London bike commuters, how far do you ride and how is your commute?
Usually about 23 miles – Bookham, just outside the M25, to the City. A24 then CS7.
Only tend to do it once or twice a week, get the train once or twice and work in a more local office when I can.
It’s fine, too many traffic lights, dead straight so a pain when it’s windy – no hiding. The other cyclists and the pedestrians are more of a problem than the traffic frankly.Posted 4 years agomossimusMember
Currently ride in from Chigwell to Canary Wharf, about 11 miles e/w. If leaving after 7:30Am or coming home after 5pm pretty much continous traffic but you get used to it. Takess about 20 minutes longer to do the same journey by car during rush hour.
Have commuted from Crystal Palace and Bromnley in the past. Crystal Palace about 6 miles, bugger of a hill to finish the ride home though. Bromley about 12 miles.Posted 4 years agoCaptainFlashheartMember
Westminster to the Square Mile at the moment.
Vary my route, North of the river along the Etape du Embankment some days, south behind County Hall on others. Occasionally go along by the IWM and then up the Col du Blackfriars or Mont Southwark Bridge.
I look forward to riding in and out every single time I do it.Posted 4 years agoRickyRahMember
I’m a bit shocked by all the positive remarks. I commute 20 miles a day between Zones 2 and 5 and frankly, I hate it. I do it purely to save myself £125 a month. I don’t think of it as any sort of training. It keeps your legs ticking over when your not doing any other riding but it tires your legs out a lot with little training benefit IMO.
Having previously commuted into Zone 1 I struggle to understand why anyone would:
look forward to riding in and out every single time I do it.aPMember
I was doing 20 miles each way from near Richmond to North Greenwich. It had over 150 sets of traffic lights which could be quite painful. Coming back in the evening as I normally don’t finish until 7:30 I ended up trying to work out what was each areas favourite food based on smell. I have to say its a draw between fried chicken and curry.Posted 4 years ago
Now my commute is 5 miles into Chiswick with 2 days in Vauxhall and maybe a day split between Victoria and the other two.
Driving standards in west London are noticeably more aggressive than in south east London IMO.ddmonkeySubscriber
I used to ride 10 miles each way from Kew Gardens to Spitalfields Market each day, was ace way better than being stuck on the tube. Occasionally got a bit hairy when in the City as it was so busy with pedestrians and traffic but otherwise I managed to do a fair bit on the thames path and in parks so I really enjoyed it.Posted 4 years ago
I’ve done a fair assortment of routes at various times in the past. I used to do Wandsworth to Chiswick daily on the South Circular, but then again I was usually late in and out so it wasn’t so bad. Plus bombing along past stationary cars isn’t all that hectic 🙂
I find that there are a few different kinds of road in London
1) Busy arterial roads like say, Edgeware Road or the A13 through Limehouse. Some are mental, some are ok because there’s bus lanes or a cycle superhighway. Find an alternative.
2) Busy shopping roads like say Chiswick High St. These can be ok off-peak but a bit busy at peak times. Not much worse than your average town high st though
3) Relatively quiet long roads that take you way into West London, like Grosvenor Road that goes to Chelsea. These are great, popular with cyclists.
4) Quiet back streets, lots of these in West London. Lots of one-way systems but generally good cycling and often very pretty.
5) Very quiet back alleys like you find in Southwark. Dodging the parked up delivery trucks is easy, pedestrians less so but a bell is handy. Also good cycling and you see some great little pubs and shops.
6) Major intersections like Parliament Square or Hyde Park Corner. These can be quite mental, and are best avoided if possible, but it often isn’t possible. The surrounding roads aren’t necessarily busy – Birdcage Walk for instance comes off Parliament Square and is very easy cycling.
7) Busy West London streets, like Picadilly or Regents Street. A bit hectic, and slow because of all the lights, but not death defying as traffic speeds are low. Avoid if possible simply for reasons of transit time.
Overall, I like cycling in London but I make sure I avoid types 1, 2 and 7. I find I rarely need them, with a bit of research. Certain type 6s are hard to avoid though – just save a bit of pace and be assertive and you’ll be okay.
The good thing is that there are LOADS of cyclists these days, far more than any other city I’ve been in, and 50% of the other drivers are taxis so whilst they might be arseholes they are used to cyclists buzzing all around them. I’ve never been so much as looked at dispariginly by a driver in London never mind road raged. They are a) used to it and b) Londoners so never say anything to anyone 🙂Posted 4 years agokimbersSubscriber
11 miles each way Brentford to Bloomsbury five days, as said traffics a pita but better than the tube generally I love it even in the rain it’s OK
Legs are tired by the weekend so tend to tube it on Friday if I’ve got a ride on
I’m on my hardtail with slicks so get to ride a lot of steps drops and stuff 🙂Posted 4 years agobrooessMember
I ride in from Sydenham/Forest Hill border a few times a week.
