London Putting on its Training Wheels

In I spied... on July 18, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Happy to peer through shop windows, admire Victorian architecture and study fellow pedestrians, I’m very content getting around London on foot. Having left my driving days behind, I’ve found a joie de vivre that I was most certainly lacking behind the wheel. Nevertheless, there’s nothing to say that picking up a bit of speed on two wheels rather than four would stop me from enjoying life. Paris introduced the hire-a-bike scheme back in 2007 which allowed Parisians and tourists alike to pick up and drop off a bike from one of 800 bike stands around town. It instantly became one of the city’s greatest accomplishments. I had been wondering how long it would take London to jump on the bicycle band wagon and so I let out a cry of joy when I walked past a row of empty bicycle bays in St John’s Wood yesterday– the first sign of Transport for London implementing its cycle hire scheme at the end of this month. From the 30th of July, I will be able to pedal my way around London for £1 a day or £5 a week. Bargain!

Okay, so I initially imagined myself on a beautiful Dutch bicycle with a straw basket to hold my baguette and jams purchased from the food market, but these pay as you go bikes are actually a very good way to test out a lifestyle before  jumping the gun. Admittedly, as a driver, I used to curse cyclists and so I intend to stay off the main roads and stick to neighbourhood streets. If the tables do in fact turn and I become a frequent user of the Barclays sponsored TFL bikes, I may consider putting together a few pennies and investing in that shiny red bicycle.

P.S. If you’re interested in bicycle culture, I found this shop in Brick Lane that takes its craftsmanship very seriously to produce some stunning looking two-wheelers.


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