Hotel buys memberships for guests while IT firm uses bikes for engineer call outs

There’s no news yet of when London’s Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme will be fully rolled out to allow non-members of the scheme, residents and visitors alike, to use its distinctive navy blue bikes, but one enterprising hotel has got around the issue by purchasing multiple memberships on behalf of its guests.

Since last month, tourists and business travelers alike staying at the glitzy InterContinental on London’s Park Lane have been able to use the hotel’s membership keys on a complementary basis, allowing them to explore the capital on two wheels.

While people from anywhere in the UK can sign up to become members of the scheme and receive the blue key that unlocks the bike from the docking station, those who are not resident in the country are unable to join.

According to the UK Travel Blog website, the initiative was unveiled on 21 September as part of the InterContinental Hotels & Resorts as Resposible Business Day, highlighting the group’s worldwide partnership with National Geographic as well as global geotourism projects undertaken by individual hotels throughout the world.

For those who don’t fancy mixing it with the city’s traffic, Hyde Park, with it’s extensive bike path network, is just across the road, but like many of the good things in life, the ‘free’ use of the bikes comes with a catch – the best available rate on the hotel’s website for a Friday night stay in mid-November will set you back over two hundred quid.

As this video from TfL shows the Intercontinental Hotel isn't the only business in central London to spot an opportunity when it comes to the cycle hire scheme, Octavia Information Services, an IT company based in Southwark has started encouraging its engineers to use hire bikes for trips to locally based clients instead of relying on taxis or public transport - the bikes have proved faster and cheaper for the company and more fun for the engineers.


Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.