Friday, 30 July 2010

Friday Bonus Post - Hire Education

Today is the launch of the much anticipated (by bike nerds like us) Barclays Cycle Hire scheme in London. Many respectable news outlets have reported on it and you can watch a video of the Mayor cycling round on one. Some wags (no, not that kind) have dubbed it the Bocycle.

Not us though.

So, not to be outdone, the TroisV sent its ace reporter, Scoop Newshound, out to have a go on one and see if they've been worth the wait.

Unfortunately, Scoop Newshound is either a figment of my imagination or a breach of someone's copyright, so I went instead.

The first impressive thing is that despite not having the wherewithal to order my access key until yesterday, it arrived this morning. So on return from work, I rushed out of the house to have a go on one.

The way it works is this. You approach the docking stations (of which there are many), select a likely looking specimen, insert your key, wait for the light to turn green, wait too long, try and remove the bike, discover that it's locked itself up again, and repeat the process only this time remembering to extract the bike more swiftly.

Now you're all set to go. And you try and move the bike to the road in the way you would normally.

And you can't because it weighs 28kg.

So you roll it to the edge of the road, crushing obstacles in your path, like the kerb, and set off for your test ride round the block, remembering to put it in the second of its three gears to avoid frantic 3mph spinning like you saw lots of people doing this morning.

And you set off, and discover that the second gear is a bit low, and the third gear is a bit high, and that the slightest breeze has the same effect as jamming on both brakes. So it's a tad slow.

But it's a bike, and like all bikes it is fun to ride. It turns like an oil tanker and weighs about the same, but it's got big old tyres, and you sit up on it, and it's easy to look around. Of course it's not going to be like a road bike, it's a different sort of machine, and people are curious about it so it should see lots more people on bikes. And more people on bikes means safer cycling for everyone, so it is officially A Good Thing. Hurrah!

Besides, you've spent £45 on it, so you're going to have at least twenty goes.

Furthermore, it introduced the TroisV to a brand new experience - a taxi driver genuinely interested in a bicycle.

Taxi driver (rolling his cab into the ASL): "What's it like mate?"
TroisV: "Like a tank"



  1. [insert pun acknowledgement here]

  2. they cope with clipless shoes really rather well, too