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.
A cyclist smiles while riding a Santander Cycle along a cycle path in London
Cyclist in London. Credit: Buchet. Image courtesy of Buchet.

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.

Scenic cycle routes in London

Transport for 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.

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

Cycling safety tips

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. Find more safety tips and scenic cycle routes, as well as helpful information for cyclists from Sustrans and the London Cycling Campaign

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

Whether you're new to it or a veteran cyclist, learn everything you need to know about cycling on the roads of London by taking TfL's Cycle Skills course. 

Cycling rules in London

A man cycling on a bridge with the London Eye in the background and autumn leaves in the foreground.

Make sure to follow these cycling rules in London:

  • Wear a helmet and appropriate clothing.
  • Wear reflective clothing and/or accessories in the dark – bikes must have white front and red rear lights lit at night.
  • Keep both hands on the handlebars, except when signalling or changing gear.
  • Signal to other road users when moving away from the kerb, turning or manoeuvring.
  • Obey all traffic signs and traffic light signals.
  • Do not cycle on pavements.
  • Do not carry a passenger unless your bike has been built or adapted to carry one.

Find all Highway Code rules for cyclists in London on the official UK government's website.

Accessible cycling in London

London bike hire

A man cycling behind a red London bus.

Several companies hire out mountain or hybrid bikes in good condition. Deposits of £100 to £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, with or without bike hire.

For shorter journeys around the capital, you might also want 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 more 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 include Bugbugs, which monitor riders and is insured. However, this is not always the case with other pedicabs and you are advised to check safety features and insurance before boarding.

E-scooters in London

You can currently explore a number of areas on a rented electric scooter, including Canary Wharf, City of London, Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster and Southwark.

To rent an e-scooter, register with one of the operators' mobile apps and complete the online safety training before your first ride. Use the app to locate an e-scooter in your chosen area. The operators are Dott, Lime and TIER.

Electric scooters must be ridden on roads or spaces used by bicycles, but not pavements. Expect to pay between £3.25 and £3.40 for a 15-minute ride.

You are not allowed to carry e-scooters on TfL services or in any of its stations.

For more information, check the TFL website.