London Cycle Hire Scheme

Editorial by RL Policar: “Recently my cousin Carmelo “Mac” Tolentino was in London and took advantage of the the wonderful London Cycle Hire Scheme.

He was kind enough to document his experience so he can share it with our readership. Check it out!”

I tried the London Cycle Hire Scheme yesterday. I was with my Greek classmate. Prior to this, the scheme is for members only. Just recently they opened it to everyone. Now its available for casual users like me. All you need to have is a chip and pin type debit/credit card. You just go to any of the Barclays Cycle Hire docking stations and there is a ticketing machine.
London Cycling Scheme

You first need to buy an access. This is done by inserting your card on the machine. It will charge you £1 if you choose access for 24 hrs or £5 for a week’s worth of access. I think you can buy access for up to 4 bikes at a time. Once you have purchased the access you can be issued a release code for the bikes. You choose a bike parked in the docking stations and just encode the release code given to you. The light will turn green in the docking point and you can now take the bike.
London Cycling Scheme
You can now begin cycling. There are rental rates for the bike depending on how long you intend to use it. I took a photo of the tariff rates. Up to 30 minutes is free and up to 1 hr is £1 and so on. It will be charged to your debit/credit card. There are hundreds of docking stations scattered all over London and you can return the bike to any of those docking points. If you don’t exceed 30 mins then your journey is free. So basically you only paid £1 for the use of the bike. Now when you docked your bike , you have to wait at least 10 minutes before you request for a new release code.
London Cycling Scheme

This is quite nice because if want to go around London for sightseeing. You can get a bike then go to whatever place you want to go. Say for example, Trafalgar Square. You can dock your bike and go on do some photo ops.
London Cycling Scheme

London Cycling Scheme
After that you can go back and get a new release code and get a new bike to use for your next destination. As long as you don’t exceed 30 minutes then you don’t get charged at all. So if you manage your trips accordingly you can go around the entire city for just £1 and be healthy and eco friendly at the same time. I really loved this experience and I would like to do it every time I visit London (weather permitting). The city is bike friendly so they have designated cycling lanes and drivers are well aware of cyclists.
London Cycling Scheme

Heres the official link of the cycle hire scheme:


  1. Ryan

    We just got summa these outside James Stukel Towers, my dorm at University of Illinois – Chicago. I ride everywhere in the city, so was happy to see them.. hopefully they will inspire someone who doesn’t always ride to realize the beauty of cruising the city under their own power.

  2. Ghost Rider

    This setup, like Velib in Paris and some of the ones here in the U.S. actually encourages short-hop bike uses with their “less than 30 minutes and it’s free” fee structure. Bravo!

    Going from point to point in just a few minutes in a big city is pretty easy to do with a map and a little planning, and one is more likely to see things that a “typical” tourist will not.

  3. Ben

    Sounds like the same setup as Capital Bikeshare in Washington D.C. Same fee structure, heck even the bikes look the same.

    Glad to see this coming to more cities, hope it takes off in London.

  4. Elizabeth

    @ Ryan, I’ve heard that the UIC bike share plan only goes until early May:

    I’d be interested to hear more about your take on this bike share program – are students, staff, faculty using the the bikes? Are they cost effective? What’s your opinion of the bikes and of the payment method? Have you tried them out – just for kicks? 😉

    I read in a UIC Sustainability blog:

    To check out bikes, students, faculty, and the public can register at or just use a credit card at the B-stations. The cost is $25 per semester, the first 2 hours of each trip are included, but if you use the bike longer than 2 hours it will cost an additional $2.50 per half hour.

    The UIC Bike Sharing project was inspired by Mayor Daley’s request to get the university campuses in Chicago networked with bike share kiosks.

  5. Pelle

    You´re welcome to Stockholm as well. We have ahd these bikes for ive years and their numbers grow each year. Many of them are used by local residents, instead of owning a bike.

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