Grab your cycling helmet and take the Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel’s Belgravia bicycles for a test drive around
If cycling in London wasn’t such a deeply terrifying prospect, I’d spend my life on two wheels, winding around the parks and commons. I’d smugly explore the places cars can’t and revel in the freedom of going wherever I wanted with my two-wheeled steed.
Thankfully, there’s one place in London that meets my demands. It’s a small community nestled between sky scrapers with a quaint village feel to it – Belgravia is a cyclist’s safe haven in a chaotic capital. The Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel is making sure its visitors make the most of the area with its new Belgravia & Beyond by Bicycle self-guided tour. Having teamed up with Kingston Bicycles and Tally Ho! Cycling Tours, it’s created four bespoke bikes along with a guided map.
Based on the classic Belgravia bicycle model, the bikes have been redesigned in patriotic red, white and blue and decorated with British icons; think red telephone boxes and the Union Jack. Guests at the hotel can take the bikes for a spin when they wish and although a personalised guided tour is available, I opt to go it alone.
With my belongings sat safely in my wicker basket and my helmet firmly on my head, I’m ready. The tour starts and ends at the hotel and takes you to points of interest along the route, as well as giving you interesting facts and insider tips along the way. Did you know the former President of Columbia, Alfonso López Pumarejo used to live at No. 33 Wilton Crescent – no? Me neither.
The tour starts and ends at the hotel and takes you to points of interest along the route, as well as giving you interesting facts and insider tips along the way
I head off into the heart of Belgravia and with one eye on the cars around me, I glance up at the houses majestically lining the edge of Belgrave Square. Seeing it from afar, and not behind tinted windows of a car, I can appreciate its unparalleled beauty. From Wilton Terrace to Grosvenor Crescent, the tour takes you to the best of Belgravia and then beyond.
Misreading the map when it suggests I dismount and walk to Hyde Park, I end up on one of the busiest roundabouts in London. There are beeps and horns, I hear brakes screech and in all the panic I momentarily forget how to pedal. Narrowly avoiding the path of an oncoming bus, I roll into Hyde Park looking a little rattled.
Take my advice and stick to the map; Jumeirah knows what it’s doing. Cycling through the trees and weaving in and out of pedestrians, the sun is warm on my skin and a band is playing Jackie Wilson’s (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher as I drift along – I feel utterly contented and fortunate to live in London. Swinging round the Serpentine Lake, I discover one of the ‘hidden gems’ – the Serpentine Lido, next to an ideal lunch spot.
If that’s not for you, you can always stop off at Motcomb Street for some nibbles at The Fine Cheese Co., or if you’re craving something sweeter, Rococo Chocolates is a tempting sight opposite.
Satisfied from lunch and feeling a bit more daring after taking on that bus, I decide to go off-piste and discover more of what’s around me – what a way to see the city.