Enfield To Haringey, by bike
This is a description of my journey from Enfield to Haringey by bike, along the A105 route that is the subject of plans by CycleEnfield, formerly mini–Holland. and if you have 18 minutes and don’t mind the shaky camera work, then you can watch the whole journey, in real-time, with commentary by me, on YouTube.
The precis is that this is a route with real potential as a cycle route but it’s let down by a road layout that could be greatly improved. We need to be getting people ‘on their bike’ along these key routes, so that cycling because a safe, fast option for many more journeys in the borough.
I’m 50 years old and a competent and confident cyclist but I would not recommend this route for a child or someone who is nervous. And that’s a pity because the A105 is a wide road and has real potential as a route for cyclists. Already, I see more cyclists using this route and so people are ready to get on their bikes, they just need a road layout that helps make the journey safer and quicker.
The recurring themes throughout my journey are parked cars, stationary traffic and junctions. Starting off from Enfield, parked cars along London Road and Village Road immediately force me out into traffic. There’s plenty of space to have all the parking on one side of the road and then the extra lane could be used to provide clear cycle ways.
The junction with Bush Hill Road/Church Street is then typical, having two lanes for cars but not no cycle filter or priority zone to enable cycles to avoid the queues that often build up here. The junctions often have long queues of stationary traffic but a better layout would get cyclists quickly past and on their way.
The Ridge Avenue stretch is uphill with a bus stop half way up and when there are buses stopped there, I again have to move out into traffic despite moving slowly as I ascend the hill. A floating bus stop would allow me to continue on, away from the traffic.
Swinging left past ‘Le Peleton’ and Masons Corner, we hit Green Lanes and we’re starting to see shops. Again I’m having to weave in and out around parked cars.
The roundabout at Station Road/Fords Grove can also be improved. Two rows of cars approach the roundabout but the slight right turn causes cars to bunch up. The result is jockeying for position which cyclists have to thread their way through. And again, no way for cyclists to avoid any queue of stopped cars waiting at this junction.
Green Lanes onto Bourne Hill/Hedge Lane is wide but here it’s ‘street furniture’ causing a problem. This car overtook me very tentatively which meant he was alongside me, with not a lot of space, for much longer that I would have liked.
The Bourne Hill/Hedge Lane junction normally has a queue of cars and no provision for cyclists to get past (this is becoming somewhat repetitive). Then driving through Palmers Green is more of the same at the Fox Lane roundabout and Aldermans Hill junction.
The Broomfield Lane/Oakthorpe Road traffic lights are a fine example of frustration. I’ve just left the bus lane approaching the lights, the bus lane restarts after the lights but as you can see, I’m stuck behind two solid blocks of cars and no cycle filter lane. I quietly scream each time I reach here, especially when the approach to the A406 is blocked and traffic doesn’t even move when the lights do change.
Then it’s a whizz down the hill to the A406 North Circular junction where you can play ‘spot the cycle lane’. Yes it’s is there somewhere under that bus. Totally useless because it’s far too short and almost invisible making it impossible to safely reach the cycle priority zone at the front of the junction.
The last leg towards Haringey is pretty straight forward except that today there seems to be a hold-up and since there’s no cycle way, we cyclists have to thread our way in and out to avoid sitting in choking fumes before reaching Haringey.
The return journey is essentially ‘more of the same’ except for the nasty little hill from the A406 up towards the Broomfield Lane/Oakthorpe Road junction. Again there’s a bus stop and although bus drivers are often polite and let me get up there, sometimes there’s already a bus ahead of me so I have to come right out into traffic half-way up the hill whilst going slowly; that’s never fun.
So that’s Enfield to Haringey, a route with great potential for cyclists if the Enfield council has the guts to bite the bullet and get stuck in. In the past, Enfield council has given back monies intended to improve cycling in the borough but let’s keep the pressure on and ensure they don’t do so again.
I would be most interested to hear your views on CycleEnfield, whether for or against, to:
And if you want more information about CycleEnfield, and current best practice in road design for cycling, I recommend the links below.
Cycle design handbook
Making space for cycling