Sunday, 1 August 2010

Bikes for hire

I have seen the new bikes that are available for hire in central London. I saw my first one on Friday on The Strand outside the Royal Courts of Justice. I went up to the rider and asked where he had got his bike only to discover that he was an actor creating footage for a camera nearby. He was very polite but didn’t know where the nearest docking station was. But today on a trip to Columbia Road Flower Market I passed two docking stations in Shoreditch. I also saw two people cycling on the hire bikes going down Brick Lane E1.

There are attendants at the docking stations, giving information and maps. The map I was given is much clearer than the map on the Transport for London website. I can see docking stations that are close to where I go on my work appointments.

I found out that for the first month only registered users can hire the bikes. Registration is £3 and they send you a special key in the post that unlocks the bike. You also have to pay an Access Fee and there are only three rates, 24 hours, 7 days or 1 year. The rates are £1, £5, and £45. But having paid your fee any distance you travel in 30 minutes is free and you can get to a lot of places in Central London in under 30 minutes. If it is under an hour the charge is £1 which is still very reasonable.

The thing is why would I need to use a hire bike? I have a Brompton that I can take on any train, bus and in any building. If I was an experienced cyclist on a trip to London I would use the hire bikes . I do want to have a go and see how they feel when you ride them, so I will have to register or wait until September when casual users can get access.

The Evening Standard are calling the new hire bikes 'Boris Bikes' after our cycling Mayor of London who has been promoting the bikes all week.   I think I prefer this name rather than calling them after a high street bank.


That's Not My Age said...

Hi there! Just to let you know you're on my blog! I can't wait to try out one of these bikes but like yourself I have my own wheels. Actually, I have two bikes - a fold-up Dahon (cheaper than a Brompton) and an old hybrid. I prefer Boris to Barclays - but wasn't it Ken's idea in the first place?

Cycling in Heels said...

Yes you're right. Ken's administration, conceived the idea and set up the system, but Boris gets the credit.

Joseph said...

The cycle hire bikes could be the start of a beautiful thing in London. The VĂ©lib did wonders in Paris, lets hope our one does the same for the city, and the country.

On another note, I really like those pictures, where can I get one of those cameras, or better yet is there a filter or application that one can buy that gets that flared vignette effect?

Cycling in Heels said...

The effect is created with the help of an iPhone camera app called Hipstamatic. You can see the various effects at An alternative if you don't have a iPhone is CameraBag Desktop where you can apply various filters on your Mac or PC. You can try it for free for 15 days. You can find it at

Joseph said...

Nice, cheers! I will have to give it a whirl.

Si said...

just select registration for 24hrs... then once you have activated the key select 'autorenew' in your account options.. that way you just get charged a £1 each time you use the key - ideal for the occasional users and will be simpler than using the casual user Credit Card option