Crystal Palace hill is steep but do-able but you can get round most of it by sticking on the South Circular to East Dulwich.
Route through Dulwich Village and Herne Hill velodrome for a quieter ride, and then through Brixton north. Bus lane all the way up the A23 from Brixton makes for good riding out of the main flow of traffic.Posted 4 years agoGotamaMember
Drive to edge of Richmond park and then ride from there into Chiswick so a smidge under 6 miles i think. Do it four days a week as i take my shirts in on monday. Half tempted to stretch it out a bit further but it will start taking me longer to ride than it does to drive.Posted 4 years agomcbooMember
Crouch End N8 to St Pauls, about 5.5 miles. Agreed best part of the day, find the best route (not necessarily the shortest) and it becomes a relaxing pleasure. Just dont treat it as a race, assume everyone else is blind.
I think London is getting much easier to cycle in every year. Infrastructure is improving (thanks Boris/Ken), there are more and more of us on two wheels (sometimes cyclists ARE the traffic) and I think a lot of drivers are getting used to us being on the roads. Cabbies and bus drivers certainly are, buses especially used to pull out on me all the time, much less of that now. Still a long way to go but definately going in the right direction.Posted 4 years agotorihadaMember
Sunny Catford to W1. 9 miles each way on a rigid HT with slicks. I feel much better for cycling in, even with daily near-death experiences.
The London Cycle Commuting manifesto:
No drafting, unless the person you’re drafting is a jumper (rides the red lights) then they’re open season.
By all means race fellow commuters, but never acknowledge the fact with each other and try to hide the fact you’re blowing like a steam kettle. Don’t make conversation with fellow riders at the lights, that’s like talking to strangers on the tube: you’ll get sectioned.
Only insult a driver who’s cut you up, when he’s stuck in stationary traffic and you can make a safe getaway (trouble is he/she may take revenge on a subsequent rider).
Use a bell for the benefit of pedestrians who blindly step off pavements. They wont appreciate your warning; expect well dressed business types to tell you to **** off.
Don’t p*ss off Black Taxi-cab drivers; they will hunt you down and drive over you on Waterloo Bridge, after barraging you with a long monologue of cockney insults.
Don’t get p*ssed off with the hipster fixie couriers, they’re on a measly wage risking their necks; just enjoy the spectacle of said rider trying to suddenly stop, unclipping and sliding down the top tube until the headset acts as a buffer around their testicles (I didn’t laugh, it looked wayyyyy too painful).
Ahh cycling in London; the congestion, the pollution, the road rage, the looming HGV death. Still less stressful than commuting via the train/bus/tube.Posted 4 years agoti_pin_manMember
used to ride 15 miles from hampton court to southwick. used to love it most days, it was always interesting, full of life and near misses of death. Loads of almost daily incidents with car drivers and stupid lorrys and a fair few cyclists too but gave me pretty good fitness and let me eat whatever I wanted.
Now ride about 5 miles to kingston instead and then home the long way out to walton bridge and back. Makes a 20 mile day but this faded recently with more work from home.Posted 4 years agoBuzzardMember
Used to commute in from Weybridge to the city at least 3x per week (24miles each way by my route). Enjoyed it and it did serve as training to some degree but echo the comments that it knackers your legs so any attempt at decent training on the weekends can be railroaded. I now live too far out to have the option and I seriously miss it. tried cycling home in the summer (plan was to try do it once or twice a week) from the city to new house but at 75miles one way its a little much after a hard day at the office.Posted 4 years agowillMember
molgrips – Member
I don’t get near misses.. am I just lucky? I am probably going to get wiped out on Monday after posting that, so.. it was nice knowing you all, and if my Kona Dew isn’t too mangled it goes to the first STWer on the scene.
Think people often over exaggerate just how dangerous commuting. In 2.5 years i’ve had one incident and the number of near misses I can count on one hand.Posted 4 years agogeetee1972Member
When I do my commute, it’s 22 miles each way, but I don’t do it every day.
I also tend to avoid doing it in the winter/bad weather because it does feel distinctly more dangerous.
I took a cab ride from Holborn to Waterloo the other evening at 5.30pm and I couldn’t believe the sheer volume of traffic and cyclists all trying to use the same space.
It occurred to me then that given how busy it was, the only way it made sense to still ride in central London, was to ride in a way that didn’t make sense.
I mean that you have to filter aggressively, push your way through blind spots between stationary buses and cars overtaking them and all at speed relative to the stationary traffic. Generally you just end up riding in a way that is very likely to get you knocked off. The alternative is to ride with the flow of traffic, of which there is none at which point it takes you just as long to commute as a car. Which makes no sense.Posted 4 years ago
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