Taking the Boris Bikes for a Spin

London’s not nearly as bike friendly as Amsterdam or Copenhagen, in the States where I grow up they drive on the opposite side of the road and I once saw a cyclist slip under a truck on the way to work, so I’ve been skeptical about venturing through the streets of this city with a Boris bike.


But that incident (which was the main reason) was quite a few years ago, so when Dimple suggested taking them for a spin to Kensington Gardens on our lunch break it sounded like a fabulous idea.


It was straightforward. We found the nearest rack of bikes and selected Hire a Cycle from the screen.


It will show you some prices and make you agree to a long statement that you probably won’t read.


Then you stick in your card.


It spits out a ticket with a code.


And then the fun begins. So we walked over to the bike racks, chose bikes, entered the code, pulled… and nothing. Again. And then we thought we were doing something wrong. So I did what I always do in times of difficulty and turned to Google where a forum told me the bikes are difficult to undock and “You might not be strong enough”. Apparently we weren’t strong enough because when we yanked on one together, it came straight out. We rolled our eyes and felt like weaklings but at least we had our bikes!


We didn’t have too much time, it being lunch break, so we simply cycled up to the nearest end of Hyde Park.


We settled in near the lake with the sandwiches we packed and watched the swans dive for food.


It was fun, a little spurt of exercise and something a bit different to do. I’d definitely take them out again for a longer amount of time to go exploring as long as it didn’t involve too many busy roads!


Have you tried the Boris Bikes yet? What did you think? If not, would you? Why or why not? 


10 comments on “Taking the Boris Bikes for a Spin

  1. You guys clearly had a better time of it than me! I tried Boris Bikes twice and both times ended up super-frustrated; maybe it was too early on and they were still ironing out teething troubles with the systems. I had a nightmare just getting a code and trying to release a bike! (Also Vauxhall Bridge Road was not a nice peaceful spot for a first-time London cyclists..!)

    • Yea, it’s really difficult to undock them. Like I said, we struggled quite a bit with that one too!! I don’t think there’s too many good spots in London for first time cyclists unfortunately, unless you’re in a park… you’re inevitably going to hit some traffic sooner or later. I’d love to see London develop more extensive proper cycling areas. I know there’s been some talk but we’ll see where that goes. If it was safer and less intimidating, I’m sure plenty more people would cycle more. It’s a great way to get around.

  2. I have tried them a few times , while the concept is good and they are for the most part quite usable , the actual process is not slick and inreality will not entice too many people to them … that is just my thoughts
    i hope that you enjoyed the ride

  3. tried once when late at night when i was a little under the weather(Cold !!) …. I struggled a bit with them but once i was on it … it was brilliant .. London is great at night by bicycle

  4. I’ve started using them to race around London between meetings, (London actually isn’t a big place). I’ve invested 3quid in a smart card so it makes things even easier. anyway I love reacquainting myself with this marvellous city! My weekend bike is a carbon fibre s-works more used to he etap de jour. however with a bit of getting used to on the twist shift you can still move pretty quickly.

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