Will you be registering for the Cycle Hire Scheme?

Boris Cycle HireRegistration for the cycle hire scheme was today launched and if you want to be one of the first to use the scheme you need to register. Registration for the year costs £45 which is generally considered the best value for money. Otherwise you can also choose weekly and daily plans.

This can be completed via: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/roadusers/cycling/14808.aspx

Upon entering your name, date of birth, relationship status, what you had yesterday for breakfast you’ll be sent a key that you then need to activate.

They key itself costs £3 and the obvious criticism is why couldn’t this have been integrated with that other famous key we have to London. The Oyster card.

Generally, the £45 plus £3 key is the only thing you’ll end up paying for. This is because most people will be aiming to stay within the half hour free limit. Thus it does make this one of the cheapest forms of transport around London (and most eco-friendly).

Some crazy rumours had been flying around that there would be volunteers redistributing bikes during the day. I don’t know who started that rumour but it is of course false.

In fact yesterday on my cycle home I saw the little vans that will be re-distributing bikes around the docking station. I was going too fast to take a picture and they were stuck in the traffic jam so you’ll have to imagine what they looked like!

So, will you be registering for the cycle hire scheme? and Why? Can you see yourself using it? Are you happy to pay the £45? Any problems registering? Opinions please..

Cycle hire scheme coverage:

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126 Responses to Will you be registering for the Cycle Hire Scheme?

  1. Dawn 30/07/2010 at 9:23 am #

    Yes, I registered and I seemed to be one of the first people to try the bike out from Waterloo Station this morning, seeing the number of tv cameras and reporters who flocked around! It was harder to get out of the docking station than I realised as the bike was extremely heavy. Still, I pedalled off to the office around and through the press conference on the South Bank (oops) only passing one other on a hire bike on my journey. The scheme will either work extremely well or not. I’m not sure there’ll be a middle ground.

  2. Rory 30/07/2010 at 9:30 am #

    Worked fine for me this morning from Kings Cross to Soho. Had to try a couple of different bikes before my key worked properly though. The bike rack outside the office door was full when I arrived so had to head 100m up the road to a (largely) empty one.

    Good start – will be using it regularly if they can keep up the maintenance.

  3. Christopher Peat 30/07/2010 at 1:15 pm #

    I would sign up but the websit doesnt work. Feel the shame TFL. Read more: http://bit.ly/9yaIxj

    • Stuart 31/07/2010 at 7:57 am #

      I have been trying to register on tfl website from last evening (several times) and this morning (several times) and the sign-up page does not load at all. Come on sort this out, it has started to ruin an otherwise well executed launch. The web guys/IT will be remembered for spoiling this for me and others!

  4. Dani Riot 30/07/2010 at 2:08 pm #

    i passed a hire bike for the first time today.

    had a good look at it in motion. They are actually a lot better looking in person than i was expecting, and much bigger too.

  5. Nicole 30/07/2010 at 2:38 pm #

    I commute into London Bridge and normally walk over it to work. This morning I got a bike outside Borough Market and cycled the long way round along Tooley Street, over Tower Bridge and docked on Lower Thames Street, just for the hell of it. The bike is heavy, which can be a problem if you’re not comfortable cycling on roads all the way and need to do a bit of manoevering over crossings, but it’s comfortable and the gears are fine.

    Just been up to Spitalfields for lunch, on the hire bike, and got so many comments from people really enthusiastic about the scheme. Most of the traffic was courteous although i suppose they’ll revert to their usual tactics tomorrow!

    But I’m loving it. No problems releasing or docking and was able to use the docking stations of my choice, although I took the last space at the top of Commercial Street

    And well done TFL for having marshalls at every docking station to assist those who need it and to get more people involved.

    I’m delighted…

    • Andreas 30/07/2010 at 2:44 pm #

      Pleased to hear your positive story 🙂 Hope plenty more people have experiences like this!

