Best route through London South to North

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The utility cyclist
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Re: Best route through London South to North

Postby The utility cyclist » 29 Sep 2020, 4:59pm

toontra wrote:
The utility cyclist wrote:Kentish town road/Highgate Rd/Highgate W.Hill/B159(North Hill)/Gt.North Road/High Road which is the A1000 (over North circular) through Finchley and carry on along it (High Rd/still A1000) all the way to Chipping Barnet. As you go through the high street keep St.John the Baptists church on your left and keep on the A1081 SP. M25/A1/Potters Bar.


Hundreds of cyclists every weekend can't be wrong! :lol:

That's my route directly north, my other being Lea Valley Road to Epping if going NE to Essex (also very popular).

I've only done it a few times into/out of London, I managed to park up outside of Barnet on the A1081 and rather than get the tube into work (when I was London based) I biked it, this was in the 90s though. Latterly have done similar when picking up bike parts and a ride to Camden plus also going to the St.Mary/St George bike jumble, avoided going by car all the way - parked just South of Hatfield as 35 miles is enough for me if buying bike bits, it also meant I couldn't really buy bigger bits I really didn't need :lol:

Norman H
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Re: Best route through London South to North

Postby Norman H » 29 Sep 2020, 5:14pm

Do you plan to ride from Brighton and across London in a single day?

One of the problems of using Sustrans routes through London and its suburbs is that they can be be somewhat convoluted and difficult to follow. Unless you know the way they can be quite time consuming.

There's much to be said for following a direct route and you could do a lot worse than the A5 Edgware Road from Hyde Park all the way to Radlett.

xjs
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Re: Best route through London South to North

Postby xjs » 29 Sep 2020, 5:45pm

I find the main arteries into and out of London are fine - you can cycle quite happily in wide bus lanes.

It's nice from Westerham up past Shirley / Crystal Palace / Dulwich / Kennington / Westminster if you wanted to go a bit east of Brighton-to-London. And if you don't mind a bit of a detour once north of the river, take the canal west from Paddington, past Perivale.

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Re: Best route through London South to North

Postby The utility cyclist » 29 Sep 2020, 7:42pm

Norman H wrote:Do you plan to ride from Brighton and across London in a single day?

One of the problems of using Sustrans routes through London and its suburbs is that they can be be somewhat convoluted and difficult to follow. Unless you know the way they can be quite time consuming.

There's much to be said for following a direct route and you could do a lot worse than the A5 Edgware Road from Hyde Park all the way to Radlett.

Have you actually cycled this within the London boundary during any remotely busy period? Maybe early on a Sunday it's okay, any other time it's pretty ghastly within the London boundary and outside it's a fairly narrow road with a lot of HGVs all travelling at indecent speeds to get further up to the motorways without actually having to go back South to the start of the M1 at the A406 intersection.
Yup, it's in a mostly straight line until Elstree, but Cricklewood used to be one of my patches and I'd say the A5 was even less preferred than the A1 from Archway onwards from a cycling POV.

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Re: Best route through London South to North

Postby drossall » 29 Sep 2020, 7:53pm

Norman H wrote:One of the problems of using Sustrans routes through London and its suburbs is that they can be be somewhat convoluted...

That's true, although a GPX from a route planning site can fix it.

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Re: Best route through London South to North

Postby mjr » 29 Sep 2020, 11:35pm

xjs wrote:I find the main arteries into and out of London are fine - you can cycle quite happily in wide bus lanes.

How can you? They're full of buses who often follow too close and taxis who often are abusive. Neither makes me happy.
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Re: Best route through London South to North

Postby drossall » 30 Sep 2020, 8:15am

I think for the purposes of this question we have to accept the wide variation in cyclists' views on this, and let the OP choose accordingly. I agree with Utility Cyclist about the A1/old A1 route north to Potters Bar, which is quite rideable and the best option in our direction, although I've tried others.

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Re: Best route through London South to North

Postby bohrsatom » 30 Sep 2020, 12:53pm

All depends on your personal tastes and how comfortable you are riding on busy roads. I've plotted a route from S to N following off road tracks on the outskirts and the cycle superhighways in the centre: https://cycle.travel/map/journey/185069.

It takes in some nice London scenery including Battersea Park, Westminster, the Tower of London and the Olympic Park. The route through central is on segregated cycle tracks from Battersea Park right up to the Olympic Park. After that you go through the Borough of Waltham Forest which is renowned for its high quality cycle infrastructure, then onto the towpath next to the River Lee Navigation up to the M25. From there you can turn left and head for St Albans.

I've ridden most of this route except for the bit north of Tottenham and would heartily recommend it. Not the shortest, but good for sightseeing!

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Re: Best route through London South to North

Postby rareposter » 30 Sep 2020, 1:43pm

Chuck a start / finish point into Strava's route planner right across London. It uses "most popular" so it'll automatically find the good commuting routes. Starting at Westerham and ending sort of half way between M1 and A1 junctions, it routes you round Biggin Hill, West Wickham, Crystal Palace, through Dulwich up round Oval (CS route there), turns right and follows CS up through Westminster (for your landmarks) then up through Regent's Park, Camden, East and North Finchley, High Barnet.

You can finesse it a bit but London is one place where Strava generally works very well indeed.

