Learning to Cycle in London

Jul 30, 2012 by

Safe Areas in London to Teach Your Child How to Cycle

With the convenience of the London underground, bus systems, and taxis, it is sometimes easy to forget the joy and pleasure of using BMX bikes to commute and to exercise—cycling provides lifelong health benefits whilst acting as a green alternative to exhaust fumes. Yet how does a parent teach a child to ride a bicycle in a busy, metropolitan city such as London? Believe it or not, you don’t really need open fields and country roads to teach your kids how to ride; London has loads of safe and fun areas from little nooks and crannies to expansive Royal Parks to practice bike riding.

Hyde Park has loads of lesser-used pathways to learn to ride a bicycle on.  The south side of the park, between Hyde Park Barracks and the tennis club is an excellent path that does not get too much traffic.  Just over West Carriage Road, in northernmost, “Buckhill Area” of Kensington Gardens, the paths are generally not busy, even on the nicest of days.  Further, you are near the gorgeous little Buckhill Playground and the Italian Fountains after you have finished your ride.

The Regent’s Park is another prime destination with loads of gorgeous expansive paths to ride with your kids.  First thing on Saturdays and Sundays, you can teach your kids to ride along the paths along the boating base or on the gorgeous Nash designed “Avenue”.  Later in the day, you can go into the park and not have too much pedestrian traffic on those paths.

Holland Park is another excellent area to learn.  You can begin in the playing fields using the hill for momentum and the grass to land on when they fall.  As the kids gain more confidence, move on to all the interesting pathways and gardens.   You have the added bonus of the adventure playground, peacocks and great cafes when you finish.

For those just beginning to learn, the best place is a public garden square with good footpaths.  Mount Street Gardens, Berkley Square Gardens and Queen’s Park Gardens all offer great smaller, confined places to practice riding a bike.

If taking a bicycle on the London underground is a concern, be sure to check online which routes are okay to bring non-folding bicycles on. Folded bicycles are allowed free charge on virtually all sections of the underground network. Remember that cycles are not allowed on escalators, so use an elevator to move it above ground, and walk it to and from the park. Non-folding cycles are not allowed on buses.

This is one of the few times you may have to use a car or taxi to get around, but once they know how to ride you can begin exploring the city by bicycle.

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1 Comment

  1. Great and useful tips! I’d just like to add that some of the local councils like Islington run Free Cycle Courses for kids (and adults) which is how we got our 6-year-old cruising 😉

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