Tips for Wanstead folk deciding to cycle to beat the Tube strike

Last Tube strike Wansteadium shared a map of walking times from Wanstead stations. But for those who might be brushing the cobwebs off a mostly unused bike, here are some tips from avid cyclists Robert Dineen and Nick Affleck.

1. Skip Leytonstone High Road. For many Wansteadites, the northern tip of Leytonstone High Road will be the shortest way to get to central London but the contra-flow there makes it among the most dangerous urban roads we’ve encountered. By encouraging cyclists to ride in the opposite direction to the traffic, you forever take pedestrians and drivers by surprise, and sharply increase the risk of an accident as a result. As for Blake Hell Road which is beset by roadworks and traffic jams, careful cyclists should be able to pick their way through the stranded masses. (Anyone hoping to hop on a 101 bus to Stratford or a 308 to Manor Park should remember this.)

2. There’s a reasonably calm route west from Wanstead Flats via Cann Hall Road, and Honour Lea Avenue in Leyton which takes you to the Olympic Park. Continue west across a connecting flyover into Victoria Park, which then joins the Regents Canal, allowing pleasant pedalling all the way to City Road. Go steady, and use your bell liberally on the towpath!

3. Consider cycling to Stratford for DLR and Overground connections. There are 500 cycle parking spaces at Westfield.

4. Avoid Whitechapel High Street if you can. Roadworks building the new cycle lanes here have reduced the lanes available to traffic and made the ride into the City much longer. Better to use the Cycle Superhighway that links the Docklands to Tower Hill and can be accessed at Mile End. Be warned, though, it has only one line in each direction and tends to get busy at rush hour, so you will probably need to curb your inner Mark Cavendish and avoid overtaking.

5. Give way to buses. There will be 200 extra buses on the roads during the strike and they will have the right of way priority, despite the number of cyclists who refuse to halt and allow buses to leave a stop. Buck that trend and you will contribute to improving cyclists’ reputation on the road, as well as help to keep the flow of traffic moving.

6. Be especially vigilant around Boris bikes. The demand for the hire bikes that have popped up across central London will presumably spike during the Tube strike. Though a welcome addition to the city’s transport network, the bikes are heavy and unresponsive, making it hard to respond quickly to dangerous situations.

Robert Dineen is author of Kings of the Road: A Journey into the Heart of British Cycling. He will be taking part in a special cycling evening during the Wanstead Fringe – more details to be announced.

5 thoughts on “Tips for Wanstead folk deciding to cycle to beat the Tube strike”

  1. Point of order in an otherwise good article. There is no such thing as ‘right of way’. There is only priority. An important distinction as right of way leads people to believe they can continue and anyone in their way should move or be hit. “Why did you drive at me?” “Cos it’s my right of way.” HC is very clear on this.

  2. I definitely endorse the route outlined in point 2. I cycle this way on the way to Westminster and although it’s not the most direct route it probably only takes a few minutes longer than a more direct route and it’s so much more pleasant to spend a long portion of your ride by the water.

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