New biker looking to commute from Putney to central London (Farringdon)

Hello all

I am moving to Putney soon, and would like to avoid the sardine can that is the SW trains service to Waterloo, as well as the subsequent bus ride from Waterloo to Farringdon that will become my daily commute to work.

So I am very keen to get a motorbike (125cc) and drive to work. Google Maps and state around a 25 minute journey time from Putney to Farringdon (approx 7 miles or 11 km). I was wondering if anyone here drives this route, or a similar one to central London. If so I would love to hear what the traffic is like and what the average journey time is.

I have never driven a bike before, so I am 100% newbie so safety is obviously paramount to my concerns. I know what I need to do for the CBT and things, but any advice or comments are welcomed.

FYI: The route suggest to me is the following:
Putney -> Wandsworth -> Clapham -> Battersea -> Nine Elms -> Lambeth -> Waterloo -> Over Blackfriars Bridge and up to Farringdon.
Google Maps Suggested Journey
If there is a better/faster/safer route I would love to hear it

I am going to get a second hand bike at first. I was thinking a Honda XR but any suggestions for a good learner legal bike would be appreciated.


hello and welcome mate.

i’m sure loads of advice will follow shortly.

have you had a look at the mentoring section?

Thanks. Yeah I’ve had a look around the Mentoring section but haven’t found anything very specific to the Journey from Putney to Central London.

One thing I forgot to ask… I am obviously going to wear full protective gear (or would a sturdy pair of jeans + leather jacket suffice?). I imagine in the warmer months you must sweat like crazy inside those leathers… Unfortunately for me my work has no shower, so I guess I should be tacking on the cost of a gym near my work for shower use in the mornings (at least during the warmer months)?


I live in Putney, and although I don’t actually commute to Farringdon, I regularly go out that way - to Borough for the weekly LondonBikers meet on Wednesday evenings.

This is the route I usually take (click the link).
There are others of course, and to get to Farringdon, it looks like it might be easier to take a different exit and Elephant & Castle (E&C), across the river to the South Bank and then across and up to Farringdon via Clerkenwell (?)
This route is fairly direct and the only really confusing bit to begin with is the E&C roundabout(s).

If you would like to a follow to the Borough meet, let me know (via PM).

I don’t think you need a shower at work, unless your bike breaks down you shouldn’t really be working up a sweat. I wouldn’t bother with full leathers at the start - I would get good quality textile gear - I would also consider doing direct access training instead of getting a 125 - assuming you’re old enough - and try and get it done before October, when the test changes, although you will have a struggle finding somewhere to take you as I believe most good schools are rammed full of students trying to pass before the changes.

I would then get a nice sensible used bike such as a CB500. You will then get a lot of experience in a short period of time, and when you drop it no one will notice the damage.

You will then find your commute time is a lot less than the time quoted by the AA, and you will be arriving at work with a grin on your face. Then you will start lusting after expensive and exotic machinery and before you know it you’ll be a converted biker, and the very thought of going anywhere by 4 wheeled transport will fill you with disgust and loathing.


Good advice about the DAS. If you’re good at taking a lot in over a relatively short period of time, go for it. I picked up some bad habits during my 6 months of provisional riding and am learning again on a bigger bike anyway.
Just take it easy and you should be fine.

Thanks for the replies and tips.

I’ve never ridden a bike before, so I thought maybe it would make more sense to get a 125cc and then see how I go from there before I upgrade to something a bit more powerful. I am a tall guy (6’4") and 105 kg so perhaps 125cc isnt quite enough for my excess :wink:

But I guess it definately makes more sense to get the direct access training and then at least I have the option anyway.

Thanks again for the pointers.

I think a bike like a cb500 er-5 gs500 type thing are actually easier to ride than a 125. they are better balanced and of course actually have a little bit of acceleration which can help you out of trouble when dicing with the cars/vans/lorries/buses in London

Honda do a very tall 125 which will be suitable for you. I agree with the advice about textiles - better for commuting than leathers for most of the year. You can get vented textiles which are cool this time of year. If you commute round the calender you will probably end up with at least a summer and a winter set of clothing, gloves etc.

As for the training, if you have not ridden or driven before get as much training as possible. The CBT will not prepare you very well for commuting. Also, commuting will probably be very tiring at first, it gets a lot easier when you get used to it and relax. Also take your time. The object is to arrive, always remember that, commuting is an endurance sport, not a sprint.


I don’t do Putney to Farringdon route but I do about twice that distance in 40ish minutes through some of the worst traffic. Once you get the hang of it you’ll be doing your 7 miles in 25 mins easily I’d guess.

I’m not so sure about going straight to DAS but thats just me and lots of people do take that option. I commuted on a 125 for a couple of years until I felt confident enough to take the full test. Nothing wrong with a 125 if you are using it mainly for commuting (bike or scooter). Varadero is quite tall and people have told me its a good learner bike.

I agree you won’t need to shower after your commute- in fact you will almost definitely feel fresher when you arrive than if you’d been couped up in the underground all morning.

The clothing is personal choice but its better to be safe than sorry IMO. :slight_smile:

Welcome to LB :smiley:
I do Kingston to Charring X, up the A3 in the mornings and then a nice pootle down the river on the way home. You’ll get used to it soon enough, it’s much much nicer than the 'orrible can…especially when it’s a nice sunset and you’ve got all the bridges against a nice sky. :cool:

I had a baby Vara for my L plate bike and got 200 miles to a tank! Things are very different with a bigger bike (Hornet about 110/ tank).

Thanks for all the responses.

To be honest I think I will rather just do the CBT at first, and get a 125 for the time being. My reasoning being mainly financial, but also I don’t know how I will find commuting on a bike, so would rather not jump in too deep at first…

Lastly, I have to convert my foreign license to a British one before I can take the CBT, but due to me needing my passport for some holidays in the next few weeks I don’t think I’ll be able to convert my license, do some training and perform the test before the new rules kick in. But as long as it doesnt mean a big hike in test fees, I don’t mind doing a theory test too.

Thanks for all the info so far. It’s good to know theres a community like this out there.

Welcome to Londonbikers :cool:

Welcome to LB

welcome to LB

mmmm luverly

welcome to LB


Hello and welcome:)