Cycling London Life

A canal adventure

I gave the Brompton an airing today. I didn’t want to run two days in a row, but did want to get outside. So @FrankDJS and I (he on his Boris Bike) cycled from Canary Wharf through Limehouse and up Regent’s Canal. I have to admit that in nearly ten years of living in Wapping and a year in Canary Wharf, this was my first journey along the canal.

It is a gem.

Okay, so it’s not pristine all the way along – we encountered a fair bit of broken glass on the cycle path at some points, along with discarded Chinese take-away cartons – but it was alive with other (equally useless) cyclists and some quite impressive (read: fit) runners. There was a real sense of activity and a positive vibe all along the route.

I managed to snag a few pics along the way, but really wish I’d managed more. For some reason, I missed most of the very pretty areas – probably too busy actually enjoying myself.

2014-08-09 10.21.22

The canal is chock-a-block with barges and house-boats. I have a thing for these, having worked on some in France one summer as a student. It’s a lovely way of life, as long as you don’t mind not having a proper toilet or shower. And noise carries over water like you wouldn’t believe. And there’s the constant smell of fuel.

But apart from that…it’s paradise.

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2014-08-09 10.33.16

We even had time to take a cycling-selfie at the half-way point. When we weren’t navigating the path when it got dangerously narrow and I began to mentally work out how much it would cost me to replace me belongings if I accidentally cycled into the canal. No accidents, thankfully, but it was close at some points. Not all cyclists slow down when they see you coming – neither do all runners!

2014-08-09 11.53.58

It was my first time using the MapMyRide app and I can really recommend it. It was very accurate and comparable to Nike+ for running. I’ll definitely be using it for similar (and longer) cycles. It’s idiot proof and free. While there is a paid upgrade, I’m not yet sure if it’s worth the fee. I’ll see how the next few rides work our and if it’s worth my while. And it had a surprisingly limited impact on my iPhone’s battery, which is always good news when something is using Location Services.

2014-08-09 11.44.25

Next time, I’d like to keep going and make it all the way up to the St. Pancras Basin. Or spend more time cycling around Victoria Park. Seriously, I can’t believe this has been on my doorstep all this time and I’ve not experienced it until today. Just shows you…

Oh, and the fact that it was quite busy is a mixed blessing. Not great for getting up real speed on the bike (see the screen shot above for the evidence!) but fantastic for running. I never like running where I’m all alone – which can actually happen in London, all evidence to the contrary. Lots of runners out this morning and lots of great routes to take through Victoria Park.

So all in all, a lovely morning cycle – one I’ll be sure to repeat.

2 comments on “A canal adventure

  1. stevemorton

    What is the green building along side the canal? It looks like a stack of ISO containers that have been converted in to housing? Looks like you had great weather for your bike ride.


    • I’m not actually sure! I’m going to go back for a repeat and take long to review the route and the scenery. It was all a bit rushed going there and back in just over an hour. The weather was super – compared to yesterday’s storms! Great timing 🙂


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