A Fuss-free Guide to the Boris Bikes
by John on 04 October 2011
If you're a stranger to the capital city, you might be surprised to see a bunch of blue bikes everywhere. Check out this handy how-to guide and give the Boris bikes a go!
First Thing's First: What exactly are “Boris bikes?”
“Boris bikes” is a common nickname for the Transport for London’s Barclay’s Cycle Hire scheme - it was London’s current Mayor Boris Johnson who initiated the scheme in July of last year.
What is the Barclay’s Cycle Hire Scheme?
Essentially, the scheme allows you to hire a three-speed road bike in central London 24 hours a day, every day of the year, without having to book in advance.
How do I hire a Boris bike?
Hiring a Boris bike is a piece of cake. First, simply visit one of the many Boris bike docking stations. Docking stations are where the Boris bikes are stored. They are easy to find: there are currently over three hundred Docking Stations in Central London.
To hire your bike, you simply enter a cycle release code at the bike’s docking point. The code releases your bike, and you are then free to cycle away on your journey through Central London. However, to obtain your release code you must first pay an access fee.
The Access Fee
The Access fee is just £1 for a 24 hour bike rental or £5 for a whole week. You must pay your access fee via debit card, but you have the choice to pay at a Docking station terminal or online.
Upon paying your access fee, receiving your code and releasing your bike, you are then entitled to 30 minutes free usage of the cycle. If you have not returned your bike to a docking station within 30 minutes, however, you will incur a usage charge.
Using your Boris Bike for over 30mins will cost you an extra £1. One and a half hours will cost you £4; two hours £6; two and a half hours £10; three hours £15; six hours £35; and 24 hours will cost £50 in usage charges.
Usage charges can be expensive, but they are easy to avoid. First, simply be sure to only use a Boris bike for short journeys which will definitely last no more than 30 minutes. Secondly, ensure that there is at least one easily accessible docking point where you can return the Boris bike on your journey route. They shouldn’t be too hard to find; the 300+ docking stations in Central London are each stationed just 300 - 400m way from each other.
Other Useful Information
Be sure to keep a close eye on your cycle. Once hired, the Boris bike is entirely your responsibility and it could cost you £300 to replace if it is stolen or severely damaged. The simplest way to avoid theft or damage to your Boris bike is to simply dock the bike when you are not using it. “Dock Up, Don’t Lock Up” is the motto of experienced Boris Bike users!
For more information, click here to visit the Barclay’s Cycle Hire website.
Images thanks to Flickr users EG Focus and Ambernectar 13.