Don’t like cycling along Euston road? Here’s an alternative

Alternative to Euston road

The Euston road is busy, crowded, fast paced and now has an Olympic lane sprawled across it. Some “urban warrior” style cyclists love these conditions. Others, prefer the tranquillity of a back route.

The joys include less traffic, a more relaxed pace and far more pleasant surroundings. As well as the opportunity to discover new parts of London you may not have seen before.

Let’s say you wanted to cycle from near Marylebone all the way to Old Street. One option is to power your way along the Marylebone road (one of the most polluted roads in London), then down the Euston Road, past Kings Cross and then up the hill towards Angel and down the City Road.

Alternatively, slightly South from the Marylebone Road is Crawford Street and a network of designated roads for cyclists. Unfortunately, the cycle path is not segregated from traffic but the speeds are far lower. Also, there are far less vehicles.

The route takes in quiet back streets and goes past some really nice little parts of London, giving the city that more village like feel, that it is often romanticised as.

Here’s the route shown on the Cycle Streets website.

Alternative route

But which route is fastest?

The Cycle Streets website recons this is a 26 minute cycle covering nearly 4 miles. The busy Euston road may edge ahead slightly on speed. This is mainly as the quiet alternative has a lot of turnings and traffic lights. Plus, if you cycle like I do, then you ride like a mad man on a busy road, but when the pace around you is slowed down you feel more like enjoying your surroundings.

Are you interested in alternative routes through London like this one? If so, please let me know in the comments and I’ll endeavour to cover more.

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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

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28 Responses to Don’t like cycling along Euston road? Here’s an alternative

  1. methers 26/07/2012 at 5:39 pm #

    I think that finding sneaky backroutes is part of the joy of being a London cyclist, so please do post with some more.

    It may also be interesting to highlight some places where simple, direct routes for cyclists could be provided with only minor adaptations to the current road system (eg cycle contraflows).

    • Andreas 28/07/2012 at 7:58 am #

      Thanks Methers – I’ll aim to add this to the blog in the coming weeks and months – I’ve already got a good idea for one such post that I think you’ll like!

    • gail brewer 05/11/2016 at 11:01 am #

      hi my name is gail and am quite new to London cyclist any suggestions on any quietier routes would be pleased to about as I live in central london

  2. Megan 26/07/2012 at 6:00 pm #

    I’m always looking for routes from north london (around north finchley) down into euston purely for dealing with the hills on quieter areas if anyone has ideas for that. I go via hampstead heath which can be seriously hard work on the way back!

    • Andreas 28/07/2012 at 7:59 am #

      Thanks Megan – I’ve cycled that many times and can confirm it’s incredibly hard work up hill – such a pleasure down hill!

  3. Yvann 26/07/2012 at 6:32 pm #

    CycleStreets is fabulous for this. It did a great (although quite twisty and lots of traffic lights) back route from Tooting to Tower Bridge for me that didn’t involve the A3…

    Definitely interested in more little gems like this in central London.

    • Andreas 28/07/2012 at 7:59 am #

      Thanks Yvann – pleased there’s an interest for this kind of post – will aim to add more!

  4. Ilka 26/07/2012 at 6:34 pm #

    I sometimes need to bike from Hyde Park to North Lambeth. The most direct way would be to cross the Thamse on Bridge Street, but that leads directly to the crazy roundabout on the South side. So I’d love to know a quite, safe way from Hyde Park Corner to Lambeth Bridge (to my final destination King Edward Walk).

    • Michiel 26/07/2012 at 9:47 pm #

      I suggest, get a large map of London and plot your routes. I’ve just looked at google maps and can see a number of routes via back streets to Lambeth Bridge. Constitution Hill, right at the palace towards Birdcage walk, first left into buckingham gate, keep on following to Lambeth bridge.
      Or into buckingham gate second right than left into Palace Street, follow south to the river and turn onto Millbank or one earlier if you don’t like millbank then right on Lambeth Bridget

  5. Michiel 26/07/2012 at 9:38 pm #

    On any road, take a right and a left or a left and a right and your on another road. Simples.

  6. Helen 27/07/2012 at 12:37 am #

    Any tips on how to avoid Kingsway goings southbound from Euston to Elephant? I’ve got the Covent Garden northbound route sussed, but heading southbound you seem to end up in a million one way streets.

    Also if anyone has any handy tips for navigating the Charlotte Street area from the north end of TCR to Oxford Circus without having to get off and walk through a one way system, I’d be rather grateful too. There must be a better way than my route!

    • Alan Moore 27/07/2012 at 10:45 am #

      Euston to Elephant – get on Gower Street/Bloomsbury Street, straight across at the Oasis into Endell Street and down through Covent Garden to Waterloo Bridge, just like you do Northbound.

      From TCR to Oxford Circus IS tricky, but if you can contrive to start a bit further south (are you coming from Covent Garden?), Shaftesbury Avenue and up Wardour Street to Oxford Street works quite well.

