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Santander Cycles celebrates its eleventh birthday with record hires

Transport for London's (TfL's) cycle hire scheme has seen record hires in April and June so far this year, as part of a wider increase in cycling in the capital over the pandemic.

  • New weekly prize draw via the Santander Cycles app will offer one lucky rider free annual membership and five free drinks at Caffé Nero   
  • Weekly prize draw is the first of many planned upgrades and additions to the scheme which will help to boost use even further  
  • In May, Santander extended their sponsorship of TfL's flagship cycle hire scheme until 2025 and it was announced the scheme will be expanded and electrified over this time

TfL's pioneering cycle hire scheme marks its eleventh anniversary today, after an exciting year which has seen a record-breaking number of hires. In March, Santander Cycles reached a major milestone of 100 million hires and since then hires have soared in April and June.   

The anniversary is being marked with a new weekly prize draw for users of the Santander Cycles app, where a lucky rider a week will win free annual membership and five free drinks at Caffé Nero*. The prize draw will launch on the iOS and Android apps in the coming weeks. 

Daily hire figures have been very strong in the past year with 33 out of the 35 busiest days** for the scheme being since March 2020. The week commencing Monday 7 June 2021 saw 324,000 hires take place, averaging over 46,000 each day and making it the third busiest week since the scheme began. June 2021 saw 650,000 hires from members, the highest monthly volume ever. 

People have been using Santander Cycles for leisure and exercise rather than commuting over the last year as more people have been working from home. The docking stations around Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens have regularly been the busiest stations for hires and TfL and Santander are keen to highlight other great parks for cycling, such as Victoria Park and the Olympic Park where cycle hire is also available.   

The extension of Santander's sponsorship until May 2025 will support TfL as it moves forward with planned investment in cycle hire, ensuring the scheme continues to grow and encourage more Londoners to get cycling. TfL and Santander are committed to expanding the cycle hire scheme to new areas of London and are working closely with Southwark Council to add eight new docking stations across the borough next year.   

TfL and Santander are also working to introduce around 500 electric bikes into the scheme from next summer, helping to break down the barriers that stop some people from cycling, including fitness, age and journey length.   

TfL continues to support NHS staff and key workers by offering free access codes*** and a future discount is being developed as a continued show of appreciation. More than 125,000 free rides have been taken by NHS and key workers since the start of the pandemic. 

Will Norman, London's Walking & Cycling Commissioner, said:

“Happy 11th Birthday Santander Cycles. It is great to see the scheme continuing to go from strength to strength, with record hire levels this year. I'm delighted people are using the bikes to make journeys around their local area that they they previously would have done by car, as well as for exercise and commuting. We know that many people have taken up cycling for the first time or returned to it during the pandemic, and I hope the expansion of the scheme, and the exciting new prize draws, encourage even more people to get involved.”

David Eddington, TfL's Head of Cycle Hire, said:

“Over the past eleven years our cycle hire scheme has been at the heart of the cycling revolution in London, helping millions of Londoners commute to work, explore the capital and exercise. The past year has seen record breaking hire numbers, with the scheme reaching 100 million hires in March.   

“We hope our new app prize draw will encourage even more people to cycle and we're looking forward to introducing electric bikes and expanding our iconic cycle hire scheme in the coming years.”

Dan Sherwood, Director of Marketing at Santander UK, said:

“It's fantastic to celebrate the eleventh anniversary with some of the busiest days for hires in the scheme's history in recent months. We hope even more people take the opportunity to choose Santander Cycles as a sustainable way to get around London and enjoy the benefits of cycling this summer.”

Last year, TfL and Santander named bikes in honour of twelve dedicated cycle hire users to mark a successful decade of cycle hire in the capital. Emdad Rahman, from east London had a bike named after him and received free annual membership last July, after he used the cycle hire bikes almost every day since they launched in July 2010. His bike has been hired by more than 780 people between August 2020 and July 2021.   

Emdad Rahman, from east London, said:

“Santander Cycles have been such amazing support to me. I was already using the bicycles to do home visits and to drop off essentials to people in our neighbourhood. I continue to use the cycles almost every single day and they have been tremendous in helping me reach out with our community in terms of delivering items, reaching litter pick hotspots, transporting refuse bags, carrying out work related home visits.  

“As Team Captain at #bookbikelondon the cycles have been immense in helping me to deliver books to the vulnerable, needy, the isolated. In addition, I have adapted operations to include delivery of food parcels, milk, essentials, clothes and medicine. The Santander Cycles have assisted the elderly, infirm, those lacking mobility and the homeless. As a result I was chosen to feature in a filming shoot to capture what I do on using the Santander Cycles.  

“I am really hoping someone will sponsor me to continue using these cycles to assist me with my volunteering. Thank you TfL for such terrific support.”

Santander Cycles can be hired from as little as £2 a day for an unlimited number of 30-minute journeys. The free app is available on the iTunes and Android App Stores, searching for Santander Cycles. Using the app lets customers skip past the terminal and get release codes sent directly to their phone, so they can hire their cycle more quickly and easily.  

A thriving cycle hire scheme is essential to the Mayor's plans to make walking and cycling easier. TfL continues to work closely with local boroughs to create space for cycling across the city. This includes building a strategic network for cycling in London, transforming town centres and reducing traffic on residential streets. Since May 2020, more than 100km of new or upgraded cycle lanes have been built or are under construction, along with more than 22,500 square metres of extra pavement space reallocated for people walking. The measures mean people are increasingly using bikes to get around their local area and for exercise, with recent TfL data showing cycling has increased by 22 per cent in outer London compared to spring 2019, with a seven per cent rise in inner London. 

