Cycling in Cardiff: Wikis


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Cycling in Cardiff, capital of Wales, is facilitated by its easy gradients and large parks.[1] In 2005, 4.3% of people commuted to work by cycling, compared to 2% in London and 5% in Berlin.[2] However, cyclists in the city appear to be influenced by deterrents to cycling and as a result will need a greater level of improved facilities to increase cycling numbers, according to research by Cardiff University.[3]


Council Policy

Cardiff County Council encourages citizens to cycle more, citing the improved health through increased fitness, reduced pollution and congestion of the local environment, economic gains through cycle tourism and leisure, independence for those people who cannot or do not wish to use a car, and the fact that cycling can be the quickest and most convenient form of transport in urban areas such as Cardiff.

The council's Transport, Infrastructure and Waste service aims to ensure that an increase in cycling is matched with a reduction in the number of collisions involving cyclists.

Cardiff Council also provides off-road cycle training for school pupils to develop basic cycling skills based upon the National Cycling Proficiency Scheme. Training covers the Highway Code, negotiating obstacles, turning left and right, emergency stops and basic cycle maintenance.[4] More than 1,500 children participate in this course every year in Cardiff, according to the council's Cycling Strategy.

The council produces a free map of the city, available from its offices or from cycle shops, highlighting cycle paths, lanes and suggested cycle routes.


The council's Cycling Strategy was adopted in 1998. The 2007 update showed that 2.7% of people living in Cardiff cycled to work in 2001, an increase from 2.6% in 1991. However, an Omnibus survey showed that in 2003 and 2005, 3.6% and 4.3% of people cycled to work respectively. Although, the number of children cycling to school fell from 5% to 2% since 1989-91. In the strategy, the council intends to[5]:

  • encourage and promote cycling
  • provide safe facilities such as wider cycle lanes and advanced stop lines at traffic signals
  • conduct a trial scheme to assess the viability of allowing cycling through pedestrian areas in the city centre
  • improve cycle links between residential and commercial areas
  • facilitate integration with other modes of transport
  • improve and maintain the cycle network
  • develop and clearly sign routes

Cycle facilities

Example from Excalibur Drive of the red cycle lanes used in Cardiff.

The Cardiff cycle map lists 14 cycle shops in the city: in Canton, Cathays, Gabalfa, Llandaff, Llanrumney, Rhiwbina, Roath, Tongwynlais, Tremorfa, and Whitchurch. Cycle Hire is available in Pontcanna Fields, on the Taff Trail.

Cycle Lanes

As cycling on the pavement is illegal[6], cyclists must generally cycle on the road. Some roads in the city provide distinct cycle lanes to the left of the vehicle lane. According to the Cardiff Cycle Map, these include:

West Cardiff
North Cardiff
Sign denoting a path only to be used by cyclists
South Cardiff
East Cardiff
  • Llanrumney Avenue: a main suburban road running through Llanrumney

Bus and cycle lanes

There are also lanes that cyclists share with buses, motorcycles and taxis, in which it is illegal to drive on in any other motor vehicle[7]. Such lanes are on:

Segregated / off-road cycle paths

Segregated cycle facilities can be a shared pavement with pedestrians, running alongside a road or through a park for example. This is denoted by a blue circular sign showing a bicycle and pedestrians. A cycle only route is denoted by blue circular sign showing a only bicycle. Much of the Taff Trail, Ely Trail and Rumney Trail are segregated from traffic. Other such routes in the city include:

West Cardiff
North Cardiff
  • M4 Junction 32: routes run under the junction from Coryton to Tongwynlais
  • Gabalfa Interchange: routes run over and round the junction as an alternative to vehicle routes
  • University Hospital of Wales: routes run around Heath Hospital through King George Field
South Cardiff
  • Leckwith Road: from Ninian Park railway station in Canton connecting to the Ely Trail
  • Cardiff International Sports Village: the vicinity has a network a segregated routes connected to the Ely Trail in the west, Grangetown in the north, and Cardiff Bay in the east
  • Lloyd George Avenue: from the City Centre to Cardiff Bay, part of Route 8
  • Central Link: parallel to the east of Lloyd George Avenue
  • Butetown: a route runs through a housing estate to Cardiff Bay, parallel to the west of Lloyd George Avenue
  • Rover Way: through an industrial and commercial estate between Adamsdown and Tremorfa
East Cardiff
  • Llanedeyrn: a route runs through the housing estate from St Mellons Road to Llanederyn Interchange
  • Pentwyn Drive: a route runs along this road in Pentwyn around Wern-goch Park and connects with the Rumney Trail
  • St Mellons: routes connect various parts of the suburb
  • Llanrumney: a route connects Llanrumney Avenue with Ball Road, near the Rumney Trail

Cycle parking

There are bicycle stands for parking in locations including the following:

West Cardiff
  • Ely: Ely Library
  • Canton: Cowbridge Road East, Wellington Street and Llandaff Road
  • Fairwater: Fairwater Library
North Cardiff
South Cardiff
Cardiff City Centre
East Cardiff

Cycle hire: Cardiff Smart Bike

The Welsh Assembly Government and Cardiff Council announced plans to introduce a free cycle hire scheme in March 2009, with least 12 bike racks, each with five to seven bikes, placed around the city, allowing people to pick up bikes and ride them to another point, where they will leave the bike. Money would also be put into creating more strategic cycle routes and cycle lanes.[8]

The system, similar to those in other large cities, launched in September 2009, and includes 70 bikes and 35 hire points (initially 7) around the centre and the south of the city. The current stations are: Central Station; Cardiff Castle; Central Library; Queen Street Station; Churchill Way; City Hall; eastern Queen Street; Cardiff Bay Station; County Hall; and Cardiff Bay Visitors’ Centre.[9]

