How Do Santander Bikes Work?

How Do Santander Bikes Work

The Santander Cycles scheme is a public bicycle rental service which offers the chance to pick up and drop off bicycles at any one of its docking stations around London. With so many people in London who would like to cycle more but find it difficult, the Santander Cycles scheme may be the answer they are looking for!

To know more about how do santander bikes work, read our article!

How Do Santander Bikes Work?

The Santander Cycles scheme is actually not so different to the city’s older cycle hire system. Since 2005, Barclays Cycle Hire has provided more than 10 million hires of public bikes over almost 5,000 docking stations in London. The main difference with this new service is that you can hire these bikes for longer periods at lower cost! As long as you want!

So how do they work?

Well they are available to borrow by 24 hour or monthly subscribers. Pick up one of the coloured bicycles at any one of the docking stations around the city. After choosing a bike follow the instructions on its display panel and scan your card or mobile phone at each docking station you pass through. The first 30 minutes are free! After that, charges of 50p per half hour apply.

You can pick up and drop off at any docking station in the scheme area without incurring any additional costs. The bikes can be used for a maximum period of 24 hours.

How Much Does It Cost?

To use a Santander Cycle you must either subscribe or purchase a Pay as you go key from one of the docking stations around London.. Subscriptions start at £1 for 24 hours access to 100 bicycles which is much cheaper than other bicycle hire schemes in London.

In addition, monthly subscribers will benefit from a 20% discount on hire fees. But those who want to stay with Barclays Cycle H will not be left out as they are still covered by an unlimited 30 minutes free cycle hire.

What Do You Need To Know?

  1. They are available to borrow for up to 24 hours at a time.
  2. For people without membership, any hire costs £2 per day rather than the usual £1 for 24 hours membership. 
  3. The first 30 minutes of any trip are free, after which charges of £2 per half hour apply. Overtime fees may be charged if you continue using them beyond 24 hours or 30 minutes respectively!
  4. With Barclays Cycle Hire there is no limit on the number of bikes users can take out at once and they can use one bike for as long as they like before returning it to another docking station in London. They can then pick up another bike and continue their journey.
  5. The company has made an effort to distribute Santander Cycles around London but there may be some areas that remain unserved, particularly in the outer suburbs of the city. Another downside is that they do not offer access to children’s bicycles. Children need to use a child seat or trailer instead of a bicycle.
  6. Before you sign up for either Barclays Cycle Hire or Santander Cycles make sure you read through all of its conditions carefully. There are fees involved if users do not return their bikes on time and after 24 hours! And it might get confusing trying to purchase one of these services from abroad and then using it in London since some companies outside the United Kingdom do not accept overseas bankcards.
  7. Although they are docking stations, do not leave them anywhere that is unsafe or where somebody might mistake it for their property, including homes and office buildings. This will be treated as theft if you do that! Do not hang on to the bike either! At all times keep your ride safe, at hand and follow the rules of the road while pedalling around London with these bikes! There’s sure to be a lot of new cyclists in town with this scheme. So make sure you stay safe when sharing the streets! Have fun cycling around London with these Santander Cycles!

How often do you have to dock Santander bikes?

The dockless bikes have a “lock-to” feature that is designed to make docking as easy as locking your bike. Basically, you can select the nearest bike on the map and lock it to the bike parker of your choice.

There is no limit on how long you can leave your bike in one place.

If you want to move it, however, there’s a 15 minute timer on any new parking. If you don’t ride the bike within that time frame; you’ll be charged for an extra half an hour of use!

How do I find docking points for Santander bikes?

Locating the nearest docking station couldn’t be easier with just a few clicks. Download the app or head straight to https://santander Cycles .london/stations/find-docking-station  and all available docks are displayed with real-time availability so you know if its full before heading over. You also see which docks have space for you to return your own bike.

How do I return Santander bikes?

When returning the bike, press the button on top of the docking point and wait for it to beep. Simply push down until you hear a ping sound followed by the green light coming on. Make sure all four locks are closed before pushing back into place, then check that it is locked in place by pressing the ‘dismount’ button once more. If successful, remove the key from inside your lock and head off with full access to any future trips!

What does Santander’s app have to offer?

Santander’s app has heaps of features including: – See bikes on map – Search for docking stations near you – A real-time map of docks near you – Save or remove your favourites – Report bikes with issues

The app is free to download onto iPhone and Android phones. Download it today from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store !