This continued investment in walking and cycling is also key to achieving the Mayor's Vision Zero goal of eradicating all deaths and serious injuries from London's roads by 2041. TfL's Safer Junctions programme is part of this work, making life-saving changes at some of the capital's most dangerous and intimidating junctions. TfL's world-first Direct Vision Standard, which reduces lethal blind spots on lorries, is also already helping to save lives and prevent life-changing injuries. The scheme requires owners of Heavy Good Vehicles (HGVs) weighing more than 12 tonnes to apply for a free permit that assigns vehicles a star rating based on how much the driver can see directly through their cab windows in order to be able to drive in London. Since its introduction, more than 70,000 HGVs have had safe systems fitted, improving protection for people walking, cycling or riding e-scooters or motorcycles and saving lives

Speed limits have also been reduced to 20mph on a number of TfL roads across the capital and TfL is currently consulting on reducing the speed limit on 13km of roads within Westminster.

To find the closest Santander Cycles docking station, visit

Notes to Editors:  

  1. The new London Riders weekly competition via the Santander Cycles app   
    • Customers who opt into the London Riders programme who hire a bike via the Santander Cycles app or membership key are entered into a prize draw each time they hire
    • One lucky winner each week will be crowned 'Rider of the Week'
    • The winner receives annual membership and five free drinks at Caffe Nero
    • Winners are encouraged to share their win via social media
    • Riders can also gain extra entries into Rider of the Week by completing additional challenges   
    • T&Cs apply   
  2. Top 20 daily hire figures   

Top hiring days

  Dates Hires
1 09/07/2015 (Tube strike day) 73,094
2 30/05/2020 70,170
3 25/05/2020 67,034
4 13/06/2020 65,045
5 20/06/2020 64,041
6 06/08/2015 (Tube strike day) 63,963
7 31/05/2020 63,116
8 14/06/2020 57,516
9 18/07/2020 56,654
10 24/05/2020 55,805
11 27/02/2021 52,468
12 25/06/2020 52,389
13 24/06/2020 52,131
14 19/09/2020 51,764
15 17/05/2020 51,422
16 11/07/2020 51,371
17 26/06/2020 50,978
18 30/03/2021 50,230
19 12/07/2020 49,653
20 01/08/2020 49,591


  1. The volume of NHS codes redeemed now stands at 109,934.  Total keyworker codes redeemed now stands at 17,103. 2,885 TfL operational keyworker codes have also been used

11 years of cycle hire in London:   

  • 30 July 2010 – Cycle hire is launched in the capital and 6.2m hires are made in the first 12 months of the scheme   
  • July 2012 – Almost 47,000 hires – the most in one day since the scheme launched   
  • December 2013 – Cycle hire extends east, west and south with the opening of 150 new docking stations, with new stations in Wandsworth, Hammersmith & Fulham, Lambeth and Kensington & Chelsea   
  • May 2015 – Santander and TfL announce a seven-year partnership and Santander Cycles launch   
  • May 2015 – The Santander Cycles app is launched to make it easier to find and hire bikes   
  • January 2016 – Santander Cycles expands to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park with eight new docking stations   
  • June 2016 – The scheme breaks the 50 million hire mark   
  • 2016 – All cycles are fitted with Beryl Laser lights to increase visibility and safety. The lights project a symbol of a bicycle six metres in front of the cycle onto the ground, giving cyclists a larger footprint on the road   
  • October 2017 – The next generation of Santander Cycles arrive in London. The new cycles offer riders improved handling, safety and comfort, with a new gel saddle, lower frame, tyres with puncture prevention, new gear hub and improved front and rear lighting   
  • February 2018 – Santander Cycles extend to Brixton with eight new docking stations   
  • November 2018 – The process of hiring a cycle is made easier with a quicker booking process and the introduction of contactless payments   
  • 2018 – For the first time, more than 10.5m journeys are made using Santander Cycles in a calendar year   
  • December 2019 – New docking stations open at Blackfriars, Victoria, Queensway and Paddington rail and Tube stations   
  • 2019 – More than 1.7 million hires using the Santander Cycles app during the year   
  • January 2020 – Santander Cycles app reaches 1m downloads   
  • June 2020 – A new docking station opens around Westbourne Park    
  • September 2020 – Three new docking stations open along Cycleway 4 between Tower Bridge Road and Rotherhithe and a new docking station opens at Temple Gardens, Victoria Embankment   
  • November 2020 – A new docking station opens on Gascoyne Road close to Victoria Park      
  • December 2020 – New docking stations opened at Canada Water and Clapham Common Tube stations   
  • December 2020 – More than 333,000 new members joined the cycle hire scheme in a calendar year   
  • March 2021 – The scheme breaks the 100 million hire mark   
  • April 2021 – A new docking station opens on the east side of London Fields, Martello Street, Hackney   
  • May 2021 – TfL and Santander agree to extend Santander's sponsorship of the scheme until 2025   

About Santander Cycles   

  • More information about Santander Cycles, including maps of docking stations and how to hire them, is available online at The free cycle hire app is available on the Apple and Android App Stores, searching for Santander Cycles   
  • Santander Cycles covers 100 square kilometres of London, making it one of the largest cycle hire schemes in Europe


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