We all know cycling is good for us and can be loads of fun, but perhaps that doesn't give us enough of an incentive to go through the hassle of identifying and buying the bicycle that would be best suited to our travelling, fun, fitness and transport needs.
And now you don't need to!!!!
In conjunction with Transport for London, The Mayor of London; Boris Johnson and Barclays Bank PLC, London now offers the wonderful Barclays Cycle Hire scheme – aka 'Boris Bikes'.
Barclays Cycle Hire was introduced in 2010, initially only for residents of the city, but now open to everyone, which means that you! Yes you too, can hop on a bike and ride around our fabulous city.
Londoner's and visitors alike have taken to this brilliant scheme like ducks to water!! Well maybe not exactly to water! But you know what I mean. :)
I went walkabout through the City of Westminster a couple of days ago; 25th April 2011, to cover the Royal Wedding Route for my blog and everywhere I looked were visitors to the city riding these bikes.
Here are the ten top reasons to encourage you to get on one of these bikes this Summer and enjoy London from a different perspective.
1. Save Money: In 2010 Transport bosses recommended raising the cost of parking on city centre streets by up to a 3rd. The decision to increase the cost of parking in city centre streets combined with the Congestion Charges will mean it becomes more expensive to travel in by car.
2. No major outlay: The average price for an adult bicycle in the UK in 2001 was £107 (Source: Mintel, Bicycles 2001), although it's possible to get a 2nd hand bike for a lower price, you still have the inconvenience of carrying the bike around and perhaps you won't be able to store it safely between uses.
3. Keep fit and have fun: Did you know a 130-pound woman burns about 715 calories riding 17 miles in one hour. Well now you can combine the two: get to see many of our historical attractions, enjoying the sights along the way and keep fit for your next adventure.
4. Keeping up with the 'Jones's': With the increase in funding for cycling initiatives and the expansion of the Cycling Towns Programme where over 2.5 million adults and children will benefit, London will be equivalent to some of the best European cycling cities.
5. Become an addict: Cycling is addictive! Cycling stimulates the pleasure centres of your brain, so the more you cycle, the happier you should be..... or so the theory goes! :) Many of our great parks are ideal for cycling in; especially Hyde Park.
6. Great for family days out: You can use The London Cycle Hire Scheme for Summer excursions in the Mother city and leave the bikes behind when you go home....no hassle!
7. Go Green: Bicycles are green. If you cycle instead of driving you're helping save the planet or, at the very least, your immediate environment. And we all want to do that, don't we?
8. Convenience: There are Barclays Cycle Hire docks around just about every corner of the city, from our ancient historical 'City of London' to the 'City of Westminster' you can find a bike at any one of dozens of docking stations. There are new stations being added, so check the site to find one nearest to you.
9. Easy to find: Many of the main London Attractions and Stations have Cycle docks nearby, so no long walk to find one. For a visual map of where to find them, go to: tfl.gov.uk/roadusers/cycling
10. Ride (almost) for FREE: The first 30 minutes cycle time is free, so you could be a little bit cheeky and just for the fun of it.....cycle from dock to dock, getting around the city and swopping bikes as you go! There is one drawback to this though.... there may not be any bikes available at the next docking station. There is a £1 Access Fee per bike.
For lots more information on how to use the bikes, where to find them and the costs involved, visit the TfL website as shown above.
There are a lot more points we at 3 Days in London could add to this list, but for now, why not hire yourself a 'Boris Bike and.......... get on 'yer bike and ride!!!
For more information on the Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme and how to hire these bikes, go to: tfl.gov.uk/roadusers/cycling
This is a truely fun way to get around London. However, like any big city in Europe, London is busy with buses, trucks, cars, motorbikes, scooters and bicycles, as well as pedestrians all vieing for space. With all this going on it can be easy to get distracted, so we recommend that you read up on the 'Code of Conduct' on U.K. roads and practice good safety at all times.
Be aware; Be safe! and have fun.
The team at 3 Days in London wish you a wonderful stay. :)
Written and contributed by Cindy