As Eddie mentioned - it might be a good idea to do your whole commute on a Sunday, that way you won't be worrying about where you go in rush hour traffic.
Good advice from Eddie on a cycle scheme - I would suggest you look at it. I'm afraid that cycling in traffic is something that you get experienced with after time. The good thing is that there will hopefully lots of cyclists around you (London has loads - more the nearer to central London you get), you can follow/copy them (although I wouldn't recommend running red lights ;) - honest!).
Out of curiosity where are you cycling too and ffrom in London?
Thanks for the advice gents.
scipio: The plan is to cycle from home (currently Willesden, soon to be Wembley or possibly Harrow) to work in Wembley, from work to the gym in Harlesden (next to Willesden Junction station) and from there home again.
I don't feel ready to do the whole commute just yet, I think I'm going to do the £5 cycle training the council offers first.
Try a few routes.
The weekend idea is good to get a feel for a route, timing etc. Just be aware that a street that's easy to ride on Sunday, might be next to impossible on Monday.
Ask people who also commute in your specific area for areas to avoid, or bike friendly routes.
Urban commuting can be sort of counter intuitive in that regard.
Additionally, take your routes slow a couple times before you start actually using it to give yourself an idea of what kind of road hazards exist there. My main route has, for example, numerous uncovered access points for ... something or other in the middle of the "bike lane" on a busy major downhill, which means that if I want to push it I can easily outrun the cars there, 40+ mph with no problems. Well, the access points aren't an issue for cars, but at that speed they can puncture one of my tires pretty easily. Depending on your city, your dangers may be different. Mine is not especially bike friendly but it's not horrible either.
Originally Posted by ChenPengFi
You will surprise yourself how quickly you will get used to doing the whole route. With the weather/time of year improving you won't be doing it too much in the dark.
Originally Posted by Fuzzy
Not sure if this is on your route but the Grand Union canal is a fantastic cycle route - it's one of the few cycle routes from North/West London that is completely car free.
It runs literally directly behind the gym. I'll have to investigate to see if it goes in the right direction though.
Originally Posted by scipio