Boris bike review

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  • Boris bike review
  • Trust you remembered to ride like a complete bell end, jumping lights, riding pavements and generally being a slow wobbly mobile simpleton!

    bullheart
    Member

    Cost you £1.

    And your dignity…

    No I think they’re a brilliant idea, and it’s great to see so many folk out on them. Sometimes you see racks with no bikes left in them, such is their popularity.

    Great if you have folk visiting from other places what can’t bring a bike, then you can both pedal about. I’m hopefully going to be doing this with another STWer soon actually.

    Of course, they’re ‘Ken Bikes’ really, you know….

    dignity

    What’s that? 😕

    Premier Icon simon_g
    Subscriber

    Was running late so opted for a 8 minute cycle for £1 rather than a 20 minute walk now you can just PAYG with a card.

    Not bad. Heavy, short-geared so accelerates ok but won’t go fast. Just as well, as the brakes weren’t brilliant. Casual hiring process is very slick – less than a minute in all.

    Going to rent another in a bit to get the most out of my £1!

    allthepies
    Member

    I use a BorisBike twice daily and it’s great fun. Superb way to get about that London also.

    Premier Icon allyharp
    Subscriber

    Still waiting to use one for the first time, but in principle I think it’s a fantastic idea and I’m glad to see it seems to have been received well.

    Premier Icon allyharp
    Subscriber

    Just a warning for others: there are some restrictions on card usage that might not be too obvious at first.

    1. They don’t take Maestro (along with Amex and some other less common cards). This ruled out both of my friend’s bank accounts today, so I had to pay for him.
    2. If you’ve already signed up for a membership online, whichever card you used for that cannot then be used for casual use hire at a terminal.
    3. I’ve heard reports of loads of dodgy keyfobs around. I’ve had mine for months and just assumed it would work. It didn’t.
    4. Once you’ve bought a 24 membership using one card, you cannot then buy another one with that same card until that the 24 hours is up!

    This left us with 1 bike between 2 people today. With 4 bank/credit cards between us, 3 were ruled out by points 1 and 2. So we bought 1 membership with the 4th card, but then once I discovered my keyfob didn’t work it was impossible to then go back and purchase another! 🙁

    DT78
    Member

    Last time I was on southbank I saw some chap riding a Borisbike up and down the little bmx bit there. Was expecting him to be some awesome rider and pull some amazing moves, but the reality was he only just managed to stay on 🙂

    brakes
    Member

    they are great in principle, but frustratingly low geared – the top gear is the only useable one
    the riding position is also very upright making them ungainly, it’s as if they have assumed that those hiring them don’t normally ride a bike

    I hear the hip word on the street for using Boris Bikes is ‘borking’. 🙂

    fourbanger
    Member

    The Ken Bikes are ace. The gearing is a bit low, but they’re not about traveling long distances. Who wants to get there is a sweaty mess anyway? At a leisurely speed you can still do 5 miles in the time allowed. My only issue is not knowing london that well and sometimes struggling to find a space to park it. Would really make sense to have a map attached to the thing somewhere. Built in GPS would be nice, but I guess that will come at some stage.

    The Ken Bikes are ace

    Thank you. Sick of Boris taking the credit for any good ideas other people had.

    They’re not for speeding around on, they’re just for getting from A to B in a leisurely, relaxed manner. If you want to speed about, get a racer or something.

    I’d take a Ken Bike over a stupid flippin Brompton any day…

    Just returned from a weekend in Paris and I can safely say that parisien velib riders are just as bad as Boris bike riders. Couple this with Paris traffic and I’m surprised anyone survives at all.

    Really wanted to try one but MrsHD was having none of it 🙁

    Thing is, it takes ages to develop good roadcraft in London. It really is a very challenging place to ride a bike. The biggest problem of course being motor vehicles. So no wonder lots of occasional cyclists using hire bikes aren’t up to your lofty bike riding standards…

    Thing is, it takes ages to develop good roadcraft in London

    That’s quite true, but good roadcraft has sod all to do with riding on the pavement & RLJing!