  7. Cameron 27/07/2012 at 8:57 am #

    I love finding quiet direct routes – they do exist. I am always surprised by the number of people that cycle down the busy end of Upper Street near Angel – when Colebrooke Row is parallel – quiet and has its own set of cycle lights at the end to cross City Road/Goswell Road. Surely nicer than weaving around the buses and the two lane squeeze at Angel.

    The best place to start is

    • Teddy 27/07/2012 at 12:24 pm #

      Thanks for this tip. Upper St constitutes the first/final section to most of my evening rides, I’ll look out for this.

  8. Hilary 27/07/2012 at 9:16 am #

    I once cycled down the Euston Road. Never again. I have cycled through the back routes ever since. Some are better than others. I use an app on my phone called BikeHub, which although not perfect, can be used as a GPS navigation system. Although they do sometimes expect you to cross some really nasty roads – so it’s worth checking to see if you can find an alternative route yourself!

  9. peninsula 27/07/2012 at 9:43 am #

    Yes! What we need is a GPS for cyclists that guides you to the safest route

    • Andreas 28/07/2012 at 8:01 am #

      CycleStreets is a great site for this peninsula and BikeHub is a great app that is like a TomTom for cyclists.

  10. Coallers 27/07/2012 at 10:48 am #

    TfL dithers over minor changes to roads in London in order to make them safer for cyclists and yet they have closed miles of routes for non-residents in BMWs to cross town. Once the Olympics are over paint all the ‘zil’ lanes as cycle lanes. Massive increase in capacity for safer cycling.

  11. sowerbob 27/07/2012 at 10:50 am #

    If anyone could help me find a route to the bottom of harrow road from holborn that is direct but avoids going on that nasty and very quick main road under the westway I would be truly grateful! I have tried so many side roads in the past only to find one ways etc adding and adding to my already long commute.


    • Jonathan 28/07/2012 at 5:43 pm #

      Hey Sowerbob, agree 100% about the underpass under the Westway – I work near there and avoid it at all costs, cars treat it like Le Mans. Depends which way you approach the area, but you have to get around the railway lines from Paddington station. Try Bishops Bridge Road and then turn right onto Westbourne Terrace, which also runs under the Westway (but avoid the race track bit) and then joins the start of Harrow Road, or carry on Bishops Bridge Road until Porchester Road and turn right there, which takes you past Royal Oak tube and joins up with the start of Harrow Road. Avoid Eastbourne Terrace by the way – mega road works which look like they will be there forever.

      • sowerbob 30/07/2012 at 1:43 pm #

        Hi Jonathan

        i will certainly try this, thanks


  12. Kathryn 27/07/2012 at 11:38 am #

    this is brilliant! I cycle practically the length of euston road from where it joins harrow road, to kings x. I would love an alternative but too many turns and I forget and get lost!

  13. emma 27/07/2012 at 11:56 am #

    this is my route! the link from the British Library though UCL, TCR and behind euston road to Baker Street is perfect for Marylebone, Notting Hill, Oxford Circus, Selfridges, Regents Park.. I don’t understand why more people don’t use it.

    Cyclestreets is a godsend – and available on android – I tend to work out a new route at home, use some basic landmarks rather than follow it religiously and then if I really have to check when on the move I tend to try and remember three or four turns at a time. Once you’ve done once or twice that’s another route learned.

  14. colette 27/07/2012 at 12:35 pm #

    This isn’t exactly a secret route– this is the busiest section of my commute from Clerkenwell to South Ken! Tavistock St bike lanes were so busy with this week that it was taking 2 or 3 light cycles to get across some of the roads…

  15. Will B 27/07/2012 at 3:51 pm #

    My first ever experience cycling in London was coming off the Eurostar with my Brompton at St Pancras and then along the Euston Road towards Regent’s Park. Nightmare! I should have done some homework first. Next time I’ll know better thanks to tips like these.

    • Andreas 28/07/2012 at 8:02 am #

      Thanks Will – really pleased this will be of use to you! Those nice routes do exist through London – they just require a little searching. Maybe there should be a sign on Euston road (Cyclists follow this nice quiet alternative!). Even better if it was from the station!

  16. Dave 27/07/2012 at 8:44 pm #

    I am not bothered about the traffic in Euston Road. The only thing that bothers me are the pedestrians wandering around the road as I have had a number of close encounters with them.

    If the police can fine cyclists for RLJ’s why not fine peds for Jay walking? We can’t use the pavement so why are they allowed to step off the pavement into our paths putting us in danger?

  17. Andrew 28/07/2012 at 8:50 pm #

    You forgot to mention the route goes past Radio 1 (on the corner of Clipstone St). I cycled this stretch for 2 years, and never once got to see anyone more interesting than the paparazzi camped outside.

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