Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 15 of 15
  1. #1
    Senior Member etofhb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Fullerton, CA USA
    My Bikes
    2011 Cannondale Synapse Carbon 3 Ultegra
    Posts
    53
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Anyone ride in London UK?

    My company is sending me to work at the University of London Medical Center for a month. I was wondering if anyone has experience riding road bikes in this area. I don't want to spend a bunch of money getting my bike there to find out it's not safe to ride.

  2. #2
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Uncertain
    Posts
    7,078
    Mentioned
    11 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I commuted in London for many years, mostly on a road bike. And there are more and more cyclists on the roads in London these days, with some recent improvements in infrastructure for cyclists.

    As to whether it is safe or not, I'd say yes, certainly. But I am used to riding in big cities with lots of traffic, and you may not be. I've ridden in Canada and the States, so I can make some comparisons that might be helpful. Drivers in London are no more aggressive than in NYC or Philadelphia, and in my experience are less likely to drive in a distracted manner. They are pretty decisive, though, and it can be important to get into the lane you want with plenty of time to spare. London streets can be more tricky to negotiate than those in most North American cities, because there is no grid pattern - they wind around much more, there is a greater variety of intersections, and some of those can be pretty interesting. Hyde Park Corner, Trafalgar Square, places like that can be intimidating to a cyclist who isn't used to them, especially one who isn't accustomed to riding on the left.

    Incidentally, I'm not familiar with the University of London Medical Centre. Most of the big London University Colleges have their own medical schools, which one is it attached to?
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  3. #3
    Senior Member etofhb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Fullerton, CA USA
    My Bikes
    2011 Cannondale Synapse Carbon 3 Ultegra
    Posts
    53
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks for the information, I think I will take my bike with me or ship it.

    I will be working at St George's, University of London Medical Center. I think that's in the south east area of London.

  4. #4
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Uncertain
    Posts
    7,078
    Mentioned
    11 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by etofhb View Post
    Thanks for the information, I think I will take my bike with me or ship it.

    I will be working at St George's, University of London Medical Center. I think that's in the south east area of London.

    Yeah, the St Georges medical school is part of the University but separate from the bigger colleges such as Imperial, King's, UCL etc. It's in Tooting, which is in South West, rather than South East London.

    Certainly take your bike. If you're living near the medical school you wouldn't have to ride too far to get out of town to the south west. Richmond park is only about three miles west of there, and there's always a bunch of roadies doing circuits there on a Sunday. Gritty Northerners like me suspect them of being posers, but actually some of them are pretty fast. And once you get out into Surrey there are lots of nice rides. I don't know what style of riding you go in for but here are some suggestions if you occasionally want to take your time and get out of the worst of the traffic.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Rona's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Groningen, Netherlands
    My Bikes
    Pre-Grant Peterson Bridgestone Mixte, Gazelle Champion Mondial Semirace Mixte
    Posts
    289
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Do some reading on the London Fixed Gear Forums (just do a google). There are lots of riders over there and a thriving bike culture.

    It will take a few days to get used to the change in signs though. I live in the Netherlands and the first week confused the mess out of me even after living in Germany for two years and driving a car there. I'm so used to American signs.
    http://ronajustine.blogspot.com
    American Expat living in the Netherlands
    Artist, Educator and Cyclist

  6. #6
    Senior Member etofhb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Fullerton, CA USA
    My Bikes
    2011 Cannondale Synapse Carbon 3 Ultegra
    Posts
    53
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54;13162623
    Certainly take your bike. If you're living near the medical school you wouldn't have to ride too far to get out of town to the south west. Richmond park is only about three miles west of there, and there's always a bunch of roadies doing circuits there on a Sunday. Gritty Northerners like me suspect them of being posers, but actually some of them are pretty fast. And once you get out into Surrey there are lots of nice rides. I don't know what style of riding you go in for but [URL="http://www.sustrans.org.uk/sustrans-near-you/south-east/surrey"
    here are some suggestions[/URL] if you occasionally want to take your time and get out of the worst of the traffic.
    This is some awesome information! Thanks so much.