How do I use the Santander Cycle app?

The Santander Cycle app is available for both Android and iOS devices. It can be used to find Santander Cycles docking stations and bike availability in real-time. The app can also be used to purchase journey tickets, and track your journeys.

How do I unlock a Santander Cycle?

To unlock a cycle, enter your 6 digit code into the keypad on top of any dock. If you have not yet registered your 6-digit code, follow these steps:  1) Open the Santander Cycle app 2) Select ‘Register’ 3) Confirm your username 4) Confirm your password 5) Confirm your email address 6) Select ‘Create Account’ 7) Enter your security code 8) Enter your 6-digit PIN 9) Select ‘Confirm’

How Do Santander Bikes Work

How do I pay for journeys?

When you have unlocked a cycle, select ‘Start ride’ to begin your journey. The app will calculate the number of 30 minute ride bands applicable to your journey and provide an estimate of how much it will cost. You can then choose to purchase either one or more 30 min band(s).  At the end of your journey, safely dock the bike at any Santander Cycles docking station. For each additional 30 min band added during that journey, the app will automatically re-activate for another 30 minutes upon safe docking. Each additional 30 min band costs £2 in total addition to any other journey charges.

How long do I have to complete a journey?

Your journey will be timed from the moment you unlock your bike, until you safely return it to any Santander Cycles docking station. If you exceed 30 minutes on one band, or make more than one journey in each 30 min band, an excess charge will apply (see table below). 

What happens if I return my bike late?

If you don’t dock your cycle within 60 minutes of starting your journey, the app will notify you that this is late return and that an additional £2 per minute after that for up to 15 minutes will be charged; then £5 per minute thereafter until docking (or until the maximum amount is reached).  For example: if you do not return the cycle within 90 minutes, a total of £28 will be charged as follows: up to 15 minutes late docking at £2/minute = £4; between 16 and 30 minutes late docking at £5/minute = £20; after 31 minutes late docking is considered theft and a police report will be made.

How do I know how many journey bands I have left?

Before you start your ride, ‘add bands’ provides an estimate of what journeys can be made for the price of one band. After you’ve started your first ride, the app will automatically show how many journey bands remain. You can also view this information by clicking on ‘view activity’ in the app (at any time during your journey).

What happens if I buy a day or week pass?

If you have bought a day or week pass, you will get the full time period of the ticket. The app will automatically activate every 30 minutes for the length of your ticket until docking (or until the maximum amount is reached).

If you do not return the bike within that 30 minute period, then at the end of this 30 minute window an additional £2 per extra half hour will be charged; then £5 per extra half hour thereafter until docking (or until the maximum amount is reached).

For example: A weekly pass holder who docks their bike after 1 hours and 20 minutes may see charges on their account as follows:: up to 5 mins late docking = no charge; up to 10 mins late docking at £2/minute = £4; up to 15 mins late docking at £5/minute = £20; after 16 minutes the bike is considered theft and a police report will be made.

What are the benefits of Santander’s cycle hire scheme?

Cycle London members can ride anywhere in London for 30 minutes without paying an extra penny! You would have to pay £2 for every 30 min after that if using another bike sharing company within Greater London. Also, by signing up, you are supporting one of the most successful cycling schemes in Europe .

Hopefully this article will help everyone understand how simple it really is to find docking stations and return bikes when they’re done.

Once again I recommend downloading this great app onto your smartphone to help you locate the nearest docking station.

Instead of using UK pounds, this app uses ‘keys’, but do not worry about it. You can see how many keys are left on the map, leaving it clear for you to zoom in and out to your desired level. To take a bike out, simply click on the blue bike icon (which means there is one available) and check if there’s any additional fee (usually only during peak times).


The Santander Cycles bike sharing scheme in London is a very popular and convenient way to get around the city. The bikes are located all over town, making it easy for you to rent one when needed.  The app makes it even easier with its interactive map that allows you zoom in or out as desired – just click on the blue bike icon if there’s one available! You can use this article to learn more about how these cycles work so that you’ll be fully prepared before your next rental.

References : How it works

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Johan Oakley

Hi, I am John Oakley- The Guy behind this site. I am an avid hiker and love to try new mountain bikes. I love to experiment with new gear for biking and cycling and this site is a result of my passion for reviewing and checking the best mountain bikes and accessories.

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