      • Pete 03/08/2010 at 9:59 am #

        I’m pleased to hear positive stories too! There are sooooo many cynics out there!!

    • Rory 30/07/2010 at 2:45 pm #

      Happy with it as well.
      A few niggles but it is a whole load better than the previous scheme 🙂

      Look forward to it expanding in the next 12 months with more bikes, more stations and critically more bike lanes.

  6. Jon 30/07/2010 at 2:57 pm #

    Apparently TfL are telling people that to ease taking the bike out it’s helpful to lift the back wheel off the ground slightly by lifting the saddle. Glad to see that Ken’s vision for bike hire has been made real! 🙂

  7. Jaimie 30/07/2010 at 9:01 pm #

    I used one of the bikes today, the system worked perfectly. For a heavy bike the ride is good, but the gearing is pretty hopeless, I spent half the time freewheeling in 3rd on mostly flat roads.

  8. treeman22 30/07/2010 at 10:34 pm #

    I haven’t been on a bike for seven years let alone on a bike in London. But today I tried the new Barclays Hire Bicycles.Was looking forward to it as a way to exercise.
    The bike itself is quite heavy although I think many will get used to that.Other than that I am quite pleased with the bike and the docking stations. It all works well.Also met the “helpers” who were hosting the machines and they were quite polite and helpful with everyone.
    Many people find the scheme confusing with Access fee and Usage charge,and some are not quite sure what to do with the membership key.But there is a lot of interest with people stopping me to ask how does it feel being on it .
    There is a need for a better map ,however, the current map displays docking stations that are not installed yet and also does not show the bike friendly routes.
    In the long run the scheme will raise awareness and hopefully help create more bicycle lanes.Meanwhile we need more docking stations.

  9. walltoall 30/07/2010 at 11:40 pm #

    I registered in time to get my tag for the opening day and got my first bike at Tower Hill about 10am. I used about eight bikes during the 4 hours I was in London and visited Lr. Thames St. Tower Hill, Jewry St. Cheapside, Speakers Corner and mid Edgeware Road. The bike is heavy but not too much and I’m 66+ Some if not most of the bikes had binding front brakes and the gearchange is ‘backways’. I’ve mastered the half-hour-rule quite well after some practice. I did see some poor sod docking his bike at Cheapside incorrectly and walking away before I could warn him. But heck if people haven’t the brains to use the system properly well that’s their problem.

    • walltoall 03/08/2010 at 4:51 pm #

      The scheme cancelled all funny charges at the end of the first day so the guy at Cheapside was well served. That move was excellent PR on BarclayCycleHire’s part. 10/10 guys that’s a great way to make friends on two leg-driven wheels. has anybody used their GPS on a BarclayBike yet?

      • walltoall 03/08/2010 at 4:59 pm #

        Yeah! And then I looked up Andreas’ 25 routes PDF and discovered that way back in March ………….

  10. Rebecca 01/08/2010 at 1:17 pm #

    Surely theres going to be a problem with hundreds of inexperienced cyclists hitting the roads (especially helmet-less)… Tourists are tricky enough to dodge on the pavement, roads are going to be a whole other matter.

    • walltoall 03/08/2010 at 5:03 pm #

      Rebecca, you can still dodge the tourists on the pavement with a BorisBike. You want to see the look on their faces when you tinkle the little bell and grin at them when they wake up. But the real fun is mixing it with the traffic. Let’s hope though that the EXPERIENCED BarclayBikers will remember that traffic will be kind to us if we are kind to traffic.

  11. Ivan 02/08/2010 at 12:38 pm #

    I have been cycling to work for a good while now, and I cant wait to try the scheme, but the TFL’s cycle hire website is down, anybody knows when it will be back up again? or any other way to get registered?

    • Dani Riot 02/08/2010 at 1:21 pm #

      This is what happens when you invite the entire london population to your website that is run on a server that hasn’t got the bandwidth to accommodate them.

      I am amazed that they didn’t think of this while in planning stages.

