Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Boris Bikes

We didn't get off to a good start with the new Barclays Cycle Hire scheme (or Boris Bikes, as I like to call them). We registered, then waited and waited... and waited to get our keys in the post. I rang them up to ask where our keys were, only to be told they'd call back. Which, of course, they didn't. Then we got a notice in the post saying someone didn't pay the postage and we had to cough up £1.10 to get our letter.

And guess what? Surprise, surprise: Transport for London hadn't put the proper postage on our keys. Not a great beginning. But once we got on our bikes, it all changed. Sure, it was a bit difficult figuring out the logistics of the whole thing (redocking was a bit of a mystery -- there didn't seem to be any instructions but there were plenty of confused people around) but once we sorted it out, we had a great time flying through Hyde Park on our Boris Bikes. The bikes themselves are quite heavy and the handlebars very sensitive but they're comfortable enough for short journeys.

There's something very magical about moving around London on a bike. It makes you see how small the city actually is -- we went from Kensington to Leicester Square in about twenty minutes! I loved gliding under the trees, past Buckingham Palace and right into Trafalgar Square. Riding over Tower Bridge was another story (and not one I'd like to repeat anytime soon), but it was certainly an experience.

It's the second weekend the bikes are available and we felt a bit like stars as people pointed and stared. Many actually stopped to talk to us about the bikes and it was great to see Londoners chatting with each other -- something that never happens on the Tube!

I loved the bikes and despite my rather sore butt I'll definitely be out again soon!


KarenG said...

It sounds wonderful! What a great way to tour a city.

Kathryn Eastman said...

Great way to see London, if you can whizz through parks and avoid the scary roads full of taxis and buses and white vans.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Sounds absolutely brilliant, I am totally jealous.

Jen said...

Bike rides are the best! I wish they believed in them more here, but they don't even believe in pathways or sidewalks for bikes. Here in Houston riding a bike is a death trap.

David said...

Just noticed this as a RT by LondonEater on Twitter and this is the first I've heard of this scheme, what exactly is it? Do you pay a monthly fee or something and can use bikes that you find docked around London and leave them at any other dock or something?

Sounds like you enjoyed it but you've not said much about what the scheme is actually about for those of us who don't know. =)

Theresa Milstein said...

I love the row of bicycles, just like in Paris. I can't wait until they come to Boston. I have a bike, but still.

And this is a great cure for "writers' arse".

Marsha Moore said...

Thanks everyone!

David - good point. If you Google Barclays Cycle Hire you'll see all the info on the scheme. I should have explained it but quite honestly I'm just too lazy! :)

heatherfeather said...

Nice to hear your experiences. I've heard both praise and grumps about the scheme from Londoners(not surprisingly) Just curious if tourists can use them or not?

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