Regent's Canal offers a handy cycle route right across the city, without the need for maps. You can start off in Hackney's lush Victoria Park with a hearty breakfast from the Pavillian Cafe to give you fuel for the journey. The towpath takes you from there past Broadway Market into trendy Islington where you can stop for a pint at the Narrowboat pub that backs onto the canal.
You have to come off the canal briefly in Angel, which seems like a hectic urban hell hole after the calm of the waterways. You don't have to miss it for long though and can rejoin the tranquil path via the entry on Rodnney street for the route through the rapidly developing Kings Cross area. Nearby on Wharfdale Road is a canal museum for anyone who wants to learn about the history of this 19thC trading route into the capital.
When you get to Camden, be warned, you might find yourself suddenly stuck in the middle of hoardes of European teenage goths, looking for a new set of nipple rings. Keep going though, and you will see an even more exotic collection of wildlife, as the canal goes right through the middle of London Zoo! Look out for the giraffes!
You can tell you're getting into proper West London as the houses lining the canal grow to grotesque proportions of both size and opulence. These are the homes of Saudi princes, Hollywood filmstars and the English Aristocracy. Serious money.
The route finishes up in Little Venice. Admittedly nothing like the original, but it is quite pretty and there's a good pub on the canal to toast your arrival in called the Canal Cafe that also has a theatre and some great comedy nights. A great watery day out.