Meet our cycle hire heroes

Our cycle hire heroes on their cycles

London’s Cycle Hire scheme turned 11 in 2021! 🎂

You’ve made more than 100 million hires on our 12,500 cycles since we launched on 30 July 2010. ✂️🎀

To celebrate, we put the call out for London’s cycle hire heroes and our call was answered! Here are your inspirational stories 🚴 👇

St Mungo’s our December hero

The team at homelessness charity, St Mungo’s, helped an individual recover from a long period of homelessness and rediscover a love for exploring London with Santander Cycles. 🗺️

“In the last decade, I never once entertained the idea of getting on a cycle, but thanks to St Mungo’s, it’s given me a chance to venture out to explore London again. It’s lovely setting off on adventures, getting lost down pretty side streets that I’ve not discovered before”.

“It reminds me of my childhood, zooming down the smooth roads. Cycling, like all exercise, is great for releasing those feel-good endorphins and helping with wellbeing”.

Matt our November hero

Matt at a Santander Cycles docking station in the evening

My love affair with Santander Cycles began, appropriately, on Valentine’s Day six years ago. Since then, I’ve used the cycles close to 2,000 times as part of my commute, to get to and from places and to explore pockets of London that would otherwise have remained hidden to me. ❤️

For me the scheme is a win-win, saving me money while also boosting my fitness, cutting travel times and allowing me to play a small part in reducing London’s air pollution.

Following a major physical trauma in November 2019, which left me temporarily disabled, Santander Cycles also became a personal milestone when I rode a cycle again for the first time in nearly six months. It’s been an important part of my recovery ever since. 💪

Nitij our October hero

Man giving a thumbs up with his daughter on a family cycle

Santander Cycles inspired Nitij to become a regular cyclist. His first hire quickly turned into a daily activity on his commute into the City. He now has his own wheels and enjoys cycling with his daughter. 🚲 🚲

Owen our September hero

Man smiling with a Santander Cycle

Owen credits Santander Cycles with helping him tackle his long-term anxiety.

“I’m kicking myself for not taking the plunge sooner. My day now feels incomplete without hopping on a Santander Cycle. There is simply no better feeling than riding smoothly and safely across London and exchanging smiles and nods with other cyclists and road users”.

Jessica our August hero

Jess at a Santander Cycle docking station

When I need to get on a train to see a patient, I’ll often hire a Santander Cycle at the station to see me home.

Santander Cycles are a lifeline, especially in winter as they have great lights and are always well maintained. It saves me worrying about lights and locks. Santander Cycles keep me safe and healthy – they’re perfect for nurses! 💡

David our July hero

David and London Fire Brigade

Myself and my colleagues at King’s College Hospital Emergency Department had the unfortunate feat of being in receipt of 3 major incidents in a very short space of time in 2017 (Westminster, London Bridge and subsequently Grenfell). 🏥👨‍⚕️ 

Unfortunately, in the early hours of the 15 June we had been put on major incident alert because of the Grenfell Tower fire. We heard some incredibly heroic stories from patients about the bravery of the London Fire Brigade. 👏 

It gave me an idea, I wanted to say thank you to every member of the team who had been serving that night. 💡 

We had a whip round within the Emergency department and raised approximately £300. Krispy Kreme gave us an extra dozen doughnuts for every dozen we bought and we then used Santander Cycles to go to 30 fire stations across London (who were involved) to thank them and listen to their stories first-hand. ❤️

Liz our June hero

Liz and friends on Santander Cycles by the London Eye

London’s cycle hire scheme has enabled my husband and I to share the joys of cycling with family and friends from London and all around the world who do not have a bicycle. 🎉 

On a rough count we know that at least over 50 different people have joined us on cycle rides using the cycle hire scheme. 👏 

We would encourage everyone to take a friend out for a spin. It has never been easier to share the magic of cycling around London. 🚲🇬🇧

Emdad our May hero

Emdad with Santander Cycle and books

Emdad has been using Santander Cycles for several years. 👏 

On average he has cycled 10km every working day for his job which involves making sure children attend school every day. It has been a great way of commuting between schools, home visits, navigating traffic whilst combining and incorporating his daily fitness schedule into this routine. 💪 

