London cycle scheme launches
I have to admit I felt a little bit special today being one of the first people to ride around one of London's new cycle hire bikes.
Once you've got a keycard you just slide it into the machine next to the bike you want to ride it goes yellow for a few seconds and then green and the bike is released.
You need to give it a bit of tug as the bike is firmly in place but that might just be because it's new, either way it was a very simple process.
Now being on the bike gives you an advantage as people presumed I wasn't used to cycling in the centre of London in the morning rush hour and cars, buses, trucks and fellow cyclists gave me wide -berth.
This was great as I picked up the bike from Jubilee Gardens on the south bank and headed along near to the Thames before crossing over at Blackfriars Bridge turning off down Fleet Street and towards the Strand.
I had some trouble at first with the seat - I'm quite tall and needed to adjust it - but it was simple once I got the hang of it. The gears are really basic too with three setting which were easily operated on the right hand side of the handlebars - a small bell is on the left hand side.
I felt the bike was quite heavy though and it made hard work of any slight incline I approached and the gears didn't help me too much either.
The only other problem I saw for the bike was lights. It has a reasonably bright led back (red) and front (white) light both powered by the cyclists pedalling the bike.
While I was using this during the day I could see the lights - but I'd be a bit concerned using it at night so it's going to be a test for the scheme when the winter draws in.
Overall, though as I hate the underground and buses and taxis are too polluting (and expensive) if i have to go anywhere in that's over walking distance in central London I'm going to try and use onbe of the new bikes.