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Spire 06-03-02 03:12 PM

Is London bicycle friendly
I am also going to London, Endland on the same trip. I though I would seperate the threads for organizaitonal purposes. I am curious if London is generally friendly towards cyclists.

poululla 06-04-02 12:03 AM

I lived there five years, the centre of London, and I can say to you, NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!
Lastly, there is so much diesel smog, only the insane (bicycle messengers to name one) rides regulary in the centre of London

If you feel that you have to ride, try Hyde Park, but be ready to share with rollerbladers, walkers and horses.

Allister 06-04-02 02:13 AM

I lived in London for the best part of a year and found it to be pretty reasonable for cycling. Bear in mind though that the criteria that I use for determining the friendliness or otherwise of a place has less to do with the nature of the road (how wide, how many lanes, bike lanes/no bike lanes etc.) than it has to do with the courteousness of the other road users, primarily car drivers.

On average, I found drivers in London to be quite friendly and courteous, and I hardly ever felt deliberately threatened, nor were very many drivers overtly aggressive. Black cab drivers were an invaluable resource if I was ever unsure of my direction. This was 7 years ago though. I have no idea what it's like now, although I can't imagine it'd be significantly different.

Despite the greater population, greater population density and bizarre ancient road network, I actually think it's better for cycling there than it is here in Brisbane, simply because of the higher moron quotient we have here.

The pollution, as Poululla pointed out, is a problem. I recommend a breath mask if you're going to spend a lot of time in central London.

Hyde Park, on the other hand, was a bloody menace. It shared the same problems that any shared path has, only moreso due to the extraordinary number of people using it. The only cyclist fatalaty I heard of during my time there happened in Hyde Park - a collision with a rollerblader (the blader was pretty much unscathed IIRC).

Richmond Park makes for a nice place to do relatively unihibited laps in a beautiful landscape, and the Thames tow path down to Surrey makes for a nice easy day out, with plenty of pubs on the way. (this was actually part of my regular commute when I lived there. Sometimes I really miss that place - even the belligerent Canada geese).

MichaelW 06-04-02 03:09 AM

I commuted to work in central London from the NE for 2 years, and regularly cycle across between train stations.
I have no problem with riding there. The road network is quite complex, so you need to pick your routes with care. You can avoid most of the big roads, but even then, the speeds are not so high. The canal tow-paths make excellent commuting routes, as do the small networks of lanes such as Soho or the East End. Riding at night in London is a real joy. It seems to be much safer than walking or taking public transport late at night.

Some parts of London are harder to ride than others, but compared to other towns and cities in the UK, it is very manageable. You need to use your road sense, which many riders seem to lack.

I took my gf on a cycle tour of London one Sunday. She is not very confident on a bike, but had no problem along my routes with quiet Sunday traffic. I can recomend it to any tourist or visitor who really wants to see London.

Niall 06-04-02 07:56 AM

I lived in London for a year just recently. During this time I commuted by bike and usually used it as my main means of transport. Unless you're going very long distances it is far quicker than tube/bus and walking. You avoid jam packed tubes in the morning and the centre on Saturdays. It also means that at night you can cycle home rather than having to walk through dodgy areas to the nearest tube station. I even managed this without incident whilst drunk an undisclosed number of occasions, but that is something I would reccomend against doing. There are so many sets of traffic lights and general jams that the traffic doesn't often pick up too much speed. There are loads of bus lanes which cyclists are allowed to use. Drivers can be arsey and tell you to get off the road etc. etc. -just ignore them. My advice is to cycle very positively/firmly, make it obvious which lane you are in, where you are going, and to get there quickly. Nothing winds a motorist up like a indecisive cyclist. The first time you cycle a route might be awkward as you don't know when you're turning is, which lanes to be in when etc. but the second time will generally be much better. Use an strong or old set of wheels as pot-holes are abundant. Re: Hyde Park: Don't use any cycle lanes that double up as pavement - pedestrians just get in your way. Richmond Park is exceedingly nice.

I thoroughly enjoyed cycling around London as you get to see so many sights, buildings, monuments and views that you miss using the tube. You also get to know where everything is and have a much better sense of the geography of the place. It can also be quite exhilirating despite the smog - but perhaps that's because of the (slight) danger element.

Rich 06-05-02 02:09 AM

Hi there,

Yep, London's not too bad a place to cycle...I currently commute from Cannon Street to Angel which is about two miles, and *touches wood* I haven't had any problems so far.

I will add a note of warning out for Royal Mail vans, and keep an eye on London Taxi drivers, they're a lasw unto themselves!!!

Rich :D

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