photo credit: Piccadilly Circus at Christmas, 2015 via photopin (license)

Want to start cycling in London and don’t know where to begin? This short guide will cover the basic things you need to consider to get started and unleash the fun and freedom of London cycling.

1. Your bicycle
The first thing you need to consider if you are to start cycling in London is what bike you’re going to ride. If you want to buy a new bike then London is full of options. Check out our Five questions to help you buy a bicycle before taking to the streets to ensure you make a wise decision. A cheaper option is to buy a second hand bike, or do up an old bike. Find qualified bike mechanics near where you live by searching the CycleFox website and finding local bike shops and mobile mechanics who can come to you to help you fix your bike up. If you’re interested in fixing the bike yourself then check out the CycleFox blog over the coming weeks as we post more bicycle maintenance advice. Another option, while you’re just beginning to start cycling in London, is to hire a bike. Try one of the Barclays bikes that have docking stations across the city and cost as little as £2 per hour, or organise a more long-term hire with an organisation such as The London Bicycle Tour Company.

2. Riding safely
Before taking to London’s roads make sure you are a confident and competent cyclist. Most London boroughs offer free cycle training to residents which is a great opportunity to get some useful training. You can also search the CycleFox website for freelance cycle instructors working in your neighborhood who will offer bespoke cycle training to meet your needs. For further tips about riding safely when you start cycling in London check out our Smart cycling tips blog piece.

3. Finding your way around
There are many maps and resources available to you when you start cycling in London. Google Maps and City Mapper are great free apps to start on when you want advice about routes across the city. It’s also possible to order a free paper cycling map from Transport for London. In addition, there are a number of cycle tours available in the city, including I Bike London’s monthly ride. You can find out more information about routes in our London’s major cycling routes blog. It’s worth remembering that bikes are allowed on a number of public transport networks in the city, you can read more about when and where bikes are allowed in our Bikes on the tube blog.

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