Boris bikes - anyone else had a go?

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Not sure if this has been done before, but I took my first ride on a Boris bike a couple of weeks ago. I've paid £45 for a years access enabling me to use them for 30 minutes each time free, as often as I want. Used several times since then and am pretty impressed, and reckon I will avoid a few bus delays. :o

Ignoring the obvious busy traffic, weather and route related planning, do we have any thoughts and guidance to share? My own initial impressions are:

- You soon get to know which docking stations often have bikes, and which can be relied upon the have space to return a bike to (I believe an app is available for this purpose too).

- Bells and rear reflectors are the pieces of kit most often missing!

- Comfort rather than speed is the order of the day.

- Boris bikes rank bottom of the pecking order at the lights, behind all other cyclists. I guess riders are seen as "amateurs", ie casual cyclists.

- 1st and 2nd gear seem rather pointless. I usually just stick to 3rd.

That's about it for now - anyone want to pass their own judgement?
 
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142094

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Used similar in Europe before, and most cities in the EU have had them for yonks. Not sure if I'd want to cycle in London, other EU cities seem to be much safer and bike-friendly compared to London.
 

Uzair

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I am impressed, however I wish the bikes could go a bit faster. I agree with what you say about first and second gears.

However I think it can sometimes be difficult to take the bikes out of docks after you have put in the code. You sometimes need a bit of strength to do it, and you may think it's about to be damaged, if you see what I mean?
 

snail

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Good for short journeys on 'quieter' routes where I would normally walk, e.g. St Pancras area to Tottenham Court Road. I find them heavy for longer distances, got as far as London Bridge one Sunday - and struggled to find a docking station. Generally, I think a good thing and reasonably priced for what you get.
 
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Do you find many are damaged?

Most that I've hired have been in very good nick, but even so it's best to check the rear wheel spins properly (ie no pronounced "wobble") before you undock. I had one journey which was a little more exciting than I was anticipating as a result of not checking this first!
 

fgwrich

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Do you find many are damaged?

Most that I've hired have been in very good nick, but even so it's best to check the rear wheel spins properly (ie no pronounced "wobble") before you undock. I had one journey which was a little more exciting than I was anticipating as a result of not checking this first!

I know the feeling, as ive had a few rides across london on them. 1st Boris bike was ok, gears were fine, brakes were fine. The second ride from Kings Cross over to Paddington was a little more interesting, not least becuase id got lost trying to avoid the main roads and ended up going via Bloomsbury - This bike had slightly more lively gears...The 3rd - Now this was probably the most liveliest boris bike ive had so far, both journey and bike wise - London Bridge / London Fire Bridge / Union Street to Soho, with sod all brakes! :lol: I have to admit that in the end, after finnaly finding the nearest docking station thanks to the staff at The Ritz, the best way of stopping this thing was to just ride it into the docking station (at low speed) and report the brakes from there...Not the best way of doing things but it wasnt the easiest of rides!
 
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I've seen a few people attempting the "dark art" of riding a bike directly into a docking station.

Not brave/skilled enough myself.........yet.
 

142094

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Are they classed as public transport?

Techincally yes, as you have to pay a fee for their use. If you were using your own bike, some would say that isn't public transport (more specifically walking and cycling are active transport).
 

stut

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Surely the correct way to dock a Kenbike is to do a running dismount immediately before the docking station?

I do use them from time to time when I want to do one-way trips on London, and rather like them. The IT is improving, too (it was diabolical last year) but there needs to be more redistribution of bikes in the rush hour if they're to be a serious commuting option.

Also, the "keys" need to be much stronger!
 

142094

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Is that a requirement? There's a FreeCityBus round Bradford - I'm sure that's still public transport.

Depends on what the definition of public transport - some people say it is where you have to pay a fare to use it, but things such as free buses and community transport muddy the waters.
 

TrainBoy98

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If they are public transport, surely they can be used for the Tube Challenge as that says only public transport
 
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I have yet to succeed in pulling a simple skid with the back brake - seems pretty impossible.

Anyone want to claim victory here?
 
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