Saturday, 28 August 2010

No room at Craven Street

I was on my way home with the Brompton yesterday when I passed the Bike Hire Stand in Craven Street W1. This is the closest docking station to Charing Cross Station and would be the one I would use if I manage to sort out the hire bike registration.

I was taking photographs and other people like me were looking at the bikes. Three cyclist on hire bikes arrived and started to wait. At first I thought they were waiting for friends and then I realised there was no spaces to dock the bikes. I asked one of the waiting cyclists and he confirmed he was waiting for someone to take a bike so he could park his bike. By this time another cyclist was looking on the map for the next docking station. (I think the next station is down on The Strand and is about a 10 minute walk back to Charing Cross.)

This is something else to consider. I catch my train from Charing Cross Station and if I got to Craven Street and found I could not park and go get my train I would be a little stressed.

This is also another reminder of how wonderful and portable the Brompton is. Yesterday I took the bike from South London via train and tube to Seven Sisters in North London, (there are no hire bikes outside central London). Cycled to my meeting. I then took the tube back to Oxford Street to do some window shopping for winter boots. As traffic seemed a little crazy with Bank Holiday shoppers I took the tube back to Charing Cross and parked the Brompton next to another black (matt) Brompton outside Waterstones book shop at Trafalgar Square where I stopped to look at books before going to catch my train. It was on this short walk back to Charing Cross that I passed the full docking station at Craven Street.

As for the hire bikes they are getting popular as I see more people use them.


That's Not My Age said...

We tried out the bikes to hire in Seville last weekend - a fantastic way to see the city - so even though I have two bikes of my own I'm looking forward to using one of Boris' Bikes. I think they become available to all at the end of the month (?)And I've heard there are problems at popular docking stations in central London.

J said...

There do seem to be some issues surrounding distribution. Apparently, the trailers go for complete repopulation of docking stations, which isn't very good if you're ending your journey at these points.

Another problem is the unfathomable positioning of these docking stations.

1. There are no signs to any of the docking stations from stations / Points Of Interest

2. There are no docking stations at major stations / POIs e.g. Waterloo, Kings Cross, Victoria, Trafalgar Square...

3. The docks are in many cases spread too far apart e.g. The Strand as you mentioned, therefore if one station is full, it is quite a trek to the next

Si said...

<<2. There are no docking stations at major stations / POIs e.g. Waterloo, Kings Cross, Victoria, Trafalgar Square...>>

all have docks very close though..

also if the dock is full you can tell the terminal and it will give you extra time to find another dock.

i think once they work out the usage patterns things will improve

Anonymous said...

We do have such docking stations in Brussels. Speaking of Charing Cross station ... I once saw a marvelous film called "Charing Cross Road", about a bookshop in London and in New York. The author is Helene Hanff.

Cycling in Heels said...

Sadly the bookshop has gone as well as the other bookshops on that section of the road.