Photograph: Garry Knight via Flickr (Creative Commons 2.0)

While the roads of central London are not always the most welcoming place for cyclists, the capital’s outer reaches contain a multitude of quiet and scenic trails to ride along without fear of a bus charging up behind you.

Sustrans, the UK’s walking and cycling charity, has maps and info on all the UK’s best cycle routes, so we asked the experts there for four recommendations in the capital. All of them can be completed by cyclists of any level and are easily extended if you’d like a longer ride. Click the titles for all the details on the Sustrans website.

1. Waterlink Way

Distance: 7 miles (11.2km)

Starting from Cator Park in Bromley, this ride heads up through south London until it hits the Thames close to Greenwich Park and the Cutty Sark. The route involves a mix of traffic-free paths and roads and can be easily extended by riding along the Thames or doubled by turning your bike round and heading back south to Bromley.

2. Wandle Trail

Distance: 12 miles (19.3km)

This splendid ride runs south along mostly traffic-free trails from the mouth of the River Wandle in Wandsworth to Carshalton in Croydon, visiting more than ten parks along the way. The ride finishes close to Carshalton station, if you’d rather not ride home afterwards.

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3. Tamsin Trail

Distance: 7.5 miles (12.1km)

Richmond Park has a well-deserved reputation as a haven for cyclists but it’s not only Lycra-clad speedsters who can enjoy the park’s quiet roads and trails. The Tamsin Trail is an almost entirely traffic-free circuit of the park that connects all its main entrances, so you can jump on at any point.

4. Hampton Court To Putney

Distance: 12 miles (19.3km)

Starting from Hampton Court Palace, this ride runs alongside the Thames until Teddington Lock. From there it runs through Richmond Park and passes the London Wetland Centre before rejoining the Thames for a final stretch along to Putney Bridge.

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Sustrans, the body responsible for the National Cycle Network, is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. For more information and route inspiration visit sustrans.org.uk