Way back in 2008 Bristol was named the UK’s first “Cycling City” by the Department of Transport. Since then things have only improved and Bristol remains a great city to take in by bicycle.
The vast network of safe cycle paths and segregated lanes makes cycling in the city very safe and enjoyable. Whether you want to amble through woodland tracks or along the calming canal paths, or just want a better way to get around the city on your visit, a bicycle is perfect. And with plenty of options to hire right in the city it couldn’t be easier. But just to help you out even further we have even made a list for you of the best bicycle hire shops to be found in Bristol. So I guess it could be easier after all.
They may not be the most central on the list in terms of location but Webbs have such a variety on offer they are easily one of the best in the area. Not to mention they are located very conveniently for access to the Bristol to Bath cycle route, perfect if a day of cycling is what you’re after.
Want a peaceful cycle on your own? Or maybe to form a bike gang with the entire family? Whatever your needs Webbs has you covered. With free parking for customers you can pick up a bike and potter in to Bristol for the day, just a 40min cycle away (or to Bath which is the same distance in the other direction) or just explore more locally. Parking is also secure and available overnight if you wish, so if you were planning a longer ‘there and back’ trip with an overnight camp or BnB you can feel at ease.
Offering kids bikes, tandems and even trailers for dogs and young children, they really have covered all the bases. The prices are competitive and come with free overnight hire too so you don’t have to rush back before closing. Here is a run down:
As you may have noticed they also offer electric bike hire so even the less fit amongst us can tag along without complaint (although I’d recommend having a go on one regardless, as they are a lot of fun). If you are interested in booking you can pop in to the shop or give them a call on 0117 932 5763 which is recommended with lockdowns changing things month by month. Open everyday but Sunday, from 09:30 to 16:00, you will also find bike sales, service and repairs and friendly staff who are more than happy to discuss bike recommendations and local routes for your needs.
You can’t get more central than Harbourside. Just a short walk from the train and bus stations, or that city centre hotel you booked and a perfect place to start your two wheeled tour of Bristol. Harbourside offers a lovely ride along the docks and picking up your hire bike from the cafe bar means you can grab a coffee to kick start your cycling day out.
Founded in 2012, Cycle the City was started thanks to a passion for cycling and for Bristol as a city. You are in good hands here and the enthusiastic staff and guides are very knowledgeable about where best to go, offering maps and advice free of charge. Bike hire is £18 per bike and comes with a lock and helmet to keep you and the bike safe. Your hire will last from 10am to 5pm unless your legs give in and you can drop your bike back early. You can also get better rates for multiple hires and there are also half day rates available if you give them a call.
Not only can you hire a bike but but there are a variety of guided tours on offer as well. If you are a real foodie, a wine connoisseur or just want a decent tour of the sights then you can find something you will like. The food tour takes you to a multitude of award winning Bristol eateries and you will definitely be riding back a bit slower with a full belly. The wine tour is a great way to learn about our excellent English wines from the region and a cheese pairing at Britain’s best cheesemonger will help soak up the alcohol. Both tours are only £40 and include all the food and wine. Unfortunately as of February 2021 the tours are not running due to restrictions but hopefully they will resume again in good time.
The bikes themselves are all hand made here in Bristol by local bike builders Temple Bikes, so you can rest assured you will be on a perfect bicycle for the city. The hybrid bikes are lightweight with plenty of gears and puncture proof tyres. Perfect for long distances, steep hills or leisurely rides around the city.
Booking is essential so make sure to call ahead or visit the website.
Something a bit different now, and a real good bit of fun for all ages… and even non cyclists (just make sure you sit on the back).
With flexible hire times from half a day and longer, and a variety of carefully chosen routes, Bristol Tandem makes your day out easy and fun. You can explore near or far on the British made bicycles and take in the scenery, pop in to some brilliant cafes and pubs or try a bit of everything.
With your hire you get locks, lights, pumps, a basic toolkit and racks. For a small extra fee you can add on rear panniers, front panniers and even a child seat so everyone can come along. Prices start from £40 for four hours but you can also book for a full day, full weekend or even take your bike home for a week! If you have any other requirements Bristol Tandem are happy to make you a bespoke hire too. And remember, hire is for two people which makes the price very reasonable.
