Published: 22 March 2012
Guide: Eddie Allen
Image: Luke Webber
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Southampton’s riverside cycle paths and plentiful green-spaces make it a great place to ride a bike. The maritime city has been a British Cycling partner town for a number of years, hosting successful Sky Ride events since 2010.
The city sits at the confluence of two rivers, the Test and the Itchen and is also the meeting point of two National Cycle Network routes, which form the backbone of safe, traffic-free commuting into the city centre.
Cycle route provision
National Cycle Route 24 runs into Southampton on its long journey south from Bath, where it joins NCN23 at Eastleigh. NCN23 extends south along the banks of the Itchen, to the centre of Southampton, forming the backbone of the traffic-free provision serving the east of the city. NCN23 also extends, via ferry, to the Isle of Wight, just across the Solent.
From the east, NCN2 follows the waterfront at Weston before crossing (free of charge) the Itchen toll bridge, joining NCN23 at Saltmarsh Road.
To the west of the city, there is a comprehensive network of Local Cycle Network routes serving commuters in the Millbrook, Shirley, Shirley Warren and Lordswood districts.
For commuters travelling into the city centre from the north, Southampton Common has a number of permissive paths that offer a green, traffic-free route into the city.
Southampton’s Bike Guide PDF features a highly detailed map of these routes, together with other suggested quiet routes ideal for cycle commuters.
Southampton City Centre has around 20 designated cycle parking areas, mainly concentrated on the High Street and Above Bar Street area.
Cycling and trains
Southampton Central station has cycle parking facilities which are partially covered by CCTV monitoring. In terms of taking bikes on trains, cyclists are advised to check with individual rail operators regarding their cycle policies.
The Southampton area has a plethora of bike shops. Most famous is Hargroves Cycles on Third Avenue to the west of the city. The Hub Cycleworks and GA Cycles are both on Shirley Road, whilst Rock and Road is located on Britannia Road, just off NCN23.
Don’t leave home without...
Southampton City Council’s Cycle Guide, which details routes, parking, shops and other cycle provision in the area, together with a wealth of information on safe cycling in the area.
MORE SUPPORT FOR YOUR COMMUTE: Ride Membership offers bike commuters legal protection, insurance and discounts on essential commuting kit. Click here for more details