Which route do you choose on your commute?

canal-route-to-workEach day I head into London and have a choice between 3 great routes. I can either go direct and take the busy A-road. I can go through some quiet residential streets and around Regent’s Park or I can head down the hill and through Camden.

When I first started living here I mixed things up and chose between the different rides. However, as it became clear the fastest route was the first one down the A-road I’ve been using it almost exclusively.

It would be the same thing if I was commuting to Canary Wharf. From where I live you could actually do 70% of the ride traffic-free. You’d simply hop on the canal at the nearest opportunity and follow it all the way down to the Limehouse Basin.

The question is: What do you prefer? The most direct and often busiest route or the quietest route? Or do you balance the two?

I’m going to hazard a guess here and say most people opt for the most direct route that tends to be the fastest.

Your answers on a postcard please… (i.e. in the comments below)

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69 Responses to Which route do you choose on your commute?

  1. ClaireF 16/10/2010 at 12:38 pm #

    I cycle Archway -Canary Wharf every day and started off on the scenic route but hated the canal thing: I found other cyclists (necessarily) pinging their bells all the time in warning pretty stressful. So now its down Holloway Rd to Dalston Then I have a rural(ish) moment crossing through London Fields and Vic. Park before grinding it out down Burdett Rd to Poplar! I like the fast roads.

  2. Tony 16/10/2010 at 12:47 pm #

    Euston to Chiswick (gunnersbury) – stay off main roads until Shepards bush roundabout (not nice ) then Goldhawk road/chiswick high road , takes 30-35 mins

    Return to Euston is always via back toads using the blue signposted routes.

    Would like to make it longer /maybe along the river but no time to get lost at the moment.

  3. Ruth 16/10/2010 at 10:10 pm #

    The most direct route, and the one I can go fastest on. I like my commute to be my daily work out, 30 mins each way is about right without impacting too much on the rest of the day.

    My route is pretty much perfect – it has hills, straights and stops to vary heart rate. Shame I can’t guarantee the weather.

  4. Mouseboks 17/10/2010 at 6:14 pm #

    Quiet route every time. The fast run of Holloway/Cally/Kings Cross/Euston Road is unremittingly dull and unpleasant.

  5. JohnBoyUK 17/10/2010 at 9:08 pm #

    Welling (SE London) to QMUL at Mile End for me.

    Can either go over Shooters Hill to Blackheath and down to the foot tunnel at Greenwich or ride down through Plumstead to Woolwich, through Charlton and along to Greenwich that way.

    In the summer and when on my MTB, I sometimes do an extra 20 miles or so coming home, taking in the Thames footpath at Woolwich Arsenal, following it all the way down to Erith Town Centre and then back home through Bexleyheath.

    To be fair, traffic normally isnt too bad if you leave before 7am, can be showered, changed and sitting in my office at 8am. Coming home, traffic can be bad whatever way I come home. Leaving at 4pm its just about bearable, any later than that, the heavier it gets. Have recently been coming home through Lewisham, Lee Green, Kidbrooke and Falconwood to avoid Shooters Hill with heavy traffic.

  6. Caroline 18/10/2010 at 1:17 pm #

    I am forced to go down the Euston Road from Kings Cross to Marylebone. It’s pretty gnarly. I’ve tried several other routes but they all involve weaving around back routes endless traffic lights. So I brave the juggernauts and fumes but it’s not pleasant.

    In case it’s useful, here is a bit of cycle commuter wisdom inspired by this revolting new route…

    • Tim 25/10/2010 at 4:48 pm #

      Quickest route I think – Stoke Newington to Kings Cross for a few months and now trying a more direct route through Highbury. I think the Barclays Cycle hire routes are unnecessarily weavy.

      Considering extending it and heading to Marylebone but don’t enjoy the Euston Road experience!

  7. Russ 18/10/2010 at 2:40 pm #

    I used to go from Victoria Park to City Rd. via the direct route (down Hackney road), but now I add about 1/2 a mile and 10 minutes to my journey to follow the canal instead. Bliss 😀

  8. Roy 18/10/2010 at 5:32 pm #

    I do Dagenham to Leadernhall street, and i use the road down to the A13 then its cycle path CS3 to canning town then into the bus lane (which is most direct for me) with all the beasties and fight my way through the coaches, buses m/cycles, taxis,abulances ( taking Mr or Mrs to or from their Hospital visit) and the cars that just chance it.

    Where I can when on the cycle path I will use the road to avoid side roads & entrances like Garages & I often use the road instead of going accross the crossings at lights if its gonna be quicker.


  9. Laura Blight 21/05/2014 at 5:00 pm #


    I’ve recently moved from West London back to Limehouse ( near Canary Wharf ). At the moment my office is still in Putney so I’ve been getting the tube across London as I haven’t figured out the best cycle routes yet. I realise this is quite a trek to cycle to/from each day so I’m considering perhaps cycling 1/2 the route and then locking by bike up somewhere securely and maybe just doing this a few days a week.
    Does anyone have any ideal route suggestions and ideal tube/rail stations for secure bike locking along the way? I would prefer to use cycle highways but I am comfortable cycling busier roads for part of the journey.

    Any tips would be great!

    Many thanks,

    • Richard 21/05/2014 at 5:40 pm #

      Hi Laura, lots of options especially if you factor in Boris bikes. I cycle the other way and would obviously recommend that – less than an hour even if you are taking it steady. If you want to stage it you could Boris to Waterloo or one of the District Line stations – say Tower Hill or Monument and then train or tube to Putney. Or you could tube to Waterloo and bike from there. Or you could River Boat the whole way form Canary Wharf. Or, or, or….loads of options. Have fun.

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