5 Things to Know About Cycling in London

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5 Things to Know About Cycling in London

If you find that London hotel deals make it impossible to resist a stay in a budget hotel near Heathrow Airport, then you will likely also struggle to resist a trip from your accommodation near Heathrow Airport to the heart of the British capital. If the weather is right, there is nothing quite like trading in the London underground or the buses for the freedom of cycling. Here are 5 things you will need to know when cycling around London so that you get back to your Best Western Plus Park Grand London Heathrow hotel room in tip-top shape.

Santander Cycles

One of the options for cycling in London is the Transport for London endorsed Santander Cycles. While a number of bike hire shops across the city may be tempting, the appeal of the Santander Cycles is the price and the accessibility.

You can find yourself a Santander bike from one of the 800 docking stations around London – there are over 12,000 bikes spread between these, so it is unlikely you will find yourself without a bike! A half-hour session costs £1.65 and is then £1.65 for every additional half hour – this is valid for 24 consecutive hours. You do not need to return the bike within those 24 hours, but you can also dock up and collect a new bike later in the day rather than plan your activities around looking after your bike. 

Top tip: You wouldn’t turn up to accommodation near Heathrow Airport without first checking the London hotel deals online, so why turn up to a bike docking station without knowing there is one ready for you? By downloading the Santander Cycles app, you are able to do everything on your device and walk straight up to a bike, rather than waiting in a queue at the terminal. 

Uber bikes

It’s 2022. Uber, like Best Western Plus Park Grand London Heathrow, are household names for frequent travelers to London. But not everyone realizes that as well as riverboat options and taxis, Uber has an option for electric bike sharing. It is a simple process: you download the Uber app if you don’t already have it and select the “2 wheels” option. You will be presented with a range of either bikes or scooters near you. Head to the location of the bike on the map and look for the barcode. Now, all that is left to do is click “scan to ride” on the Uber app, scan the barcode and… ride. Once you have had enough, all you need to do is lock the bike using the cable lock on the back wheel and and park it in the correct area shown on the app. It is now ready for the next Uber user to collect, assuming you don’t get back to it first!

Private hire

There are a number of other time-limited options like Santander and Uber, some of which include Lime Bikes, TIER, HumanForest, Swapfiets, Dott, and more. However, if you were able to book a longer stay on account of the great prices at budget hotels near Heathrow Airport, you may be more inclined to hire a bike for the day for a set price – though it is important to remember that there are additional responsibilities if you choose this option. If this is your preference, some options include Brompton Bike Hire, a 24 hour hire service for as little as £5 per day, with the additional bonus of lockers around the city; Pedal A Bike Away, which requires pre-booking but is reliable and well-priced; Donkey Republic, conveniently located near the South Bank and many more. If you are looking to stick close to your hotel, chat to the concierge as they may be able to direct you to a local service. 

The laws

There are a number of laws relating to cycling in London, but here are a couple of the most important ones. Most importantly, you must cycle on the left-hand side of the road, just like the cars do – this is helpful to remember because if you are ever unsure, just make sure you are always going in the same direction as the traffic on your side of the road. It is not a legal requirement to use the cycle lanes provided, but that only means that you are therefore allowed to cycle in the road with the cars. Bikes are considered vehicles under British law, so it is therefore illegal to ride a bike on a pavement. This is not necessarily strictly adhered to in London, but is valuable to know and follow for not just your own but everyone’s safety. In line with this legal definition of a vehicle, it is also illegal to cycle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 

Cycles on the tube

Cycling is a wonderful alternative to other forms of public transport like the tube, but there will be times when you need to take your bike on the tube with you if you are not in a position to cycle it, especially if you have opted for a longer term rental rather than one which can be docked when you are finished. You are allowed folded cycles anywhere, at any time and on all transport services. For non-folded cycles, these can go on the tube on some services at specific times. From Monday to Friday, you can take them before 07:30, between 09:30 and 16:00, and after 19:00 (or anytime on weekends and bank holidays). This, however, is limited to certain stations, which include:

  • Bakerloo: Between Queen’s Park and Harrow & Wealdstone
  • Central: Between Leyton, Epping and Newbury Park (via Hainault only) or between White City, Ealing Broadway and West Ruislip 
  • Circle, District, Metropolitan and Hammersmith & City: Anywhere
  • Jubilee: Between Stratford and Canning Town or between Finchley Road and Stanmore 
  • Northern: Between Golders Green and Hendon Central, between Colindale and Edgware, or between East Finchley, Mill Hill East and High Barnet
  • Piccadilly: Between Oakwood and Cockfosters, or between Barons Court, Hounslow West and Uxbridge