Please sign in to post.

Barclay cycle hire use in London

Does anyone know if you can use an American credit or debit card to rent Barclay's cycles in London or do you have to have a UK/European "chip and PIN" type card at the automated kiosks?

Posted by
11 posts

Thank you, Michael. I appreciate your helpful and prompt response.

Posted by
643 posts

I'm glad this question was asked, as I did not know about Barclay's cycles. What a great thing! I will definitely rent one while in London this fall! And there are so many locations to choose from, what fun to ride a bicycle in the city! I do hope we can ride on the sidewalks though, riding in the streets might be a little scary with traffic...anyone ever ride a bicycle around the Kensington area?

Posted by
5573 posts

I lived a year in London and the whole time that I was there, my bike sat in the hallway of my flat; at times it made a good coat rack. The thought of riding a bike around London scared the heck out of me ... it still does. However, I thought that I read somewhere (TA maybe?) that you needed chip and pin card to release the bike ... but I have no personal experience here. There does appear to be a "contact us" link on the website, so you might try sending them the question. However, it looks like the access fee for a day is only 1 GBP so it might be worth the risk to try it.

Posted by
32929 posts

I'd be interested if US residents get the online purchase to work. It wants a British address. After you have bought it you still need to put your card in the reader to get a code. The reader (I am a member so I don't do it that way) looks to me to be a chip& pin reader, there is nowhere to swipe it. Please don't ride on the pavements (sidewalks) - it is manifestly illegal. Its not bad, most back streets are deserted most of the time. Just stay off the main roads. Its OK to ride in bus lanes. There are occasional separated bike lanes on busy back roads. They have Barclays advertising on them, and that's what the website and TfL call them. Locals call them Boris' Bikes.

Posted by
9103 posts

I've never used these bike so perhaps I'm grasping at straws, but if one purchases "casual" access via the website, and the website accepts a US card and gives you a cycle release code immediately, you shouldn't need to insert a card at the kiosks...instead you would skip that step, go directly to the bike and enter the code...the bike then is unlocked. At least that's how it appears according to the directions on the site???
What would be the purpose of buying access to the bikes via the website if you had to insert a card at the kiosks anyways:) I think we need a volunteer for god & country!

Posted by
643 posts

Yeah to be honest I probably will not rent a bike while in London. The traffic around the Kensington area is just too fast moving for me to try to negotiate with it. I'll stick to busses and walking around the local area. Safer and easier to take photos too!

Posted by
11 posts

Well, I won't be able to report back my experiences for a while. We are planning a family trip to London in July. I was interested in using the bikes only to have an option to spend a sunny afternoon riding around Regent's Park or Hyde Park. It looks like multiple docking stations ring both parks. I don't think I'd be brave enough to turn my family loose bicycling London streets. I'm not sure who I'd fret more about, my children or London!
Thanks everyone for your input. I think I'll just have to wait for a first hand report from an American tourist who has tried their card and can tell us how it went

Posted by
5573 posts

Re: Michaels comment, below is the statement on the site that makes me skeptical that a swipe card would work ... "To get the release codes, 1nsert the payment card used to buy access Use the release code within 10 minutes of getting it - and only at the station you got it from " But hey, I'll be in London in May. If I happen to see a stand near my hotel, maybe I'll take one for the team and invest 1 GBP on my U.S. card to find out what happens ...

Posted by
32929 posts

Be sure to report back, Laura, and have a great trip!!