The UK’s city-cycling hotspots

The UK has a long-standing love affair with cycling. In fact, there are over 7.5 million Brits who partake in the sport. And with city congestion making road travel as slow as ever, it’s becoming increasingly tempting to navigate the urban jungle on two wheels rather than four. But which UK towns and cities are the most cycle friendly?

We’ve conducted research, to determine the areas that see the fewest cycling accidents, endure the least bike thefts, enjoy the most manageable traffic, and demonstrate the most enthusiasm for the sport. With this data, we’ve managed to rank and reveal the UK’s city-cycling hotspots.

The UK’s top 15 cycling cities revealed

Leading the way as the UK’s top city for cycling, Cambridge comes away with an impressive index score of 3.248 out of 4.000. This is helped, in part, by the city outranking all other UK locations for cycling enthusiasm, far ahead Oxford and York who take second and third, respectively, for this category.

Oxford is also the overall runner up, placing as the second-best city across the UK for cycling, with an index score of 3.078. Next up, there’s clearly a cycling hub in the North-West, with Wigan (2.996), Stockport (2.965), and Bolton (2.953) each claiming places in the top five. In fact, Bolton and Wigan are also statistically the safest two towns to ride your bike, seeing fewer road accidents involving a cyclist than anywhere else in the UK.

Meanwhile, Stoke-on-Trent claims sixth on the list, with an overall index score of 2.936, followed by the South Yorkshire town of Barnsley (2.924). Interestingly, Barnsley is also the UK location that records the fewest bike thefts, followed by Rotherham and Plymouth.

In eighth, we head to the Lancashire coast and the seaside town of Blackpool, which comes in with an overall index score of 2.909, helped along the way by also being the place with the lowest amount of static or slow-moving traffic in the UK. Placing ninth, by the slimmest of margins, we have the northeast of England’s first representation, with Sunderland achieving an index score of 2.908, while Rotherham (2.900) takes tenth.

In 11th, we have Coventry (2.897), followed by West Yorkshire’s best cycling city in Bradford (2.896), which beats neighbouring Leeds considerably (placing 32nd nationwide). Rounding up the top 15 towns and cities for cycling, our index places Leicester (2.893) in 13th, Middlesbrough (2.883) in 14th, and Doncaster (2.876) in 15th.

Notably, London ranks lowest across each of our indexed cities, because of the intense city-wide traffic and high number of bike thefts (over ten times that of number one ranked Cambridge). Curiously, the cities of Hull, York, Bristol, and Brighton see more cycling accidents than any other, including the Capital.


To index and rank each city, we first had to collect relevant cycling data, including the average cycling casualties per city, a city’s traffic rate, the cycling enthusiasm across the town and its people, and the recorded number of bike thefts within the area. 

After gathering the above data, we ordered each city for each category and assigned a score between 0.000-1.000 depending on position. To give a final index total, we combined all four category scores, giving an overall figure between 0.000-4.000. We then ordered each city, depending on its final index score to give us our top 15.

Cycling is a great way to exercise, socialise, and enjoy competition, and with countless beautiful routes running through the nation’s towns, cities, and countryside, the UK really is a biking haven. For even more interesting insight and the latest in our world, head on over to our blog.