Image via Flickr: Phil Gradwell (Creative Commons Licence)
Image via Flickr: Phil Gradwell (Creative Commons Licence)

Cycling continues to take the UK by storm as people seek a healthier, more environmentally friendly way of getting around, which got me thinking as to which cities and areas in England are the best places for riders to get on their bikes?

Toothpick have put together the Healthy Access study which provides data focused on the percentage of people who cycle at least once a week for any amount of time. The findings are really interesting!

So, which are the top five boroughs in England for cycling?


There’s no real surprise that Oxford rides in with full marks on Toothpick’s cycling score, having one of the best systems in the country for cyclists. The city centre is full of specific cycle lanes thanks to the dedicated efforts of the council, who have recognised the benefits associated with fewer people using cars in the city.

The nearby Oxford Cotswolds are perfect for those who want to indulge in rides through some of the best natural scenery in the country. Over ten cycle shops can cater to those with a flat tyre, broken derailleur or those in need of a new set of wheels. And with lots of cycle hire available too, it’s no wonder it’s a winner.


With approximately one in five journeys in Cambridge made by bicycle and over 80 miles of cycle lanes, the city comes in at second place. A new cycleway was recently opened along the A505 and is also designated for pedestrian use, making it easy to navigate around the city without encountering cars. Sounds perfect, right?

A local campaign for cyclists in Cambridge has made it easier for cyclists to understand and identify where they can and can’t ride their bikes. Like Oxford, Cambridge is relatively flat, making it easy for new riders to get into the habit of cycling wherever they need to go. With all this in its favour, Cambridge is definitely a UK holiday destination I need to add to my list.

Isles of Scilly

I’ve seen some amazing images of the Isles of Scilly and they look stunning. The Isles of Scilly have very little car traffic, making it a haven for cyclists who want to get across any of the inhabited islands without worry. Both St. Mary’s and Tresco offer beautiful cycle routes, and cycle hires are available for those who can’t bring their own ride.

The terrain is easy to move through, with relatively few steep inclines among most cycle-friendly routes. Those who cycle on the islands will find that they take in a view that would otherwise be missed if they opted to hire a golf cart.

Richmond upon Thames

It’s good to see a London borough making the list. This particular London borough is home to 50 miles of the capital’s dedicated cycle network as well as several places to hire bikes. The local council provides detailed information on road routes, bicycle maintenance and safety, cycle hire and events locally.

Richmond upon Thames is mostly made of green, leafy parks, making it a lovely place to live and ride. Group outings along the river and through woodland are quite common thanks to the Richmond Cycling Campaign.

Hammersmith and Fulham

Not just one London borough but two!

If you thought that cycling in inner West London was impossible, think again – the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham is apparently one of the best places to get out and about on two wheels. The council maintains a page of cycling routes in the area to help riders know what roads they can use and how. Cycling courses are also offered, covering every aspect of cycle maintenance and road safety.

I’ll be honest, I’m really disappointed to see that my city, Nottingham, only scores 3.8 out of 10. You can find out how your city scores by checking out the Healthy Access by Toothpick.


*This post is in collaboration with Toothpick*

5 Comments on The Top Five Boroughs in England for Cycling

  1. Ilses of Scilly, that would be beautiful we live in Cornwall and have never thought of a bike trip there it will be going on my list!

  2. I love cycling next to the Thames River. It offers an amazing experience specially during the mornings and the air is so fresh that my day goes very well. It is surely an ecstatic experience and Richmond is one of my best places to ride.

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