Oxford to London by train: back to the big smoke - Southwest England in April - CycleBlaze

April 30, 2014

Oxford to London by train: back to the big smoke


After a final breakfast with Hoonie before she cycled to the weekly market, we loaded up our bikes and took off towards the train station along the canal route. We had to carry our bikes up and down a pedestrian bridge over the canal, but it was worth it to see this very different and quiet part of Oxford with its locks, houseboats and leafy greenery.

The pastoral canal on the way to the Oxford train station
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Near the lock where the River Thames joins the canal in Oxford
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The lock between the river and the canal with barely a meter of difference in level
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We arrived at the station in good time and waited on the platform close to where the bicycle car would stop. No problem loading the bikes and carrying our panniers to our reserved seats. The train ride was just under an hour mostly through green countryside, arriving at Paddington station in London just before noon. Then we had to brave the London traffic for the 4 kilometre ride to our hotel—the route that had been so easy and quiet a few weeks ago on a rainy Sunday morning.

Waiting at the train station in Oxford
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It was quite different today—a sunny weekday at lunchtime—with a tube strike to add to the congestion. It was London traffic at its worst--what seemed like thousands of vehicles, all with impatient drivers. Every block was crammed full with cars, practically bumper to bumper, plus several bottlenecks caused by roadwork. We had to get off and walk a few times, barely squeezing through the lunchtime pedestrian traffic on the sidewalks. Luckily the distance was short and we safely reached our old digs, the Ridgemount Hotel, where we were happy to park our bikes in the back garden. Then it was off to the British Museum cafe for a good lunch and a look at several of the galleries.

Back at the British Museum, looking down on the totem poles from western Canada
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Afterwards we ambled about the Bloomsbury neighbourhood in the warm sunshine and then back to our hotel for a rest before dinner at the nearby Pizza Express.

Today's ride: 8 km (5 miles)
Total: 697 km (433 miles)

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