  7. #7
    Senior Member etofhb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Fullerton, CA USA
    My Bikes
    2011 Cannondale Synapse Carbon 3 Ultegra
    Posts
    53
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Rona View Post
    Do some reading on the London Fixed Gear Forums (just do a google). There are lots of riders over there and a thriving bike culture.

    It will take a few days to get used to the change in signs though. I live in the Netherlands and the first week confused the mess out of me even after living in Germany for two years and driving a car there. I'm so used to American signs.
    "THE SIGNS ARE DIFFERENT???? and I was worrying about figuring out the Pound vs Dollar! Thanks for the heads up and I'll Google that forum.

  8. #8
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Uncertain
    Posts
    7,078
    Mentioned
    11 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Here's a site that will show you all the UK road signs. The first list is the triangular warning signs, but if you use the links at the top of the page you can click through to signs giving directions, orders, and other information.

    When I've ridden in North America the differences in signs haven't bothered me much. You don't have many roundabouts, though, and they are everywhere here. Very useful, keep the traffic flowing at intersections, but you'll need to familiarise yourself with how they work. There are some in the states these days, including a few in California, so you may be able to practice before you leave. Here's an American site explaining how they work.

    And finally, here is some information about road cycling in Richmond Park which I forgot to include in my last post.
    Last edited by chasm54; 09-02-11 at 01:27 AM.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Northwestrider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Gig Harbor, WA
    My Bikes
    Surly Long Haul Trucker, Gary Fisher Hoo Koo E Koo, Dahon Mu P 24 , Bacchetta Strada, Rodriguez Tandem
    Posts
    2,122
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I've ridden in the London area just once and will admit to being initially intimidated by the traffic and roads. Fortunately I met a club rider that invited me along on one of their ( Uxbridge Loiterers ) rides and had a fantastic time on my folder, and met some very nice people. So I'd say, bring your bike along, you'll likely regret it if you don't. BTW bring fenders along if you are able to fit them. It sounds like you have a great opportunity, take advantage of it..

  10. #10
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    England
    My Bikes
    2009 Specialized Rockhopper Comp Disc, 2009 Specialized Tricross Sport
    Posts
    3,990
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by etofhb View Post
    Thanks for the information, I think I will take my bike with me or ship it.

    I will be working at St George's, University of London Medical Center. I think that's in the south east area of London.
    St George's is in Tooting, in South West London. It's safe enough to cycle around but not a place I'd particularly choose to cycle for pleasure because of the amount of traffic and number of junctions, traffic lights, pedestrian crossings etc.

    As has already been said Richmond Park is pretty close and that's a nice place to cycle (I'll quite often take a diversion so I can route through Richmond Park). You've also got the towpath along the Thames (parts of it would want a hybrid or mountain bike rather than road bike, parts of it are compressed gravel).

    I hope you already know that we drive on the left in the UK. That's the kind of thing that's pretty obvious on a busy road but less so somewhere like Richmond Park where, at the right times of day, there's very little traffic.

    Depending on where you're staying check you'll have somewhere reasonably secure to keep the bike. If it's a particularly good one you might want to consider buying something cheap while you're here. I don't think London is necessarily any worse than any comparable major city with regard to bike theft but you wouldn't want to ship a hugely expensive bike over here and find some or all of it got stolen.

    When are you in London?

  11. #11
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    England
    My Bikes
    2009 Specialized Rockhopper Comp Disc, 2009 Specialized Tricross Sport
    Posts
    3,990
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    One other note, on the subject of roundabouts.

    As I said we drive on the left, and the idea of a roundabout is to keep traffic moving as far as possible (where you guys might have a 4-way stop sign we'd have a roundabout). As you approach the roundabout you yield to traffic on the right, whether they are coming around the roundabout or entering the roundabout from a road to your right. Go around the roundabout in a clockwise direction and leave at the exit you want.

