Outsider and beginner's doubts

Hi everyone,


I will be in London for a couple of months only but anyway I am very excited about the opportunity of cycling to work where I'm here. I would never dare cycling in my hometown, São Paulo, without any experience in a more civilized traffic first.

But I have a lot of doubts and was hoping someone could help me:

In the place I'm living in there is no grid, pipe or anywhere I could chain my cycle to. Therefore I would have to chain it at the street somewhere for the night. I'm very concerned with this because of the awful statistics on cycle thefts and because I don't know where it is legal to park a cycle.

I've learnt how to chain a cycle properly in order to avoid thefts, but I've also seen people complaining their cycles were removed even though the place they parked them didn't have a sign saying it was illegal to park there. How can I know where it is legal to park? Can I park my cycle at one of those tube station's docks for the whole night? And if no, or if there is no space left there, any public grid or post without a no-parking sign would do?

I still haven't bought a cycle, I decided to wait until I think it is really the best thing to do (I'm living in zone 2, so I cannot use Barclay's cycles and will buy one second hand if I decided to buy one at all).

Thank you in advance,



  • By Teri at 6:36pm 3 June 2012

Liv, where do you live?  I keep one bicycle in my kitchen, one in my hallway and one in my bedroom.  I did instal a lock in the hallway outside my flat but then I got neighbours I did not trust and stopped keeping bikes outside.  Then my nice neighbour got a new girlfriend who put some pot plants in the hallway and so there is less room for my bike and it would look messy out there.. 


With two good different locks it is a start;

get a light bike, and hope there's a ground level secure store at both ends of your journey;

otherwise carry it up the stairs which will factor in weight and fitness;

a foldable bike may be more compact to stow at home and at your destination. But they tend to be heavier/awkward to carry on stairs.

A plan might be to make links now with the local-to-where-you-will-be-living London Cycling Campaign Local Group; and ask them if they will mentor you in the acquisition of your bike when you get here, and also introduce you to London's traffic culture. 



  • By LivP at 8:12pm 4 June 2012

Hi, thanks for the answers. Actually I'm in London already, in Willesden Green, and have been watching carefully the cyclists since I arrived here one month ago.

I'm renting a room at a family's house and keeping the cycle inside the house is not an option, that's why I asked about public places to park it.


I am living in Wimbledon and I have the same issues as you Liv!

Bringing the bike inside is not an option (very tiny flat), but outside, there is no ranks unless at the station.


I really don't know if it would be safe in my area to leave th bike outside tied to a pole. Who would know?

My neighbours do not want racks on the court where the flats are. So I cannot make up my mind!


I strongly want a bike and start cycling!


Do you know what Merton Council Office could take care of this matter? Shall I ask Boris himself to make sure they will provide public racks in my area?

Anyone else from Wimbledon / Leopold Road who is concerned to the same issue?


Howp to be kept updated!!

  • By ma499 at 10:10pm 7 June 2012

Hi Liv, I'm not aware of any satsifactory residents' cycle parking facilities in Willesden Green. My suggestion would be to get a cheap second hand bicycle that's not too attractive to thieves and then find ways to reduce the attraction even further without compromising utility (e.g. scratching all the paintwork, covering it with gaffa tape, etc.). Then two good locks - see http://lcc.org.uk/articles/cycle-security-lock-it-or-lose-it and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPDHPpnXPv8&feature=youtu.be )

  • By LivP at 12:18pm 9 June 2012

Thanks again, I decided to take my chances with two good locks and a cheap second hand cycle :)

Great that you've decided to cycle. Have you been enjoying it? I thought this article was very thoughtful: http://vtbikes.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/the-art-of-bicycle-locking/ , and makes some good points about bikes that must be left in public. I regularly leave my bike in many places around London for hours at a time, but haven't yet needed to do so overnight. I guess I'd be looking for somewhere very unattractive to thieves - all you need to do is make sure that someone else's possessions are more attractive than yours! Maybe lock up at the busiest road junction in the area, to a really strong metal object (such as a sturdy fence) that's cemented (not bolted) into the ground, preferably under someone's CCTV camera, using a bike cheap enough I could afford to replace it, with no loose parts that are easy to steal. One word of warning: check your brakes and wheels each morning before you ride off. Takes just 10 seconds, and could save you from finding out the hard way that some "hilarious" idiot disconnected your brakes or quick-release wheels.

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