New Cyclists

If you’re new to cycling in London, here are some tips to make life easier.

London Cycling Campaign's Routefinder is specially tailored to cycle journeys. It has a quiet route option. Transport for London used to distribute free maps showing cycle routes, but stopped in September 2018.

We highly recommend Ealing Council's cycle training. It's free and you get up to four hours of tuition a year. Even experienced cyclists will learn something new. To find out more, call  0845 652 0421, visit the council's cycling page  or book it here.  You can also pay for tuition. Search for local providers 

Keep your bike as near to your front door as possible. Lock it to an immovable object if entrances are shared, but don't block access for others. Locked away in a back shed is not ideal - by the time you get it out you could be half-way to the shops. Many people are now installing bike lockers in their front gardens.

On the first day allow twice as long as you expect. Although experienced cyclists average about 10 mph -  compared to 5 mph for some bus routes in the rush hour, and 7 mph for cars - don't expect to do this on your first day. Allow 10 to 15 minutes for every mile. This will give you time to take it easy, look for short cuts, and still get to work on time. By the end of the first week, your journey time should be about half that of the first day.

If you cycle at a moderate pace you can wear your everyday clothes without fear of breaking out in a sweat. Bicycles are efficient; for the same energy you would use walking you will travel faster and the breeze will cool you down. If you find yourself warming up, undo zips or remove an outer layer of clothing.

Park your bike in a well-lit, busy spot. Always lock it to something immovable, ideally a bike rack. Don't use thin cable locks; thieves can cut through them in seconds. Thick U-locks are better. Make sure you lock the frame - if you only lock a wheel, that's all the thief will leave you. If leaving your bike for any length of time, lock both wheels. Be aware that thieves can lift a bike and its lock over the short posts used for no parking signs. Don't leave your bicycle outside at night unless you absolutely have to. More advice here.

Sharing the Road
Breaking the rules of the road gives cyclists a bad name and makes it harder for us to persuade politicians to improve cycle facilities. Please observe the Highway Code. In particular watch out for pedestrians — you can hurt them, and yourself, in a collision. Leave plenty of space when passing parked cars to allow for people unexpectedly opening doors.

Think about your return journey before you set out, and take lights if you might be coming back in the dark. Don't leave lights on your bicycle when you park; they are easily stolen. 

Get insured 
The London Cycling Campaign offers free third-party insurance for members. For details visit the LCC web site