Monday, 6 September 2010

Boris Bikes are Bonza

So here you have the Master Marketor about to make her first journey on one of the new Barclays Bicycles which are popping up in blue ranks all over London. I have been longing to have a go for weeks and finally did it last Friday.
(Members of the Marketors may recall that my theme for this year is Sustainability. One leg of sustainability is the environment, but actually I did it for fun too.)
The system has been designed with enormous care and it worked a treat for me. You have to register and get sent your key but once that's done, you're away in seconds. Just plug in the key, pull out the bike and off you go. (I did a practice run up a quiet side street to get the saddle height right and to test the brakes and gears.)
The bikes are stable and easy to ride. There are only 3 Shimano gears - a great relief to those of us brought up on Sturmey Archer clickety clicks, before the days of 21, 24 or even more gears. As you can see there is a "basket" on the front with a bungee to hold on to your bag. The reflective jacket and helmet are my own - strongly recommended but not provided.
So off I spun from CASS Business School, across the City, over the river and back to Waterloo station, parking the bike in a slot beside the Festival Hall - all in less than 20 minutes. Cheaper, healthier and more fun than the tube or bus. And I'm not a regular cyclist.
Our Clerk, Adele Thorpe, is also registered. She is taking advantage of the two hours of bicycle training offered by Westminster Council to residents who want to use the scheme. What a brilliant idea the whole thing is.
Note for ladies - definitely a trouser and flat shoes activity. Narrow skirts a no no, and I don't think you'll catch me doing this late at night in an evening dress either.

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