How to cycle in London

Cycling around London is a great way to save money on transport costs, explore the capital and get some exercise at the same time.

Huge improvements have been made to London's cycling network over the last few years, with more cycle lanes, driver awareness campaigns and extensions to the Santander Cycles scheme. With the right safety precautions, cycling is a unique way to experience and enjoy the city.

Streetspace for London

Many Londoners have rediscovered the joys of walking and cycling during lockdown.

By widening pavements, creating temporary cycle lanes and closing roads to traffic, the Mayor of London's new Streetspace for London plan can people change the way they get around the city. 

Transport for London (TfL), working with London’s boroughs are making changes to focus on three areas:

  • The rapid construction of a strategic cycling network, including new routes aimed at reducing crowding on Underground and train lines.
  • A complete transformation of local town centres to enable local journeys to be safely walked and cycled where possible.
  • Reduced traffic on residential streets, creating low-traffic neighbourhoods across London to enable more people to walk and cycle.

Scenic cycle routes in London

TfL has developed some fun leisure cycle routes. They are a great way to see London at your own pace and have been designed to be done in short, easy stages.

As part of the Streetspace for London programme, TfL is also adding an initial 1,000 extra cycle parking spaces across London, focused around busy areas, such as high streets and transport hubs.

Cycling safety tips

When cycling through London's busy traffic, it is essential to wear a helmet. Some people also opt for facemasks.

It's very important to be seen by other road users, so wear reflective clothing and make sure your lights are working when cycling after dark. Safety tips and scenic cycle routes can be found on our London Cycle Paths page and at:

The TfL cycling pages feature a host of useful resources for cyclists. You can order printed guides and maps covering the whole of London, find out about cycling training sessions and use a handy journey planner tool to choose the type of cycle route you want – easy, moderate or fast.

Disabled cycling

London bike hire

Several companies hire out mountain or hybrid bikes in good condition. Deposits of Β£100 to Β£200 are generally required (credit cards are accepted), regardless of rental period.

The London Bicycle Tour Company hires bikes at reasonable rates, with lower charges for longer rentals. It also offers daily bike tours of London (weekdays only during the winter season), with or without bike hire.

For shorter journeys around the capital, you may also wish to try out a Santander Cycle.

Bicycles on London's public transport

Folding bikes may be taken without restriction on all Tube lines, river services, London's local trains, the Docklands Light Railway and London's Tramlink. You can even take a folding bike on buses, at the driver's discretion.

Outside peak times, non-folding bicycles may be taken on the following Tube lines: District, Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan and on some sections of other lines. Peak times are Monday to Friday from 7.30am to 9.30am and 4pm to 7pm. 

Non-folding bicycles can also be taken on some sections of the London Overground network. For more details, visit the Transport for London website.

Restrictions on taking folding and non-folding bikes on national trains vary from company to company, so check with your train provider before setting out. For contact details, visit the National Rail Enquiries website

London pedicabs

Pedicabs are three-wheeled cycle rickshaws that seat two or three people. London's pedicabs tend to operate in central London, around Soho and the West End.

The best-known companies are Eco Chariots and Bugbugs, both of which monitor riders and are insured. However, this is not always the case with other pedicabs and you are advised to check safety features and insurance before boarding.