Free Boris Bike Hire for the scheme’s 4th Birthday

If you’ve got friends curious about cycling who aren’t ready to splash out on a bike then the Barclays Bicycle Hire Birthday weekend might be a perfect date for their diary.

The Barclays Hire Scheme turned 4 on 30th July and Transport for London, SkyRide and Breeze have come together to provide a bumper weekend of celebrations.

Hire bikes will be provided free of charge for people who want to take part in one of two rides over 16th-17th August.

Boris bike cycle hire scheme in hyde park

Boris himself endorsed the celebrations and said: “In my experience there is no greater way to enjoy London than on two wheels and to celebrate our fantastic cycle hire scheme’s fourth birthday, we are offering everyone the chance to cycle around our beautiful city for free.

“Whether you are an avid enthusiast or a cycling novice, you’ll be able to hop on a bike and take in some of our capital’s most iconic sights.”

The blue bicycles of London may weight 23kg and come with a less than staggering 3 gears, but they offer a no strings attached introduction to cycling which could be enticing for beginners. Best make it clear to your friends that not all bikes are made equal, of course.

The first jaunt, on Saturday 16th August, will begin in Hyde Park at the Stanhope Place Gate, near Marble Arch.

The 45 minute loop, 4 mile loop entitled ‘Hyde Park Fantasy Loop’ will take riders primarily over tarmac paths past a number of sights.

The led ride will start at 9am, and you’ll need to arrive 30 mins early. Though inclusive as possible, you will need to be over 16 years of age and over 18 to hire the bike.

For women only, there will be a Barclays Hire Bike ride on Sunday at 9am, from Regents Park.

This route meanders along Regents Canal Towpath, travelling out to the enclosures of London Zoo and as far as the houseboats at St John’s Wood, with a stop at Camden Market. There is also promise of time for a coffee and a slice of cake along the way.

This will be a 5 mile route, expected to take around 1 hour, and again you’ll need to register 30 mins early and be over 16.

Alongside free hire for these rides, the £2 daily fee that usually applies to non-members of the scheme will be waived over the weekend – making the first 30mins free for any rider.

Hire of 30mins will be free for 4 uses and details of all the events and how to hire a bike can be found on the Transport for London site here.

The celebrations should help introduce new users to the Boris Bikes, which have had a record breakingly successful July.

The month saw 1.17 million hires, even more than the number recorded in July 2012, when London was in the midst of hosting the Olympics.

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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

6 Responses to Free Boris Bike Hire for the scheme’s 4th Birthday

  1. chris 05/08/2014 at 11:52 am #

    We should stop calling them “Boris BIkes” (also, dont refer to him as ‘Boris’ because hes not your friend).

    Instead, in recognition of the person who did devise the scheme and saw it through its planning stages (although Johnson likes to take all the credit):

    “Kenny Farthings”

  2. MJ Ray 06/08/2014 at 10:01 am #

    Three gears isn’t bad: it’s the range that matters. London’s hire bikes range 32 to 60 inches, which misses some high end compared to a typical hybrid bike range of 27-92 inches and is lower than a typical 40-80 English three speed, so easier for climbing hills.

    It’s disappointing that I’m not allowed on the more interesting ride.

  3. Marek 08/08/2014 at 10:29 am #

    No mention of Prudential RideLondon that is happening this weekend? 80000 cyclists freecycling in closed-off centre of London, professional races, amateur races and tons of events over two days. Live on BBC1 as well…

  4. Vincent 09/08/2014 at 1:35 pm #

    > Boris himself endorsed the celebrations and said: “In my experience there is no greater way to enjoy London than on two wheels

    Is this a joke?

    Incidently, how often does he ride in London?

    • Tom 10/08/2014 at 8:12 am #

      He rides quite a lot, I’ve passed him on the way up Goswell Road several times.

      • MJ Ray 11/08/2014 at 11:48 am #

        Actually, sometimes current cyclists in positions of power are quite a difficult challenge for cycle campaigning. If they already ride in our current less-than-perfect streets, they might not see the problems as significant and feel that it’s just laziness or cowardice on the part of non-riders… especially if they’re riding in a place scary enough that fewer than 1 in 6 ride (most of England, sadly).

        They might also have a pick-and-mix approach to cycling law, like many non-campaigning riders: I suggested that a pedestrian zone should be opened to cycles because that works fine in most European towns and cities, so a councillor replied citing some of the laws that ban us from riding there and saying we should all obey the law. Then next day, I see that same councillor encouraging riders to buy cheap-but-debatably-not-legal bike lights…

        There’s also a famous lack of empathy between the various “tribes” of riders. Some racers and tourists just don’t understand cruisers and commuters, for example – thankfully, not all and thankfully these days many in each group keep reminding their friends that other people on bikes are not the biggest problem we face!

        This may be one of the great things that the 1970s Netherlands Stop Child Murder campaign achieved: mass empathy for a group of people who almost all cycled and walked. Who wouldn’t empathise with children? Is it well known enough that the same tactic won’t work here? Do too few children travel under their own power now? I’ve seen some small-scale attempts to try similar things, but should we focus on more on getting most roads safe enough for children and that’ll be good for everyone?

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