While some cities, like Amsterdam, are famous for their cycling opportunities, people don’t tend to associate the activity with London, which is better known for its taxi cabs.
In recent years, however, cycling has become increasingly common in the UK capital, and it is now a great way to explore the city, save money on transport costs and get some exercise.
Leisure Cycle Routes
Transport for London has developed several scenic cycle routes to give people the opportunity to see some of the capital’s most interesting areas in short, easy stages.
The London’s Secret Garden route takes cyclists on a tour of some of the capital’s lesser-known tranquil spaces, which are often overlooked by tourists eager to visit grander destinations.
Another scenic route, Sporting Sights, follows the Thames as it winds through London past some of its biggest sporting landmarks, including Craven Cottage, the home of Fulham FC, and Stamford Bridge, the home of Chelsea FC.
London bike hire
A number of companies, such as the London Bicycle Tour Company, hire out mountain or hybrid bikes in good condition, often for deposits of between £100 and £200.
There is also a public cycle hire scheme that runs in the capital – officially known as Santander Cycles but commonly dubbed ‘Boris bikes’ after the mayor of London, Boris Johnson.
These are intended for short journeys and are available at docking stations throughout the city. After your first journey, all other journeys within 24 hours are free, as long as each one lasts no more than 30 minutes.
Although a number of measures such as more cycle lanes and driver awareness initiatives have made cycling much easier in London recently, it is still vital to take appropriate precautions to ensure you stay safe.
Wearing a helmet is essential, and you should also make sure you wear bright, reflective clothing so drivers can see you easily. Also, make sure your lights are working before you set off.
Cycling and public transport
Folded bikes are allowed on any underground route, and they are permitted on buses at the driver’s discretion.
Non-folding bicycles are permitted on some tube routes outside peak times, including District, Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan, and on some sections of other lines. Full details are available from the Transport for London website.