Picking up is easy and currently outside at your choice of ‘collection hubs’ around the Bristol area. Simply choose the most convenient for you and turn up. If you are taking the bikes home you will get assistance fitting the bike into your boot or roof. The British Circe Helios Tandems will also be adjusted for your specific measurements and are suitable for city cycling and touring (no mountain biking on them I’m afraid). The thicker, puncture resistant tyres make for a very comfortable ride, even over bumpy tracks and with the tool kit and accessories you’ll be well equipped for your tour. Helmets are not for hire so you will have to provide your own if you want to wear one which is advised but not a requirement. They do insist however that any child under 12 bring a helmet or they will not hire the bike to you.
Due to COVID they are no longer offering their delicious hamper options where you get a picnic hamper filled with fantastic Bristol foodstuffs. Hopefully this service will resume in the not too distant future.
Riding a tandem is fun and easy (especially from the rear seat) and you will have a great laugh riding around together. Be sure to check out the vast route information via their website, they really do know the best places to go on a tandem.
One of the most budget conscious on this list is the non nonsense Bristol Cycle Shack. Predominately a sales and repair shop they also offer day hire on a stock of quality bicycles. For a mere £15 a day (10am-5pm) you get your bike, helmet, locks and accessory kit in case of any issues. Choose from a range of quality Merida and Viking urban bikes perfectly suited for the area and grab yourself the complimentary cycle maps to aid you on your journey.
BCS is a family run and owned business. Operating from a very central city location makes them an affordable and easy option for a day of sightseeing in Bristol and you don’t need any equipment of your own.
Be sure to take ID and a deposit will be required to hire a bicycle.
Another relatively central option is Blackboy Hill Cycles in Clifton. Like the cycle shack, you will get everything you need with your hire including helmet, locks and local maps to help you get around. Again ID will be required but to be kept as security, removing the need for a deposit. At a similar price of £20 for day hire they are also an affordable option especially as the hire period lasts for 24hours. No need to rush back for closing time, you can enjoy a bit of night cycling or nurse your drink down by the docks. You can also get weekly hire if you so wish for a very reasonable £50 making Blackboy a perfect option if you are on a longer stay in the city.
There are two Specialised bikes on offer depending on what your intentions are. The Specialised Crossroads is a lightweight aluminium framed city runner offering great handling and comfort for bustling around the city streets. Alternatively the Hardrock is perfect for woodland trails and more bumpy rides with front suspension. A perfect partner for hitting the Timberland mountain bike trails at Ashton Court, the first mountain bike trails to be built in the Forest of Avon.
If you are in Bristol for a few days I recommend trying both bicycles out. With a couple of perfectly suited tarmac routes to see sights of Bristol on the Crossroads you will have a great day out. Then grab yourself a Hardrock for a fun run around the beautiful Ashton Court Estate away from cars in the middle of beautiful woodland. A perfect combination of city sights and tranquility, the best of both worlds which is the very essence of Bristol.
If you liked the sound of hurtling around the Ashton court estate on a mountain bike then you should definitely consider giving Pedal Progression a look. They are a mountain bike skills coaching and hire centre based at the Ashton Court trails. Providing fun for all abilities and ages you can simply hire a bike or get yourself a coach for a few hours and improve your riding skills, whether you are a downhill expert or just starting out.
These guys really love mountain biking and you can have lessons in core skills, advanced techniques or maybe you are stuck on a particular section of trail and just need a bit of technical expertise. There is even the option to have video training where they record you riding and analyse it with you in slow motion. Now that’s dedication to training.
The staff are always pleasant, fun and above all, passionate. Kids bikes are available and safety is of course taken very seriously. There are a range of trials available from leisurely family friendly woodland rides to more advanced downhill trails to challenge the more adventurous. The team can advise you based on your abilities and maps and signposts will help you navigate the beautiful woodland. The bikes are quality and you can choose from Whyte and Isla bikes to hire with optional extra like clip-in pedals and water bottles if you desire. It is best to bring your own helmets however, as the ones they do have are limited in number and are given out on a first come first served basis.
A great idea for something a bit different if you have exhausted your city sightseeing.
We hope you will find something to suit you in this list or maybe if you are like me will be hiring from more than one! Go tandem down the canal one day, bustle through the city the next and finish with some tuition in the Avon forest on a mountain bike… sounds like a decent city visit to me! Be sure to check all the websites for information regarding opening times which may be affected by the pandemic.