London's public bike sharing scheme, Santander Cycles, is available 24/7, 365 days a year. There are more than 750 docking stations and 11,000 bikes in circulation across London to help you get around quickly and easily. The scheme includes South West London so now you can saddle up anywhere from Shepherds Bush to Canary Wharf and Wandsworth Town to Camden Town.
The "Boris bikes" (nicknamed after London's former mayor, Boris Johnson) are available to hire at the docking station terminal with a bank card – just touch the screen and follow the instructions to begin.
Getting started is easy – simply hire a bike, ride it where you like, then return it to any of the hundreds of docking stations across the city.
It costs £2 to access the bikes for 24 hour bike access, and the first 30 minutes of each journey is free. Longer journeys cost £2 for each extra 30 minutes. Remember, if you aren’t using a bike, dock it. You can hire a bike as many times as you like within the bike access period you have purchased.
Example - Juan
To get started, Juan buys £2 bike access for 24 hours, rides for 15 minutes to Trafalgar Square and docks his bike nearby. Later that day, he picks up another bike and rides for 22 minutes to the theatre and returns the bike there. The first 30 minutes of each journey is free, so Juan only pays £2 in total.
Visit TfL's Cycle Hire docking station page to keep up to date with bike availability at your nearest docking station for hiring and returning the bikes.
If you are looking for inspiration, Transport for London has created some bike rides around London. The easy to follow, self-guided routes will help you discover London’s hidden gems by bike. There are also cycle paths in many of London’s parks including Regents Park and Hyde Park.
You can follow the scheme on Twitter too: @SantanderCycles
When you've finished your journey, just drop the bike back to one of the many docking stations across London. Cycle Hire docking stations are located across nine London boroughs and in several Royal Parks in Central London.
If you want to hire a bike for a full day or longer, it may be cheaper to rent it from one of London's many bicycle hire companies.
Santander Cycles Bike Access Fees
- £2 24 hours
- £90 yearly (only available to registered members)
Santander Cycles Extra Ride Charges
- £2 For every additional half hour (or partial half hour) from 30 minutes onwards
If you don't return your bike, or you bring it back late or damaged, you may be charged up to £300.
Use your Smartphone to Hire a Bike
The official Santander Cycles app - available on iPhones and on Android - is the only app to send bike release codes straight to your phone. So you can skip past the docking station terminal and get on your bike quicker. Simply download the app and register for pay as you pedal. Use the app to ‘hire now’ from a nearby docking station and get your release code. Tap your code into the docking point and you are good to go!
You can also:
- See up-to-the minute information about which docking stations have bikes and spaces available
- Plan a journey with an easy to follow map
- Receive notifications summarising the cost at the end of your journey
- See your recent journeys and charges
Explore London's Cycle Hire Routes
Transport for London have created a number of hidden gem cycle routes that will take you through quirky London, secret gardens, Saturday markets, independent shops and markets, and sporting London. The sports route will have you cycling passed Chelsea and Fulham football clubs, the Kia Oval cricket ground, part of the Oxford and Cambridge university boat race route, and along a section of the London 2012 Olympic Games Cycling Road Race.