Like it or not, the Barclays cycle hire scheme is a huge success and is now a part of London’s transport system. With further expansions taking place, it’s time to ask whether there’s any point in buying a bike in London?
Dear Santa, don’t worry about getting me a bike for Christmas – Boris Johnson has already got 8,300 for me!
As someone who doesn’t drive and is loath to use the Tube on weekends, I’m a great fan of London’s cycle hire scheme.
But, like all good things, these bikes are getting popular. Very popular! So popular in fact, that my nearest stand will rarely have a free bike after midday on weekends. Rather than bikes, there’s usually a bevy of awkward loiterers waiting to pounce on the next person that comes in to dock.
With the recent expansion across an additional area of around 21km² (mostly in East London) an extra 2,300 bikes are now on London’s streets. This takes the total number to 8,300.
So now comes the burning question: is it better to buy a bike or to just use one of Boris’?
The advantages of using a Boris bike:
- They’re cheap, fun and very effective for short trips when you don’t want to leave a bike somewhere or have to ride it home.
- Buying your own bike can be expensive and it can take time to find the right one.
- If I bought a bike and it was stolen, I’d be devastated! For £1, so long as I dock every half hour, I can have 24 hours of adventure on the weekend and save money on transport.
The advantages of owning a bike:
- For a start, I wouldn’t have those awkward loitering moments at Barclays stands waiting for a bike!
- I could also go wherever and whenever I wanted without the restrictions that are associated with a 20kg Boris bike.
- Then there’s the aesthetic style of owning your own bike, where you don’t just look like another cog in the bicycle hire chain.
As for me, when I’m on one of Boris’ bikes and the system is working, I love it! And as they continue to expand further into wider London, I can’t help but think I’ll never own a bike again. So, if a cycle hire scheme came to a place near you, would you ditch your very own bike?
Would you prefer to buy your own bike or use a cycle hire scheme?
I’d like to ride my own bike (39%, 77 Votes)
Neither - I’d prefer to use other forms of transport (30%, 58 Votes)
I’m happy to use either depending on which is convenient (24%, 48 Votes)
I’d like to use a cycle hire scheme, like London’s Boris bikes (7%, 14 Votes)
Total Voters: 198