Avoid the Tube With These Top Cycle Routes in London

Following the UK government’s changes to its coronavirus lockdown restrictions and guidance, those who cannot work from home have been encouraged to go back to work. 

However, this causes problems for maintaining safety on public transport, so the advice is to not use public transport unless you have to. In a massive shift, 44% have been working at home compared to only 12% last year.  So if you need to travel – walk, cycle or drive if you can.

Leave public transport for key workers and people who rely on it. 

Cycling is a surprisingly fast way to get around London and avoid public transport. So if you do commute into work, Essential Living has compiled a list of the most popular Tube routes you can cycle. 

How to Cycle London’s 10 Busiest Tube Journey

How to Cycle London’s 10 Busiest Tube Journeys

Strap on those helmets and get peddling with these tailored cycle routes that get you between London’s busiest Tube stations – all whilst avoiding public transport and stopping a possible second peak of coronavirus.  Taking a list of London’s most-used Tube journeys from the London Mayor’s ‘Your Commute’ interactive, we calculated how long it would take to cycle these busy routes, factoring in easy, hard or moderate routes, using the Tfl journey planner.

  1. Bank/Monument to Waterloo
 Cycling is a fast way to get around the city and avoid public transport. Here’s how you can cycle between London’s busiest stations.

Bank to Waterloo Cycle Route

The journey between Bank/Monument station and Waterloo is a 2.7km long bike ride. The route can be completed in 8 mins for more advanced cyclists who are more confident riding on busier roads. A moderate route will take you an extra minute to arrive at your destination. The journey will include mainly backstreets but you may have to take some main roads where unavoidable. For beginners the easy route to Waterloo will take 13 minutes and will take you along quiet backstreets, canals and park routes for those that prefer to avoid the busy roads of London. 

The average Tube time for the journey between Bank/Monument is 15 minutes meaning that all the cycle options are quicker and allows you to avoid the hustle and bustle of the Tube. As well as getting in some exercise.

2. Victoria to Oxford Circus

Victoria to Oxford Circus Cycle Route

Cycling between Victoria station and Oxford Circus station is a 2.6km route and can be done in as little as 9 minutes taking the fastest route. The fastest route once again is more suited for those that are more confident cycling on main roads with traffic. The route is also calculated for cyclists travelling at 20km/hr. The moderate route will take you along backstreets and the journey will take 11 minutes if travelling at an average speed of 16km/hr. For those wanting to take the scenic route and explore the beautiful canals and parks whilst travelling between the two stations it will take approximately 14 minutes if travelling at a speed of 12km/hr. 

The Tube will take on average around 3 minutes to travel between the two stations which is significantly shorter than the cycle routes. However, the cycle route will allow you to avoid public transport and exercise.

3. Canary Wharf to Waterloo

Canary Wharf to Waterloo Cycle Route

The Tube between these two stations will take on average 9 minutes but to avoid public transport on your commute to work you can cycle from Canary Wharf to Waterloo. The route is a 7.9km bike ride and will take at the longest 40 minutes. The easy route will take you along quieter roads and many park and canal paths making it ideal for some tranquill exercise before work – instead of having the stress of the Tube journey. If you want to cut some time off your journey the moderate route will take 10 minutes less, taking only half an hour to arrive at Waterloo. The fast route will take 24 minutes to arrive at your destination but you will take mostly direct routes via busier roads and the journey length will increase to 8.1km.

4. Liverpool Street to King’s Cross St Pancras

Liverpool Street to King’s Cross St Pancras

The easiest bike ride to King’s Cross St Pancras from Liverpool Street station will take 20 minutes and cover a distance of 4.1km. You’ll cycle past some of London’s most historic buildings such as The Charterhouse and the Museum of the Order of St John as well as many university campuses. On the moderate route you’ll cycle the same distance but will cut 5 minutes off your time due to taking some main roads and backstreets. Although on this route you’ll cycle past the Postal Museum as well. The fast route will take approximately 12 minutes and you will travel a distance of 4.0km. 

