Depends exactly where you are starting from, or ending but my preferred quiet(ish) route, at least for the first 5 miles is something like this:
1 Green Lanes into Finsbury Park (Green Lanes gate near Rowley Gardens)
2 Cross park exiting at south gate (Finsbury Park Rd), using Rock St one way system to St Thomas's Rd
3 Follow all the cycles past Arsenal station & Drayton Park stations.
4 Left on Horsell Rd then R on fieldway crescent to cross Holloway Rd at the cycle lights
5 L on Westbourne Rd until Offord road, quick right then left onto Thornhill Rd
6 Follow all the cycles then R on Great Percy St, down the steep hill past Percy Circus
7 At the bottom of the hill take the first left, right, left, right (the last into Ampton Road cycle path) It sounds complicated but is easy in practice.
8 Follow segregated cycle lanes from there to Tottenham Court Road crossing.
From there I don't have a particularly good way. I tend to go left on TCR, right on Windmill St, left on Charlotte St/Rathbone Pl and then just deal with Oxford St. I know some people who ride a similar route but go north on TCR turning left on Howland St/Cavendish St then left (south) on Wimpole St/New Bond St to reach Mayfair.
I used to have a "quiet" route that paralleled a lot of Tollington Road, Camden Road, etc but I found it just wasn't worth it.
It's similar to the below but after step 3 I go straight over Holloway Road at Drayton Park, left down York Way briefly and then onto Agar Grove, Royal College St, Pratt St, etc
Or I had an alternative route where I crossed over at Harringay Station, along Stapleton Hall Road, dropped down Dalmeny and Hilldrop Road and then along Hungerford Road, Camden Mews, Stratford Villas, Agar Grove, etc
After that Tottenham Court Road is fine to ride down now but it's a bit of a moveable feast after that with all the building work going on.
I didn't find they were any better though. More traffic lights, more junctions, more rat runners who wanted to get past at all costs or were blocking the road, etc
I went back to Green Lanes, Seven Sisters Road, Camden Road, etc and then turn off at Royal College Street. Although it's a lot busier the bus lanes give you much more space and far less traffic to contend with.
I do this route regularly, the ones posted are good and fast ones, I've found one that I enjoy a lot but that's personal preference.
I go on Green lanes all the way to Newington Green then take onto Essex Road, passing Angel, going by the Sadler's Wells theatre, onto Theoball road and from there down to Tottenham Court Road, and I go left just after Oxford Circus.
I think the best is to try a few options and stick to the one you feel more comfortable with.
Hi Cosette, is any of this route cycle lanes or bus lanes?
You can book a free cycling session with Cycle Confident where the trainer can ride a route with you:
I reckon I've tried every route under the sun, all have their pros and cons. Current one is this as far as Fitzrovia but can't help beyond that, sorry.
I'd really recommend installing Citymapper app on a phone - it'll work out a route for you. And TFL does the same if you select cycle as your mode of transport.
No good using Google Maps or other planners imo, you need to find the route you’re comfortable with.
Avoiding main roads might seem like a wise choice - and probably is whilst you get used to riding again - but the added journey times and faffing to turn left and right make it barely worth it.
These days, I use busier roads. Aside from the section past the Twelve Pins and under the railway Seven Sisters Road is all bus lanes, for example.
For me, I’d follow N22 person’s route from Holloway Road but wouldn’t go down Percy Circus, instead preferring Rosebery Av/Theobalds Rd, then down through Holborn and onto Shaftesbury Avenue.
Thank you to everyone for their advice on routes. I do a couple of trial runs and see which one works best for me.