Say what you like about Transport for London (TfL) - and most of what London cyclists say about the capital’s transport overlords is less than complimentary - they’re not superstitious. TfL has announced that the next extension of the Boris bike hire scheme to the city’s south and west will open on Friday, December 13.
The next phase of the system will formally open next week with 150 new docking stations in Wandsworth, Hammersmith & Fulham, Lambeth and Kensington & Chelsea, though some stations are already operational, such as Addison Road and Evesham Street in Kensington & Chelsea, and St Martin’s Close in Camden.
Boris Bikes will be available further south and west from next Friday.
A further roll-out of new locations will continue through to next Spring with the network adding 2,000 new bikes and 5,000 docking points. Almost half will be south of the Thames.
TfL says it wall also add about 1,000 new docking points over the next few months in high-demand areas already covered by the scheme. The Boris Bike network has been criticised for peak-time scarcity of docking points in central London and bikes in outer areas.
More accurately called the Barclays Cycle Hire system, the iconic pay-as-you-go blue bikes were initially planned by previous Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, but their introduction on Boris Johnson’s watch means they’ll be forever associated with him.
The scheme opened in July 2010 and was expanded into East London in March 2012. TfL says there have been 26 million journeys between its opening and November 2013.
The extension of the scheme means that it will reach from Ravenscourt Park in the West to East India in east London and King George’s Park in the south to Camden Lock in north London. That’s a 13-mile ride, according to Google Maps, which reckons it’ll take an hour and 25 minutes. We wonder who’ll be the first to Bori-bike from one edge of the extended network to the other.
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.