    I know its a generalisation, but it seems to be that the vast majority of BB riders do both and just don’t give a [insert expletive of choice here] about anyone around them. Some rider are great, just tarnished by the suit wearing idiots being, well, idiots

    Thing is right, pavement riding and RLJing aren’t always the heinous crimes they are made out to be. OK, in central London they aren’t advisable most places, but less confident riders won’t want to ride on some of the busier roads, and in some places, there’s a flippin traffic light every 100 yards. You try getting somewhere in a limited amount of time without jumping the odd red light (y’know, the ones where no-one’s about, there’s no danger to anyone, those ones).

    Instrad of just criticising the behaviour of other cyclists, why not try to understand why they ride the way they do, and work to integrte cycling better into the urban space? The Dutch don’t have problems with loads of bikes everywhere, so why not look at what they’ve learned, and implement some of their ideas, rather than tutting furiously all the time?

    By far the worst thing in any big city is the drivers of motor vehicles. Most are idiots.

    just tarnished by the suit wearing idiots being, well, idiots

    FTFY.

    No, there are a disproportionately large amount of idiots who wear suits, Flashy. This is true.

    So it what circumstances is it acceptable for a grown adult to ride on a busy pavement with pedestrians having to jump out of the way?

    scu98rkr
    Member

    I like them but whenever I want to drop the bike off the stands are always full.

    If the stands at the train station are full and you cant get rid of the bike and your trains about to leave it can be very frustrating.

    When I got to work one day (exhibition road) I had to cycle round 4 stands and they were all full. Eventually I cycled back into hyde park (diana fountain thing) to lock it up and then had to walk back to work.

    wbss
    Member

    I’ve ridden one.

    They do skids.

    They don’t do wheelies.

    otherwise good.

    damo2576
    Member

    Have many people been killed on Boris bikes? There must be a fair few accidents at least judging by some of the riding I see.

    rewski
    Member

    By far the worst thing in any big city is the drivers of motor vehicles. Most are idiots.

    IME buses and taxis have got a bit better, more cycle friendly, cyclists appear to be getting worse, don’t get me wrong I’m pro cycle, I just think we all need to ride a little more sensibly no excuse for RLJing, Boris didn’t really help matters doing it himself. I’m sure others would disagree.

    So it what circumstances is it acceptable for a grown adult to ride on a busy pavement with pedestrians having to jump out of the way?

    I’m not saying it is.

    But if there are problems, then they need addressing in a productive manner; what’s the point of just moaning about things? Is that gonna solve the problem?

    Truth is, too much of central London is geared up to cater for motor traffic, which simply isn’t necessary. Make more roads cycle friendly, make it more of a pain to drive in town, discouraging private vehicle use, and then we may see an improvement.

    Expecting a load of extra cyclists to share an already overcrowded space is asking for trouble.

    Premier Icon simon_g
    Subscriber

    Have many people been killed on Boris bikes? There must be a fair few accidents at least judging by some of the riding I see

    None as far as I know – because the anti-Boris media would be all over it. Worst so far is two accidents where people went to hospital for checks but were fine.

    I believe from the stats so far, the accident rate per mile on the hire bikes is about half that of the general cycling population.

    But if there are problems, then they need addressing in a productive manner; what’s the point of just moaning about things? Is that gonna solve the problem?

    Well, if I ever say anything to someone RLJing or riding on teh pavemnent, they generally just tell me to Foxtrot Ocsar

    The rules regarding traffic lights and pavements are clear, if someone flouts these then I think they should expect to suffer the consequences. I’d like to see more enforcement of the rules of the road for the benefit of all.

    Oh, and whilst enforcement is being done, I’d really, really like all those metal box drivers and motorbike riders who think the Advnace Stop Line is for their benefit get punished as well.

    Well, if I ever say anything to someone RLJing or riding on teh pavemnent, they generally just tell me to Foxtrot Ocsar

    You tried politely pointing out driving errors to cabbies/vayn drivers/busdrivers etc? Who are far more likely to kill you by not paying attention/flouting the law…

    And don’t tell me you never RLJ or ride on the pavement.

