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Choosing a Bike

Don't have a bike? Take a look at some of the options available from bike hire, to try before you buy and UCL's tax-free cycle scheme.

Types of Bikes

Hybrid Bikes: Generally hybrid bikes are good for new cyclists, they are comfy and upright so that you can easily see traffic, and you are unlikely to get a puncture.  They also allow you to have a rack on the back or a basket on the front for your bag. This type of bike is good for cycling in your work clothes.

Racing Bikes: Racing bikes are also popular for London commutes. They are lighter and so allow you to go faster. 

Electric Bikes: Typically electric bikes are more expensive, but if you’ve got a hilly or long commute, you might find they are a good option. These bikes have batteries that last from 30 miles all the way up 100 miles, meaning they are a viable option for commutes over 15 miles. 

Specialist Bikes: There are many bikes available for people with disabilities. Check out Cycling UK's guide on adapted cycles for inclusive cycling.

A bike shop can advise you on the correct frame size and help you select a bike to suit your budget and the type of cycling clothes you may want to wear.  

Buying a Bike

Sustainable UCL Bike Sales: Check our event pages for second-hand bike sales throughout the academic year. 

Bike to Work Scheme: Staff can purchase a bike at a discount through UCL’s cycle scheme. Staff can spend up to £5,000 on a bicycle/electric bicycle and benefit from a tax-free salary sacrifice in monthly payments resulting in 20-40% reduced costs.

Buy Second-hand: Second-hand bike cost in the range of £70-£200. Your smaller independent bike shops are best; you’ll get to know your local maintenance team and they may even give a few discounts down the line. For tips on buying a second hand bike see Cycling Weekly or London Cycling Campaign.

Test before you Buy

If you’d like to try out cycling before purchasing a bike, you can loan one from Camden Council or your local council. Camden Council offer a 4-week free bicycle loan, but you can also check with your local authority if they have a similar scheme, so that you can collect a bike nearer to your home. The greatest advantage of this scheme, is if you don’t like the bike you can take it back, and if you do like it, you can buy it from the council at a cheaper rate. 

Bike hire: Pay as you go

If you are not going to cycle frequently or want to try cycling before committing to buying your own bicycle, there are a number of bike hiring opportunities across London

  • Santander cycles: Operated by Transport for London, this bike loan scheme allows you to claim and return your bike from docking stations across London.
  • Wheels for Wellbeing hire adaptive bikes to people living in South London.
  • JumpLime and FreeBike offer electric dock-less bike loan schemes, and Beryl is a non-electric version. Like Santander cycles, users pay for distance/time used.  However, in most areas you do not need to dock them at a station - make sure you park them carefully on the pavement to avoid creating obstacles for pedestrians.