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Members will be able to use bikes from Friday 30 July – but non-members will have to wait

Hot on the heels of this morning’s Cycle Superhighway launch, the Barclay’s Cycle Hire scheme opens this Friday – but non-members won’t be able to use the scheme until the end of August.

The scheme opens for membership registration this Friday (23 July) and launches for members a week later, on 30 July. Anyone can sign up for daily, weekly or monthly membership on the TfL website.

But the scheme was initially going to be available to all from 30 July. An Evening Standard report suggests that the delay is down to problems installing the 400 docking stations around central London. The paper says only 300 will be ready on launch day.

The Standard quotes one campaigner, Mark Ames, who runs the ibikelondon website, saying, “I'm not surprised yet I'm disappointed. The Mayor had warned us at the launch, not everything would be 100 per cent ready.

“Come September, most of the tourists and visitors to London will have left. It seems they are stalling for a while as they try to install all the docking stations around town.”

Transport for London and its contractor Serco say starting with members only will enable them to learn from how people use the scheme and cope with any teething problems.

A TfL spokesperson told road.cc, “This is innovative technology and we want to use the first month of the scheme to understand how people engage with and use the scheme. We are working to have the majority of docking stations and bicycles available for use from 30 July.”

To use the scheme on 30 July, members will need to have received and activated their Cycle Hire key, so TfL is urging people to sign up as soon as possible.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “I call on Londoners to sign up from this Friday and become pioneer members of this fantastic new addition to our transport system. I know that in time our scheme will become a new London icon and enable many more people to cycle in our magnificent city. I look forward to seeing cycle hire and superhighways working in tandem to make London a cyclised city."

A membership key costs £3 with membership costs at £1 for a 24-hour membership, £5 for seven days and £45 for an annual membership. The first 30 minutes of any journey will be free.

Lifelong lover of most things cycling-related, from Moulton Mini adventures in the 70s to London bike messengering in the 80s, commuting in the 90s, mountain biking in the noughties and road cycling throughout. Editor of Simpson Magazine (www.simpsonmagazine.cc).