London citizens have caught on to the new bike scheme brought about by Mayor Boris Johnson. No one is quite sure whether the majority of users are being thrifty or environmentally conscious. No matter though, the fact is clear that it is working.
Even with bouts of less than cooperative bike riding weather, the scheme is turning out to be quite successful. Launched less than a month ago on July 30, there have been 200,000 journeys and 54,000 have signed up as members. There are approximately 5,000 bikes available in central London which has 335 docking stations so far. There are plans in place to later add more bikes and more docking stations.
The bikes are made to be easy to handle, durable, safe to ride, and able to handle all weather conditions. There are chain guards to protect trouser legs, tires have deep treading, and there are three easy to use gears. The bike is well weighted to make it feel sturdy to the user, and the handlebars are wide and well balanced for the rider.
The programme is partially funded by government but not entirely. Barclays is a major sponsor and the bank was given the honor of having the scheme officially named Barclays Cycle Hire as well as having the bikes painted Barclays blue. Transport for London (TFL) has a 6 year contract with the operator group Serco. TFL believes the Barclays Cycle Hire will pay for itself in 5 years.
There are also plans in place for more bikes and more docking stations. The cost of renting ranges from 1 pound for an hour of time to 50 pounds for a full 24 hours. If you use the bike for 30 minutes or less it is free.
London Mayor Boris Johnson proudly announced recently: “My crusade for the capital to become the greatest big cycling city in the world has taken a gigantic pedal-powered push forwards.”