Boris bikes…will I die?
Recently finished working in London for 4 months, I used them most days as an alternative to the tube, for a 6mile each way commute (Central hotel out to Canary Wharf), I can confirm I am still alive.
I thought they were brilliant actually, they are slow though, weigh a ton and only have 3 gears making a realistic top speed of about 12mph. You will have to get used to being endlessly overtaken by the hardcore commuters, some of which make a BIG SHOW of it, you’re kind of bottom of the cycling pecking order on a boris bike.
Was cheap, riding in London is great fun, I always got to work buzzing, and had no bike of my own to worry about. I can’t actually think of a downside.
Edit: just to add, they are a lot more popular than most people expect, especially now with light evenings, so you will not stand out as a cycling advertisement for Barclays. And if there is the slightest hint of trouble on the tube every bike will be taken for quite a wide radius.Posted 4 years ago
training in That there London Town City at the mo, they’ve moved my training site so its a couple of miles from the hotel (the gits). Outside hotel is a rank of those funny looking bike things… riding? in London? in rush hour? I’ m a country boy..will I cope? Should I risk it or continue to walk and battle with all those smelly townsfolk on the Tube?Posted 4 years agoallthepiesMembermolgrips wrote:
But you need an account though, yes? I thought something had to be done up front at a PC. Current project is in Southwark, so seems to make more sense to bike to Waterloo or even all the way to Paddington if it’s a nice day.
I used to BB it from Waterloo <-> Fleet St daily. There’s a megadock at Waterloo and a few others nearby so you *should* be OK for getting a bike in the morning*. Dropping the bike off in the evening can be more difficult though 🙂
It’s worth getting a fob, setting up an acct and going on the daily pay-as-you-use thing IMO. Paying using a card at the machine is a bit of a hassle.
* I was getting into Waterloo @ 07:20 so lots of bikes available.Posted 4 years agocrazy-legsSubscriber
Put credit/debit card in slot, follow instructions. If you’ve already paid for a 24hr / 7day hire it just confirms it and prints off a 5-digit release code.
If you haven’t yet booked a hire period you have to go through a 2 minute rigmarole of taking the card out, re-inserting it, typing in PIN etc.
– double check the bike BEFORE you get it out of the rack – tyres inflated, not too obviously broken.
– spend a couple of minutes beforehand working out a rough route and know where you can park it.
– carry gloves/woolly hat/thin waterproof etc if you’re going to be using the bikes. Easy to stash in a bag but can save you getting cold or covered in crap.
– the release keys are silent and give no indication that they’ve been pressed. They’re in the order
(it’s likely the numbers have worn off)
– to release the bike, lift the rear wheel a couple of inches off the ground then drop it, the bike will bounce out. To dock it, slam it in and wait for the light to go from amber to green. If it doesn’t change, it hasn’t recognised the bike being docked and you’re still being charged for it!
The bikes are brilliant, just don’t ever try and sprint one. They have the handling of a barge, weigh as much as a small car and have gearing that your gran could pedal.
Just be aware that some parts of London are quite poorly served by them (Bank area springs to mind) and that if you try and find a bike at Waterloo in the morning rush hour you’ll likely be out of luck (similarly, don’t expect to find a docking station there in afternoon rush hour).Posted 4 years agoCountZeroMember
Whenever I go up to London Village I’m quietly amazed at how many are being used, and, quite honestly, I’m really rather pleased as well. Previous attempts to have a bike-loan system failed, because the bikes were conventional, and there was no encouragement to take them back, so they got trashed or dumped in the river, like the various White Bicycle scemes. Because these are, lets face it, ugly and obvious, as well as requiring charging, they get returned, which is great.Posted 4 years ago
I always use the Tube, but I always have specific destinations, and can’t be arsed with a bike. It would be neat if you could use an Oyster Card as well, though.AlasdairMcMember
I use them whenever I’m down in that London, which is around fortnightly at the moment. While you may be seen to be the bottom of the pecking order, I find it immensely satisfying overtaking Lycra clad road warriors.
That aside, they’re great to get around central London and considerably less rubbish than the Tube.Posted 4 years agobikebouyMember
We use them all the time if it ain’t raining. MrsBouy hates riding in Town yet will happily follow me on my Fixie on a Boris. If I don’t take Fixie I use Boris too.
Simple to use, not really anything to worry about TBH.
Most drivers now consider Boris Bikes as a “stear clear of object” rather than one to aim at ( as it used to be)
I was overcharged once when first using them as I didn’t make sure the thing was docked propers like, so just have a second chance as you drop it off.