He has also launched a free social action initiative called Bookbike London, an eco-friendly service which connects people through reading. The project supplies books free-of-charge to elderly residential homes, hostels, prisons, hospital wards and local organisations in East London and surrounding boroughs. 📚 

He is making a massive difference and Santander Cycles are helping him to travel efficiently. 🚴‍♂️🙌 

Mike our April hero

Mike on his 10th anniversary Santander Cycle

I started using the bikes shortly after they were launched, mainly to commute between Waterloo and the city. 🚴‍♂️ 

In the summer of 2016, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. When I returned to work after a month, the advice was not to cycle for three months. I really missed my morning ride as it is the quickest most convenient and reliable way to get around. I restarted using them as soon as possible in January 2017. 🎉 

I am now a Community Ambassador for the leading global men’s health charity, Movember to help raise awareness of prostate and testicular cancer, as well as suicide prevention. 👏 

More recently I have started working at home 2 days a week and the morning ride is one of the things I miss. It’s exercise without having to go out of your way. 🙌 

Habiba our March hero

Habiba with her special 10th anniversary Santander Cycle

With the convenience of a dock near my flat and one right next to the Royal London Hospital where I work, all I need is a helmet. 🚴‍♀️

It always feels amazing to be able to enjoy a bike ride after a 13-hour shift. Thanks Santander, from a grateful cycling nurse! 👩‍⚕️

Andy our February hero

Photo of Andy in front of a Santander Cycles dock

Andy has cycled more than 2,400 times since the scheme began– a total of 463 hours and around 6,900km! 🤯

Andy also uses Santander Cycles to help him train for mountain biking by regularly hiring a bike and riding up Wharton Street in Islington, looping back and forth a few times in 3rd gear. 💪

To add more miles to his current distance, Andy cycled 20 miles around London for The Huracan Foundation.

Sakhr our January hero

Photo of Sakhr, our January cycle hire hero

Happy birthday! You’ve changed this city for the better. ❤️

I wanted to be the first person to hire a TfL bike. I watched the cycle hire stations being installed outside my office in Shoreditch High Street, and then saw the bikes being docked the night before launch day. ⏲️

That night, I went to stay with a friend in central London. I knew the scheme was launching at 6am, so I went to the Dorset Square docking station and tried my key at 5.55am. It worked! I took a bike out. Within seconds, a taxi driver hooted at me and congratulated me for being the first one. 🎉

I made a few loops around Regent’s Park and then cycled across London to my office. It was a slow journey because people kept stopping me to ask about the bikes and how to hire them. 😅

London was my first cycle hire experience. Since then, I’ve hired bikes in Rome, Milan, Berlin, Brussels, Toulouse, Oslo, Barcelona, Washington DC and Mexico City. And every time I get on a bike in a new city, I feel proud that London has inspired the world. 🌍

Cycle hire heroes, assemble!

We love hearing from you! 💌

Share your experiences using the cycle hire scheme with us on social media using #SantanderCycles.

Go to any docking station and touch the screen to get started – you can hire a cycle from as little as £2! Get on your cycle quicker with the Santander Cycles app. You could also win prizes in the app with our weekly London Riders prize draw. 🎁


  1. Happy 10th anniversary
    Myself and many hospital workers at UCLH have enjoyed the use of the Santander cycles throughout the crisis and thank-you for this.
    It has opened up a different side of London cycling and it has kept us healthy
    Long may it continue

  2. Should out to (Feb) Andy. We’ve friends live on Wharton Street and I know that hill well. Regularly used by runners doing hill training too.


  4. Santander bikes have changed my life in the past 6 years.
    They are fabulous, I don’t know what I would do without them!
    i have stopped using the bus and tube I love using Santander, I have a yearly key subscription.
    Since lockdown I have managed to convince my parents and sister to get keys and they love using them.
    I cycle nearly everyday around Hyde Park, it is just like being on holiday. I love cycling around the Serpentine.
    I would highly recommend Santander to anyone, please use instead of bus and tube if you can. Best way to keep safe

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