The London Cycle Hire scheme, supported by a well-known bank, is almost upon us.As it needs a nom de plume, how about Velondon?
The purpose of the scheme, to replace short taxi and tube rides with jaunts on bicycles that are heavy and ugly enough to be undesirable to thieves, is laudable in the extreme and it is to be hoped that eventually the scheme can echo the knock-on effects of Paris’ Velib – of creating an unbreakable case for better cycling infrastructure, separated lanes and world peace between those on two wheels and four. We can dream.
That’s all well and good, but what silly things could you do with the idea of picking up a bike in one part of London and dropping it off in another? Here are a few ideas for Cycle Hire-related japes that – hopefully – won’t get you into trouble with the rozzers.
1. See how far you can ride on in half an hour before returning it to the same place. The first thirty minutes are free. Can you make it outside Zone 2 and back again without incurring a fee?
2. Take a mate in the magazine rack on the front. This looks better if rider and passenger have got a hood on and are riding the wrong way up City Road in rush hour swaying from side to side. If they get stuck, you simply dock the bike and leave them there and hope the next punter doesn’t mind too much.
3. Leave random notes in the spokes of bikes for users to find. It could be a way of setting up a blind date or, through the gradual accumulation of answers to geography questions, identify the London Cycle Hire scheme capital cities quiz king.
4. Organise a flash mob style ride, where as many of the bikes as possible are undocked simultaneously and ridden around Regent’s Park, creating a kind of endless circle of riders.
5. Take one to Paris. Undock early in the morning, take on Eurostar and spend the day confusing the French by asking for directions to London landmarks. Take a photo for Boris.
6. (this one is quite a good idea I think) – create a way of logging the journeys each bike makes and invite riders to contribute stories of the adventures they had on them. To paraphrase Suede, after a few weeks all the love and poison of London will be worn into the grooves of these two-wheeled iron horses.
Anyone got any others?