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Muswell Hill, Crouch End and Ally Pally to take part in scheme based on Finsbury Park

Boris Johnson is set to trial the hire of e-bikes in an area of North London not currently covered by the Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme, in an initiative agreed in principle with the London Borough of Haringey. The proposed trial is subject to a feasibility study and planning permission.

The bikes would be situated at docking stations along ‘corridors’ that will extend northwards from Finsbury Park to Muswell Hill, Crouch End and Alexandra Palace.

In Paris, operators of the Vélib’ scheme discovered early after its launch that residents of areas such as Montmartre were commuting downhill by bike in the morning then returning home by other means in the evening.

After the pattern of use was identified, operators of the scheme ensured that docking stations were regularly replenished early on in the day.

The hilly terrain of North London means that it has been deemed unsuitable for a northwards extension of the Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme, however.

The e-bike trial – similar schemes exist in hilly cities such as Genoa in Italy and San Francisco – means that locals would be able to more or less coast downhill towards Finsbury Park, then use power assistance for the return journey, or vice-versa.

While the area of the trial, assuming it goes ahead, would not overlap with Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme – which doesn’t extend north beyond the Regent’s Canal in the southern part of Islington – Finsbury Park is a major transport interchange that offers surface and underground options for onward travel.

The bikes’ batteries would be recharged at the docking stations and the trial – the first of its kind in the UK – would be funded out of Transport for London’s £913 million fund to develop cycling in the capital.

Mr Johnson said: “E-bikes are already big on the continent because they take the puff and pant out of cycling.



“Once again, London is leading the way in Britain with new cycling innovations and the elevated latitudes of Haringey are perfect for this trial.”

Claire Kober, leader of Haringey Council, added: “We’re really excited to welcome e-bikes to Haringey – and to become Britain’s first e-bikes borough.



“This project with the Mayor of London underpins our commitment to being one of the capital’s greenest boroughs and to promoting and rewarding greener travel through improved cycling facilities and sustainable transport across Haringey.



“Together, we can encourage more people to leave their cars at home and offer the next generation of cyclists safer and better routes around our borough.”

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.

16 comments

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sm [404 posts] 3 years ago
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Excellent - as a Haringey resident I welcome these - e-bikes will give me something to chase as I do my hill repeats on Muswell Hill!

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jarredscycling [456 posts] 3 years ago
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I would think the cost of an ebike would make them a common target of theft

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VeloPeo [353 posts] 3 years ago
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That money should be earmarked for (and was originally announced as) putting in a better cycling infrastructure.

There's no point chucking more Boris Bikes in until you provide an environment where people get injured and killed on bikes 'cos we're cramming too many things into too little space

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Northernbike [229 posts] 3 years ago
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I hope these electric bikes have oxygen to help the riders avoid altitude sickness as well. Those London hills sound pretty daunting.

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Rouboy [93 posts] 3 years ago
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Wouldn't it be fantastic if other areas had a £913 million fund to develop cycling.

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AyBee [85 posts] 3 years ago
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VeloPeo wrote:

That money should be earmarked for (and was originally announced as) putting in a better cycling infrastructure.

There's no point chucking more Boris Bikes in until you provide an environment where people get injured and killed on bikes 'cos we're cramming too many things into too little space

This man speaks sense!

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Simon_MacMichael [2497 posts] 3 years ago
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Northernbike wrote:

I hope these electric bikes have oxygen to help the riders avoid altitude sickness as well. Those London hills sound pretty daunting.

Try Highgate Hill on a 23kg clunker with three gears and an unsuitable riding position and let us know how you get on  3

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jollygoodvelo [1660 posts] 3 years ago
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sm wrote:

Excellent - as a Haringey resident I welcome these - e-bikes will give me something to chase as I do my hill repeats on Muswell Hill!

Surely you get enough sprint training from avoiding the muggers?

(Used to live in Turnpike Lane).

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Pauldmorgan [233 posts] 3 years ago
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There needs to be an east-wards extension too: Hackney doesn't seem to exist for them despite it being one of the most cycle-active boroughs.

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Mendip James [39 posts] 3 years ago
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Hang on, I thought the health benefits of cycling were being championed previously, now they want to take the 'puff and pant' out of it and are putting in place a scheme for people who only want to freewheel downhill?! It's a like a urban uplift, perhaps Boris has drawn inspiration from Cwmcarn MTB centre? Jarred hit the nail on the head.

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oozaveared [934 posts] 3 years ago
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Mendip James wrote:

Hang on, I thought the health benefits of cycling were being championed previously, now they want to take the 'puff and pant' out of it and are putting in place a scheme for people who only want to freewheel downhill?! It's a like a urban uplift, perhaps Boris has drawn inspiration from Cwmcarn MTB centre? Jarred hit the nail on the head.

Some e-bikes give you the option to pedal or use the motor. That has advantages of increasing the range as well. I had an opportunity to ride a couple that were being procured for posties (really good idea in some places where postie has a long delivery round, heavy bags and big hills.)

I don't know if they are that type but I can see e-bikes assisting in getting critical mass on the road. I commute round trip 25 miles. Lots of people at the office think it's a lot. They think of bike rides being a few miles and just quicker than walking. Which it is. They think that maybe the 8 - 10 mile round trip that would have to make is a bit far They also mention hills and distance that make it not so viable for them as people who might like to cycle to work but aren't die in the ditch (not literally ) "cyclists".

My thoughts are that the more of these people use e-bikes then the more of us out there makes infrastructure a higher priority plus all the safety benefits of a certain critical mass as well. We can still peddle if we like while they use the motor but we make cycle commuting more viable for loads more people.

Bring it on I say.

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Chuck [588 posts] 3 years ago
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jarredscycling wrote:

I would think the cost of an ebike would make them a common target of theft

Thieves are presumably more interested in the value to them than the cost to the original owner, which is not necessarily the same thing. Dunno how easy it'd be to get rid of a stolen Boris e-Bike.

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crazy-legs [896 posts] 3 years ago
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Chuck wrote:
jarredscycling wrote:

I would think the cost of an ebike would make them a common target of theft

Thieves are presumably more interested in the value to them than the cost to the original owner, which is not necessarily the same thing. Dunno how easy it'd be to get rid of a stolen Boris e-Bike.

Impossible I'd say - you'd need to dock it to charge it so once its charge runs out it's just a normal (albeit very heavy) bike and it's extremely distinctive. I presume that the battery will be firmly bolted into place.
I think the Boris Bike scheme has only lost about 4 bikes to theft - it's a pretty foolproof system. They lose a few to damage every year but there are enough spares (both bikes and parts) to simply keep replacing them.

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Ush [960 posts] 3 years ago
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Mendip James wrote:

Hang on, I thought the health benefits of cycling were being championed previously

Sure they're losing out on the exercise, but there's also your health: do you prefer commuters in motorized vehicles spewing out exhaust, crowding the streets and driving into you on your bicycle while they check their texts, or would you rather that they used an e-bike?

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Northernbike [229 posts] 3 years ago
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Simon_MacMichael wrote:
Northernbike wrote:

I hope these electric bikes have oxygen to help the riders avoid altitude sickness as well. Those London hills sound pretty daunting.

Try Highgate Hill on a 23kg clunker with three gears and an unsuitable riding position and let us know how you get on  3

23kg? Luxury!

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a.jumper [850 posts] 3 years ago
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So you can't ride to or from Central London Boris bike docks on these? Odd.