Published: 1st JANUARY 2024

Get started on London’s National Cycle Network

If you’re new to walking, wheeling or cycling in London, our tips and information will help you get started. Find out how to get a bike, find a group to cycle or walk with, where to have great family-friendly and accessible adventures and lots more.

A group of people smiling as they cycle through a park in London, surrounded by trees.

Sociable cycling groups are a great way to meet new people, get advice and support, and find new places to go.

Get started cycling in London 

Our handy guide to Cycling for beginners is packed with useful advice on how to get started with cycling.

Many London Boroughs offer help to residents to start cycling.

Often this includes cycle hire, free cycle training, cycle maintenance and cycle parking. Some also give local route suggestions. To find out more head to your Borough’s website.  

Transport for London’s website includes information on how to access free cycle training, and ideas of more routes to explore. 

The RideLondon Freecycle is a free annual event in May.

A circuit of streets in central London is closed to traffic and open to all ages and abilities to explore central London by bike. 

Looking for a group to cycle with? 

JoyRiders introduces women who are cycling beginners to the joy and freedom of riding a bike. They have a number of active groups around London. 

Cycle Sisters help Muslim women start cycling in supportive and sociable groups. They have lots of active groups around London. 

British Cycling runs volunteer-led rides and has social cycling groups all over the UK, including beginners rides and ‘Breeze’ women-only rides.   

The London Cycling Campaign (LCC) campaign on local issues and help people start cycling. They have local groups in boroughs all over London.   

Search for cycling groups on local social media pages and your borough’s website to find more social and family cycling groups near you.  

Woman cycling on a Santander bike through Victoria Park in Hackney, London.

No bike? No problem. Hire a Santander cycle in central London and start exploring.

Where to hire a bike in London 

Local hire schemes are operated by boroughs, cycle hubs and bike shops around London.  

Look at your borough’s website or search for cycle hire in your area to find out what is on offer near you. 

Santander Cycles is operated by Transport for London across central London. Find out how and where you can hire a bike at the Santander Cycles webpage 

Brompton bike hire operates docks at locations around London. 

Dockless cycle and dockless e-bike schemes are also available to hire in London. Operators include Jump, Lime, Beryl and Freebike.

Two men chatting together as they walk along a traffic-free National Cycle Network route in Beckton, London surrounded by green grass and trees.

Did you know most people who use the National Cycle Network are on foot? Use our routes to find great places to walk near you.

Walking in London

Most of London’s National Cycle Network routes are on traffic-free paths in green spaces.

They make great signposted walking routes so you can explore London on foot.  

Transport for London’s website includes detailed information on the seven waymarked ‘Walk London’ routes which total nearly 400 miles.

You can also find free Footways maps – colourful guides to help you explore London’s quiet and interesting streets. 

Search your borough’s website and local social media pages to find local route ideas and social walking groups near you. 

Local London Ramblers groups lead around 20 group walks each week across London – use their walks finder to find a walk near you. 

The London branch of the Long-Distance Walkers Association organises longer group walks and promotes longer walking routes.


Wheeling and accessibility

Our Wheeling and accessibility on London’s National Cycle Network page is full of ideas for safe, family-friendly places for adventures as you all gain confidence. 

Boy in t shirt, jeans and helmet riding blue scooter with man riding black scooter through park

Fun for families

Find useful tips for family walking, wheeling and cycling on our ‘get active’ pages 

Do you have smaller children learning to cycle or do you use a trailer or cargo bike?

The ‘wheeling’ section on our Wheeling and accessibility on London’s National Cycle Network page is full of ideas for safe, family-friendly places for adventures as you all gain confidence. 

Some of our London route pages include ideas for ‘local loops’.

These short circular routes have been picked out by Sustrans experts to be suitable for families and for all-ability wheeling adventures. 

To challenge older children while staying mainly on off-road routes try our recommended ‘Best routes in London’.

A man jogging on a traffic-free National Cycle Network route surrounded by luscious green grass and trees.

Running on London’s National Cycle Network

London’s National Cycle Network routes are also great to explore on the run. 

If you run with a buggy or have young children cycling with you, look at our Wheeling recommendations and Local Loops for traffic-free inspiration. 

Search for running groups on local social media pages to find groups near you.

Search British Athletics ‘find a club’ to find running clubs near you. 

Get started with NHS Couch to 5k - a 9 week running plan for beginners.   

There are over 50 free weekly parkrun 5k community runs in London, taking place at 9 am every Saturday, and over 35 2km junior parkrun events at 9 am on Sundays.

Many are on the National Cycle Network, runners, volunteers and cheerers are always welcome. 

London’s network of waymarked walking routes has hundreds of more miles to explore.

Our London route pages tell you which links to each of our routes.  

A person in white jacket carrying Brompton bike onto a train


Getting there by public transport  

London’s extensive public transport network can help you explore National Cycle Network routes. 

Folded cycles can be taken anywhere, at any time on all Transport for London (TfL) services. 

Some rail, tube, Docklands Light Railway (DLR), cable car and river services will allow non-folded cycles.  TfL’s webpage Cycles on public transport tells you when and where you can do this. 

TfL’s webpage on Transport accessibility includes information on step-free access and accessible transport services. 


Ready to get started on the National Cycle Network in London? Find a route near you. 


Find out more about the National Cycle Network in London.

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Find out more about the National Cycle Network in London