It’s been nine years since London’s iconic cycle scheme arrived in the capital – and one prolific user has made 16,000 trips on hired bikes since then.

The mystery rider has clocked up an average of almost five trips a day on Santander bikes for nearly a decade, according to Transport for London (TfL) data.

The bicycles sponsored by Santander bank are known as “Boris Bikes” – because the new Prime Minister presided over the scheme’s launch during his time as Mayor.

Credit for the bikes is often disputed, with previous mayor Ken Livingstone announcing a similar policy shortly before he left office.

Regardless of their origin, the project has proved popular, with a record 10.5 million trips last year.

Since their introduction in 2010, almost five million different customers have cycled more than 180,000,000 miles on the bikes – the equivalent of three return trips to Mars.TfL said some Londoners use the scheme for work – for example, letting agents cycling between viewings – which could explain how the scheme’s biggest fan has racked up so many journeys.

An estimated 62 per cent of trips on the bikes are for business, and 38 per cent are for leisure, according to analysis by the transport network.

TfL has now launched a map of protected cycle routes to celebrate nine years of the scheme, encouraging more customers to ride for pleasure.

The map shows three interconnected loops taking in some of the capital’s best known sites – the Hyde Park Loop, Royal Loop and Thames Loop together show off the Serpentine, Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and views of the river.

All routes are protected cycle lanes, meaning riders do not have to compete with other road traffic – there are now 70 miles of bike lanes in the capital, and the figure has doubled since 2016.

David Eddington, Head of Cycle Hire at TfL, said: “In the last nine years, London’s flagship cycle hire scheme has gone from strength to strength, helping millions of people commute to work, explore the capital and get active.

“Our customers have been vital in helping us achieve a string of record years, especially Santander Cycles’ top customer, who has used the scheme an incredible 16,000 times since 2010.

“We hope that the free led rides will be a great opportunity for people to build their cycling confidence and give Santander Cycles a try.”