I get 'cross

My journal of cyclocross
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The Blue Sign Crew

By  CJ Boom     17:33     
Sometimes the day in day out it can get really boring and overly tiring.
This has happened to me with the route I use to commute to and from work. The quickest faster way is to use the Cycle Super Highway, it just so happens it the quickest faster route for everyone else too.

The bus lane is nice and wide and the cyclists aren't really doing too much harm or the cars to be fair. It is mostly the buses. Accelerating past us and then swinging in, edging forward. There feels like there is a real bad feeling vibe coming from bus drivers at the moment trying to damage the other road users.

But all the people, all the time, all the stop, start sprint. It is exhausting and I'm only cycling 6 miles home.

Recently I've started to revel in the rain. It gives me a reason to get on a packed commuter train. Now that is bad isn't it!

Two weeks ago I was waiting for the traffic lights to go green at Lambeth North when I noticed a small sign that said London Cycle Network 3 Stockwell. Instead of turning left and following the masses onto the major artery that connects Kennington with Oval I followed the sign.

These little blue signs are quite tricky to follow, they suddenly disappear or point you down pedestrian alleys, and you wonder if that's the right way.

I tried to work out my route on the fly as I cycled home but didn't really seem get it right and I popped out again at Oval Cricket Ground and had to rejoin the cycling motorway that is the A3.

Back to the drawing board, or computer screen I guess. Trying to work out the route based on the little blue signs is tough.
TFL doesn't help, in fact it doesn't acknowledge they exist and nor does Open Cycle Maps or Google.
Sustrans came to my rescue, you'll need to grab google maps too and on occasion 'street view' the turning because its not always clear. The route I take has a cycle path that cuts through between an estate near Oval, that's what I missed before.

Armed with hurridly written notes, celotaped in an uncouth manner to my stem I set out to ride where literally no-one has ridden before. I was on an urban commuting adventure and I was unsure which neighbourhood I was in as I navigate a warren of Stockwell and Kennington's residential back streets but I pop out at Clapham Common in the right place unscathed.

I stopped for traffic one maybe two times, my speed was perhaps alittle lower as I'm not riding on a wide open drag strip and the route is longer by two miles.
But on the plus side there was no need to haul on the brakes every 50 metres then sprint from a standing start to get clear of all the cycle wobblers.
It is nice to have a change and even though at the end of the day you just want to get home, I would encourage everyone to switch it up, try these little blue routes, you never know what you'll discover.


About CJ Boom



  1. Try cyclestreets.net it does seem to include these LCN routes; certainly, the one round the back of Kennington Road shows up when you search for a route between SW London and the City.

  2. Hey Nick,
    Thanks very much. That's going to make life easier