This easy-going route starts in the fashionable London Fields and ends in East London’s largest green space, Victoria Park, taking in the winding Regent’s Canal – and the bustling Broadway Market on Saturdays.
The Hackney cycle route starts at the north-west entrance to London Fields where we pass the Lido, which is London’s only Olympic-sized heated outdoor swimming pool – and extremely popular when the weather is good on the weekend.
Then we go across a field to reach the north-east entrance of the park, and rejoin the asphalt path that takes us to the children’s adventure playground.
We briefly leave the park, cycling past the Pub on the Park before rejoining path where you can see the bins that are decorated as cows. Further along and we see the stone statues that depict a market man and woman bearing baskets and wearing round-topped hats, covered in mosaics.
Carrying on along the main path through the park, we arrive at the top of Broadway Market. Dismount and cross the pedestrian crossing. On a Saturday you will see the market, teeming with delicious scents from its many food stalls as people flow out of the cafés. There you will find a great selection of nibbles including organic meat, fruit and vegetables, bread, cakes, cheese and an array of hand food from foreign climes.
Continuing down Broadway we arrive at Regent’s Canal. Before joining the canal towpath you might want to pop over the bridge to Lock 7, a cycle café that has its own workshop where you can go for a hot drink, spare part or to grease your chain. Outside the café is a double-hand operated pump, free of use, in case you are a getting a bit flat.
Back at Regent’s canal you will need to carry your bike down the short flight of stairs to the towpath. It is important to be careful when cycling along the canal and watch out for people on foot, as pedestrians have priority.
As we travel down the canal we are treated to a glorious view of Haggerston gasworks, where two giant cylindrical gasometers, constructed of open lattice-work frames, rise majestically into the skyline. A relic from industrial times, their tanks rise with a concertina effect as they fill with gas, giving the appearance of a rusty drum – but these two East End twins are usually quite empty.
We continue along the canal until we reach Victoria Park, which is the capital’s oldest park. You can cycle across towards Crown Gate West. Then you will need to cross the road to get to the other side of the park through Royal Gate East. On this side of the vast park you will find parks, a skate park and a water play feature, which has a system of fountain jets and mini locks for kids to play with. It is still under construction at the moment but should be ready soon.
Also under construction is a Chinese Pagoda, part of a £12m programme of major improvements and renovations to the park that aims to restore the park to its former glory for the occasion of the Olympic and Paralympic games. This is the biggest investment in the park since its creation in the 1840s.