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First Time London Communter - Advice?

Discussion in 'Commuting' started by Bug, 1 Jul 2008.

  1. Bug

    Bug New Member

    Location:
    Fareham
    When I was working near home in Hampshire, I used to cycle the 10-mile each way commute every day. However, since starting work in London I haven't cycled at all (apart from the IOW Randonee).

    So, I've found out that I live far enough away (90 minutes) that SWT will let me take a bike on their trains in rush hour and I reckon that by swapping my tube journey for the bike, I can get rid of some of this excess lard.

    However, never having been overground in London, I am trying to find the best way from Waterloo to Canary Wharf. I can obviously look at Google Maps, but it's not obvious from that which roads I should be avoiding because of congestion, traffic lights, homocidal bus drivers, etc.

    My plan is the following route:

    Waterloo Rd > The Cut > Union Street > Southward Bridge Rd > Upper Thames St > Lower Thames St > E Smithfield > The Hwy > Narrow Street (just before Limehouse Link) > Along the shared path to Westferry Rd.

    Does this sound sensible, or does anyone have any better/quieter/quicker/safer suggestions?
     
  2. Twenty Inch

    Twenty Inch New Member

    Location:
    Behind a desk
    Depends how confident a cyclist you are. I'd have no issues with that route, my wife would cycle it once and cry for a week.

    Get up one weekend and give it a go - you can then imagine it full of traffic and decide whether you want to use it or find something else. I used to cycle along South Bank to Tower Bridge and then Narrow Street when I was going west-east, but that's probably no longer possible with ped numbers.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    Bug

    Bug New Member

    Location:
    Fareham
    I like to think that I'm a fairly confident cyclist - my old commute took me through national speed limit country roads, dual carriageways, joining the offslip of a motorway (where it became an A-road) and inner-city gridlocked traffic. From the stories I've heard, though, London sounds like a different ball game. I'm going to do it for the first time tomorrow. In at the deep end, sink or swim, that's my motto! ;-)
     
  4. Up to Tower Hill that sounds OK, there after is unknown to me. Best thing is to just give it a go but you'll probably find your as fast if not faster most of the way.

    Out of cycling in London or on fast A Roads, I'd feel safer on London roads
     
  5. OP
    OP
    Bug

    Bug New Member

    Location:
    Fareham
    Well, I did it! I can't believe how flat that route is - I was cruising along at an easy 20mph. Not too many traffic lights either. The traffic at 8am wasn't particularly heavy - nothing worse than I've dealt with back home. I think you Londoners have been pulling the wool over our eyes - there's nothing scary about London... :biggrin:
     
  6. jely

    jely New Member

    Location:
    London
    i rode out that way the other night after work (just cause it was a beautiful evening and felt like riding around) ... past shadwell, towards westferry, along the bike path... did you find the bike path really bumpy?? Yeah, London's easy to ride around... I sometimes get up early and just ride around the city before work.
     
  7. Crock of Gold

    Crock of Gold Guest

    Location:
    London
    I've always maintained that cycling in "central" London is far safer then cycling in Greater London. You need your wits around you but it is nowhere as scary as non-cyclists think.

    "oooooh, you're brave, cycling in London," they say.
     
  8. Origamist

    Origamist Guru

    Location:
    Sandbach
  9. OP
    OP
    Bug

    Bug New Member

    Location:
    Fareham
    I think my greatest danger will be tonight when I have to ask people to get out of the seats in the bicycle area of the train at Waterloo. I can see the lack of co-operation already, though SWT have told me that cycles have priority in that area. It's not a problem on the way up as the train is practically empty when I join.
     
  10. Crock of Gold

    Crock of Gold Guest

    Location:
    London
    Origamist

    Thanks for your link.

    I'm no Statistician, though.

    However, my assertion was based soley on personal experience so not scientific.

    Having said, I find that the cars in Greater London can zoom about faster on side streets and other residential roads. In Central London I can, more often then not, go faster then the traffic itself and be more in control of the road.

    The survey goes up to 1992.

    It would be interesting to look at a similar study since the cycling boom in Central London over the last 2/3 years.
     
  11. Origamist

    Origamist Guru

    Location:
    Sandbach
    Only just released - it's the first time I have seen the 2007 TFL figures:

    http://www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/casualties-in-Greater-London-during-2007.pdf

    Less fatalities but more serious accidents for cyclists in London compared to 2006.
     
  12. bryce

    bryce Senior Member

    Location:
    London, SW10
    I used to do most of that route daily (from Southwark Bridge Road onwards to Canary Wharf). SBR is excellent for bikes, very quiet. The only hairy moments came on the Highway, cars pass very close by and you also have to cross both eastbound lanes to turn right onto Narrow Lane before the tunnel (I waited in the middle of the road behind the ped crossing lights near Butcher Row). There is also a shared ped/ bike bridge that does the job but usually quicker to wait for traffic to stop coming the other way and go direct onto the pavement then onto Narrow St. Coming back the other way is fine unless there's traffic on the Highway (usually is 5.30-7.30pm) - and then you have to weave between both lanes, or just be very patient.

    Can't say I miss that commute but good luck. Cable St or Commercial Road are another options if you tire of the Highway (although I found Cable St too stop/ start and Commercial Road was full of nutter drivers).
     
  13. I'd concur with your route, but avoid the Highway, and pick up the Cable Street cycle route from Tower Bridge, at that point the Cycle route is called Royal Mint Street.

    It is far from perfect, but is a good contraflow, very direct unlike most cycle routes, just take care on it, you'll be in lots of other company.
     
  14. OP
    OP
    Bug

    Bug New Member

    Location:
    Fareham
    Thanks, Gary... I did notice a lot of other cyclists peeling off around Tower Bridge way - perhaps they were taking this option. I'll give it a go on my way back tonight.
     
  15. kushtrim

    kushtrim New Member

    Location:
    London
    After reading the 2007 tfl report i think i worked something out.
    From my quick calculations with the assumption that there are 7 million pedestrians in London and 0.5 million cyclists and there being 109 pedestrian deaths to 15 cycling deaths. I work out that you are about twice as likely to have a fatal accident on a bike then when walking about town, which is not bad!