Is C6 a safe cycle route for a beginner?

Is C6 a safe cycle route for a beginner to commute to university?

  • Yes it's fine

    Votes: 2 100.0%
  • No, don't bother

    Votes: 0 0.0%

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New Member
I am a london university student going into my 3rd and final year. For some strange reason I've caught the feeling that I should cycle there this year. I am going to be living in the Tufnell Park area and commuting to Holborn. It would save me a lot of money and I think I'd really enjoy it.

One thing guiding this possibility for me is that I researched and found one of London's cycle routes, specifically C6 is very near. I would have to cycle a short distance at the start from Tufnell Park to Kentish Town but then I would be on the C6 route all the way there. Additionally, with lockdown easing etc they have announced the closure of several central london roads to cars, so this seems like strong incentive. It would also only take little over 20 minutes.

The issue is I'm not sure how great and safe this cycle route is, especially for beginners. I have a feeling C6 it has been updated since google maps took pictures, but when I follow the map it still has many points which seem quite daunting and despite what the continuous green line shows, it does not seem entirely continuous. I am therefore wondering if anybody with experience of the route or able to have a glance at it can advise me. (Screenshots of C6 provided by Tfl attached below) Specifically has it been updated? Have covid developments made my route easier?

Will even having to cycle from Tufnell Park to Kentish Town itself without a cycle lane be too daunting and prohibitive? I do recall hearing that around this area was what was/is known as 'death mile' for cyclists/road accidents and more broadly it is hard not to be taken in by all the cycling horror stories around central london.

So - Is C6 a safe cycle route for me as a beginner for a daily 20 minute each way commute?



Legendary Member
Should be. Just ride defensively, moderate speed, obey the traffic signals.
You could also look for quiet ways even if they mean going a bit further.

try a few routes out early on a Sunday when the roads are quiet (but don’t be complacent)

Naturally make sure you have good locks. London and especially around universities are bike theft hotspots!
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Enormous member
Milton Keynes
Ultimately, only you can decide what level of risk you feel comfortable with. It might feel ok to one person, but like cycling on a motorway to someone else. A test ride before you have to do it 'for real' is the only way to tell. Make sure you do it on the same day of the week and time of day as you would have to normally but without the time pressure of arriving at a certain time. You could also try the cycle streets app. This works out fast, moderate and quiet routes for cyclists IIRC.

Ian H

I am an ancient randonneur, & I stop often for tea
East Devon
If you drive, then that knowledge is transferable to cycling. You might find one of the cycle-training schemes useful in any case.


I've used C6 a fair bit recently - when I have had to commute into work (only one day every other week at the moment thankfully) I've chosen to hire a bike outside my mainline station rather than take the tube as I usually would. I join it at the Tavistock Place / Judd Street junction (going east & south from there) and that section is actually quite good and has been much improved over the past year, so the Google Street View might be out of date. I can't comment on the route you've picked to get to there from Tuffnell Park as I'm coming from a different direction.

Basically the part from Tavistock Place to Warner Street is just white paint but the road isn't busy at all (sometimes I see only 2-3 cars on that whole stretch), then it becomes a protected cycle lane - at first by plastic wands, later by proper curbs - as you approach Farringdon station and stays like that all the way down to Elephant and Castle (not sure how far south you're going on it). There are a couple of annoying sets of traffic lights where if you hit one red light, you're pretty much guaranteed to get red at all of them, but sometimes you get lucky.
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Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
Which bits are you worried about? Then someone can tell you if it's been updated since streetview. I think I've ridden all of the latest version and remember few bits likely to trouble anyone except crossing Theobald's Road (I think - the one west of Old Street) and even that's not too bad, but it's decades since I began so I might be overlooking something.

In general, keep looking around, keep signalling, don't go faster than you can cope and you should be fine.


Personally if I wanted to go south from Tufnell Park I would go along Tufnell Park Road then work my way through the back streets of Holloway and either go down the Cally and Gray's Inn Road, or if my destination was further East, I might go through Barnsbury, down Penton St, then Amwell St.
You need your wits about you in urban traffic, and being on a designated cycle route doesn't mean you can switch off and not pay attention. In fact given the reckless behaviour of a lot of idiots riding bikes in London, in some respects I would rather ride with motor vehicles than other cyclists. I've personally witnessed more crashes in inner London involving cyclists, that were caused by other cyclists, than I have seen crashes caused by errant motor vehicles.


Legendary Member
A lot of cyclist deaths in London seem to be caused by people sneaking up the left hand side of large vehicles, so don't do that. Be aware of such vehicles overtaking you if there is a potential left turn coming up, and brake if necessary so the vehicle is never alongside you at these points.


A lot of cyclist deaths in London seem to be caused by people sneaking up the left hand side of large vehicles, so don't do that. Be aware of such vehicles overtaking you if there is a potential left turn coming up, and brake if necessary so the vehicle is never alongside you at these points.
The idiots also try to filter between trucks in traffic queues even where there's only a small gap. If both trucks move off at the same time, one of them has only got to wander a couple of inches nearer it's opposite number in some cases, for the cyclist to become the meat in an HGV sandwich. The other really dumb thing I see riders doing is hanging around too close to the rear corners of trucks, forgetting the back end will swing out if the driver turns the steering wheel, and any part of the bodywork could easily catch a rider's bike or their clothing, and drag them along with the truck. I'm actually surprised how few cyclists get killed considering the level of impatience and total lack of common sense a lot of riders display when in the proximity of large vehicles in dense urban traffic.
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