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Bringing a bike

Feel free to travel with a folding bike any time. But if you want to bring a regular cycle on board, there are some restrictions you should know about.

Our cycle policy

If you have a fully folding cycle, you’re welcome to bring it on board any of our trains. Just be sure to fold and carry your bike before going through the ticket gates.

Please note that by fully folding, we mean a cycle that has small wheels and folds in more than one place. At present, we do allow larger cycles with a single folding point, as long as they are easily carried.

Limits on regular cycles

You can bring non-folding cycles on many of our trains. But during the busy morning and afternoon commuting hours, space on board is at a premium. So unfortunately, we can’t let you bring regular bikes along during peak hours.

Peak hour trains are the following (Monday through Friday, excluding Bank Holidays):

  • trains due to arrive in London, Brighton or Kensington Olympia between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.
  • trains departing London, Brighton or Kensington Olympia between 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

We do make exceptions if your journey is entirely within a less crowded part of our network. Download our cycle policy map to see if your journey falls within an unrestricted green zone.

Additional limits

There are times when our services see heavy use outside of peak hours. If a train is especially crowded and cycle spaces are already occupied, we may need to refuse access to non-folding bicycles. This is to protect the safety and comfort of all our passengers.

If we can’t let you board because there’s no room for your bike, our staff will help you find another train.

There are two cases where additional bicycle limits are more common:

  • summer weekends on our East Coastway line (between Brighton and Ashford International)
  • after large cycle events

In case of engineering works

For safety reasons, we can’t take non-folding cycles on rail replacement buses. Please check for any engineering works before you travel.

Parking your bike at the station

We take bike security seriously. That’s why we’ve invested heavily in new, secure cycle parking facilities at many of our stations.

Find cycle parking near you – visit our station information page.

If I board at a green zone station, how far can I continue?

If you’re travelling during peak hours, you’ll need to leave the train at the last station within the green zone.

Can I take my cycle on a peak time train if it is not going to London, Kensington Olympia or Brighton?

Yes, if you’re headed in the opposite direction from the cycle-restricted trains then you can bring your bike on board, space permitting.

I need to take my cycle on the train, as I use it to continue my journey at the other end. Can you make an exception?

For the safety of all our passengers, we can’t make exceptions on peak hour restrictions. But we do want to support our passengers who commute by bicycle. You might consider:

  • Using a folding cycle
  • Travelling earlier or later to avoid peak times
  • Buying two cycles and keep one at each end of your journey
  • Making use of London’s self-service bike-sharing scheme, Santander Cycles

If the space designated for wheelchair users is free, why can't I use it for my bike?

Even if there are no wheelchair users, during busy periods this space is meant to be used as extra seating or standing room for passengers.

If I use a station shelter with CCTV, is Southern responsible for my cycle?

Sorry, no. While we aim to provide safe and secure bike parking, ultimately your cycle is left at your own risk.