Cycling tours have become a bit of a staple activity for us on our travels. So when in London we decided to join Fat Tire Tours London on a four hour Royal London Bike Tour.
Advertised as a tour to show us the main sites with a traditional pub lunch in between, we were in. And, given the awesome tour we had done just the week before in Berlin, we did not hesitate to book with Fat Tire.
However cycling in London is quite a different beast to cycling in the rice fields of Vietnam, the temples of Bali or the bike friendly city of Berlin. I think we failed to factor in just how BUSY London is!
London Not Exactly A cycling Town
London is not exactly what I would describe as a cycle-friendly town. Well, lets be honest it is hard enough as a pedestrian to get around the major attractions - try and do it on two wheels and the challenge increases - even more when you are only seven years old.
And with tourists in all the major hot spots coming from every corner of the globe, the acceptance of cyclists and the patience and courtesy offered varied depending on who you ran into!
We did get to see all the major royal sites Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Marble Arch and the commentary offered by our guide Paul was informative.
Cycling through Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens offered relief from the major tourist hubs. In fact, even though we lived in England before the kids, there were corners of the parks explored on this tour that we had not discovered before. The gentle ride through the parks was some of the most enjoyable moments of the tour.
English Pub Lunch
Our anticipation of a traditional English Pub lunch was squashed when our guide took us into the centre of Trafalgar Square and gave us 25 minutes to find lunch, go to the bathroom and return to our bikes to continue.
“Don’t order food at the pub” we were informed “We have English people serving and you will never get your food in time.”
A sandwich from Boots, a queue to use the bathroom at the pub and we stood shovelling food in our mouths before jumping back on our bikes to continue - not exactly a relaxing quaint English pub meal.
Fat Tire offer a variety of kids bikes, as well as child seats - so they are a great option for families. On a stop in the park, passers by were asking which tour company we were with as they were pleasantly surprised to see so many children on the tour.
Would I recommend a London Cycling Tour? Well as long as you know what you are in for. Our seven year old was probably a bit young to be cycling on her own, our ten year old however handled it pretty well.
It was a pretty stressful experience constantly watching the children weave in between the hoards of pedestrian tourists - but as long as you are prepared for that I say go for it.
You can find more details of Fat Tire London Tours at their website. If you are interested in finding out more about bike touring there is a great resource at Best of Bikers.
Itchy Feet Family
Other blogs you may enjoy:
- Christmas Cruising: Pros and Cons
- Getting Dirty in Vietnam
- 24 hours in Sydney with Kids
- Cruise Ship Lingo - Understanding the Cruiselings
Penny, an avid Trip Advisor Reviewer, is the author of ITCHY FEET FAMILY. A family of 4 living in Adelaide, Australia, and taking every opportunity to travel and explore the world.