Portsmouth is a great city for cycling as it is flat, compact and with some lovely scenic rides along the coast.
On this page, you will find information about:
- ‘Be Bright, Be Seen’ initiative
- Cycling events
- Cycling in winter
- Cycling training for kids
- Quieter routes
- Suggest a location for bike parking
- Wheels for All
- Cycling and the Highway Code
- Downloadable documents
Be Bright, Be Seen
The ‘Be Bright, Be Seen’ initiative focuses on the importance of being seen during the hours of darkness. The most common cause of injuries to cyclists in Portsmouth is due to drivers not seeing the cyclist. To help overcome this, our road safety and active travel team run a number of Be Bright operations.
Working with Hampshire Police, cyclists without lights are stopped and offered education and guidance by a road safety officer. They are given the opportunity to avoid a fine (£50) if they purchase and install lights within 28 days. Those without lights receive a temporary set of lights to get them home safely.
The council works hard to educate both cyclists and drivers on this issue and has various cycle products for sale at low prices. The range of products and prices is detailed in the list available from the documents section below.
To order items, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 023 9283 4092 – you’ll need to pay and collect at the cashiers in the Civic Offices’ main reception, which also enables you to check that products fit before you buy. Cycle items are available to purchase and collect between 9am and 1pm Monday to Friday.
Guided cycle rides
There is an online cycling community called ‘Ride Social’ which is hosted by British Cycling. People can register and join rides that are happening locally or set up their own rides.
Find out about upcoming rides at www.letsride.co.uk.
Leisure bike ride routes are also available on the Visit Portsmouth and My Journey websites. Volunteers at Portsmouth Cycle Forum also organise guided cycle rides around the city. Alternatively, to plan your own cycle route, visit the Portsmouth Cycle Streets website or download the Active Travel map.
Portsmouth City Council are currently improving city infrastructure so as many people as possible are inspired to enjoy the benefits of cycling, and to make it easier for those who already cycle in the city.
This includes council involvement in the Shipwright’s Way, a new long-distance route from Alice Holt Forest near Farnham to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard – around 50 miles in all – which will form part of the Sustrans National Cycle Network.
Cycling in winter
Cycling during the cold and icy winter months involves more preparation than in the summer. Follow our tips to ensure you continue to make cycling easy and enjoyable:
- Use lights. Make sure you can see and be seen during dark morning and evenings (see Be Bright, Be Seen, above).
- Consider your routes. Quieter routes may be preferable for riding in fair weather, but watch out for frozen patches in winter.
- Dress appropriately. As the temperature drops, make a water and windproof jacket your priority as well as a suitable pair of gloves.
- Service your bicycle. The winter months are harsh on bicycle components. If you have been on a particularly wet/muddy ride, give your bike a wash, wipe-down and apply some bike oil to the chain and gears.
- Take your time. Braking distances may be further, and surfaces may be slippery. It is safer to travel more slowly in these conditions.
Cycling training for kids
Bikeability is the 21st century version of cycling proficiency, giving the next generation the skills and confidence to ride their bikes on today’s roads. There is always more to learn and to enjoy on a bike, so children are encouraged to achieve all three Bikeability levels.
Portsmouth City Council offers free Bikeability training up to level 2 for every year six child in the city (and some year five) this academic year, if they attend Portsmouth schools that encourage cycling as a means of transport to and from school.
The Mountbatten Centre offers a range of cycling sessions for children of all ages and abilities, including junior biking academy, open biking and baby bikers.
Led by trained coaches, the sessions aim to help children learn how to safely ride a bicycle, gain cycling confidence and learn road safety skills.
Cost £3.50 per child.
Participants who do not own a bicycle are able to use the centre’s cycling equipment.
Quieter cycle routes
We now have ten colour-coded cycle routes to guide cyclists to different parts of the city using quieter roads which are more suited to less confident cyclists. Coloured stickers on lamp posts mark out the routes and give instructions such as when you need to dismount, use a crossing and which direction to travel.
There are five routes between the north and south of the city and five routes between east and west, some of which connect so you can plan a journey to key destinations including the seafront, The Hard and Fratton Park.
The quieter routes map is available to download and print in the documents section at the foot of the page.
Suggest a location for bike parking
Bike hangars are on-street, secure, lockable, covered pods which can accommodate between four and six cycles. They offer a practical solution for people who are keen to cycle but are limited by a lack of outside secure cycle storage. They are ideal if you would like to cycle for exercise, education or commuting but do not have the space to store a bicycle securely. If storage has stopped you from owning a bike, renting a space in a hangar could be a great opportunity for you to get one.
Wheels for All
Wheels for All provides cycling opportunities for children and adults with disabilities and differing needs.
Using specially adapted cycles, individuals and families can cycle together, learning new skills or rediscovering a previous pastime.
To keep the Wheels for All programme running, we are looking for volunteers to help us run our cycling sessions. In return for donating a few hours of your time you will:
- get a nationally recognised qualification
- meet new people
- be part of your community
- improve your CV
- take on a new challenge
- learn a new skill
If you would like to volunteer contact us as above to find out more.
Cycling and the Highway Code
Like all road users, cyclists should be aware of their legal requirements. The Highway Code informs, advises and guides road users in the UK, including cyclists, and offers advice and useful information including road etiquette, correct use of bus and cycle lanes, awareness and more. Read the full rules for cyclists, which includes legal guidance to help you stay safe and remain within the law.