If you have your own bicycle – or have access to one – cycling is a great way of getting around the area! If you’re a competent cyclist and have the right gear (don’t forget the all important helmet) then cycling in Kensington and Chelsea is a very quick and easy way of getting around, particularly if you use some of the quieter side-streets in the area.
There’s also a cycle path in Holland Park, and you can also cycle in sections of Kensington Gardens – just make sure you pay attention to any signs that state which areas are not open to cyclists. You will also notice special cycle lanes on certain roads and areas – unfortunately, these aren’t as commonplace as are perhaps necessary.
Since July 2010, London’s had its own cycle hire scheme which allows people to rent bikes from special docking stations for up to a maximum time limit of 24 hours. There’s many of these stations dotted all around London (and you can pick up a bike from one and drop it off at another). You will need to pay an access fee of £2 (per day) and then a hire fee on top of that. This hire fee depends on how long you take the bike for – 30 minutes hire is free; up to one hour is £1, £4 for 90 minutes, £6 for two hours right up to the maximum of £50 for 24 hours. Full details about how to hire a bike and the costs can be found from the Barclays Cycle Hire website.
The whole point of this scheme, however, is to use it for short periods of time. So if you hire multiple bikes in one day, but use each for only 29 minutes, you would only pay the £2 daily access fee.
I have sometimes seen Barclays Bikes ‘parked’ up outside parks/shops/pubs etc whilst the owners are off doing something else – but DON’T DO THIS! Just dock the bike at a station and get another one later. It’s just costing you money if you do this, and you’re not even using the bike! And – more t0 the point – someone could steal the bike (as they obviously don’t come a chain), which might leave you liable.
There are many cycle hire docking stations in Kensington & Chelsea, so the cycle hire scheme may well be come very popular – and very useful – in the Borough! Here is a list of some of the stations:
in Kensington and W8
in Notting Hill and W11
in Earls Court and SW5
in South Kensington and SW7
in Chelsea and SW3/SW10
If you have a smartphone, it’s a good idea to download the (free) Barclays Cycle Hire app. This will show you the nearest docking stations to you once you’re out and about – and will even show you if there’s space to leave a bike.
Bikeminded is a scheme by the local council to encourage those living and working in the Borough to get on their bikes. There’s many useful hints and tips on cycling – including for those that are just starting out – on their website. They also host frequent cycling events, so make sure you check these out too!