdF Stage 1 route available on line than http://www.tourdefrancelondon.com/en/the_event/stage_1/ ?
If you click on the individual sections of the route then you get OS grade maps.
Note, if your not doing this with the British Cycling group then I strongly recommend doing it on the weekend as these roads a busy commercial routes and can be fairly tight for space. You'll not enjoy it as much if you are being hassled by trucks.
The section from Westminster to Greenwich is a rolling roadshow for the locals and the racing won't start until until you cross the Meridian.
If you fancy it, there's a good chance that Southwark Cyclists will be taking part in that roadshow as the local colour.
The train back should be quite doable but do check with National Rail Enquiries for information about planned engineering works closer to the time, especially if you do this on the weekend.