    Cos I simply won’t believe you. 😉

    poly
    Member

    I’m hoping other cities will see how successful it has been and follow suit.

    Random people seemed to jump lights and ride on pavements long before Borris/Ken bikes were introduced. More cyclists means more likely to see it – and since they all look the same the “trend” that borris bikes are to blame becomes apparent. As Elf says with relatively inexperienced riders its easy to see why they may feel safer on the pavement or jump red lights with nothing there (so they don’t hold up the flow of traffic). They are probably just copying what the saw a lycra clad, bearded fixie rider doing!

    Built in GPS would be nice, but I guess that will come at some stage

    with so many phones now having this capability I’m not sure the need for expensive upgrades to the bike which will be vulnerable to damage etc.

    If the stands at the train station are full and you cant get rid of the bike and your trains about to leave it can be very frustrating.

    I believe there are phone apps which will guide you to your nearest available bike. Not sure if they will take you to the nearest empty space to put it back too – but it doesn’t seem difficult for them to add that functionality.

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    Is this supposed to be some revolutionary new idea they’ve come up with?
    Portsmouth Uni had this to get around the city back when I worked there in the early 90s.
    Keep up Londinium.

    Riding on the pavement – no don’t do that (not since I grew up anyway).

    RLJing – might have gone through a couple as they change, but will always stop if they are red. I see it as a challenge to catch and pass RLJ’s on my clown bike between lights anyway!

    Riding on the pavement – no don’t do that

    I simply don’t believe you. 🙂

    I ride on the pavement when it is safe to do so. IE, I tend not to do it in central London during the week, but on a Sunday, there’s no-one about in the City, so it’s fine. Done it in front of coppers and they’ve not said owt. RLJing; well, I’ll run every red light I consider it safe to do so. I have never ever had or caused an accident because of this. The odd £30 FPN is a small price to pay once or twice a lifetime. 😉

    Funny how countries with far less restrictions on cycling, like Holland, have far fewer cycling-related problems…

    timnwild
    Member

    I love the bikes – managed to bunnyhop one the other day, and small, uninspiring wheelies are also possible. And the fact that they’re low-dignity vehicles is what’s so clever about them. Too ugly and heavy for anyone to want to steal, nearly every single mangle-able component housed in tamper-free casings, geared so nearly anyone can ride them but not too fast, and the system actually works properly.

    I started riding them as soon as it launched and within two days, despite the hype, no-one was giving them a second glance. Can’t get a better measure of social acceptance than that.

    Now to try one out on my local trails….

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Funny how countries with far less restrictions on cycling, like Holland, have far fewer cycling-related problems

    Correlation
    Causal link

    Surprised I have to remind YOU of these two different things Elf as an intelligent forum regular 🙂

    t_i_m
    Member

    Oh, and whilst enforcement is being done, I’d really, really like all those metal box drivers and motorbike riders who think the Advnace Stop Line is for their benefit get punished as well.

    Wont happen unless there is a change in the law. Have to spot the encroachment happening, rather than just seeing someone stopped in the wrong place. And then the penalty is 6 points (same as failing to stop at a red light), so police are reluctant to charge.

    plumber
    Member

    As a new rider in London I have seen all manner of RLJ and riding on pavements

    Now 3 weeks in I RLJ – where I deem it ok to do so (where there is absolutely nothing around) and ride pavements – only on Sundays though as Elf

    Its been quite a learning experience and somewhat baffling to witness the amount of cyclists around generally and that in fact they are well behaved – though I have noted that most seem blissfully happy not to look around all the time and continue as if everyone else will grant them safe passage

    ti_pin_man
    Member

    They are heavy, slow, cumbersome, centre of gravity is weird, you can’t wheelie them and woefully poorly geared and with crap breaks, often ridden by wobbly riders who have no clue, ignore red lights and ride on pavements – I love them! Seriously people, embrace them, they are better than the same person driving a car on the road. The more cyclist on the road the better.

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