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:

For more information about cycling in Portsmouth, including free guided rides for all abilities, check the Pedal Portsmouth Facebook page, or email enquiries to travel@portsmouthcc.gov.uk.

Report a near miss while cycling

If you’ve had a ‘near miss’ incident in Portsmouth, which made you feel unsafe when walking or cycling around the city, or if you’ve seen one, we’ve created online forms you can use to report it. What qualifies as a near miss may differ from one person to another, so please report any incident you feel was a near miss.

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.

Watch this video produced by British Cycling giving tips for cyclists on how to make themselves visible on the roads.

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 travel@portsmouthcc.gov.uk 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.

Cycling events

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.

Cycle My City

We’re working with several local organisations to make cycling easier and safer for everyone in the city, whether you are already a confident cyclist or would like to build your confidence.

Throughout the year we’ll be offering residents the chance to get involved in the Cycle My City campaign. This includes free cycle training and confidence-building activities to help people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to live healthier lives by travelling on two (or three) wheels.

If you’re a more experienced rider, you’ll even have the chance to become a Cycle Way-Maker, using your enthusiasm for cycling to help others.

Looking to book a FREE adult group ride? Get in touch travel@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

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.

To find out more, visit Junior activity programme – BH Live Active or contact elizabeth.butcher@bhlive.org.uk or 023 9320 0357.

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.

Request cycle parking

Our new cycle parking tool gives you better chances to keep your bike secure when you’re out and about or close to home.

Use the online form to suggest a road or area where you would like to see more parking or where we could replace broken or out of date stands. Your suggestions will help to increase the amount of bike parking in Portsmouth and complement what we’ve already provided.

There are various options to choose from, including:

  • Simple stands
  • Half-height stands
  • Bike corrals (for shopping and leisure areas)
  • Bike hangars (for residential roads)
  • Rental bike racks

To find out more and request bike parking, visit Cycle parking – Travel Portsmouth

Suggest a location for a bike hangar

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.

If you are interested in a bike hangar you can nominate your road for a hangar. To find out more visit bike hangars

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 find out when and where our next cycling session is, please contact phil.moody@pompeyitc.org.uk or call 023 9272 8899.

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.