It is necessary to register before using a bike. The first half an hour is free after which a small hourly fee is payable. The scheme, which is part of a £28.5 million plan to encourage residents in the capital to use sustainable transport and ease congestion, was welcomed by campaigners.[10][11]

Cycling routes

Ely Trail

The off-road Ely Trail is under development in the west and south of the city as of 2009, funded by the County Council, Visit Wales, and Countryside Council for Wales.[12] So far completed is the northern section through St Fagans, Fairwater and Ely, and the southern section bypassing Leckwith to the south along the River Ely, finishing in Grangetown just north of the Cardiff International Sports Village. However, these sections are yet to be connected.[13]

The route is connected to Cardiff City Centre via an off-road north-south route through Butetown.[14] The Taff Trail at Cardiff Bay can also be joined from the trail via Grangetown and Butetown.[15]

Rhymney Trail

The off-road Rhymney Trail is being developed by the Council as a commuting and recreational route along the River Rhymney in the east of the city. Currently completed is the section between Llanedeyrn and Rumney.[16] The Cardiff Cycle Map shows the route running off-road from Llanedeyrn Interchange, bypassing Llanrumney to the west, briefly joining Newport Road (B4487), and then heading south of Rumney to Wentloog Avenue (B4239). However, an off-road section also runs north-south through Pentwyn from Llanedeyrn.

Taff Trail

Taff Trail route sign in Grangetown, Cardiff

The 55 mile long Taff Trail runs from Cardiff Bay through Pontypridd and Merthyr Tydfil to Brecon[17], forming part of the Lôn Las Cymru - the National Cycle Network Route 8 to Holyhead.[18]

The route begins at Roald Dahl Plass in Cardiff Bay and runs mostly off-road through the city for 7.5 miles (12 kilometres) north through the City Centre, joining the River Taff in Bute Park before heading north-west through Llandaff and Radyr, leaving the city at Tongwynlais.

Route 88: Coastal route

Route 88 is a proposed costal route from Newport to Margam Country Park via Cardiff.[19]


Cardiff rail network

Cycling is integrated into the city's urban rail network, which is operated by Arriva Trains Wales. Most trains have spaces for two cycles. However they are not permitted on services from Caerphilly, Radyr (except the City Line), Cadoxton, and Ebbw Vale Parkway to Cardiff Queen Street or Cardiff Central between 07:00 and 09:30, or services in the reverse direction 16:00 to 18:00 on weekdays. Outside these times, carriage is still at the discretion of the guard. Folding cycles can be carried folded-up at any time.[20]

There is cycle storage at Cardiff Central station on platforms 3, 4, 6 and 7, at the rear of station and in the Riverside car park.[21]

National rail network

Cycles are also permitted free of charge on the wider national network provided they can be safely stored in the designated areas and reservations through the train operator are recommended. Bikes must be carried in the designated area of the train and can’t be stored in aisles or vestibule areas. Cycles can not be carried on rail-replacement coach services. Folding bikes can be carried at all times as normal hand luggage.

Arriva Trains Wales also operates most of the Welsh rail network and its cycle policies apply to other services as well without the restrictions applied to the Cardiff rail network.

CrossCountry, who operate from Cardiff Central to The Midlands and The North, advise to make a free reservation for cycles before travel. All trains have two reservable bike spaces. Bikes for which no reservation has been made will be accepted on a first come, first served basis and subject to space being available.[22]

First Great Western, who operate from Cardiff Central to South West Wales, Bristol Temple Meads, London Paddington, Portsmouth Harbour and Taunton, make some cycle reservations compulsory. Six cycles can be carried in Coach A on HSTs, which are typically used on the London / South West Wales route. DMU trains, which are usually used on the Cardiff-Taunton and Cardiff-Southampton-Portsmouth route can carry at least two cycles at the end of the train. Most of they stations they operate have cycle storage and/or parking facilities. Restrictions, however, are that reservationss are compulsory on services that arrive into London Paddington between 07:00 and 10:00 and depart between 15:00 and 19:00 on weekdays.[23]


Cycles can not be carried on bus services in Cardiff. However, a Beacons Bus runs on Sundays and Bank Holidays in summer to Brecon which tows a cycle trailer to carry cycles.[24] The X40 service to Aberystwyth is one of the Traws Cambria services that does not carry cycles.[25]


The Cardiff Cycling Campaign campaigns for better provisions for cyclists in the city,[26] believing that the council's attitude is inadequate.[27]

Cycle Cardiff aims to raise awareness of cycling and organises bike rides in and around the city.[28]

Future plans

Pont Y Werin

Building work to create a new 140 m (459 ft) pedestrian and cycle bridge over the River Ely from the Cardiff International Sports Village to Penarth will commence in summer 2009. The project to build Pont y Werin (Welsh for the People's Bridge) has received a pledge of funding from the Big Lottery Fund, and Sustrans plan to complete the bridge by summer 2010.[29]. Costing approximately GB£3.5 million, it will also allow the public to travel to the ISV via Cogan railway station.[30] The bridge was designed by Faber Maunsell along with architects Holder Mathias.


On 11 March 2009, the Welsh Assembly Government announced an investment of £28.5 million into an improved green transport system for Cardiff. According to Ieuan Wyn Jones, Minister for Economy and Transport in Wales, the Welsh capital will receive the financial boost towards green travel solutions over the two years, including money for improved walking and cycling routes into and around the city centre.[31]


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  14. ^ Cardiff Cycling Map 2007
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  29. ^ Sustrans news
  30. ^ Cardiff Council's proposed bridge
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External links

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