Archives For Barclays Cycle Hire

London Skyride 2011

September 5, 2011 — 4 Comments

Yesterday saw over 55,000 cyclists ride along 7.2 miles of motorised vehicle free London roads. It’s a fantastic event that allows cyclists to see some of London’s greatest sites free from potentially dangerous traffic.

Since the Skyride started in 2009 (then known as the London Freewheel) the numbers have never dipped below 50,000 cyclists taking part. With the 2010 turnout of 85,000 being the largest so far.

The turnout of only 55,000 in 2011 seems small in comparison to the 2010 turnout. Could this be down to the great british weather? A shower of rain did hit London yesterday. It’s too hard to tell what caused the drop in 30,000 cyclists which is the lowest turnout since 2008, so many factors could have affect it, from advertising to bad weather.

It is a shame that the numbers didn’t increase on last year, the popularity of the Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme and the Barclays Superhighways has increased cycling in the capital a significant amount over the past few years and I think most of us where expecting more. 55,000 isn’t too be sniffed at, it is still a large number of cyclists taking advantage of the closed roads and enjoying the capital the way it should be.

The AA Blunder!

April 18, 2011 — 6 Comments

On Friday the 15th of April the AA (Automobile Association) gave out 5,000 branded helmets and 5,000 branded high visibility vests to cyclists in London. The cycling community was outraged by this and watching the twitter comments was quite funny. Especially afterI had already tweeted this the following day to the AA President, Edmund King.

why is the @aapresident giving free helmets to cyclists? So drivers can drive more dangerously around us?

The AA President was kind enough to reply to me to let me know that the AA does give out free training for dangerous young & older drivers and campaigns against drink/drug drivers. Which is fantastic!

What I don’t get is why a motoring group is getting involved in handing out ‘safety’ equipment to cyclists. Are they trying to make the motorists think that cycling is dangerous? Or that motorists can drive around us in a more dangerous manner because we now have helmets to protect our heads.

The AA’s basis for this free advertising gift where 2 polls. Around 16,000 AA members were asked if they think cyclists should wear helmets. 97% think we should. And a spot check done by the AA suggested that only 5% of Barclays Cycle Hire users wear helmets.

The AA president, Edmund King, said

You see some people on Boris bikes who are not proper cyclists. They need a helmet more than most. They’re weaving all over the place.

The helmet is a hot topic among cyclists, at the end of the day they are designed to reduce acceleration to the head at low speeds. Wikipedia states

A typical helmet is designed to absorb the energy of a head falling from a bicycle, hence an impact speed of around 12 mph or 20 km/h. This will only reduce the energy of a 30 mph or 50 km/h impact to the equivalent of 27.5 mph or 45 km/h, and even this will be compromised if the helmet fails.

Basically the helmet is only designed to protect a cyclist that falls over by them selves. Anyone that has cycled for a reasonable amount of time can manage to balance and is unlikely to fall over. The addition of a cycle helmet in a crash with a vehicle is debatable. It may or may not help you.

Is weaving a bad thing? I and many other cyclists do a little wobble or weave as a vehicle is approaching us, it gives the driver the perception that we are not in control and they are more likely to give us the space we require.

High visibility vests are also a hot topic. My personal opinion is they are next to useless in the city environment. So many people wear hi-viz that it doesn’t have the same effect that it used to. Out in the suburbs and the country side it’s a different story. But in the city where you can’t see much further than the rear of the car in front of you, hi viz isn’t going to help.

The CTC’s response was fantastic.

We believe that far bigger road safety gains can be made by tackling instances of bad driving.

And that is how most cyclists felt about it. The CTC turned up at the same locations as the AA and handed out copies of the highway code to drivers.

The AA have said they will repeat this branded give way in other UK cities but I suspect that this may do more damage than good to them, especially with regards to the cycling community.

Barclays Cycle Hire bikes

Image by duncan via Flickr

Transport for London stated today that the Barclays Cycle Hire customers have cycled to the moon and back 13 times in the first 6 months of operation.  That’s over 2.5 million journeys at over 10,000,000km cycled.

The busiest day for the scheme saw more than 27,500 journeys, covering more than 124,000km.

There are nearly 110,000 registered users and ‘casual’ users have purchased over 28,000 access periods in just 8 weeks.

Plans for extending the scheme have been announced, this will see the blue bikes heading into and out of; Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Bethnal Green, Bow, Canary Wharf, Mile End and Poplar. This expansion will included 2,000 bikes and 4,200 docking points across new and old areas. These added station should be up and running in 2012.