  12. Jon 02/08/2010 at 12:53 pm #

    Yikes! The ‘Recent Activity’ on my Barclays Cycle Hire account shows £90 payment for subscription and anouth £6 ‘Admin’ fee even though I’ve only registered for 24 hour (i.e. £1) access. My advice to Cycle Hire registrants is to check your bank card statements thororoughly. If this unauthorised charge is made to my account I will be pretty upset.

    • walltoall 02/08/2010 at 10:37 pm #

      Thanks for the heads-up to check my VisaCard (Jon 02Aug@1253) The good news for me is that they nicked £48 and that is precisely what it should be. More comments please from other users?

    • Andreas 12/08/2010 at 9:56 am #

      Very good advice Jon. Everyone should be keeping their eye on bank accounts during these early stages of the scheme..

  13. Dawn 03/08/2010 at 8:30 am #

    I signed up for a year and was charged correctly, then they’ve charged me another £48, which must have been on Thursday night when I rang up to check the key had been activated. I’m in theprocess of checking that will be refunded but haven’t managed to get through online, so will ring them. The previous times I’ve rung the Helpline, they have been extremely helpful and have even rung back – excellent customer relations!
    I haven’t had a problem with the bikes although this morning’s one was a bit stiff. One kind guy alerted me to the “Print Your Journey” facility on the tall unit (not the docking station). Print your journey out and you can see how long you’ve taken so you can gauge any charges. It’s also proof you’ve docked your bike properly.

    • walltoall 03/08/2010 at 4:46 pm #

      Hi Dawn stiff bike equals overtight front brake. The technicians are telling us the bikes will free out with time. I found 6 out of the 8 bikes I tried on D1day July30 had stiff front wheels. There is a quick test which is to try to turn the front wheel of the docked bike until you find one which spins easily. Like you I found the helpline people very helpful so may I wave to Mark there and also to ‘volunteer’ Caroline at Tower Hill who showed me the trick of spinning the front wheel.

      • Dawn 03/08/2010 at 5:27 pm #

        Thanks for the spinning wheel tip. I shall try it out when I leave the office shortly.

        • walltoall 06/08/2010 at 9:37 pm #

          I have now found you can undock a bike try the spin wheel test and re-dock it at once and try another without any hassle. And you can do it as often as you like. Many of the docking towers were faultily built so the wheel actually jams tight on dockinbg. Apparently LOGICA who did all the software built a slight delay into the process maybe with just this in mind. If so Well done LOGICA.

  14. Matt 03/08/2010 at 9:12 am #

    Just had my first run on a Cycle Hire bike after dropping my normal bike in at Cyclelab for a service. The upright position and very low gearing is foreign to me, but the ride was comfortable and I quite enjoyed (as a change of pace) the “Llmo-like” feeling of a large bike.

    Needless to say I was soon off after the other riders, spinning like a mad-man.

    On arrival at work, I logged in to the TFL site and got the following information (which I’m told you can also print out from the terminal, but I haven’t tried this yet)

    03 Aug 2010 07:42 Old Street Station, St. Luke’s
    03 Aug 2010 08:02 St. James’s Square, St. James’s
    Hire £0.00

  15. DJC 03/08/2010 at 5:52 pm #

    Had a problem registering as card was not accepted, but phone call sorted that out. Tried it out Saturday and Sunday. Now I havn’t been on a bike for thirty years (back in 1980 I was poor and cycled to work in Victoria from Enfield every day – took me no more time than the colleague who did the same journey by train) But all that was long ago.
    Its heavy and the saddle seems deliberately designed to discourage use for more than 30 minutes. First trip Saturday: Kings Cross to Oxford Circus took 28 minutes, I can walk that in ~40 minutes so rather disappointing. But I’m used to walking everywhere, so finding a route, paying attention to one way streets and traffic lights needs learning. Sunday more successful: Sloan Square to Gordon Square in 28 minutes – I’m learning! (Would have carried on to Kings Cross but >24 hours + > 30 mins would have cost £2 for 15 minutes walk.) – Yes, I’m mean about transport, I stopped thinking a tube fare was worth the money when a when you no longer got change from a pound.
    I’m impressed enough to have signed up for the full year at £45. That’s cheap enough not to fret about getting my money’s worth every day and I will probably use it quite a lot in place of walking if its already paid for. And Sunday’s expedition proves it could be useful for potential journeys that are too far to walk, too much trouble to drive, not important enough to put up with the tube.
    So, in conclusion, a good idea, but in the long run depends on bikes being readily available when wanted.

