Is the Barclays Cycle Scheme going to be a fast-track to town or is it destined to go down like a flat tyre? Time will tell, but Which? Holiday’s Rochelle Turner is keen to get peddling.
I’ve recently started cycling into our offices in Central London, causing my dearest friends and relations to panic, worry and question my sanity.
London’s Barclays Cycle Scheme launches on 30 July and joins Blackpool and Cardiff, the other UK cities with cycle schemes. It aims to promote cycling in the capital as a decent alternative to taking taxis or public transport.
With 6,000 bikes docked at 400 stations across central London, bikes should be available every 300 metres.
Why jump on one of Boris’s bikes?
With its narrow roads and extra-long buses, London’s not exactly known as the ideal cycling city. But there are many traffic-free and calmer cycle routes that, with a bit of careful planning, makes my two-wheeled commute actually quite enjoyable.
London’s scheme is just one of over 100 similar global schemes and our research shows that it actually compares well for cost and convenience. Once I’ve paid my registration fee for London’s scheme (£1 for 24 hours, £5 for a week, £45 a year), I’ll be able to borrow a bike for any number of free 30-minute journeys every day.
Reasons not to use the scheme
A bigger challenge may be to change bikes every 29 minutes when I need to make a longer journey – especially as it’s been widely reported that only 300 of the 400 planned ‘docking stations’ will be ready in time for the launch. This shortage also means only several thousand registered cyclists will be able to jump on bikes for next week’s launch.
The bikes are heavy monsters, weighing over 20kg so it will take a while to drum up some speed. And with only three gears, I’m not planning to give up my road bike any time soon. But for a gentle jaunt to spare me a bus journey, I might just give them a go. That’s if there’s a bike available for me…
Will you be riding Boris's bikes?
No way (43%, 42 Votes)
Yes - what a good way to get round town (29%, 28 Votes)
I'll decide once the scheme gets going (28%, 27 Votes)
Total Voters: 97