10 Must-Dos in London

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10 Must-Dos in London

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London: Cycling in London

London: Cycling in London

Source: TfL
One of the cheapest and best ways to get around London is on a bike. Cycling has become a huge phenomenon in London over the past 10 years, and many commuters now use it as their main form of travel.

Cycling is allowed on all public roads unless stated otherwise. You may not ride on the pavement, and some parks have specially designated cycle lanes – you must not ride outside these lanes. In the UK, wearing a helmet is not legally required but we strongly recommend it.

Santander Cycles

London’s public bike hire scheme is Santander Cycles. The bikes are also commonly called ‘Boris Bikes’ after the then Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who introduced for the scheme.

The scheme has 11,500 bicycles for hire and there are 750 docking stations, each with many spaces to get or drop off a bike.

How do I use the Santander Cycle Hire in London?

You simply walk up to any cycle docking station with an available bike (located every 300m to 500m), insert your credit or debit card into the payment terminal and select the number of bikes you would like to hire. Your receipt will contain a codem tap this into one of the keypads next to the bikes and it will be released. Simply ride around and then return the bike to any docking point around the city.

Note that Oyster Cards are not connected to this Cycle Hire scheme and cannot be used - either can contactless payments. You must use a debit or credit card, therefore cycle Hire use does not count to the daily or weekly travel cap.

How much do Santander Cycle Hire Bikes cost to use?

Source: TfL
The scheme offers good value for money for those who use it right. Fees are split into two parts: an access charge and a journey charge. The daily access price is £2 for a 24-hour pass. The access charge allows you to make as many journeys as you wish, each lasting 30 minutes or less, during the 24-hour period with no extra fee to pay. If you make a journey over 30 minutes, there is an additional journey charge of £2 per 30 minutes.

The idea is that you use the bike to go between places and not to continuously ride around all day. This ensures that there are always bikes in circulation. If you have a journey that is longer than 30 minutes (unlikely if you are just sightseeing), then you can split your journey before you get to the 30-minute mark and wait five minutes between hires to avoid this extra charge.

What if there are no free spaces then returning a bike?

When returning a bike, if you reach a docking station with no free bike spaces, simply go to the terminal at the docking station and tap the button that says “No docking point free”. Follow the on-screen instructions. This will tell you where there are free spaces nearby, and grant you 15 extra minutes to make this journey.

For visitors to the city who want to keep fit and save money, whilst also getting around relatively quickly, this scheme is perfect. The bikes are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Get the official smartphone app to see the availability and location of docking stations updated in real time.

Cycle Lanes and Cycle Superhighways

As cycling has become so popular in recent years, cycle lanes have become increasingly common in London, particularly in the central area. When a cycle lane is available, cyclists should stick to it, as it is usually the safest option. Cycle lanes are commonly located next to bus lanes, and cyclists should be particularly wary of left-turning traffic when riding.

The city is also building and upgrading London Cycle Superhighways. Older versions share the road space with existing vehicles with a bike lane painted onto the road; newer Superhighways are completely segregated from traffic with a dedicated cycling area. These separated schemes should make cycling in these areas much safer and more pleasant.

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