London by bike
Biking in London, England
If you’ve ever wanted to take a bicycle ride on a Thames River bicycle path or an urban bikeway through the heart of London, you don’t have to worry about bringing your own bike with you to England. Thanks to a forward-thinking London mayor and a community that’s supportive of alternative transportation, you can rent bicycles once you get there and enjoy British sight-seeing from the vantage point of a bicycle seat on an urban bike trail. So without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to this week’s guest blogger, Chiara Fucarino.
London Bike Scheme
If you’ve watched an old Hollywood movie sometime in your lifetime, you’ve probably seen the whole “steal the bike from a kid” move during a chase sequence. If such a film took place in today’s London, there wouldn’t be a kid shouting after a grown adult who has taken his bike. Instead, you’d see the adult fishing a key out of his pocket and scrambling to unlock a Boris bike at a docking station before taking off with it.
What is a Boris bike?
It’s the nickname for the bicycles used in the Barclays Cycle Hire scheme and named after Boris Johnson, the mayor of London. Boris bikes are public bicycles that can be hired and used by anyone. There are thousands of docking stations all over London, precisely the central, North Shoreditch, Tower Hamlets, and Shepherds Bush neighborhoods. There are plans to expand the cycle hire scheme into West and South London in 2013.
Boris bikes are high-quality and more advanced than regular street bicycles. They have a lot of nifty features, including:
– Dynamo-powered flashing front and rear lights
– A bell on the left handlebar
– A small carrying rack in the front, complete with a elastic cord
– Puncture-resistant tires
How does the scheme work?
The Barclays Cycle Hire scheme is a successful public solution for those with insufficient means of transportation. Anyone who wants to ride a Boris bike frequently can register on the Barclays Cycle Hire website and pay an annual access fee of 45 pounds and 3 pounds per key. Up to four keys are then sent to the new Boris bike scheme member, and the member could then use one of the membership keys to unlock a Boris bike at any docking station.
If a person doesn’t use Boris bikes frequently, s/he doesn’t have to register at the website. The person can just pay with a credit or debit card at the docking station. It costs more, and it takes a bit more time to obtain a bike, but it’s the perfect solution for anyone who doesn’t want to pay the 45-pound annual fee.
Whenever a person, whether a registered member or not, wants to hire a Boris bike, s/he still has to pay a usage charge. The charge is based on how long the person needs to have the bike. If it’s under thirty minutes, it’s free. If it’s an hour, it’s 1 pound. Three hours, 15 pounds. Twenty-four hours, 50 pounds. You can see the pricing chart here.
Boris bikes can be ridden to any docking station within the city. The user just has to make sure that the bike is returned within the specified time frame. If there’s a fault with a Boris bike, the user can drop it off at the nearest docking station, press the red ‘fault’ button, and then take out another bike at no extra cost.
Where do I sign up?
Right here! You have to be 18 or older and you have to have a UK postal address that matches your billing address. Good luck, and let us know how you like being part of this cutting-edge cycle hire scheme!
Don’t Own a Bicycle? Ride a Boris Bike. – written by Chiara Fucarino. Chiara is regularly writing on behalf of Cruiser Bikes, a cheap cruiser bikes shop on the web.