Cycling Travellers Tips

Bicycles in London
Bicycles London - © ZanMan

Cycling around the UK offers travellers a wonderful opportunity to experience the many sights and sounds of the country at close quarters. Cycling is one of the best ways to see the many attractions on offer for visitors, the compact size of the UK makes it conducive to touring via cycling. The UK with its many contrasting landscapes, scenery and ever changing environment makes for an interesting place to explore by cycle. Cycling around the UK offers travellers a way of keeping fit and healthy along with helping the environment by using sustainable travel & transport. The cycling travellers tips guide highlights useful practical cycling tips for travellers, bicycle hiring & cost and further information on safety and other cycling related considerations.


Travellers Tips - Cycling in the UK

Using Bicycles On Public Transport
Cycle Routes
Hiring & Cost
Barclays Cycle Hire
Cycling Safety Tips & Advice



Using Bicycles On Public Transport

When touring the UK there may be times when you need to combine cycling with using other forms of public transport to get to your destination or you may need to take break from cycling and use public transport too. Below are useful tips and consideration when using bicycles on public transport:

Buses:

Currently buses are not especially well designed to carry bicycles, some buses allow folder bicycles on board usually at the discretion of the driver. It is unlikely you will be allowed a non folding bicycle on board or during busy times.


Train:

The majority of train companies allow you to carry bikes on the train carriages but usually only a certain number can be carried. Some companies operate a first come first serve policy to use up the allocated number of places, if you are unfortunate and come after the allocation is reached you may not be allowed to carry your bike on the train. Other companies offer the chance to book your bike on the train in advance, this is preferable if available as your place is booked & not left to chance. With the many train companies currently running trains on the UK's railways there are varying rules so it is best to check with the rail operator and double check the booking rules.

Most of the time you are unlikely to be charged to carry your bike on the train but over longer routes they may incur a cost.


Tube (Underground):

London Underground allows bicycles on to carriages without charge at stations that are above ground level (open stations). For the majority of the tube network that is underground, you are not allowed to take a bike here. There are also restrictions on the timings when you can carry a bike, during 07.30 to 09.30 and 16.00-19.00 Monday to Friday (peak rush hours) you cannot carry a bike on to the network. Other restrictions include not taking bikes on moving escalators & certain tube lines namely the Victoria Line & the Waterloo & City Line. You can take a bike on the Bakerloo, Central, Jubilee, Northern & Piccadilly lines at certain times & between certain stations.

Currently the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) & Trams do not allow bicycles to be taken onboard.

For a list of Bike Parking Stations please see:

Bike Parking At Stations


Cycle Routes

Cycle networks offer cyclists a fun way to see the best scenery and landscapes in the UK. There are routes set that are mainly free of traffic, set in pleasant tranquil surroundings meaning you can enjoy a scenic trip. The largest cycling network in the UK is the Cyclists' Touring Club, they organise many events for cyclists and also provide a wide range of routes taking you all across the UK, for more information on the club and the routes please see: Cyclists' Touring Club

The National Cycle Network is another cycling network, it offers a wide array of routes for both cyclists and walkers. There are routes in towns & cities in addition to routes in more rural locations including villages and small towns full of character. The organisation aims to promote sustainable transport and supports ways to improve health along with benefiting the environment. For further information please see: Sustrans.


Hiring & Cost

Hiring a bicycle in the UK means being able to tour around the UK without having to bring your own bicycle with you. With many cycle hire companies across the UK there are plenty of offers from bike hire companies where travellers can get a good deal on bike hire.

The cost to hire a bike can vary depending on the type you hire, however average cost is around £50 to £70 for a one month hire. You should be aware of different rules bike hire companies may have such as varying minimum periods you need to hire the bike for and refundable deposits. If you damage the bike you are likely to have to pay for the cost of the repairs so it pays to be careful when using them. If you are hiring more than one bike or are in a family or group there are good value discounts available.


Barclays Cycle Hire

The Barclays Cycle Hire scheme is offers cycle hire at a number of locations in central London and close by. There are two options available for use, either as a member of the scheme or in a casual way where you pay when you want to use it.

The first 30 minutes use are free with then the next 30 minutes are £1 and then the costs are progressively more expensive, the scheme is designed for short journeys. The bicycles are available at docking stations across central London and can be returned to back to any docking station.

The scheme offers visitors an alternative way of seeing London and getting around the city, for more information please see:

Barclays Cycle Hire


Cycling Safety Tips & Advice

If you are going to use the bicycle in conjunction with public transport hire a bicycle that is folding.

Ensure your bicycle is in good working order, check the tyres, brakes, gears & overall condition before you begin your journey.

Make sure you have a fully charged mobile phone that works correctly and the appropriate numbers of people you can call if you need help.

Take enough money to ensure if you need help or can no longer cycle for any reason you have enough money for i.e. taxis

Make sure you cycle when you are feeling well, do not cycle when you are unwell, ill or on medication that could affect your judgement & cycling. This creates undue risk for you, pedestrians and other road users.

Ensure you wear a bicycle helmet & florescent & reflective clothing.

Try to minimise cycling at night, if you do be cautious & ensure you are very clearly viable to all road traffic.

Avoid cycling alone in isolated areas or areas with poor light & road conditions

Make sure your bicycle has front and rear lights and reflectors, this is a legal requirement and is very important for safety.

Ensure someone else has the route you will be taking & the approximate time you are likely to arrive. Leave a copy of your route map & contact details with a trusted family member or friend.

Obey the rules of the road.

Where there are cycle lanes use them.

Be alert of other road traffic, pedestrians and potential hazards. Anticipate dangers and be pro active in trying to minimise the chances of having an accident or being involved in one.

Ride carefully and do not take any unnecessary risks.

Give pedestrians priority at all times.

Signal clearly and in plenty of time to warn drivers you wish to turn either left or right.

If you feel you are in a situation that could be dangerous or confrontational, do not get involved in any arguments or confrontations. It is better to stay away & call for help should you need it.


Cycling in the UK can present a good alternative to using other forms of transport, it is a great way to see the UK with plenty to see & do along the way. For travellers wishing to tour around the UK on bicycle it can not only help keep you fit and help the environment, it offers an alternative way to enjoy your trip in the UK & leave you with great memories of your stay.



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