    • walltoall 03/08/2010 at 6:14 pm #

      DJC! Excellent post full\of information and comments. Keep ’em coming. Afraid I can’t walk far (ME the condition not the person!) but I can bike, usually use a STRIDA. As far as I know it may be the only one on London Streets! One reason I signed up for a BarclayBike (or should that be a BorisBike?) is due to the huge amount of weekend disruption on tube lines, overgrounds etc. That saddle is diabolical but I can see a market for gel covers bought in a shop and brung with you. Anybody listening out there. My derriere is still complaining about last Friday.

  16. Jon 03/08/2010 at 5:54 pm #

    Yes, spin the front wheel and also lift the saddle and turn the crank to check that the rear wheel spins too. It’ll be interesting to see if the brakes to ‘back-off’ a little and let the bikes run more freely. And if I may, can I plug the cycle training courses that London Boroughs run? – many are FREE – and you can also do training using the Cycle Hire bikes if you want it, see: https://www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/roadusers/cycling/request-cycle-training.aspx
    Please sign up for it, tell your friends and family – if you haven’t been cycling for a while it’ll be very valuable and even if you’re a competant/ regular cyclist it may help you learn a few extra techniques. I’ve done it and found it very helpful.

  17. Dawn 05/08/2010 at 8:36 am #

    Over the last two days I’ve discovered that the well publicised Barclays Bicycle Hire Scheme has now been discovered by travellers to and from Waterloo station, so it’s now difficult to get a bike in the mornings and find an empty docking station in the evenings. Boo – I thought I was on to a winner if Waterloo comuters didn’t use the system! Are other BB cyclists having the same problems at other mainline stations? I wonder if eventually there will be some more docking stations in these “heavy traffic” areas? It would be good!

    I have to say the Barclays Cycle Customer Relations team are excellent. They’ve phoned me back as they said they would; they’ve always been extremely courteous on the phone; patient; helpful and very pleasant. A lot of other large companies’ Customer Relations’ teams ought to take a leaf out of the Barclays Bike team’s book.

    • walltoall 06/08/2010 at 9:02 pm #

      Hi Dawn,
      Apparently the Mayor’s office is aware of this development and his planners expected such would be the case. I’m only going by what I read elsewhere. It seems they consciously decided not to put docking stations near outside stations in the early days for the very reasons that you are now out-lining. However, you may find there is an unexpected extra docking station within five minutes of your favourite station. I have not fully studied the map of locations. But Fenchurch is served by Jewry Street, Tower Hill by The Tower. Moorgate by Moorfields etc. BTW, did the spinning wheel trick work for you? I found out today you can undock bicycles one after another almost without restriction to check the bike before use. Apparently LOGICA built in a computer dalay intentionally with somewthing like that in mind. It may be a bit tedious but it is a pleasure to have a really free bike.

  18. Dawn 06/08/2010 at 10:40 pm #

    Hi Shaun
    I managed to spin the back wheel on bikes since you left the tip. Haven’t managed the technique for front wheels but I’ve been lucky on all but one of the bikes this week.

    Since my original post, I saw the article in the Evening Standard about putting more bike and docking stations around. Waterloo does seem to be one of the problem areas.

    It’ll all get ironed out as it’s very early days. Good job the weather has held up all week!

