Cycling in London: best route from Angel to Paddington?
April 22, 2016 6:11 AM   Subscribe

I have to take a bike from Angel to Paddington train station this Sunday afternoon. I've never cycled in London before or taken a bike on the tube. Please help me figure how to do this with both the bike and me in one piece at the end of it.

I'm picking up a bike near Angel underground station on Sunday and have about 2-3 hours to bring it to Paddington train station. As far as I can see, I could either cycle to King's Cross and then take it on the tube or cycle all the way.

I have no idea how much of a pain it would be to get the bike onto the Circle or Hammersmith & City line at King's Cross. I'm assuming there are lifts, but I haven't been to King's Cross in a while. The bike isn't foldable and I'm not strong enough to carry it on any stairs/escalators.

If I cycle all the way, I'd probably know most of the areas in general, but I'm not very familiar with London streets in terms of traffic. Of the different bike routes that Google Maps suggests, the one going via Margery St, Tavistock Pl, Gordon Sq, New Cavendish St, George St and Edgware Rd seems most reasonable to me. Is there a smarter route?

I've cycled in various large cities before, but London is a little scary with left-side traffic! I'd appreciate any advice!
posted by wavelette to Travel & Transportation around London, England (10 answers total)
 
An easy answer for you: cycle along Regent's Canal from Angel to Paddington.

You can find a zillion maps of the route if you search, but here's one (on Map My Walk, but the canal is perfectly cyclable).
posted by cincinnatus c at 6:32 AM on April 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


People will suggest you go straight along Regent's Canal. Those people have not considered the fact that it is a Sunday and will be busy with tourists. It will be cyclable, but you'll be dismounting every five minutes to circumvent Italian teenagers walking three abreast, and some terrible child trying to run over a duck on a scooter. I would end up pushing somebody in the canal, but perhaps you have more patience than me. It's a very pretty route to walk.

You can just go straight along Pentonville Road/Euston Road. There is a lot of traffic but you're in a segregated bus lane. There are lots of cyclists along there. I do it semi-regularly and the traffic is usually pretty slow moving. There are no turns to make, and no chance of getting lost. Should take about 30mins.

Failing that, heading through Camden and round the back of Regent's Park would be quieter. More chance of getting lost but if you do it is hardly a disaster, you will realise fairly quickly. Top tip: bus stops usually have maps on them, and they always say which direction the bus is heading towards. I often use them to navigate when cycling in unfamiliar parts of London.

I wouldn't take a bike on the tube. By the time you get to Kings Cross you are halfway to Paddington anyway. And I don't think Paddington has a lift - very few district line stations have lifts, they are quite shallow stations so most of them just have steps.
posted by tinkletown at 6:33 AM on April 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


I would say that your options are:

1) The Canal Path, as suggested above. It's perfect and runs all the way from Angel to Paddington. Busy on Sunday afternoon, but still cycleable. It WILL be busy from Angel - Kings Cross - Camden - Regents Park, BUT it is fairly quiet from Regents Park to Paddington. God knows how many cyclists have tried to run me over on Sundays. You can always walk with the bike if needed. That should be 2-3 hours. Heck it only takes about 58 minutes at really slow jog (7.5 min/ km or 12 min/ mile).

I even made a Strava route for you!

2) If you're not comfortable cycling, walk it with the bike. London's not that big, really.

3) The streets you suggest: Margery St, Tavistock Pl, Gordon Sq, New Cavendish St, George St are very, very quiet on Sundays. I personally know this (lived in the area for the past 2 years, only just moved). So cycling is no biggie. Remember, it's a Sunday, so you won't have the masses of people and cars and activity on the road.
posted by moiraine at 6:52 AM on April 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


Tinkletown has it - just stick to the Euston Road. If you get sick of getting stuck behind buses you can just hop off the bike and push it along the pavement for a bit.

The New Cavendish route will be full of irate cab drivers and equally irate but more confident cyclists to get in your way.
posted by citands at 6:54 AM on April 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have done this very route many times on the bike. I hate cycling on big busy streets like Euston Rd and avoid it at all costs. It is more direct but it stresses me out more than is worth it for me. I take the Margery/Tavistock/New Cavendish route. It is perfectly fine and much more relaxed.
posted by oneaday at 7:53 AM on April 22, 2016


I cycle in London a lot and use CycleStreets to plan routes, their 'quiet' option has been fairly accurate in my experience. Haven't done your journey but CS recommends this route.
posted by freya_lamb at 8:08 AM on April 22, 2016


I agree with oneaday - a cycle lane for much of it with fellow cyclists to cluster with

I have done this very route many times on the bike. I hate cycling on big busy streets like Euston Rd and avoid it at all costs. It is more direct but it stresses me out more than is worth it for me. I take the Margery/Tavistock/New Cavendish route. It is perfectly fine and much more relaxed.
posted by oneaday at 3:53 PM on April 22 [+] [!]

posted by Hugobaron at 8:33 AM on April 22, 2016


Yes dear god if you're not an experienced cyclist don't take the Euston road. The other routes may be full of irritations; this will be full of death.
posted by ominous_paws at 12:00 PM on April 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


SUPER IMPORTANT JUST REMEMBERED!!!

The Canal Path, while perfectly fine to cycle on, has a lot of stairs especially near the Regent's Park / Little Venice area! You would have to carry your bike up and down the stairs. This is because there are paths of the canal that are blocked off and you have to walk up the stairs to the road. So avoid if you can't carry your bike up stairs.
posted by moiraine at 3:52 AM on April 23, 2016


Thanks everyone, especially moiraine, this has been really useful! Stairs are a no-go, so I guess I'll give the Margery/Tavistock/New Cavendish route a try.
posted by wavelette at 9:58 AM on April 23, 2016


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