Paris has one, Barcelona has one and now, London has put the wheels in motion for a bicycle hire scheme. The London scheme is called Barclays Cycle Hire. A nasty name, entirely lacking élan and at Big Red London, we blame Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, for being so boring.
Only three-quarters of the planned docking stations were ready for the 30 July launch date but eventually, there will be 6000 bicycles available from 400 docking stations around town. Initially, the undertaking that anyone in London would be able to hire these bicycles from September. Now, that happy day has been put back until some time around the end of 2010. Until then, only pre-registered “members” can ride the bikes.
After paying a daily access fee of £1 and providing details of a credit card for the deposit, the first 30 minutes of cycle hire will be free. However, the price escalates rapidly the longer you ride. While £1 for an hour seems very reasonable, £6 for two hours is a bit steep and £35 for six hours might make buying a secondhand bicycle look like a better deal.
The free London Cycle Hire App, for iPhone, will help you to find one of the 400 cycle docking stations where you can pick up or drop off a bike.