    • walltoall 07/08/2010 at 10:37 pm #

      Here’s how to spin the front wheel easily (unless you are really teenchy weeny). The front ‘carrier’ has bars below the bungee, a number are splayed but the centre one runs in line with the length of the bike. Grab this one and lift the front of the bike off the ground. With your other hand give it a spin.
      PS. For people who are NOT strong enough for the previous tip, put the bike on it’s stand, lean it hard left so the front wheel comes off the ground and you can then try spinning the front wheel..

  19. Vivian 07/08/2010 at 8:59 am #

    I went through part of the registration process until i read the bit where they would impose a hefty fine if I was late returning the bike to a docking bay; in the end, i have lovely road bike, so I dont need and will not be registering.
    I am, however, in favour of the scheme, because it raises awareness of cyclists, and now that anyone can be a cyclist on any given day, it would perhaps( i pray), make motorists think twice before acting on their road rage towards cyclists, as it really could be their relative/significant other on that bike!

    The one thing i am not happy with, is the massive expense of painting cycle ways Blue instead of Green, when the emphasis should be on making safer those particular danger spots for cyclists along the busiest routes.
    The change should also be enforced with a change on the law where motorists should be fined if going into the cycle lane, like they do with bus lanes. This would make cyclists lives safer on the road!!

    • walltoall 07/08/2010 at 10:50 pm #

      Be gentler with yourself. There is no “hefty fine”, but if you are downright stupid you might incur very large charges. I spoke with a lovely (Pakistanian) man today who told me that last night he found an abandoned BarclayBike at 2oc am and being aware of the scheme he walked the bike to a docking station, docked it up and then went home to bed. Spare a thought for the ******** who abandoned his bike on the road. It takes all kinds to make this wonderful world.
      and will probably get charged £100. Don’t you feel maybe such stupidity deserves its negative reward.
      I’ve had totally positive experiences, many animated conversations, some smiles and waves and the BarclayBike is the best thing to happen to London in the 21st century.

      I agree with you about the blue paint. Unnecessary waste appals me. But what about the cluts, mostly in white vans, who park on cycling lanes as they go about deliveries their at 11oc which they should have done at 6am. Maybe someone should paint THEIR vans blue instead of the lanes?

  20. Jon 08/08/2010 at 9:42 am #

    Not family friendly for occasional use – if I want to add keys for my kids, who are not old enough to register in their own right, I get charged an access fee for each keys regardless if I am using a bike just for myself or all of us on a given day. What is the best advice if I want to use scheme myself once a week and with the kids once a week?

  21. Mickey 09/08/2010 at 12:23 am #

    I’m glad to see that most people are positive about the scheme. I also think it’s a great addition to the London transport network and I think Boris and his team have done a really good job on the roll out, installation and design.

    I was particularly impressed by the speed at which my key was issued (arrived in 2 days) and with the design of the station towers. They have gone so far as to orientate the maps differently on each side of the tower depending upon which way you are facing up the street. Now that is genius!!!

    I used it for the first time when I dropped my bike off at Condor for a service. The bike to the office in the morning was fine but obviously felt heavy having just ridden in on my Fratello. The docking station was full near my office so I had to pull out the iPhone and used the free app to locate another station. Easy.

    The bike to get back in the evening was suffering from the stiff front wheel problem, badly!! I was in second gear and pushing hard to move at a snails pace. In future I will definitely be checking the bike for a free running front wheel before undocking it.

    Good job TfL.


  22. Ed 09/08/2010 at 7:54 pm #

    Well done .. a positive move for London. 140 million!! well spen. lets hope for more.

    Bike users should be aware that
    1. the bikes are numbered
    2. that number is linked to them (and their credit card)
    3. there are many many cameras watching at traffic lights and juctions.

    wait and see how many red light jumpers start to receive penalties in the next few months…
    car drivers will surely put forward the case that the riders can be easily identified.

