Denmark Hill to Parliament by Peter Walker from the Guardian
Peter Walker is a political correspondent for the Guardian and author of Bike Nation: How Cycling Can Save the World. Here is his route to from South London to Westminster.
It isn’t the most beautiful ride I’ve ever taken, even if the view across the Thames to parliament can be lovely. It’s also not the most restful, despite my gradually-refined backstreet route. But I love it because it’s mine, and because it brings me pleasure more or less every working day.
Yes, this is my commute – from Denmark Hill in southeast London to parliament, about four or so miles of mainly quiet side roads, with a couple of more invigorating dashes amongst the heavy motor traffic, not least Lambeth bridge and its pair of feral roundabouts on either side of the river.
Why choose this? It’s because I’m a massive believer in the joy of everyday cycling, not least because it delivers me from my home to my office on a schedule I can more or less time to the minute, and usually with a smile on my face. This is travel on a human, accessible scale and speed, slow and open enough to smile at toddlers, nod to dogs, all the while feeling the gradual shift of the seasons against my face.
What of the ride itself? Refined over many months as a means of keeping me away from both speeding cars and their attendant fumes – which is why I miss out the new-ish separated cycle superhighway along the main road from Oval to Vauxhall – it is certainly mixed.
Highlights include the narrow and eccentric bike lane through King’s College hospital, the leafy streets near Myatt’s Fields, a spin round the back of the Oval cricket ground, and Lambeth Walk, a now-everyday residential street immortalised in Me and My Girl.
Elsewhere, some of the less pleasant bits are being tamed by bike infrastructure, which brings some comfort: if I do this commute for long enough, then maybe one day it’ll all be a pleasure – because everyday riding can be
If possible: Don’t miss the lovely Beaufoy Institute on Vauxhall Street, a very handsome Edwardian former technical institute for boys, now a Buddhist centre.