By: Emily Lovasz
After my biking experience with Chris and Rohan and Dublin, I decided I wanted to explore London by bike as well. So, Bridget, Rohan, Courtney and I rented bikes from Santander Cycles on Saturday and visited some of the parks around the city.
Surprisingly, I felt a lot less stressed riding bikes through London than I did in Dublin. In Dublin, the streets are more packed, there is a lot more traffic and it is harder to maneuver around cars. In London, while people still drive crazy, there are more marked lanes for bikes and it is easier to follow as you go along.
It was also easier to rent bicycles in London than Dublin. Although, every 30 minutes we had to park them so we wouldn’t get charged more, there were stands all over the city so we could stop for a quick break and then take them back out again a few minutes later.
To start our afternoon, we visited Regent’s Park. We entered the park and saw a large pond where people rode on paddle-boats around. There was a small cafe that sat next to the pond where we got sandwiches for lunch and sat on the grass to eat. After, we continued our way around the pond until we got to Queen Mary’s Gardens and the Rose Gardens. The sun was bright and reflected off of the bright colored flowers around us, making it a peaceful and beautiful place to walk through.
We then hopped back on our bikes and went south to Hyde Park. This is one of the largest parks in London. Hyde Park is connected to the Kensington Gardens and Kensington Palace where some of the Royal Family lives. We didn’t get to go inside, but we did walk through some of the gardens with the green archways and flowers.
After, we walked along the Serpentine, the large pond in the middle of the park. Here there are more paddle-boats and lots of ducks, geese and swans circling the water and nearby banks. The Princess Diana Memorial was south of the pond and it was not what I thought it would be. Instead of a statue, a circular fountain ran along the ground like a snake, making a complete circle. The water continuously flowed and fell into two lower pools of the fountain. Kids splashed and played in the fountain as their parents watched nearby.
We ended our walk through the park in The Rose Garden, which had even fuller and more beautiful flowers than the gardens in Regent’s Park.
Today we had a chance to go back to Hyde Park and walk through different parts that we hadn’t seen on our bike tour. We started at the Peter Pan Statue, which faced The Serpentine and was covered with animals. We did get to go back to The Serpentine and see The London Mastaba, a pyramid of oil barrels made by Christo. The final thing we got to see on our second trip to Hyde Park was Speakers’ Corner. This open space in the park was used years ago for hangings, however, now it is used for public protests, demonstrations and speeches.
Even after our two days of exploring the parks of London, there is still so much more to see. I loved getting to take the bikes around the city again because it is the quickest way to see as much as possible in one day.