We did the Grand Union Canal bike ride today from Watford to Central London (Paddington Arm). Having lived here for quite a number of years, one does tend to takes things for granted - and in this case seeing the city from a different point of view. So we decided to take good advantage of the moderate weather (we cancelled our planned Wimbledon day out) and head out to London today, via the long way round.
Starting at Cassiobury Park, Watford near the M25, we cycled through a number of locations including Rickmansworth by the River Gade (part of the Colne Valley walk), Uxbridge, the Nestle factory (which served the air with a distinctive coffee flavour), Southall, Alperton before crossing over the North Circular then passing Ladbroke Grove before ending at Paddington Basin (where we stopped for a while before heading towards Baker Street to start our way home on the Tube). Sights includes Kensal Green cemetery and Little Venice (nothing fanciful about this tourist destination to be honest, apart from a collection of boats moored together and a bunch of 'buses' aimed at ripping people off). In between we visited a café and a pub for drinks and some food.
It was an interesting day out that gave us an opportunity to experience London in a fairly different way that most simply wouldn't care to including seeing the gradual change from rural to industrial and finally to urban. The ride was fairly easy though at certain sections we were riding just inches from the water edge and we had to be careful not to get wet. Most of the towpaths were gravelled though once we reached Alperton, the majority were paved. The total distance was 51km/32 miles (not including the one extra mile to Baker Street) according to the GPS tracklog.
Maps: Ordnance Survey Explorer 173 & Explorer 172 or Landranger 176