Traffic Free / Off Road Cycling in South East England
Bikes on Tubes and Trains
Updated : June 2016
Its easily possible to take your bike to/from the start and finish of all these rides by trains. But, if you drive to a ride, do check that the start/finish stations are on the same line
- You can take bikes on 'overground' parts of the tube network except during the Mon-Fri rush hour
- You can take bikes on trains except during the Mon-Fri rush hour (to London am, from London pm)
- Usually only a few bike spaces per train, and some Intercity trains need reservations - see below.
- Use the London Connections and South East England rail maps to help plan your journey
TFL / London - Where can you take a bike?
- Bikes can be taken on 'overground' Tubes, TFL Rail and the DLR (except Bank) outside of rush hour
- Rush hours are 0730-0930, 1600-1900 Mon-Fri
- The District, Circle, and East London lines count as 'overground' (also OK is 'Thameslink' and the Kensington Olympia rail lines))
- Map of which tubes allow bikes
- Bikes can be taken on National Rail, except Mon-Fri during the morning peak (to London) and evening peak (from London).
- Bikes can not be taken on trams, buses or the deep underground parts of the tube network
- There are seperate rules for folding bikes.
- See tfl.gov.uk/modes/cycling/cycling-in-london/bikes-on-public-transport
National Rail - Where can you take a bike?
- Bikes can be taken on trains outside the rush hour peak (to London am, from London pm, from Brighton pm), and at weekends
- Only in the approved vestibule area on trains - cycles must not obstruct doors or aisles.
- most trains : each 3 to 5 coach section of the train has a bicycle / wheelchair area for 2 or 3 cycles.
- some intercity trains have just 1 or 2 bike places - usually requiring (free) reservations
- some older local / stopping trains have large double door vesibules, each of which can (unofficially) take a bike, if you stay with it (to move it at each stop)
- Not suitable for cycling clubs or groups - only about 6 or so bike spaces per train.
- In practise I often see small groups on trains at the weekends (or lots of individuals), and if you go out of your way to move your bike out of people's way, the guard may turn a blind eye.
- Bikes are not allowed on trains at organised cycling events. e.g. during the London to Brighton bike ride, they are banned for the whole weekend
- Reservations advised/required on these trains as they only have a few bikes spaces
- Intercity trains from Paddington
- Liverpool Street - Intercity trains to Ipswich - reservation required, but includes free breakdown and rescue cover!
- Waterloo - Salisbury line (only)
- Intercity from Euston / Kings Cross (i.e. not regional trains)
- See National Rail Cycle Leaflet, and the individual train company websites
How to get your bike to, or between, London mainline train stations
You can cycle - with 'Boris bikes', and all his cycle super-highway improvements, there are a lot more cyclists about, but please, cycle defensively at junctions ....
But if you have a long ride ahead, or you live in outer London, the following may be useful:
- Thameslink goes from St Pancras - Farringdon - Blackfriars - London Bridge / South London and Wimbledon
- The Watford - Harrow - Kensington Olympia - Clapham Junction - East Croydon line
- The East London line
- The District Line links many central London stations
- The North London line
You may be able to plan your rail journey to avoid London - check the London Connection map - link above. e.g. if you live in South London, trains go from Clapham Junction to Reading, avoiding the need to cross London to Paddington.
- If your train ticket is to "London Stations", its to any London mainline station (except City Thameslink and Farringdon)
- e.g. if your train arrives at Waterloo, your can continue to Waterloo East, then take a train to Charing Cross or to London Bridge, and from LB to Cannon Street.
- If your ticket is across London, it includes a tube journey between any 2 tube stations with main train station connections, and the Thameslink line.
- e.g. if you arrive at Waterloo, you could ride to Blackfriars, and catch a train to St Pancras
- e.g. if you arrive at Waterloo, you could take your bike on the train to Charring Cross, then take the Circle/District Line to St Pancras
You live near Wimbledon and want to cycle the Lea Valley Path
- Buy a return from Wimbledon to Hertford
- Cycle to Wimbledon Station. On a weekday, catch a 10am train. On weekends, get an early train before its busy.
- Transfer from Waterloo to Waterloo East, and go 1 stop to London Bridge.
- Ride over London Bridge, or walk if you're nervous. Its not far to Liverpool Street.
- Go 1 stop by train to Bethnal Green. You're not far from the navigation. Cycle south, down to the River to start
- Cycle north to Heretford
- On the way home, either catch the train back to Liverpool Street, and walk/ride to London Bridge
- Or take the other line, from Heretford to Kings Cross. Then transfer to St Pancras next door, from where there are Thameslink trains to Wimbledon