Hire a Boris bike – and enjoy the city

The other day, I hired a Boris bike. It’s been a long-term desire to take advantage of the London cycle hire scheme, but either I’ve been hiking a rather too large bag, or it has been raining, on recent trips to the capital.

Finally, circumstances conspired; I was carrying only a small rucksack, and the showers of earlier in the day had cleared. I left a meeting in Broad Street in the City, and needed to get to Marylebone station for a train out to the west. Obtaining a bike was quick and easy, the credit card operated system was simple, though the machine did spit out a lengthy paper receipt first, before then issuing me with a separate piece of paper providing my dock release code.

The bicycle itself was a big, robust affair, but allowed me to raise the seat plenty high enough for my tall frame; and its three gears were just right for starting off and cruising along. What was surprising was how many other cyclists I was alongside, and how as I moved west across London, how many dedicated cycle lanes and marked roadways there were; and how I regularly kept up with the same vehicles through several junctions.

Compared to the underground, the ride was cheaper, probably healthier, and similarly quick/slow. The only problem, I realised when I arrived at my destination and docked my bicycle, was that in my enthusiasm for keeping up with the traffic, I had been pedalling rather hard, and I needed a shower and a fresh shirt!

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