Category Archives: Boris bikes

Can we make Space for Boris Bikes?

TfL has this week published its most radical plans yet for redesigning some streets in central London to give cyclists safe, protected space for cycling. The two routes intersect at Blackfriars; one will run from Kings Cross down to Elephant and Castle, the other from Tower Hill across to Acton.

Both routes are largely segregated, and junctions give priority to cyclists. They pass close to many of London's top attractions, and also include improvements to improve the general environment, and help pedestrians.

But these improvements come at a cost, not only financial, but in terms of reallocating space from motorised traffic. There will no doubt be objections from those who would prefer to keep the status quo.

Please take time to review both sets of proposals, and send a supportive response in to the consultations.

View the East-West consultation here
View the North-South consultation here

Neither plan is perfect, and there may be areas where you'd like the plans to be improved, but they are better than anything seen before, and need our support to get them approved.

Three things strike me as of special importance for Boris bikers:
  • These routes fall almost entirely in areas served by cycle hire docking stations
  • They are suitable for novice cyclists as well as those with more experience
  • They connect 'tourist London', enabling visitors to use cycle hire safely to reach their destinations
Please reply to the consultations, and help make cycling in London better for everyone.

Tower Hill on the East-West route: safe for Boris Bikers?

Space for Boris Bikes

I hope you, like me, took part in the LCC's Space for Cycling Big Ride last Saturday. Unsurprisingly, I was on a Boris bike.

Half of all the local election candidates in London ended up offering their support. Of those elected, the challenge now will be to get them to act.

Here is Andrew Gilligan's encouraging speech from the day.

Also in the news is the first competitive race on Boris bikes. I hope it takes less than 30 minutes to complete.

The current phase of expansion is nearing its end, but a few new docking stations have been sighted going in, including near Stockwell tube station. Usage this spring has been encouraging, but without a new sponsor, we may not hear of new plans for a while.

Boris Bikes: A Call for Expansion

The latest call to extend the scheme has comes from Wandsworth. Cycle hire has only recently been introduced in the borough, but is already  a success. Extending south would make sense.

As already reported on this blog, Southwark Council have agreed to their slice of the funding of Boris bikes in that borough. Even more than Wandsworth - Peckham, Bermondsey, Rotherhithe, Walworth and Camberwell need the bikes.

Usage seems to be up now that the winter is over, and new cycle routes, like the Quietways, are planned. TfL should use this momentum to announce the next phase of expansion of cycle hire. With a new sponsor to replace Barclays maybe?

In other news: expansion of Dublin bikes is planned. And Storey's Gate docking station has opened, bringing Boris bikes closer to St James's Park.

Boris bikes go yellow

Boris bikes are going yellow (well, 101 of them anyway) as part of the Mayor's bid to highlight the Tour de France this summer, which will come to London on 7 July. I think these striking bikes will make an impact all over town, I certainly want to ride one!

Meanwhile, it seems that not only this blog loves Boris bikes, but also Fulham manager Felix Magath. I'd like to see the whole team out on them soon.

System update: 733 docks currently live, with well over 9,000 bikes available daily. New docking stations are still being prepared, notably on Storey's Gate opposite Westminster Abbey, with 23 docking points. Will be a great addition to the central London tourist trail, and useful for local workers too.

Boris biking into 2014

As 2013 draws to a close we have news that more Boris bikes are on the way. Perhaps in 2014 we will find out where!

And in Ireland, Dublinbikes is growing.

The highlights and lowlights of 2013 in brief ...
  • January - hire fees double
  • Spring - plans advance for southwestern extension
  • May - Citibike launches in New York
  • July- flashride at Aldgate to protest at death of Boris biker Philippine de Gerin-Ricard
  • 30 July - Boris bikes celebrate third birthday
  • Summer - almost 1,000,000 trips each month, though down on Olympic year
  • Autumn - installation of new docking stations
  • December - Barclays announce end of sponsorship deal from 2015
  • 13 December - southwestern extension launched, 722 docking stations now live across London
Happy New Year to you all.

Happy Christmas

Careful on your Boris bikes this week because of the storms, but have a very happy and peaceful Christmas. This is one of the Mayor's old Christmas card designs, showing the wise men on Boris bikes journeying to Bethlehem, so I've recycled it as my own this year.

Three Kings on Boris Bikes by Ellie Feldman

Boris bikes in the snow

Southwest and Beyond

So the big day came and went, without much fanfare. It's interesting to speculate as to why TfL decided to launch this extension at the darkest and bleakest time of the year - almost every day since the launch has seen rain, hardly conducive to cycling, especially the sorts who use Boris bikes. Maybe they want a gentle beginning to the extension.

Comment on the end of the Barclays sponsorship rumbles on. My own view is at the end of this post.

And dock availability is still an issue.

There is interesting news from further afield - Boris bikes have made it to Mont Ventoux and to Gambia. Impressive. Will they make it to Southwark borough anytime soon I wonder?

I posted this about Boris biking in K&C, with a few additions by my TwoWheelsGood friend.

My letter to the Standard about Barclays wasn't published, but here it is if you're interested:

Few will lament the end of the association of Barclays with the Mayor's cycle hire scheme. Despite the promise of £50m sponsorship, barely half of that has emerged. Barclays logos have been lavishly splashed across London's streets, while the bill for installing the 'Boris bikes' has in fact been left to councils, and users who have seen fares double in the past year.

If we are to learn from the mistakes of the past we must ditch the idea that essential public transport options, which cycle hire is, should be paid for by private sponsorship. We don't have the 'Lloyds Underground' or 'Virgin DLR' for good reasons. If cycle hire is worth investing in (which I believe it is) it should be funded centrally from TfL's budget, and, crucially, integrated with other transport options. In the short term this may mean Londoners pay more for the bikes, but with the result that London gains a city-wide affordable cycle scheme giving all of us the chance to travel sustainably and healthily, and, dare I say, with a bit more fun that a crowded train carriage.

Friday the Thirteenth

Artwork on display at Central St Martins
On Friday 13 December about 150 new docking stations will go live across Hammersmith and Fulham, Wandsworth, and Lambeth. Plus a few others in the existing area. Many new stations have already gone live in Kensington and Chelsea (among the latest are Phene Street, Clarendon Road, Lansdowne Road and St Mark's Road).

This is the most exciting expansion of the Boris bike scheme since the eastern extension in April 2012. It will make the London scheme one of the biggest in the world.

Serious questions are currently being asked about cycle safety in London. For the potential of these new bikes to be realised, much more needs to be done in providing space for cycling in London. But on Friday 13th, thousands more Londoners will have access to a cheap, healthy and convenient transport option. I hope many more will switch to cycling as a result.