Boris’ Bikes: the only way to travel

September 3, 2010 at 4:41 pm Leave a comment

By Sophie Byrne

Peter ‘Ideas Man’ Beack recently suggested that the Innovation Unit should sign up to the Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme. His justification was that hopping on a Boris Bike to get to external meetings would not only be the healthier option, but crucially the funnier option. It is also a much greener way to travel, which is something that we are really into at the Innovation Unit.  Especially since working on our Green Next Practice Programme, a national innovation programme for community and voluntary sector projects that are greening public services in a truly innovative way. So the Innovation Unit has enthusiastically signed itself up to Boris’ scheme. 

I was very hungry, so I cycled very very fast.

Yesterday Peter invited me to lunch on the Kingsland Road for a Vietnamese (yum!) and I obviously said yes.  Kingsland Road is a little bit too far to walk from our offices near Old Street so Peter had cunningly planned to use our new cycle scheme to get there (maybe that is why Peter suggested we join in the first place?).  I’m not sure if lunch counts as an external meeting, but oh well, we talked about very important things like Hans Christian Anderson.

I was very excited about using the bikes, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Peter asked me to lunch because I would fulfil the ‘funny’ potential of the situation.  It was my first time cycling in London so the excitement was combined with some nerves. The last time I rode a bike I had a near miss with a van…

Anyway, we have a docking station just outside our office and it was all very easy to use. After a little practice spin we were off.  The bike was great for nipping around central London, and you do get lots of admiring looks.  My only (tiny) criticism is that the bike is pretty heavy so it is quite hard to lift the bike on and off pavements and the like.  But this may have more to do with my distinct lack of upper body strength than anything else.  Either way, I loved being able to cycle somewhere and then drop the bike off and not have to worry about it. Apart from it being healthy and fun, it is obviously a really environmentally-friendly way of getting around London, so well done TfL.

We will be announcing which projects are participating in our Green Next Practice Programme really soon, so you can find out about other really great projects that are helping the public sector to cut its rather large carbon footprint. Watch this space! Also, if you’ve used the new Cycle Scheme we would love to hear what you think of it too.   

Aviv off to a meeting at NESTA.

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