A couple of London commuting routes by bike

I moved to the UK a few months ago. One of the first things I did was pick up a Brompton for my multimodal commute. I ride to the station in the morning, take the train, then go from the station to my office by bike. I save quite a bit on travel card costs (which let’s one use a railcard for the London underground), so my bike will pay for itself before too long.

Finding the right route for me took some trial and error, and I’m still improving it. Here’s what I have so far.

Marylebone to Fitzrovia

I arrive in Marylebone station:

  1. Exit station and go left (east) across ped walk, then first right on Balcombe all the way to Marylebone road.
  2. Cross road with pedestrians
  3. Continue on Balcombe, take second left onto Crawford (going east again).
  4. Continue on Crawford past Baker, take a right onto the narrow road that runs along the park on the right. Easy to miss, but immediately recognizable.
  5. Follow road around bend until you hit Marylebone High Street, continue onto Weymouth – you have to cross over the high street diagonally.
  6. Weymouth all the way to the end when it hits Great Portland, make a right, then first left onto Clipstone.
  7. Follow Clipstone/Maple and get off where you need to. I make a right at Charlotte and follow it until I reach my office.

Getting back to Marylebone is a bit simpler:

  1. Head west on Howland/New Cavendish all the way to Marylebone High Street. Simple!
  2. Take a right onto the high street, go up a few blocks and make a left onto Paddington.
  3. Follow Paddington through 2 major intersections (Baker, Gloucester) before making a right onto Upper Montague.
  4. Upper Montague becomes Balcombe, the same way we came from the station.

Both ways are quite pleasant routes for daily commuting.

Waterloo to Fitzrovia

I took this route when I first moved and was staying with relatives. It’s nowhere as pleasant as the Marylebone route, it’s much busier and crazier. But you have to make do :-).

From Waterloo station:

  1. Exit out of the north side and follow the ramp down past the Boris bikes to York Road.
  2. Go right on York to the roundabout/traffic light, then go left onto Waterloo bridge.
  3. At the end of the bridge you hit the infamous Lancaster/Strand intersection (infamous due to the nonsense car/bike/bus/pedestrian traffic flow).
  4. At this point you follow most of the cyclists as they cross the intersection and go over the pedestrian sidewalk onto Wellington. Recognizable because there is an oft-ignored cyclist/ped traffic light on the sidewalk.
  5. Take the second right onto Tavistock to get to Drury Lane.
  6. Go left on Drury Lane (going north again) and follow it all the way as it becomes Museum and you reach the British Museum on Great Russell.
  7. The idea now is to go around the museum to its back. So right on Great Russell, then first left onto Montague, then first left onto Montague Pl.
  8. You have a few options depending on where you want to end up. For me, I take the first right onto Malet, left onto Torrington all the way to the end. Then right onto Tottemham Court Road.
  9. Finally I go left onto Howland (note you can connect here to my previous route to get to Marylebone), then left onto Charlotte and my office.

And back to Waterloo:

  1. Get to Maple and head east, then go right onto Huntley (right before Gower). Optionally you can just go onto Gower, although I try to avoid the busy roads w/ buses as much as possible.
  2. Follow Huntley all the way to the end, then take a left onto Chenies, then first right onto Gower.
  3. Follow Gower all the way to the end (it becomes Shaftesbury at some point). Cross over the intersection at St. Giles High Street, bearing right onto Endell.
  4. Follow Endell all the way as it becomes Bow Street and then Wellington – and we end up at Strand/Lancaster again.
  5. Cross over the ped sidewalk and then the intersection to Waterloo Bridge again (following the signals, of course…). Careful that buses have a special priviledge to make an ‘illegal’ right turn onto the bridge, and it seems to happen when cyclists are crossing.
  6. Continue over the bridge. Slow down and signal left as the bridge starts ramping down, and take the first left before the roundabout. You immediately go left again and start going down a road towards the river.
  7. At the bottom, go left under the bridge and follow the water line on Belvedere. You take the second left and go through a pedestrian tunnel back to the crossing at York road. A little hard to describe but easy once you do it.
  8. Cross York and you’re at Waterloo.

I never liked coming down Gower when I took this route, but I couldn’t figure out a nicer way to go. The other dodgy bit is the Strand/Lancaster crossing but it’s unavoidable.

Some more tips

  • You can fit a Brompton between two chair backs on most train lines. It looks like a triangle /\ and you can stick the folded up brompton in there.

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