Renting a bike in London

Where to hire a bike in London

Its amazing how often I get asked the question:

“Where do I rent a bike in London?”

If it’s a motorbike then on erento. However, I’m guessing most people are referring to the human powered kind, with two pedals. Unless, you’ve been reading this bike blog for the past 2 years and thought that by “bike” I meant “motorbike”. In which case I apologise!

Anyway, in an attempt to help internet people out with their hunt for a good place to rent a bike in London, I’ll chime in.

Rent a cycle hire bike

Anyone who has dared to step out in to the great unknown, beyond their front door, will known that London is now littered with cycle hire bikes and docking stations. As long as you have a debit or credit card, with a chip and pin, you can rent a bike.

Unfortunately for American visitors with card that you swipe, that can be a pain, as you can’t rent a bike. Also, for any visitors to London: No, the Oyster card unfortunately doesn’t work on the cycle hire bike. Why? We have no idea either.

However, I’m assuming if you are here, then you are more interested in renting a “proper bike”.

Renting a “proper bike”

Your definition of “proper bike” is going to vary wildly. From Dutch style city bikes, to hybrids to road bikes. Fortunately, there’s a little something for everyone in London.

Rent a folding bike

Velorution (88 Great Portland Street, Marylebone, London, W1W 7NS)

Velorution rents out Bromptons for £20 per day.

Rent a hybrid or road bike

On Your Bike (52-54 Tooley Street, London Bridge, SE1 2SZ)

On your bike rents out hybrids and Trek road bikes. Road bikes can be rented for four days for £49.

Rent a single speed or fixie

Foffa (Unit 9 Pinchin Street, E1 1SA)

Foffa bikes will rent you a single speed or a fixie for around £30 per day so you can look fashionable around London.

Vintage bike rental in London

Tally Ho Cycle Tours (Near Waterloo Station)

These guys are expensive (£40 for the day) but they do rent vintage style bikes that are super cool and retro!

Rent an electric bike

Electric bike rentals (Axe and Bottle Court 70 Newcomen Street SE1 1YT)

Electric bike rental in London for £25 per day.

Rent a bike for your cycling event

City bike service (Arches 506-508 Fairchild Place, EC2A 3EN)

Hybrids, folding and racing bikes are available for just £15 per day. Great price!

Totally Bikes (7 Mount Close, Highclere, Newbury, Berks, RG20 9QT)

These guys are specifically geared for cycling events, and they can bring the bike to the starting line of your event. Note that this is expensive at over £50 for the weekend.

Rent pretty much any bike you can imagine

London Bicycle Tour Company (“The Wharf” 1a Gabriels Wharf, 56 Upper Ground, SE1 9PP)

You can rent mountain, hybrid, folding, tandem and city bikes from LBTC. The cost to rent the bike for an entire week is just £50. The day rate is £20. They also offer a very good bike repair service.

P.S. Once you’ve rented a bike you’ll probably want to discover some great places to cycle. Take a look here.

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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

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8 Responses to Renting a bike in London

  1. Sally Crawford 27/11/2012 at 11:58 am #

    How about renting a cargo bike for trips to the shops?

    • Andreas 27/11/2012 at 2:16 pm #

      Good question Sally – you may wish to try:
      Carry Me Bikes Hackney – carryme.org.uk – I don’t know of any others but perhaps someone else can chime in.

      • Sally Crawford 28/11/2012 at 9:11 am #

        Thanks, A ndreas,

        I’d really love London to have a rent-a-cargo-bike scheme – and will try carry Me Bikes Hackney to see if they can help.

        x x

  2. Will 27/11/2012 at 4:14 pm #

    Boris bikes don’t work with Oyster cards because of the requirement of being able to charge up to £300 should you damage or fail to return the bike.

    Oyster card usage would make it all too easy to steal them unless the Oyster card had to be linked to a verified address and bank account/card in the same way the keys are at the moment. This would still be no help to tourists though and would add to the confusion with some Oyster cards working and some not.

    A better solution would be for TfL to figure out some way of making the keys available to those without a UK address but again this is not as simple as it may seem

    • Andreas 27/11/2012 at 4:44 pm #

      Hey Will – thanks for clarifying with regards to the reasons Oyster cards were not used. That’s useful to know in future.

  3. barton 30/11/2012 at 2:07 pm #

    I had the issue of not being able to get a Boris Bike in London b/c of being an American. So annoying, our swipe cards. Can’t use them at (most) underground kiosks, cafe waiters glare at you b/c it isn’t what they expected, etc.

    However, the hotel I stayed at last time in London “acquired” a Boris Bike for me, and then just added the charges to my hotel bill. That was rather full-service, IMO, and made tooling around the canals/Regent’s Park quite fun. (must admit that I hated the bike, being used to road and hybrids, the “upright” thing wsa just…weird).

    Thanks for this list. I will be keeping it handy for my next trip to London, where I hope to get out into the countryside for a few rides over a weekend.

  4. Richard 01/12/2012 at 3:09 pm #

    For tours check out The Fat Tyre Tours, http://fattirebiketours.com been with them a few times in Berlin & London, fun way to see the sights on American ‘cruiser’ style bikes

  5. Roman 20/02/2014 at 12:49 am #

    Get in touch with London Green Cycles near Regents park, there’s a fleet of 6 Christiania tricycles available for hire.

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