Cycle Show parking & the bikes of the London Cycle Hire Scheme?

The cycle show kicks off today at Earls Court in London and will be stuffed to the gills, I'm sure, with bike goodies and cycling accessories for you to spend your well-earned cash on, should you so wish.  I won't be making it this year as I have visitors from overseas and my diary is somewhat overstretched at the moment, but I'm interested to hear what anyone who goes along thinks of it.

Most interestingly, they are having to create a special 'bike park' for the expected volume of cyclists turning up on their bikes having somewhere to lock up their bikes securely.  I find it sad indeed that such a facility doesn't exist already for a big exhibition space in central London such as Earls Court - a bike rack for a week isn't much of a bike rack in my opinion - I'd like to be able to cycle to ALL events there, not just cycling related ones.  In my opinion, new provision needs to be made in planning law that all new developments (whether residential, commercial or a space like the exhibition centre) must have a certain percentage of cycling infrastructure built in - be that bike racks, bike lanes or showers in offices.  Hey presto, the velorution would build itself, but I don't see it happening for some time yet, alas...

Anyway, getting to the point... Transport for London have been boasting that visitors to the show will be able to view and try out the bikes which will be used to launch the Mayor of London's bike hire scheme next year.  Well, you saw it here first folks.  The scheme (which is yet to have a name - any suggestions anyone?) was contracted out to SERCO (the peeps who run that most bicycle unfriendly mode of public transport, the DLR, amongst other things) and BIXI, the people behind the cycle hire scheme in Montreal, Canada.  Therefore, it's probably fair to suggest that for reasons of economic convenience we'll all be riding BIXI bikes next year, which are built in Canada and look something like this:

I, for one, can't wait to try them out - though I'm not a fan of the 'basket' on the front - how are you supposed to keep anything in it?!


townmouse said...

Re the basket - a review of the Bixi bikes here suggests they work fine, as long as you've got a handbag anyway. You chaps are obviously either going to have to go with the 'man bag' or work out another way.

Mark said...

Thanks for the link Charlotte, great review - am already thumbing my way through the Alfred Dunhill catalogue and perusing next season's man bags!

London's BIXI bikes were unveilled at the Cycle Show last weekend in a rather dashing dark blue - the Beeb got first dibs and their review and video can be seen here:

I really like the fact that the bikes are stamped with Transport for London's logo (a retro design fave of mine anyway) as this truly elevates the hire bikes to a level of transport on a par with our buses, trains and underground. Shame we can't use our Oyster cards on them, but hey, I suppose that's the price we pay for getting the project rolled out cheaply and quickly.