15 February 2009

Arrowing experience in Tavistock Place

Tavistock Place, paralleling Euston Road to the south, has a separated two-way cycle path. I’ve had my doubts about it before. To me this bicycle flume creates more problems than it solves, like the uncle whose fussy, jumbled puncture-repair lessons simply confused you when you were little.

So I was delighted when I cycled past this bit en route to Kings Cross on Saturday morning. You’re assaulted by arrows, as if being attacked by anticyclones from a BBC weather map (above right).

True to form, Tavistock Pl’s bike experience makes even going in a straight line complicated: a chiasmus that switches you from drive-on-left to drive-on-right. You half-expect passport control and customs.

It reminded me of another celebrated change of side: Savoy Court, off Strand (right). It’s one of the chapters in my 50 Quirky Bike Rides book. This is the only unseparated road in the country where you legally drive both ways on the right (though strictly speaking it’s a private road, not a public highway).

Hence my pleasure at finding this additional two-way wrong-side stretch in Tavistock Place: a Place where you can experience what it’s like cycling in the Netherlands.

In terms of which side you cycle on, anyway. Obviously not in terms of the cycle path quality.


  1. Wow. What where they thinking ? Someone had presumably been playing Scalextric a bit too much. There is different crossover offering a variation on this thrill in Cambridge.

  2. Yes, it's a bit of an obstacle course from start to finish that one - gratuitous bend, move between road and pavement levels, zebra crossings, larger vehicles turning across the bits without the really slow cycle-only lights, bollard in the middle, not to mention being squeezed into single file despite wildly varying speeds. After a day when the going home side was full of glass I gave up, joined the cars... and got beeped for my shocking initiative. What a relief!