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London cycle hire scheme

London's public bicycle scheme is a great way to travel around the city – and the first half hour is free! Grab yourself a bike and get riding today.
A Santander Cycle bicycle with an Underground station in the background.
Santander Cycles. Image courtesy of TfL.

London bike hire key information

  • You can hire bikes using London's public cycle hire scheme, Santander Cycles.
  • There are more than 750 docking stations and 11,500 bikes to hire around London.

  • It costs £2 to access a Santander Cycles bike for 24 hours; the first 30 minutes of each journey are free.

  • For longer journeys, it costs an extra £2 for each additional 30 minutes.

  • Bikecabe hired using a bank card at the docking station, or using the official app.

Visit the Transport for London website for the latest information on travelling safely and changes to services due to coronavirus.

London's public bike-sharing scheme, Santander Cycles, is available 24/7, 365 days a year.

There are more than 750 docking stations and 11,500 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 Shepherd's Bush to Canary Wharf, and Wandsworth Town to Camden Town.

Before setting off on your cycle, check out these picturesque paths, and read up on top tips to stay safe and make the most out of your two wheeler in London.

Santander Cycles

Santander Cycles bikes are available for hire at the docking-station terminal with a bank card or contactless payment 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 additional 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.

When you've finished your journey, just return the bike at 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.

Use your smartphone to hire a bike

The official Santander Cycles app, available on iPhone 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.

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) after the first 30 minutes.

Other charges

If you don't return your bike, or you bring it back late or damaged, you may be charged up to £300

Check the TfL website for more information.

Explore London's cycle-hire routes

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: discover quirky Londonsecret gardensSaturday marketsindependent shops and markets and sporting London.

The sports route has you cycling past Chelsea and Fulham football clubs, the Kia Oval cricket ground, part of the annual Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race route, and along a section of the London 2012 Olympic Games cycling road race. 

There are also cycle paths in many of London’s parks, including Regent's Park and Hyde Park.

E-scooter rental in London

If you’re looking for an alternative to cycling around the city, try taking to the roads on an electric scooter.

London's e-scooter rental scheme is taking place across several locations in the city, including Canary Wharf, Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, Richmond and the City of London. You can expect to pay between £3.25 and £3.40 for a 15-minute ride.

Electric scooters must be ridden on the road (in participating boroughs) and all new hirers are required to complete an e-learning safety course before their first ride. 

Head to the TFL website for more information, including safety guidance, hire rules and steps to hire an e-scooter in London.