Category Archives: Martins Blog

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.



Cycling the Extension – some early thoughts

Despite the bad weather, it seems the extension has been a hit, especially in Hammersmith and Fulham. Though not everyone is happy.

And Boris biking is good for our health. I think the article is useful in pointing out that Boris bikers, despite being portrayed as inexperienced, are no more likely than any other cyclist to be involved in a collision, and that the health benefits far outweigh the small chance of injury.

So yesterday, seizing a gap in the rain, I headed west. Here are some initial thoughts:

Hammersmith and Fulham
I struggled to find a bike at first, as there are few stations in the West Brompton area, and those I did find were empty. Eventually cycling, I enjoyed the streets close to Craven Cottage and the riverside. However, Hammersmith Broadway really needs to be rethought for cyclists. Hammersmith Bridge is currently closed for cycling, so I had to push across on the footway.

South of the River
What a pity no docking stations have been installed in Barnes, though it would need the agreement of Richmond Borough. I cycled along Castelnau, took a shortcut down Rocks Lane, and headed towards the docking stations of Putney via Lower Richmond Road.

Putney
Putney has a horrible high street clogged with motor traffic. West of the high street there are no docks. But to the east, they are very high density indeed, which is good, but would have been better on both sides. A number of the streets are one-way - Wandsworth needs to adopt the practice of making streets two-way for cycling, and make better use of 20mph zones. Docking stations are however to be welcomed close to both the rail and Underground stations.

There is still much more for me to see of the new extension zones; any thoughts you might have, please leave a comment.

And I am encouraged that Southwark has confirmed that its financial contribution is available for the extension of the scheme through its streets. We await an announcement from TfL, hopefully soon, on the next phase of extension.

Today is the last day of the initial consultation on the Mayor's inner London cycling grid. While encouraging in some respects, there have been a number of criticisms, most specifically of the routes in Kensington and Chelsea. If done properly, the grid could provide safe, continuous and direct routes for Boris biking within central London.

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.

Southwestern Extension – what will be new tomorrow?

I thought it would be worth posting some information about the new docking stations which will be going live - many tomorrow, the rest by Spring 2014 (so TfL promise).

Hammersmith and Fulham have published this list.

Wandsworth have this information available.

Lambeth don't unfortunately seem to have any updated information online.

TfL have published this map showing the expanded scheme in its entirety.

And a few more …

This evening 604 docking stations are live. New ones today include:
  • Hawley Crescent (Camden)
  • Hertford Road (Hackney)
  • Carnegie Street (King's Cross)
So most docking stations other than the major expansion zone (Wandsworth, H&F, part of Lambeth) are now open, though look out for a handful of further new ones in K&C.

The main news story is the end of Barclays sponsorship. Here is the Standard's article.