It’s not hugely well known, but the folding bike company, Brompton also hires bikes out, and they’ve streamlined the hiring process to make it easier to use.

It’s been around for some time though, having started 12 years ago at the left luggage desk at Waterloo station, and I first picked one up in 2014 for a cycle ride out to Foulness Island as the folding bike was more convenient than a normal one to carry on the train ride out to Shoeburyness.

To make the bike hire easier to use, they’ve now scrapped their set-up fees, and have a fixed £5 per day hire rate. Customers can simply hire from a locker that’s convenient to them and return to any of the 70+ Brompton Bike Hire locations nationwide. Unlike TfL’s cycle hire scheme, where bikes have to be returned within the day, Brompton Bikes can be kept for as long as you want, such as if travelling for a few days on a touring holiday.

(c) Brompton Bikes

There are currently 35 Brompton Bike hire points around London, with the rest in a number of cities around the UK.

They can be useful away from the areas covered by existing cycle hire schemes, although I found they can be quite a nice idea when travelling out of London and wanting to cycle between villages for a day trip in places where buses are as rare as hen’s teeth.

As the bikes are foldable, the hire points are a bit like delivery lockers, where you reserve a bike in advance, and then open the locker to remove/return the bike. Helpfully, they also have instructions on the side about how to unfold the bike – that was a challenge the first time I ever tried to use one. It’s easy once you know how, but not entirely intuitive at first.

(c) Brompton Bikes

Julian Scriven, Managing Director of Brompton Bike Hire said: “1 in 3 members already join our scheme with the express purpose of trying cycling before buying a bike, so hopefully removing the annual fee will enable even more people to give cycling a go”

Hire customers can also claim back their hire fees should they decide to buy a bike, receiving up to £150 for a regular Brompton, or £250 for an electric Brompton bike.

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4 comments
  1. Greg says:

    Thanks for highlighting this. I had no idea you could rent them for the day, and this looks pretty simple.

  2. Robert says:

    Great service, but beware of limited supply, particularly in the busy London locations. I wouldn’t want to plan a trip relying on a availability.
    Also worth noting that there are hire locations outside of London, such as Canterbury Station, so useful if you want to explore other areas.

  3. Malcolm Hunt says:

    Are these rental ones suitable for the tallest riders?
    There’s an add on seat post extender availible for people over 6ft tall with long legs when you buy a Brompton.
    If you can’t extend your legs enough when pedaling because the saddle is too low, it gets painful just above your knees.

  4. Gerry says:

    Brompton’s system is far too complicated and unfriendly. Weirdly, it excludes overseas visitors (surely prime targets) and those without smartphones, and it requires you to download an amateurish, badly rated app.

    Apparently the app doesn’t warn you that you’ll have to mess around scanning your passport (thereby excluding more people) before you enter your bank card details (excluding Amex). But by then I’d lost interest and uninstalled the app.

    It should be like TfL’s scheme where you simply turn up, tap or insert a credit / debit card (including Amex, Electron, and JCB) and happily ride off, all within a minute or two.

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