We mentioned this in our route planning guide and here it is – the first of our posts on our favourite cut-throughs: East London.
I love a good cut through – that feeling that you are getting away from the traffic while at the same time saving a few minutes on a commute home or journey to see a friend is great.
A true cut-through is a small piece of genuinely useful cycling infrastructure that cuts time off your ride by making the route more direct. It is usually something that cars are restricted from but allows bikes to pass through. Think small gaps over pavement between two roads, alleyways, lights with a bike phase etc. I have not included longer park routes or the canals and marshes as these are more likely to be a large part of a route, rather than a small convenience.
Obviously the thing with cut-throughs is you have to know an area well to find them, so these are based on personal experience rather than covering the whole of East London – please add any you might have found to the end to help others who live outside of my field of exploring!
Haggerston Park/Columbia Road
A series of cut-throughs around here make it a real possibility to use London Fields and Broadway Market as part of a route into the City from the East, which is nice because these are lovely route highlights.
There is a convenient short cycle path at the end of Haggerston Park where it meets Hackney Road. At the end of this there is a set of traffic lights with a cycle phase which either allow you to easily join the fairly heavy traffic on Hackney Road going West, or you can cross the road to another series of cut-throughs if you want to avoid the main junctions and head a bit further South before going West.
There are loads of cut-throughs around Stratford and it doesn’t seem right not mention a couple of my personal favourites.
Through the Olympic park there are sections of roads you can cycle on that are restricted to cars. There is a very useful one that links High Road Leyton directly into Stratford and the Olympic park. This road is closed to cars but open to buses. Even though traffic on it is limited, there is still enough cycling infrastructure to make cyclists of any level feel comfortable, including a protected lane and a shared use path to avoid the road narrowing.
There are also several junctions that have small bike lanes over the curbs at traffic lights that allow cyclists to turn left on a red light. The junctions are generally quiet and the path is wide so it works well and it means that you can legitimately use the regular roads as cut throughs to save time.
Eastway is a great cut-though with some protected cycle lane at the Leyton end, but with a bit of road at the Hackney end that is closed to cars going East bound, making it nice and quiet and a good route both ways for cyclists. All of these cut-throughs together make a route, but individually they are useful in their own rights.
Pritchard Street/ CS1
This junction is now part of CS1 and as such has been significantly upgraded, but it has always been a useful cut-through between areas in East Islington/West Hackney and the city. The main benefit of this cut through is a link between the quiet roads north of Shoreditch to the busy roads approaching Old Street.
The provision of a large bicycle crossing across Old Street makes joining the road from the North East a lot easier. It also makes getting through the whole junction and into the quiet roads behind Liverpool Street Station a breeze.
There is also a small section of protected cycle lane for those heading East along Old Street to protect those cycling around the corner from the cars. It is one of those small touches that just makes cycling in a very busy junction a little bit more bearable.
What are your favourite cut-throughs in East London? Please add them below to help others with their route planning.