    Some roundabouts are little more than white circles painted on the road - you're supposed to go around them like any other roundabout but a lot of people (cars and cyclists) just go over the top of them. Here's a picture (from Wikipedia) showing how traffic negotiates a roundabout:


  12. #12
    Senior Member etofhb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Fullerton, CA USA
    My Bikes
    2011 Cannondale Synapse Carbon 3 Ultegra
    Posts
    53
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    Here's a site that will show you all the UK road signs. The first list is the triangular warning signs, but if you use the links at the top of the page you can click through to signs giving directions, orders, and other information.
    Thanks for the great info, I'm glad I read that page before I got there or I'd be really confused!

    I actually go around 3 traffic circles regularly, it will be nice to see how you use them. Here's everyone just look panicked!

    I can't wait to ride Richmond Park!!!

    Thanks for posting this for me. Cheers!
    (Cheers? That's a good thing, right? I hope I didn't just call you a bad name or something!!!)

  13. #13
    Senior Member etofhb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Fullerton, CA USA
    My Bikes
    2011 Cannondale Synapse Carbon 3 Ultegra
    Posts
    53
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by contango View Post
    One other note, on the subject of roundabouts....]
    After looking at this I think I'm more freaked out about driving on the left side of the road than the roundabouts!

    I will be arriving on Wednesday morning but I will be working in South Hampton the remainder of the week. I will be back in London on the 10th and will be leaving on the 30th.

    Let's go for a ride!

  14. #14
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Uncertain
    Posts
    7,078
    Mentioned
    11 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by etofhb View Post
    After looking at this I think I'm more freaked out about driving on the left side of the road than the roundabouts!

    I will be arriving on Wednesday morning but I will be working in South Hampton the remainder of the week. I will be back in London on the 10th and will be leaving on the 30th.

    Let's go for a ride!
    That'll be Southampton, I imagine. LOL. If you have your bike with you while you are there, and half a day to spare, ride out to The New Forest national Park. It is picture-postcard traditional England, thatched cottages, wild ponies, country pubs. A nice contrast with California - and with London, for that matter.

    And "cheers" is a good thing, yes. You'll be passing for a local in no time. If you happen to be a smoker, it's safe to ask for a ***, too...

    EDIT. LOL. *** is spelled F A G. Two nations divided by a common language...
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  15. #15
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    England
    My Bikes
    2009 Specialized Rockhopper Comp Disc, 2009 Specialized Tricross Sport
    Posts
    3,990
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by etofhb View Post
    After looking at this I think I'm more freaked out about driving on the left side of the road than the roundabouts!

    I will be arriving on Wednesday morning but I will be working in South Hampton the remainder of the week. I will be back in London on the 10th and will be leaving on the 30th.

    Let's go for a ride!
    South Hampton = Southampton. I second the comment about riding in the New Forest, it's beautiful there. If your bike is a full road bike (i.e. it won't do off road, even compressed gravel) then you'll miss out on the trails across the New Forest. But the Forest is a beautiful area, just be aware you may get wild animals in the road (horses, cows, pigs, donkeys) without any warning. I once got stuck behind some Morris dancers in the road but that's unusual, and was in a very small village. Remember to take a camera! If your bike will cope with compressed gravel then explore some of the trails too (they are signposted to show where you're allowed to cycle) - that way you'll get off the roads and get the chance to just explore the forest proper.

    I've never tried cycling on the "wrong" side of the road but can say that driving in the US didn't cause me any problems at all. Sometimes if I approach a particularly complex intersection I have to pause to figure out just where I'm meant to be going and driving around roundabouts the wrong way feels wrong but aside from that it's not really an issue.

    There are a few groups around the area that arrange rides - it's been a while since I looked for them since most of them are about fast road-riding and until recently I only had a mountain bike. Unfortunately your time in London coincides with me being out of town so I won't be able to join you.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •