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London bike scheme – seven days till launch

July 23, 2010

Walking from Victoria to the Kings Road, in London yesterday, I was delighted to spot some of the new Barclays Bikes – London’s answer to the fabulous Velibes of Paris. I was geekily checking out the prices and Ts & Cs when two guys on the bikes cycled up for a chat. They were out testing the bikes and making sure that all would go smoothly for the launch on July 30th.

The bikes look great. Flashing front lights, sturdily built – but at the moment they don’t have baskets, however, one of the bike-testers assured me that they would, although after reading Leo Hickman’s Guardian feature, it looks like that might not be true.

A Barclays Bike

Barclays Bike

I’ve already signed up, and if you want to use the scheme when it launches, you need to as well. Although I don’t visit London more than a couple of times a month, I don’t tend to use the tube, so always end up gnashing my teeth on the spectacularly poor bus service (seriously – it took almost 30 minutes to travel from Sloane Square to Knightsbridge yesterday – I stayed on to see how long it would take – I was fascinated by the dreadfulness!) or spending too much cash on cabs. A bike to and from Victoria would be great. And I suspect all my trips would easily be less than 30 minutes too – the free time.

But what of the name? Seriously? Barclays Cycle Hire? Is that the snappiest thing that they could come up with? For my money, I’d use the first two initials and call it the BC. Sounds a bit like the french ‘biciclette’ and yes, is a bit of a steal from the Bixi bike system in Montreal, but god, anything is better than the horribly unwieldy Barclays Cycle Hire… Any suggestions?

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3 Comments
  1. Jon permalink

    Is it set up by the same company who did the Velibs in Paris? They look the same. I’d call it Bailout Bikes.

  2. LOve the idea. I ride a trike in Toronto, as the basket fits my 5 yr old and our gear. Toronto has yellow grab and go bikes for free pick up. Hard to spot them these days. But I know they are out there. I would suggest putting a bigger basker on those London bikes. Nice idea.

  3. The name “Boris bikes” seems to have stuck locally, after our Mayor… which is disappointing, as this is yet another Ken Livingstone idea that Johnson has taken credit for…

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