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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

I've had a bit of a search and couldn't find concrete recommendations on this so hence a new post.

Having not really cycled since I was a child I am now planning on buying a bike and cycling to work from the top of the ladder to near King's Cross. I think I've worked out most of my route but can't decide which will be safer for me in each direction near home: Green Lanes or Wightman Road. In my head it seems that heading in to work (south) going down Green Lanes would make sense (avoiding all the side streets on Wightman and coming home (north) I might be better off on Wightman for the same reason. Does this make sense or as a novice am I missing something?

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Nag's Head junction is a bit much for a beginner I think. I don't like it and I've been cycling round London for years.

I agree. I don't like it at all - no-one ever seems to be in the right lane.

I cycle to Farringdon from West Green daily and also use the route past Arsenal through Barnsbury, Penton St. etc. also recommended by Grant. They've just resurfaced Penton St and (finally!) repainted the cycle lanes there, and the traffic isn't too bad usually. Loads of cyclists use it so you'll be in company. I also cycle through Finsbury Park by crossing at the lights by the new river.

One other tip, if you don't have puncture proof tyres already, get them, they're wonderful. Best of luck!

You should look at the TFL cycle routes on the website as you can select quieter or busier routes personalised to your address and destination.  I agree with going via FP, Arsenal Stadium, etc., which was the suggestion on the site.  I live near the FP end of Wightman Road, so only have a short distance to FP before the greenery and birdsong!

Cycling South down Green Lanes isn't actually that bad (on a relative scale). The main areas to watch out for I find are

  • the lights near Homebase as vehicles in the right hand lane drift into the left hand lane to avoid the right turn queue
  • the stupid pinch point just before the Manor House junction. You want to be in the middle of the lane as you reach this as if you're over on the left you'll get a car trying to squeeze though it with you. It's a shocking bit of design.

Northbound on Green Lanes isn't particularly dangerous if you're patient, the traffic is slow but you have to watch out for car doors opening and people stepping out from between parked cars. The dangerous bit is trying to squeeze between cars, buses, etc, especially down the left hand side.

Wightman Road is horrible to cycle along. If you're not going 20mph+ then, even when you're sat in the middle of the lane, drivers will try and pass you in the gaps between all the pinch points, inevitably they'll mis-time and pull in early into the space you're attempting to cycle through. I'm always knackered when I cycle along Wightman as it's a basically a full-on sprint for the length of it.

It's a shame that the recent works on Green Lanes has mainly just been a couple of cosmetic touches, if the traders had had a little less influence then it may have been possible to make it into something other than a big car park/traffic jam. There obviously is no political will for that though and I'd be amazed if anything changed given comments from some of the new councilors.

I avoid the traffic jam that's is Green Lanes in the evening, rather take the long route down seven sisters road and around to west green. If I do have to go that way I'd rather use wightman road but either of them are ideal in the evening. Also nags head at anytime is pretty hairy so think about getting across that junction. Cycle training is a great idea and also try The Sky Rides, lots of different levels and well guided in my experience
I was just thinking how safe the commute from wood green to kings cross is these days, the traffic is so slow there are hardly any hairy moments around 9am. You would be wise to jump the lights slightly at the junction where the park begins at the end of green lanes to give yourself half a chance to get ahead safely at those lights approaching the hill and you need to be pretty in control of the road when you get to the corner of manor house and again at holloway road but apart from that, you're often the fastest thing on the road.
I've never understood this. There is no need at all to break any lights. You either start from the front at an appropriate speed or hang back. It's the breaking lights which is dangerous!

Not to mention that it's against the law and part of the problem that gives cyclists a bad name...

Dangerous junctions should give cyclists right of way first before the green light for everyone else. It allows the cyclist to de-pack before being overtaken by traffic. Until this happens, the law and being given a bad name are always going to play second fiddle to staying alive or protecting your lungs from sitting behind an exhaust to de-pack early.

Agreed that Nag's Head is a bit unpleasant, it's best to get in lane nice and early rather than heading to the front down the left hand side and trying to cut across. It's a long green light so you can quite easily sit in traffic half a dozen cars back and get through in one light phase.

Going to Kings Cross isn't quite as bad (I normally head to Camden) as the Caley Road turn-off is a lane further to the left. It's not a nice junction to cycle though.

You can plug your route into the TFL website and chose the cycle option and it will come up with varying routes which can form a decent base.

Haringey funds free one-to-one cycle training. It'll make a huge difference to your confidence! http://www.cyclinginstructor.com/

Always ride out of the car door zone.
Get eye contact with drivers especially before you take the lane at pinch points & side turnings.

Overtake queues on the right if safe rather than squeeze thru on the left.

Every time you get eye contact with drivers behind, they're more likely to give you space:)

Good luck with your commute & enjoy - it's still pretty safe in spite of the scare stories.



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