“I don’t know if this is the stupidest thing I’ve ever done on my channel,” said YouTuber Ben Morris before setting out on a challenge to ride from London to France on a Santander Cycles hire bike and return it to the docking station within 24 hours to avoid a hefty fine.
Obviously, the journey isn’t entirely by bike … there’s a transfer to a mate’s car to take the Eurotunnel, and once in France, there’s a dash back to London with the bikes stashed in the back to try and meet the deadline.
On the way, the YouTuber, riding with a friend, deals with traffic, stairs over bridges and wrong turns due to Google Maps and there are also some Air BNB shenanigans thrown in for good measure.
He also discovers that northwest Kent is a bit more hilly than is often appreciated as he heads over the easternmost tip of the North Downs.
Morris said that if he gets 50,000 likes on the video, “I will ride a penny farthing somewhere far away “ – and with 32,000 to date, he’s almost two thirds of the way to wherever that may be.
He confessed: “This is the one thing I can say Boris has actually done well, and that’s make these bikes.”
In fact, the cycle hire scheme in London was green-lit back when Ken Livingstone was mayor – although it was Liberal Democrat assembly members who first suggested following the lead of cities such as Lyon and Paris.
“I think this has been the longest 24 hours of my life,” he added.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.