Alternative, for the middle of town is to use the Santander Cycles route planner on the app. Furthest south docking station is sort of Brixton / Camberwell way, furthest north is sort of Chalk Farm / northern end of Regent's Park way so just pop those two points in as start / finish and the app gives you options of quickest / balanced / scenic. Scenic will often put you onto various towpaths at times so check it before you take your own bike along it!

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Re: Best route through London South to North

Postby mjr » 30 Sep 2020, 2:50pm

bohrsatom wrote:I've ridden most of this route except for the bit north of Tottenham and would heartily recommend it. Not the shortest, but good for sightseeing!

Tottenham to Enfield Island on the Lea Valley is congested (it's about the only continuously-signed route that way out of London) and badly-surfaced (including stretches of boulder-hiding gravel and that horrible canal lock step brick paving which is great for horses to grip the ramp but very nasty for cyclists). I'd really recommend heading west past Meridian Water and using Cycleway 1 on the A1010 through Edmonton to Durant's Park before returning to the Lea at Enfield Island - but cycle.travel is oddly resistant to this (maybe because C1 is new enough that it's using traffic data from before?) and seems to prefer the narrow 1950s cycleway by the A1055.

Other than that, I think that looks a good sightseeing route. I'd suggest staying on CS3 to see the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, then using Mansell Street to reach CS2 Whitehapel High Street: you're allowed to cycle on the righthand pavement of the first bit of Mansell Street, then there's a bus lane on the left side until you turn right onto CS2 at the next crossroads.

What would you suggest for heading back west to St Albans? Newgate Street, Bell Bar, Colney Heath?

rareposter wrote:Chuck a start / finish point into Strava's route planner right across London. It uses "most popular" so it'll automatically find the good commuting routes.

Pull the other one! It will prefer routes used by the core Strava audience of the brave and the bold who enjoy racing the buses to set their PBs and top leaderboards: "This! Is! Strava!"
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Re: Best route through London South to North

Postby rareposter » 30 Sep 2020, 5:46pm

mjr wrote:Pull the other one! It will prefer routes used by the core Strava audience of the brave and the bold who enjoy racing the buses to set their PBs and top leaderboards: "This! Is! Strava!"


Actually the CS routes and Quietways show up very strongly on their heatmap.
You'd be surprised at the number of commuters using things like Fitbits and smart watches (rather than top end Garmins etc) to record their activity. Most people are not using Strava to chase KOMs, not any more. That game died a long time ago, they're out of reach of the vast vast majority of cyclists, especially in a city like London where, thanks to the segregated lanes and the bike hire scheme, most people are not the lycra-speed demons. And also, in the city itself, most of the major routes have KOMs taken during pro races like Tour of Britain and RideLondon Classic.

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Re: Best route through London South to North

Postby mjr » 30 Sep 2020, 6:14pm

rareposter wrote:
mjr wrote:Pull the other one! It will prefer routes used by the core Strava audience of the brave and the bold who enjoy racing the buses to set their PBs and top leaderboards: "This! Is! Strava!"


Actually the CS routes and Quietways show up very strongly on their heatmap.

Not in North London: the A1/A1000 is the only white-hot route out north. Green Lanes come second, but the no-cycleway southern section is hotter than the northern C20 part. Then third place is between the A5 Edgware Road and the Lee Valley. CS1/C1 is there among the next level of heat, but I think you'd need to know its route to spot it.

Anyway, if you have Strava, stick Tower Bridge and St Albans in and tell us roughly which way it sends you. If it's not basically A1/A1000 then I'll say I was wrong about what it would do.

You'd be surprised at the number of commuters using things like Fitbits and smart watches (rather than top end Garmins etc) to record their activity.

I don't think I would, but I suspect I'm also realistic about the sort of people who use fitness devices and connect them to Strava.

Most people are not using Strava to chase KOMs, not any more. That game died a long time ago,

I'm pretty sure it's still played.
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Re: Best route through London South to North

Postby roberts8 » 30 Sep 2020, 7:05pm

Looks a good selection of routes. Having commuted for years. My only suggestion is do an early start and it could be quite an interesting ride.

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Re: Best route through London South to North

Postby humankeith » 13 Oct 2020, 5:19pm

Thank you all for your useful suggestions. I was planning on crossing London after Brighton - London. I've now decided to ride as far as St Pancreas and take a rain to St Albans from there, which would cut out quite a bit of city riding.

I'm not adverse to riding in the city, but I'll have had enough of it by then! This will give me time to explore St Albans a bit and take a slower dinner before the final short day up to Northampton to my In Laws.

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Re: Best route through London South to North

Postby The utility cyclist » 13 Oct 2020, 6:22pm

humankeith wrote:Thank you all for your useful suggestions. I was planning on crossing London after Brighton - London. I've now decided to ride as far as St Pancreas and take a rain to St Albans from there, which would cut out quite a bit of city riding.

I'm not adverse to riding in the city, but I'll have had enough of it by then! This will give me time to explore St Albans a bit and take a slower dinner before the final short day up to Northampton to my In Laws.

Alternatively you could get a train from KX if more convenient than SP, get off at Hatfield and just cycle the few miles to St.Albans.
Also Metropolitan tube line goes to Watford, and it's about 9 miles from there to centre of SA.
Have a great trip