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One of the biggest appeals of folding bikes is their compact nature. This will allow them to be taken on most forms of public transport. But will they be welcomed onto the tube?

Folding bikes are allowed on all London Underground tube lines, making it convenient for commuters to combine cycling with public transport. There is no need to reserve a seat, pay additional charges, or restrict your travel to off-peak times.

You might want to choose a compact folding bike with wheels under 24-inches. This will make it easier to lift and maneuver around the platform.

A tube is an excellent option for folding bikes; you shouldn’t have problems getting them aboard.

Can You Take A Folding Bike On The Tube
Can You Take A Folding Bike On The Tube?

But there are still a few things to keep in mind to limit the disruption to your fellow passengers. Read on to learn more about the practicality of transporting folding bikes on the tube.

What Types of Folding Bikes Are Allowed On The Tube?

The tube is available for all types of folding bikes. This applies on all lines. Your bike will need to be folded before you can enter the tube.

You can travel on the tube to any destination with a folding bike, and you won’t need to pay additional fees or charges.

Furthermore, unlike conventional bikes, you can carry a folding bike onto the tube at any time of the day. Plus, there is no need to reserve your seat.

What Types of Folding Bikes Are Allowed On The Tube
What Types of Folding Bikes Are Allowed On The Tube?

This is the same with most of the public transport around the UK.

For example, folding bikes are generally allowed onto public buses. But this is at the driver’s discretion. This can only become a problem during peak times when the driver might be concerned about available space.

While you won’t have any problems with your folding bike, you might run into problems when you are transporting accessories. For example, you will face additional restrictions when riding with a bike trailer. In this case, the rules will be similar to a conventional bike.

Often, this means sticking to off-peak times and checking the bike on and off.

Furthermore, you won’t be able to put it on the escalator, so you’ll need to carry it up and down the stairs. As long as you follow these regulations, you should be able to transport bulkier accessories for free.

If you need to carry things, it might be best to use a backpack instead. This will let you keep your hands free, making folding and unfolding the bike easier.

What Types of Folding Bikes Are Best For The Tube?

What Types of Folding Bikes Are Best For The Tube
What Types of Folding Bikes Are Best For The Tube?

While all folding bikes can be taken on the tube, some models will better suit this type of journey. Here are some of the bike features you should be looking for:

  • Wheel size. This will determine how compactly you can fold the bike. It’s best to choose something with 26-inch wheels or less.
  • Weight. You will need to carry the folding bike onto the tube. Thankfully, most folding bikes are less than 20 pounds, so they will be light enough to carry comfortably.
  • Folding speed. If you are running late for the tube, you might need to fold your bike quickly when you arrive at the station. Thankfully, most modern folding bikes will make this process easy. Usually, you should be able to fold your bike in around 30 seconds.  

Preparing Your Folding Bike for The Tube

Before you travel on the tube, you should take a few minutes to get your bike ready. If it’s been a wet day, you should use a cloth to wipe down your wheels.

Preparing Your Folding Bike for The Tube
Preparing Your Folding Bike for The Tube

This serves two purposes.

First, it’s a courtesy to your fellow passengers, as you don’t want to get mud accidentally on their clothes. Secondly, it ensures that no dirt or dust gets into the folding mechanism.

Another option you can explore is placing your folding bike into a bag.

This is another way to contain mud and grime on the bike’s tires. A large IKEA bag should be able to fit most bikes.

Plus, this will give you fabric handles to hang onto.

Though there might be some jostling during a peak hour trip, it shouldn’t be enough to do any damage to your bike frame. Because of this, you don’t need to worry about adding any padding.

It’s a good idea to fold the pedals to create a flat surface so you can slide them under the seat. Depending on the model, you might also need to remove the handlebars.

When going to the station, you must make sure you are using the wider ticket gate. Sometimes, getting through the narrow gates can be tricky, especially if you have a heavier bike.

Traveling On The Tube With A Folding Bike

There are a few places you can put your folding bike when traveling, depending on how busy the tube is.

Traveling On The Tube With A Folding Bike
Traveling On The Tube With A Folding Bike

Some ideas include:

  • Sliding it under your chair. Most folding bikes should be able to slide under your seat. You can use your feet to hold the bike in place.
  • Placing it on the seat beside you. If you aren’t riding during peak times, there shouldn’t be too many passengers on the tube. Because of this, you might be able to sit the folding bike on the seat beside you during the trip.
  • Putting it on your lap. You might consider placing the folding bike onto your lap rather than sliding it under the chair. But this might not be possible with heavier bikes, which can get uncomfortable after a while.
  • Holding the folding bike. If it’s a busy train, you might not be able to get a seat. In this case, you will need to hold the bike during the journey. Though you might be able to rest it beside you.

Sometimes, getting onto the tube can require a long walk down the platform. At these times, it might be easier to leave the seat extended.

This will allow you to roll the bike.

This is especially beneficial for heavier models. However, you might need to plan your trip to avoid peak travel times. Often, the platform will be too busy to roll a bike down without disturbing your fellow passengers.

Another thing to consider is where you are gripping the folding bike while carrying it around the station.

It’s best to avoid holding it by the handlebars or seat pillar. Instead, you will need to grip it by the frame. This limits the pressure you put on these delicate components, so you don’t risk bending them out of shape.

But there are a few commuting benefits to using a folding bike in a busy tube station. If you cannot find a seat, you can lift the seat and sit on the folding bike. You won’t need to unfold it completely. Just keep your feet on the floor to keep them steady.

When the train arrives, you’ll be able to put away the seat in a matter of seconds.

Can I Take My Bike On The Tube?

Yes, you can take your bike on the tube in London. However, there are specific guidelines and restrictions in place. Bicycles are allowed on certain tube lines outside of peak hours. It’s advised to avoid busy periods, use specific entrances/exits, and be considerate of other passengers. Check Transport for London’s website for details.

Can You Take A Brompton On The Tube?

You can take a Brompton bike at any time on the tube in London. Brompton bikes are foldable and compact, making them ideal for commuting. They are allowed on all London Underground lines at any time, except during peak hours. Just fold it and carry it in a bag to ensure a hassle-free journey.”

Final Thoughts

The tube can be a great way of traveling around the city. Thankfully, it will be easy to travel with a folding bike. You will be able to bring it onto any line without additional charges.

Plus, there aren’t any rules or regulations that you need to be aware of. This flexibility makes folding bikes the ideal choice for the daily commute.

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