I cycle in Toronto, Canada: which has wide straight roads, bike lanes, bike paths, no traffic on residential roads etc.
My brother lives near Brixton: he doesn't cycle himself, and says that it would be too dangerous ... that people do cycle, but are killed too often, squeezed against a railing by a lorry for example.
I asked him if he'd tried "Boris bikes" and he said that those don't exist in Brixton.
I have driven cars in London, but not cycled. I commute in Toronto so I'm used to "vehicular cycling".
I'd expect to use something like a $800 'hybrid' bike, with straight-out handlebars and touring tires and great brakes.
What should I know about cycling in London?
For example, answers to any of the following might be useful:
What's your strategy for getting from A to B: how do you navigate? Is there a list of suggested cycle routes? Is there a 'hidden London', e.g. cycle paths along canals or railways, which motorists or even pedestrians wouldn't know about?
How far can you go in a hour of cycling, starting e.g. from Brixton: what's the average km/hour in traffic?
Assuming you behave on a bicycle as if you were a small moped, i.e. if you "own" the lane you're in etc., is that safe enough?
Are there specific dangers (intersections, lane changes, traffic and others drivers, other obstacles) which a cyclist who is new to London ought to beware?
Is everywhere in London safe to cycle, or should you avoid certain areas of town or certain types of road?
What about not getting your bike stolen? Is a "New York" U-lock on the frame combined with pin-head locks on the wheels enough?