The Tube time takes roughly 8 minutes, therefore, not much more time is added on to your commute by choosing to cycle.

5. Stratford to Canary Wharf

Stratford to Canary Wharf

Since Transport for London services are for essential journeys only and for those that cannot get to work via any other means, cycling is the quickest way of getting around without having to get stuck in possible traffic in the car. With the Tube taking on average 9 minutes between Stratford station and Canary Wharf it is safer to avoid the short journey and jump on your bike! The fastest route will take around 21 minutes and you will cover a distance of 6.2km – making it great for burning calories. 

The moderate route will cover a distance of 5.7km and will take around 23 minutes to reach Canary Wharf station using mostly backstreets. The easiest route will take around 31 minutes and you will cycle for 5.9km.

6. Canning Town to Stratford

Canning Town to Stratford

You can get to Stratford station from Canning Town station in 11 minutes by bike taking the fastest direct route. The journey is 3.8km in length. If a moderate route is more ideal for your cycling ability it will take 18 minutes to get to Stratford station and you will cover 4.9km in distance. This route will also take you through Star Lane Park – perfect for those wanting to see some green space before heading to work. For the easiest route it will take 23 minutes on average and will cover a shorter distance of 4.7km. This route will also have you cycling on the outskirts of Stratford Park – meaning you’ll get to see lots of open green space on your journey to Stratford. 

The Tube is obviously quicker than cycling, taking 6 minutes on average, as public transport is typically designed to be an express route to your destination.

7. King’s Cross St Pancras to Victoria

Kings Cross/St Pancras to Victoria

The fastest cycling route between King’s Cross & St Pancras and Victoria will cover a distance of 5.9km and will take on average 17 minutes. For a more moderate route taking mainly backstreets and avoiding as many busy roads as possible will take around 22 minutes and will cover a distance of 6.0km. This route will take you around the backstreets around Covent Garden making it the perfect bike ride around some of Lonon’s most beautiful buildings. The easiest route will take around 30 minutes but you will still cover the same amount of distance as the moderate bike ride.

The Tube journey will take on average 8 minutes but the cycle routes allow you to explore London and keep to social distancing measures and avoid public transport. 

8. London Bridge to Canary Wharf

London Bridge to Canary Wharf

Ditch the 6 minute Tube commute from London Bridge to Canary Wharf and cycle the journey in as little as 18 minutes by taking the fast route which covers a distance of 5.9km. If you are a fan of London landmarks and parks you might want to take the moderate and easy routes for your commute. You’ll cycle across London Bridge, see the monument to the Great Fire of London and travel through St James Park. The moderate route will take you 22 minutes on average, whereas the easy route will take around half an hour.

9. Waterloo to Oxford Circus

Waterloo to Oxford Circus

Pocket your Oyster Card and save some money by jumping on your bike for the daily commute. With a cycling distance of 3.1km between Waterloo and Oxford Circus you can be at your destination within 9 minutes. Or if you’d prefer to stick to the scenic routes you can take the moderate and easy routes which will take around 11 and 15 minutes, respectively. With all routes you cycle over the Waterloo Bridge whilst getting a view of the River Thames and possibly the London Eye.  

It may only take 5 minutes by Tube, but you can see so much more of London whilst on your bike and it is great exercise before work.

10. Euston to Old Street


Euston to Old Street

Don’t risk the small 6 minute Tube commute when you can avoid it by cycling instead – less risk for you and others, more fresh air and daily exercise, win win situation. You can get from Euston station to Old Street as quickly as 11 minutes by covering 3.8km. Or if you prefer to see the sights of London and all the beautiful museum buildings then the moderate and easy routes are for you. It will take around 14 and 18 minutes depending on your speed to arrive at your destination and will cover the same distance of 3.7km. 

Of course – stay alert and safe on London’s roads.

Sources: https://tfl.gov.uk/plan-a-journey | https://www.london.gov.uk/your-commute