London joins over 135 cities worldwide with its new cycle share scheme
Joining the other UK cities including Blackpool and Cardiff already with cycle share schemes, London’s Barclays Cycle Scheme launches on 30 July and is just one of well over one hundred similar global bicycle hire schemes.
Many of us hire bikes on holiday, often handing over our credit card to someone in a ramshackle hut and hoping for the best.Over the past few years, however, cities and towns all over the world have been transforming cycle hire into an automated and sophisticated process to encourage short cycle journeys.
The bike share schemes offer numerous stands or collection points in popular, central locations, promoting cycling as a viable alternative to taking taxis or public transport. Registering credit card details online or via your mobile phone allows quick access to the bikes, although navigating the registration procedures in different languages around the world could be the first challenge for visitors, as not all are in English.
Comparing cost and convenience of city cycle schemes
Which? Travel research shows that the London scheme compares well with others around the world for cost and convenience. When fully operational, 6,000 bikes will be docked at 400 stations across central London – a station every 300 meters.
As a tourist, a £1 daily access fee will give riders the first 30 minutes of every journey free. If you are travelling with children, however, you’re likely to be better off hiring a bike through a bike shop. Most of these schemes tend to have a minimum age of at least 14.
|Cycle hire schemes|
|City||number of bikes||Stands||weekly membership||Daily membership||Free first half hour?||Cost for 1 hour||Cost for 3 hours||Other|
|Cardiff||70||14||£5||£5||yes||0.50p||£2.50||no hire charges with day membership|
|Blackpool||500||80||n/a||n/a||yes||£1||£3||For non-members, day tickets available £10 unlimited use/day, £6 for half a day|
|Dublin||450||40||n/a||€2 (3 day pass)||yes||1.5 (for 1 hour)||€3.50||only 14 of 40 stations have credit card terminals for 3 day users|
|Paris||24,000||1750||€5||€1||yes||€1||€14||Get an extra 15 minutes free if you take your bike back to an unpopular stand (i.e. Up to the hill in Montmartre)|
|Nice||900||90||£5||€1||yes||€1||€5||Public transport card will work on bike systems, call is free as no one answers|
|Vannes (Brittany)||174||20||€5||€1||yes||€1||€5||Call is free as no one answers|
|Copenhagen||2,000||110||See other||See other||See other||See other||See other||20 Danish Krone refundable deposit|
|Vienna||200||64||n/a||€2||yes||free||€2||Citybike tourist card available at hotels and pensions, or register directly by credit card at stand|
|Berlin||300||48||n/a||n/a||no||€1/hour, €8/24h||€3||Additional 2euro charge at Checkpoint Charlie collection (no registration required)|
|Stockholm||1000||74||n/a||125 Krona (3 day card)||n/a||n/a||n/a||Maximum 3 hours with one bike. Operates April to October only.|
|Melbourne||600||50||$8||$2.50||yes||$2 31-60 mins, $5 61-90 mins, $10 additional 30 mins||$35||Minimum age 16|
|Montreal||5,000||n/a||$5||n/a||yes||n/a||n/a||Solar powered stands, scheme shuts in winter|
|Auckland||175||35+||$5||n/a||n/a||$4 per hour for first 3 hours||$12||30 mins free per 24 hours for registered users.|
Rochelle Turner, Head of Research at Which? Travel says,
‘Although, at first glance, London isn’t as set up for cycling as other cities around the world, there are actually many miles of traffic-free cycle routes and traffic-calmed areas. The biggest challenge for those who fancy a longer journey, may be in finding a new bike along your route every 29 minutes, so you don’t rack up extra (often hefty) charges.’