Start cycling

Guidance about safety and the rules of the road for new starters.

Cycling is a truly invigorating and liberating experience, enjoyed by people of all ages and from all walks of life.

Whether you’re cycling to work, to school, to the shops or just for fun, the humble bicycle is an easy way to get more active.

Regular cycling can reduce the risk of chronic illnesses, boost your mood and keep your weight under control.

We want to make cycling a safe and enjoyable experience in the borough, and provide you with tips on staying motivated.

Before you start

If you’re buying a second-hand bike or you have an old bike that’s been gathering dust, consider having it serviced at a specialist bike shop to ensure it’s roadworthy. This could save you a lot of anguish in the future.

If you’re buying a new bike, there are many models to choose from. The most popular bikes for riding on roads and hard tracks are called hybrids. If you want to go a little quicker, you will want a road bike, and finally, if you want a bike that can cope with off-road tracks you should consider a mountain bike.

A specialist bike shop will advise you on the correct frame size and help you select a bike to suit your budget and the type of cycling you want to do.

Find out if your workplace operates a cycle to work scheme. This is a more affordable way of buying a new bike and safety equipment.

There are many bikes available for people with disabilities.

Cycling safely

  • practise in a safe environment
  • wear a helmet
  • be seen and heard
  • check your bike
  • be alert and plan your route
  • always follow the Highway Code

If you haven’t cycled much before or you’re out of the habit of cycling, find yourself a traffic-free area to start off in, such as your local park.

Practise riding single-handed so you can make hand signals, and get comfortable looking over both shoulders to improve your visual awareness.

To help you learn to cycle with confidence, our teams of professional cycling instructors teach adults and families at all levels to cycle safely, confidently and enjoyably. 

What's more, the sessions are entirely free and you can use one of our bikes (or bring your own).

For beginner training and family sessions, visit the Bikeworks website.

For inidvidual training sessions, please contact our partners over at Cycle Confident.

We also offer free professional Dr Bike services so that you can get your bike fixed. Visit the Bikeworks website for details.

Before you start cycling in traffic, check the Highway Code for up-to-date rules and regulations for cyclists.

How much?

To see real health benefits, adults should do at least 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate intensity training each week.

For children and younger people, try to do at least an hour (60 minutes) of moderate to vigourous activity each week.

A 30-minute ride, where your breathing is quicker and deeper, will count towards your recommended weekly activity target.

If you’re just getting started, take it slowly and increase your cycle rides gradually. Any improvement on what you currently do is beneficial.

Staying motivated

The easiest way to ensure you cycle regularly is to use your bike as a means of everyday transport, to work or to school.

Travel planning or route planning tools:

We recommend that all children have some cycle training and we offer Bikeability training to all our children.

Join a bike ride

From charity rides to park cycles, signing up for a bike ride is a great way to stay motivated and experience the great outdoors. Join organised rides such as those at HFCycling.

A local branch of the London Cycling Campaign, the group organises FREE weekend bicycle rides to often under-discovered locations and scenery around London. Come and enjoy the ride – all welcome.

Try Before You Bike

Want to start cycling but don’t know where to start? Look no further – we’re here to help you fall in love with cycling.

Sometimes it’s all about getting the ball – or the bike – rolling. That’s why we’ve teamed up with circular economy business Peddle My Wheels to make cycling around H&F safe, affordable and accessible.

Try Before You Bike is a unique pay-as-go-you bike rental scheme designed to help local residents get on their bikes.

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