    If we did have a license for riding… how many points would you be on??

  23. walltoall 10/08/2010 at 6:20 pm #

    You’re just winding us all up and fair dues, we can take it. I pay no attention to the road traffic act. I just watch out for trouble, try to be as considerate as possible to other road and footpath users and go where ever I please and consider safe. I go on roads, footpaths, up wrong way streets and am totally colour blind on red. I’m having fantastic fun, having some great conversations with other road and path users and have not brought my STRIDA to town since I registered. To answer your question read the wall-art “One Nation Under CCTV”

  24. Matt 11/08/2010 at 3:30 pm #

    I wonder if anyone has thought of turning the B-Bikes into a one-make racing series ?

    Work out a point-to-point where the built in logging system is the timer, with 2 or 3 pickup/dropoffs on the course Start>Pickup1>Pickup2>(opt Pickup3)>Back to Start.

    With the forced 5 mins between bikes, it would be like a series of madly-spinning sprints

    Perhaps round Hyde Park might be a good one

    • Elena 11/08/2010 at 3:58 pm #

      Hey Matt, I know the lovely people at the Fullcity cycling cafe are planning an alleycat involving the Borisbikes, though I don’t think there’s a date set yet. I’ll post here if anything firms up that I hear about. Also, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t organize something…

      • Matt 11/08/2010 at 4:14 pm #

        Hey Elena…. what’s an alleycat ?

        • Elena 11/08/2010 at 4:29 pm #

          Pretty close to what you’re proposing 🙂
          Wikipedia’s explanation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alleycat_races

        • Matt 11/08/2010 at 4:39 pm #

          That does sound fun…. really must get out more :))

        • Andreas 12/08/2010 at 10:01 am #

          Liking this idea a lot!

  25. John 11/08/2010 at 5:52 pm #

    Well I managed to register and even received my key, but with the website out of action I can’t get my key activated, and having phoned the customer service number several times all that happens is they take my details and tell me someone will call me back – which has not happened in several days!


    luckily i have my own bike, but i wanted to use the hire bikes for going out with cycle-less friends, or for emergencies such as punctures etc..

    • Martin 17/08/2010 at 5:51 pm #

      There is an ongoing problem with o2 broadband dns servers and accessing the secure part of the website. I changed my dns server to google dns @ and that fixed it.

  26. jonno 16/08/2010 at 9:20 am #

    “Jon 08. Aug, 2010 at 9:42 am #
    Not family friendly for occasional use – if I want to add keys for my kids, who are not old enough to register in their own right, I get charged an access fee for each keys regardless if I am using a bike just for myself or all of us on a given day. What is the best advice if I want to use scheme myself once a week and with the kids once a week?”

    In regards to above post I have same problem. If you have more than one key you will be charged regardless if that key is used. So if you signed up for 4 keys and only one is used in a day, you’ll be charged 4x?!? Nuts!!

    I was advised to sign up again and have seperate accounts for me and misses. So ill do this then de-activate key from original account. So the only point of getting more keys is if you know they will be used at the same time. STOOPID?!

    • Martin 17/08/2010 at 5:48 pm #

      Just discovered the flaw about multiple keys and multiple charges. My suggestion for jonno is if he has more than one bank card use a different card to set up a seperate account for each of the kids, then every account will only have one key.

      • jonno 17/08/2010 at 6:39 pm #

        Martin, cheers
        Thats exactly what i have done, and will de-activate key on primary account. But I would still love to know the logic behind multiple keys. So a family / friends wants 4 keys, they better make sure they are all cycling at the same time, everytime??!?! That aint gonna happen, is it?

  27. Matt 19/08/2010 at 9:21 pm #

    Very nice cycle app


  28. momodou 09/09/2010 at 11:14 pm #

    Well I managed to register and even received my key, but with the website out of action I can’t get my key activated, and having phoned the customer service number several times all that happens is they take my details and tell me someone will call me back – which has not happened in several days!

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