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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

See a Sportier Side of London


3. What to Do

Lee Valley White Water Center will host Olympic competitions this summer before reopening to the public.  

Ride the most expertly maintained mountain bike trails near London at Swinley Forest, once part of the royal grounds at Windsor. Originally proposed to be the London Games mountain bike venue, Swinley’s twenty miles of trails feature the expert area’s fast, twisty single track as well as the new Stickler section, made by locals, which is loaded with berms to corner into. To get there, take a taxi to the Look Out Discovery Centre car park and follow signs to rent a bike from Wellington Trek Bike Hire (standard front suspension bike is $22 for two hours), which also provides helmets and the required permit to ride in the forest.

Take on Class IV rapids a couple dozen miles north of the city when the Lee Valley White Water Center reopens to the public on September 8. Inaugurated last year, it will be the first Olympic competition venue that visitors can utilize after the Games end. The whitewater rafting adventure ($77 for two hours) includes guides, team training, and a wetsuit. Expect to get soaked between the waves and the mandatory flip test.

Run along the Greenway, a flat, popular jogging route in East London with elevated views of Olympic Park that’s notable for being the city’s only pedestrian-only cross-borough route. Follow the easy-to-find blue signs past the Wick Lane start (near Pudding Mill Lane Station) over the River Lea and then four straight miles southeast to Beckton Alps overlook and Royal Docks Road. If you prefer a bit of sightseeing with your run, City Jogging Tours offers a variety of runs ($41) of different lengths in locations around the city.

Published on May 25, 2012 as a web exclusive.

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