Making the UK greener, one house at a time
Mentioned in
The Guardian logoHarvard University logoIndependent logoSPACE.com logoForbes logo
Last updated: 13 March 2024

Cycling to Work in the UK: Which Cities Are Leading the Way?

In the quest for sustainable living, the bicycle has emerged as a silent catalyst of change. The importance of cycling to work, a zero-emission mode of transportation, cannot be overstated. 

Based on the latest data from ONS, we analysed which areas and cities have the most cyclists and ride the most kilometres daily to work.

In this article, we explore the top 10 best and worst cities in the UK for cycling to work based on the number of cyclists per 1,000 residents.

The data reveals various cycling rates among different cities and local authorities. The percentage of cyclists among the population varies from 0.29% in Medway to 7.63% in Cambridge. Regarding raw numbers, Cambridge also boasts the highest number of cyclists, with 11,038 people cycling to work.

Top 10 best cities to cycle to work in the UK

Local AuthorityCyclist Per 1,000 ResidentsAverage % Per 1000 Residents
Cambridge767.63%
York313.09%
Kingston upon Hull282.77%
Gosport212.61%
Bristol242.35%
South Cambridgeshire232.30%
Portsmouth212.13%
Exeter201.95%
North East Lincolnshire191.94%
Leicester131.33%

The map indicates the percentage of working residents in the cities and areas that cycle to work. Scroll over the map for the exact statistics per 1000 residents in each location.

While some cities celebrate their cycling culture, others must catch up, struggling to provide safe and convenient pathways for cyclists.

Top 10 worst cities to cycle to work in the UK

Local AuthorityCyclist Per 1,000 ResidentsAverage % Per 1000 Residents
Medway30.29%
Blackburn with Darwen30.25%
Redcar and Cleveland40.40%
Luton40.41%
Torbay40.44%
Thurrock50.50%
Hartlepool50.53%
Stockton-on-Tees50.55%
Stoke-on-Trent60.57%
Middlesbrough70.69%

The data also shows that the number of cyclists per 1000 people varies widely between cities, with some locations having less than one cyclist per 1000 people and others having over 30 cyclists per 1000 people.

The map shows the number of kilometres cycled to work daily. Scroll over the map for the exact statistics per 1000 residents in each location.

Statistics of cycling to work in Kilometer

Cycling to work is uncommon in the UK, with only 5% of commuters cycling daily. The data below show that the average commute distance to work in England and Wales is about 15.0 km daily, ranging from 0 - 40km.

The statistics on cycling to work show a wide range of cycling rates across different cities and local authorities. While some areas have a high percentage of cyclists, others lag behind.

The top 10 cities with the highest number of cyclists to work based on kilometres

Local AuthorityFrom 0 - 40 Kilometres of Cycling to Work
Bristol11,090
Cambridge11,038
Hackney8,299
Lambeth8,123
Southwark8,003
Wandsworth7,986
Kingston upon Hull7,377
Oxford7,121
Manchester6,292
York6292

The table above provides insight into the cycling habits of residents in various cities. These cities have made it easier and safer for residents to cycle, which has led to a higher number of cyclists.

These statistics provide a snapshot of the popularity of cycling to work in various UK cities. It's important to note that infrastructure, weather, and local culture can influence these numbers.

The bottom 10 with the lowest number of cyclists to work based on kilometres

Local AuthorityFrom 0 - 40 Kilometres of Cycling to Work
Craven200
Torridge193
Torfaen178
Tandridge167
Brentwood149
City of London149
Rossendale134
Blaenau Gwent108
Isles of Scilly102
Merthyr Tydfil72

It is important to note that these cities might have unique challenges or opportunities related to cycling. For example, some cities might have limited cycling infrastructure, such as bike lanes or bike-sharing programs, which could discourage residents from cycling. 

Comparative analysis of cycling to work

The best cities for cycling to work in the UK have a significantly higher percentage of workers cycling compared to the worst cities. For instance, Cambridge, the best city for cycling to work, has 7.63% of workers cycling, while Medway, the worst city, has only 0.29% of workers cycling to work.

Some examples of successful bike infrastructure improvements made by UK cities to encourage cycling include:

  • York: York has invested in creating a solid cycling infrastructure with dedicated bike lanes and a supportive cycling culture. This has made it the best city for cycling in the UK, with 3.09% of workers cycling to work.
  • Kingston upon Hull: Hull has implemented numerous cycling initiatives, such as providing a flat terrain and promoting a healthy lifestyle. These initiatives have encouraged residents to cycle to work, resulting in 2.77% of workers cycling. 
  • Bristol: Bristol has developed an extensive network of cycle routes, making it easy for commuters to navigate the city on two wheels. As a result, 2.35% of workers in Bristol cycle to work.

This disparity highlights the importance of cycling infrastructure and support in promoting cycling to work in the UK. The best cities offer a combination of solid cycling infrastructure, dedicated bike lanes, and a supportive cycling culture. In contrast, the worst cities face limited infrastructure, safety concerns, and low cycling culture.

This analytical journey doesn't just unveil the numbers; it paints a comprehensive portrait of how they align with the broader narrative of a nation striving for greener horizons.

The raw data we created below shows an overview of the cities, counties and areas per 1,000 persons cycling to work. 

How It Works
1
Answer a few simple questions
Describe your requirements by answering some super quick and easy questions
2
Talk to installers
Up to 4 installers will get in touch with you directly
3
Receive up to 4 quotes
Compare quotes and select the best option for you
Become a Partner
Become a Partner We strive to connect our customers with the right product and supplier. Would you like to be part of GreenMatch?