London Cyclists: Which roads do you avoid like the plague?


Stuck behind a huge bus blocking the full lane I leaned over to the left to see if there was any way past it. No way, jose. I leaned to the right to see if there was room to manoeuvre to the right. Not unless I could suddenly decrease my mass to that of a piece of paper. I huffed at my error. I was cycling down Oxford Street.

After spending 5 minutes stuck between two huge buses I made a promise to myself: Never cycle down Oxford Street again.

Not only is it one of the busiest streets in London it is also one of the narrowest with pedestrians and buses coming at you from all directions. It’s the last place in the world I would describe as friendly for cycling. (apart from the Bolivian death road).

What roads do you hate with a passion and avoid cycling down?

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Image via Dennoir Flickr

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71 Responses to London Cyclists: Which roads do you avoid like the plague?

  1. Tricia C 26/01/2011 at 1:48 pm #

    I second the Kingsway road south. Elephant and Castle is currently getting a makeover – one roundabout gone – haven’t properly seen how it flows yet, but it can’t be worse than it used to be.

    Waterloo Bridge is a grind now the cars parked on either side mean door danger.

    … but the WORST road I’ve cycled on so far in London has to be along Bishopgate up to Liverpool st: massive potholes, a lame attempt at a cycle lane with massive gutters, intense traffic, hoards of pedestrians chancing a crossing, loads of side roads and a confusing set of traffic lights that makes it look like you’re getting a green light when you’re not.
    I literally get tension headaches!

    But, on the other hand, one of my favourite stretches is All the way frm Stoke Newington to Russel Sq. Nicely done for the majority of the way.

    p.s. I thought old kent road now had a considerate cycling scheme so you can go on the sidewalk?

  2. Peridot 28/01/2011 at 11:54 am #

    Upper/Lower Thames Street – should be easy because there’s a cycle lane. But the cycle lane is full of over-revving, aggressive motorbikes

    • Jamie Long 04/02/2011 at 12:16 pm #

      Upper/Lower Thames Street is an absolute mess now. I am a motorbike rider an avid cyclist, but the addition of the cycle lane has narrowed the road which makes it dangerous for motorbike riders. This means there is really no alternative but to use the lane to avoid getting sandwiched in between lorries.

      When I am cycling I use the Cannon Street / Queen Victoria Street route and then join Victoria Embankment after Blackfriars. Much safer…

  3. Chris Hendrie 29/01/2011 at 12:55 am #

    Oxford Street is a right pain, the pedestrians make it most so. Even when it was closed to all motorised traffic during the last student protest, pedestrians needed constant screaming at to save them from themselves.

    Weirdly, one of my favourite roads to cycle is Marylebone Road/Euston Road. I often join it at Edgware Road and run its entire length to City Road and up in to Islington. I seem seldom to come across any buses in the bus lane, the wind’s often behind me and I always cover ground faster than pretty much anything else due to always being able to filter when the traffic’s backed up at red lights. Magic.

  4. Pete 10/02/2011 at 4:35 pm #

    Hide Park Corner down to Victoria. It’s way to bad for me so I go through up to Piccadilly from Mayfair, cycle through Green Park (I know I shouldn’t) and then round the front of the Palace.
    It’s just way safer. Haven’t been stopped yet in Green Park for being on the bike. Don’t tell anybody.

  5. John 14/02/2011 at 3:37 am #

    Oxford Street is a challenge, but that’s half the fun! Although it’s the potholes that keep seeming to find my tyres and puncture them which get me down.

    I used to hate Euston Rd / Marylebone road, but it can be very fast, particularly on Sundays.

    Favourite road?

    starting at Marble Arch entrance to Hyde Park and caning it through the park on the lovely smooth road down to Royal Albert Hall where I work…smooth…no buses…relatively quiet…ups…downs…broad corners…sprints…brilliant! – hugely recommend for a quick 5 minute blast! 🙂


  6. James 01/03/2011 at 7:55 pm #

    so true about the fleet of “ghost” rubble lorries haunting us….

    Elephant can be avoided, usually.

  7. rob 14/03/2011 at 12:51 pm #

    marylebone road is the pits, 3 lanes usually chocka with traffic, lots of traffic lights and junctions where cars move across you, poor surface and it STINKS of engine fumes! I used to take edgware road/park lane until I discovered the bike lane through Hyde Park which is really nice.

    I’m also not a fan of Bayswater Road

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