London Lite Tuesday, 22 September 2009 13 DOWN RIVER, STOPPING OFF AT WATERSIDE PUBS Six of the best ONGUARD BEAST CHAIN PUT off using public transport by the threat of swine flu, increasing numbers of us are cycling to work. But as a result, central London has seen a 71 per cent increase in bike thefts in the past year. Dont become a victim -- invest in a decent lock. After all, its cheaper than replacing your bike. ANGUS WATSON 39.99, amazon.co.uk THIS huge chain and its lock weigh 5kg and wouldnt have looked out of place on a medieval battlefield. Its too heavy to carry around, but good for locking up valuables outside your house. 58.49, leisurelakesbikes.com A TOUGH, flexible, portable lock, rated Sold Secure Gold (will withstand thieves for at least five minutes), with the advantage over D locks that it fits around lampposts. 8.56, amazon.co.uk THIS 6ft-long, great-value loop will stop opportunistic thieves and secure helmets and saddles. A hardened bike-jacker would probably manage it, but this makes a great budget option. 29.99, evanscycles.com THIS gets a Sold Secure Silver Rating (withstands thieves for at least three minutes). So its fine for fairly crime-free areas and cheap bikes. Used with a decent loop lock, it should be safe. 119.99, evanscycles.com A HIGHER-QUALITY version of the Onguard Beast. Its also heavy, so only the theft- paranoid will want to carry it on their bikes, but its going to take a super-villain to nick anything attached to this. 134.99, cyclesense.co.uk CALLED the toughest D lock money can buy. If you have a pricey bike, this is a great option. A determined thief will have to steal whatever youve attached your bike to as well. ABUS GRANIT STEEL-0-FLEX LOX FLEX COMBINATION COIL KRYPTONITE KRYPTOLOK 2D KRYPTONITE NY FAHGETTABOUDIT ABUS GRANIT EXTREME 59 bikelocks Henley The Two Brewers Marlow The Dog & Badger Medmenham The Flower Pot Aston Hambleden Lock START FINISH Float your boat: Eifion, right, and Mark, Marlow- bound on the Thames; inset, a well-earned pint one of 45 locks on the non-tidal stretch of the Thames, west of Teddington. The gates swung shut behind us and, as we waited for the water level to drop we chatted with the lock-keeper. He reassured us the next pub was only half a mile away and we exited with a lot more energy than wed entered with. Markedly more friendly than your aver- age Londoner, the people we encountered on barges and boats coming the other way greeted us with smiles and hellos. They might just have been drunk, of course, so it seemed as good a time as any to get off the river. Conveniently, we came across a sign for The Flower Pot pub. Hauling our canoe up on to the bank we walked five minutes up a country road to the cosy and popular pub in the village of Aston for a couple of pints and a burger. Paddlepower BACK on the water, and with the odd ray of sunshine showing through the clouds, we had established such an efficient pad- dling rhythm that we zipped past a troop of kayaking scouts. A signpost on the left bank for The Dog & Badger in Medmenham heralded our next stop, then we were back on the river and admiring the real estate. The houses in South Oxfordshire are a sight to behold and the only way to behold them is from the river. We were having a whale of a time by now and, after a couple more locks, approached the grand suspension bridge at the entrance to Marlow. After a misguided sortie into The Compleat Angler (a posh hotel, not a pub at all) we found the slipway wed been told to aim for and hauled our canoe the short distance to The Two Brewers, where the company would pick it up the next day. The landlord rewarded us with a couple of Brakspears and, feeling rather proud of ourselves, we ordered a couple more. A canoe pub-crawl on the Thames? Now Ive heard everything! aimtotoldbeenwed distanceshortthecanoeourhauledandfor Nine miles of locks and lager index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html36.html37.html38.html39.html