I’ve been trying to compare the Barclays Cycle Hire scheme to others across the world, but it seems very hard to come up with figures of usage at a similar time to what TFL have produced. This is especially hard when trying to compare it to the Vélib’ scheme in Paris, mainly because my french is poor. Parlez-vous anglais?

I got some vague stats for both the Vélib’ and the bixi scheme which run in Paris and Montreal. In the first year the Vélib’ scheme logged 20,000,000 journeys with an average of 70,000 a day. Where as the Bixi scheme logged only just over 1,000,000 journeys. The thing to remember here is that the Vélib scheme is bigger than ours. And the bixi scheme has the same number of docks as us but we have more bikes.

I think the Cycle Hire scheme is clearly working, people are using it and the image of them on the street will only draw more people into cycling, which is a bonus.

But Boris needs to address some issues, and that’s the lack of free spaces to dock. I still find that I can go to several docking points in the middle of the day and not be able to park. That is the most frustrating part of using the scheme.
He should also look at how we can improve cycling as a whole in London. Making London a friendlier place to cycle, reducing the traffic, reducing traffic speed, more cycling specific routes. These will all aid cycling in London on a whole and increase the uptake of the cycle hire scheme. And not do things like reducing the congestion charge zone, that was one great thing that saw cycling improve massively in central London.

2010 – A short look back

January 4, 2011 — 2 Comments

2010 was a long and interesting year for me, I started a youtube channel and a blog about cycling, unfortunately the blog took the back seat as I got some very good results from my videos.

Combined they lead me to have some wonderful experiences with meeting people and getting to know some people who have common goals and interests. It included meeting with several people involved with the Barclays Cycle Superhighway, getting a test ride on the Barclays Cycle Hire bicycles before they came out and meeting the police officers behind the Road Safe London scheme.

My youtube channel has been a great success with over 600 current subscribers. This year alone I have had 410,788 video views. And with that only being my first year, i hope that I can improve on that greatly over the next 12 months ahead.

Towards the end of the year I started a new cycling series called ‘Silly Cyclists’, which is now a regular feature I do. It’s earned nearly 30,000 views in its self and is getting some great feed back.

The last time I rode my bicycle in 2010 was when I had an RTC. At present I don’t want to comment on the incident as there is an ongoing investigation by the police. But I think it shows that these things can happen to anyone.

What will 2011 bring? who is to know, but I wish to continue with my videos and put a bit more emphasis on my blog, so keep checking in to see what I have to say, you never know, one day it might be interesting.

Barclays Cycle Hire bikes

Image by duncan via Flickr

Anyone that has been into central London after the 30th of July will have seen the Barclays liveried cycle hire bikes that are scattered across 7 boroughs of central London. Thousands of people use them each day, with peak days reaching over 20,000 journeys being made.

Who would have thought that this scheme would work, adding such a scheme into a busy metropolitan city such as London could easily lead to a disaster. A similar scheme in Melbourne, Australia failed dramatically. That was mainly down to the mandatory cycle helmet laws they have over there.

Why is the success of such a scheme important for cycling in London and potentially England?
The added cycles to the road and image value that they have will make people aware that cycling is the cheap and easy transportation. The easy access to the bikes also gives people the freedom to cycle around the City and in many cases people start using other bikes for other duties, such as commuting.
The sheer volume of cyclists on the road during non commuting times has increased dramatically and the bicycles i see the most are the cycle hire ones. Could the success of this scheme be the next big thing for the Cycling Revolution in the 21st century?
In the first 2 and a half months 1,000,000 cycle journeys were made using the Barclays cycle hire and with only 90,000 people registered that means each user has used a hire bike on average 11 times.
This makes the Barclays cycle hire scheme more succesful than any other cycle hire scheme of its kind in the world for its uptake by the public that uses them.

For the lucky person that took the 1,000,000th bike for a spin, Barclays have awarded them and 3 of their friends a 5 year membership to the scheme for free. This lucky person is Rupert Parson from Balham, South London, he also wins a cycling makeover at Bobbins Bicycles in Islington.
Rupert is not just a user of the cycle hire scheme, he also uses the Cycle Superhighway 7 to commute to work. Clearly the two major cycling schemes in London are working well for Rupert.

Clearly from the quick uptake, even with technical issues and access limited to people in the UK with credit or debit cards, the scheme has been a massive success and lets hope that it continues to grow.