Tuesday, 21 September 2010

The best cycling streets in London (Part 2)

My next street isn't technically a street (I don't think)- it's a bridge. Waterloo Bridge. I'm sure most of you have walked across it and marvelled at the view. It feels like the central point of the city, clustered with landmarks as far as the eye can see, in all their diverse shapes and colours. To the east, St Paul's pale dome sits calmly in front of that glossy thrusting upstart of the City, the Gherkin. Looking west you've got the mismatched pair of the white swooping  London Eye across from the dark gothic squareness of Parliament and Big Ben. And on the edges of the bridge itself, grand old Somerset House and The Savoy's Deco lines shame the car-park-carbuncle of the National Theatre on the other bank. Even that building adds beauty to the scene, though, when dusk falls and it's illuminated in pink and teal and cyan. The wide Thames connects them all, changing colour with the sky and catching their falling lights at night. I never bore of it.

The reason that I think it counts as a great cycling street is that, unlike many of London's bridges, it is actually pleasant to cycle across. It has a little slope, for one thing, down to the IMAX on the south side. Traffic is generally light and the lanes wide, which means that at off-peak times of day (which wonderfully often co-incides with dusk and dawn) you can have the whole bridge to yourself. Though it's a great walk, I think it's an even better cycle- you emerge from the crowded streets of Covent Garden or the hustle of Trafalgar Square into wide open space, a brief interlude of water and sky and wind in the midst of the city.

This cycle is so joyous sometimes I make up reasons to go south just to do it.

Image by ChrisLikesCake


  1. I'm here by way of Mark and I Bike London, and wow! What gorgeous prose!

  2. Anne- thank you. Got a little carried away there I think, all those adjectives are not very web friendly so good to know someone likes it!