A question that I frequently get asked is:
How do I cycle across London?
The answer is: You get your bike, you climb on to it as your dad taught you when you were little and then cycle across.
Obviously, that isn’t what is really being asked here. The question referrers to how do you go from one side to the other. For example; from the South Coast to the Midlands and beyond.
National Cycle Network route 1 cuts through London from North East to South East. It uses the canal network along with on-road cycle paths to do so. There’s also National Cycle Network route 4. This cuts across London from East to West. It will take you via Reading, Bristol, Bath and all the way to Fishguard in Wales.
Are these two routes the fastest way to cycle cross London?
No, you’d be better off plotting a road route. However, you’ll find the cycle along the National Cycle Network far more pleasant.
Are they the easiest way to cycle across London?
Not necessarily. The routes have many turns and it’s easy to miss one of them despite the sign posting. If you are going to follow the routes then it’s definitely worth investing in a map from the Sustans shop coupled with a map holder. Alternatively, you could use your GPS navigation device or mobile phone.
If I was to cycle across London I’d probably plot my own route. That can be done using Google Maps and ticking the option to “Avoid Highways”. You can then tweak the route so that you avoid A roads. This can then be uploaded to your phone or you can print off the turn by turn directions.
You could also use Bike Route Toaster which will plot the most direct route for you and provide you with a basic Cue Sheet. Just make sure you tick the Open Street Map option on the right.
If I personally had the sudden urge to cycle from Birmingham across London and through to Margate I’d probably plot a route that avoids the centre of London. The outskirts near the M25 ring tend to be far more beautiful places to cycle.
If you happen to be unfortunately injured while cycling across London due to a negligent driver, or some other incident, and you want to know more about what you can do about it go talk to one of the law firms in London who can help you discuss things and move forward.
I’ll add a post tomorrow on how you can follow a cycle route as this is something that baffled me when I first started cycling.