Photo credit: Multiple Ways of Transportation via photopin (license)

In London the best ways to get around quickly and in an environmentally friendly way are to cycle or get the tube. But can these two options go hand-in-hand? When and where can you take bikes on the tube?

If you have a folding bike (such as a Brompton) then you can take your bike on any public transport in London at any time. However, if you have a non-folding bike then the rules are slightly more complicated.

The majority of the tube network allows bikes, but only outside of peak times. London Underground publishes an extremely useful map called Bicycle tube map showing exactly where bikes can be taken. You cannot take cycles on moving escalators at any underground station, so if you’re planning a journey that takes bikes on the tube then it is worth doing a bit of planning beforehand.

Peak times are generally defined as 07.30-09.30 and 16.00-19.00 weekdays. During peak times most public transport will not allow non-folded bikes. London Overground Network and the Docklands Light Railway only allow non-folding bikes onboard outside of peak times.

However if Emirates Air Line and river services are part of your journey then you’re in luck. Emirates Air Line allows bicycles on at all times, and most river services (such as the Thames Clippers) allow up to ten bikes on at a time on a first come first serve basis. This is the opposite of the London buses, that will not let non-folding bikes on at any time.

If you’re leaving London and catching a train to somewhere else in the UK then be sure to check whether the train line you’re travelling with requires reserving a bicycle space. Most train lines such as Virgin and Southern will now not let bicycles onboard unless they have a reservation ticket.

Key things to know
You can take a folded bike on any of the London public transport networks at any time. So if you think your commute is going to regularly include cycling and public transport then it could be worth investing in a Brompton.

During peak times most of the public transport will not allow non-folded bikes onboard. Peak times are 07.30-09.30 and 16.00-19.00 weekdays.

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  • Rebecca Thomas On

    It’s also worth considering how many steps there might be to the platform at Overground stations you plan to use. I managed the steps down at Dalston with my (admittedly heavy!) e-bike but glad I came home another way. I live between Alexandra Park and New Southgate, but realise that Ally Pally station is slightly more bike friendly.

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