Santander Cycles is the London cycle hire scheme for short journeys around London. You may hear it being called Boris Bikes and is named after ex-mayor Boris Johnson who brought the successful idea to London.
You can find the bikes all over central London (Zone 1) and in some areas in Zone 2. You need to pay a £2 access fee for each 24 hour period, or £90 for a full year, after which the first 30 minutes of riding are free, and it costs a further £2 for every 30 minutes over the first free 30 minutes. You can hire the bike as many times as you want within your 24 hour period, with the first 30 minutes of each journey being free. Full and updated costs here.
Remember to return the bike, if you do not return it or damage the bike, there is a £300 fine. Also, the bike is your responsibility and it does not come with a lock, so ensure you don’t leave it unattended.
To check the real-time availability of bikes and docking stations, you can check this map. Remember, you will need to have an empty space to dock your bike at the end of your journey, although don’t worry, if your chosen station is full, you just need to go to the automated machine, identify yourself and your ill be given an extra 15 minutes free to find another station. The display will show you your nearest empty stations.
Maps, Routes and Bike Tours
If you are looking for recommendations on routes within London, or would like a guided tour of the city on a bike, you can find more information here.
London has a series of Cycle Superhighways, these are dedicated routes for cycling throughout the city and in some areas are painted blue. You can find more information here.
Please note, riding a bike on the road can be dangerous, and technically you are not allowed to ride on the pavement, although the bikes do not come with a helmet, and there is no legal requirement to wear one, we would still recommend you wear one, and stay safe, wherever possible staying within designated cycle lanes.