Place to avoid, Tower of Larndarn, tourists use them a lot and the stand is either full ( and cordoned off ) or empty, mostly it’s empty.
Have fun, we need a Strava segment from you.Posted 4 years ago
Hey! I’m hardcore now! I’ve used them 4 times today already! Only have to go about 2 and a bit miles but it ends up being about 4 or 5 cos my sense of direction isn’t very good to say the least! Still, I actually like getting lost on a bike, so its great. And I really do feel like I’ve got some kind of invisible Boris Bike Forcefield – traffic gives me a nice wide berth and it feels really quite safe! Never thought I’d be riding round the streets at night, no helmet and black clothes, like some kind of imbecile. 😀Posted 4 years agocrazy-legsSubscriber
Never thought I’d be riding round the streets at night, no helmet and black clothes, like some kind of imbecile.
It’s OK, you’re no different to most Londoners no matter what their mode of transport!
Lemming pedestrians stepping out into the road, head buried in their FaceTweets, earphones in. Lemming cyclists either bimbling aimlessly on Boris Bikes or screaming through at Mach1 on fixies.
Gotta love it. 🙂Posted 4 years agooliverd1981Member
They maual okay but aren’t easy to bunny hop.
I enjoyed a wonderful day mucking about on a Boris Bike in December. A great way to see the touristy bits. I started behind Oxford street, tootled round hyde park, buck house, Parliament over the river – ace
Only if you try to pick it up
Carrying one up the steps off the embankment made me feel like thee hulk.
Roads around Trafalgar Square were a bit hairy for a Northerner.
I had a miss docking experince somewhere in Soho. Wait for the green light.Posted 4 years ago
I’m intrigued by this attitude towards Boris Bikes
FRom Wiki: A study showed cyclists using the scheme are three times less likely to be injured per trip than cyclists in London as a whole, possibly due to motorists giving cycle hire users more road space than they do other cyclists.
I also get this feeling of “a right to be there” which you don’t get with normal commuting. I guess, because these bikes are there specifically to get around London drivers respect them more because of that…(or maybe I’m in a fantasy world and will get splattered tomorrow).
ps. I wish they had a bloody sat nav on em thoughPosted 4 years agobikebouyMember
Car/taxi/white van man/busses they all seem to leave a huge gap these days. Mostly it’s due to the random nature of direction of said Boris, they just seem to have gotten used to them wobbling all over the road. They are a magnet for tourists see, simply an excellent way to find out what London is about as opposed to Tube stop poker or the very maddening random nature of Bus driver stopp’idge.
Stay clear of red routes, they are just horrible to ride on, you’ll find most riders (whatever the bike) will find an easier and quieter route through the smaller streets just to keep clear of Congestion Charging dodging during the week. Not only that red routes aren’t really the best way to get anywhere if you are on a bike, you will get a bit angsty with the constant pressure to be rammed into the gutter, so just turn off into something quieter and invariably more interesting to ride on.
There are some great sights to see, you can ride almost anywhere without anyone batting an eye lid, either going up the wrong way up a one way street to cutting across steps outside of the Gerkin or meandering down China Town through the crowds, most folk just get out of your way, certainly if you are staring one way whilst steering one handed in the opposite direction.
Don’t try to pull rank or become some sort of holier than thou “right on cyclist” and follow normal rules, just get on one, bounce up kerbs and go find some stuff to see.
There are, you may have heard, some super highways, these are excellent and safe and fast, more coming soon, but don’t feel restricted to these, though they often take you the easiest way from A2B you may miss out on other stuff going on in the next parallel street.
Nighttime riding is fine, just be aware that the low down lights on the rear are a bit difficult to see (they’re at hub level) so be aware that cars often are blinded by oncoming lights and not really see you until the last moment, but that normal for us lot eh.
I’ve only seen the occasional vandalised bike. These tend to be a bent front wheel or something resembling a kebab resting on the seat, but these are very few and far between. Most bikes are in really good condition and work well.
Outside of tube stations can be busy, but there is a pretty good turnover of bikes in/out.
There’s an App for locating stations which shows how many bikes are in storage, so you can divert to the next one if the station you are heading to is empty, also the App is good for dropping off stations where you could be riding around for ages in the wrong direction trying to find a drop off point.. It’s called Cycle Hire Widget Lite on Android (don’t know what the Apple version is but guess its similar.
Have fun, enjoy London there’s more to see than Tube Stations and Regent Street.Posted 4 years ago
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