Today is the launch of London’s new TFL bike hire scheme. It works something like this: you sign up and pay online, get yourself a key thingy, stick it in the right hole at the bike park, then get on the bike and ride away on it to another bike park somewhere near where you want to end up.

It’s a nice idea but all this signing up/key business is a little bit too complicated for impulse-cycling. It would be much more useful if anyone could just stick their credit card in and pedal off any time they felt like it. I’m not a big fan of forward planning when it comes to things like this.

But still, I am enjoying seeing all the shiny new bikes in their bays all over town. And I love that it’s bringing out the curiosity in people and getting perfect strangers chatting to each other as they examine the bikes and ping their twisty bells.

TFL bike park

2 responses to “Rent-a-bike

  1. Amsterdam had a public bike idea once — I think that might either be inspired by or the origin of the song ‘White Bicycle’.

    I’ve just written two very long entries on my blog about a trip last weekend to Center Parcs — where bikes are the only official means of transport. I postulated that getting rid of cars means quite a significant cognitive shift that’s more significant than people may realise — much less chance to use a car as a status symbol for example.

  2. Have you been to Venice Mike? No cars anywhere. Or even bikes if I’m remembering correctly – just boats and feet. I found it rather refreshing to be able to wander around without having to look out for traffic every time I crossed the street.

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