I Want To Ride My Boris Bike

Yesterday it was a lovely day in London when it came to the weather. Monday had also been the same and I was finally convinced that spring had indeed arrived. Since I’d finished work early that day, I decided to meet up with my boyfriend for lunch before heading home to do some chores.

I work on Fleet Street and he works on Liverpool Street, so we’re pretty close to one another. It was so nice out that I decided to do something I had been wanting to try for a long time now: I rode a Boris Bike.

Now, there is some confusion on what these bikes are actually called, even among English people (so I know it’s not just because I overlooked a newspaper article or anything of the sort on the matter). I remember they started out as Boris Bikes because the project was introduced by Boris Johnson (Mayor of London). They got endorsed by Barclays, turning the bikes blue and changing their name to Barclays Bicycles. Now the sponsor is Santander and they now hold the colour red and their official name is Santander Cycles.

I wonder what they’ll be called next year.

If you don’t know what they are, Boris Bikes (or whatever their name is) is a program where you can rent a bicycle for as little as £2 (or free if you ride for less than 30 minutes) from any bike station in the city and then leave the bike in any other station. You can see them pretty much everywhere in Central London, and you can see many people riding them.

Anyway, I signed off work and walked to the nearest bike station after googling where I could drop it off later. I followed the instructions on the screen which were simple and clear (by the way, you can only pay by card). I got a code and chose a red bike. All you need to do is put it in and pull the bike out.

Or so it said!

Inserting the code was easy (once I realised the bike I was trying to get actually had something wrong with it), but no matter how much I pulled the bike, I couldn’t get it out! After many attempts, I decided to ask some men who were putting in new red bikes in the station and they were kind enough to tell me that you have to push it down before pulling it out. They also adjusted my seat, changed the position of the bell and secured my bag on the basket, really nice people.

And so I crossed the road and set off on my adventure. It was terrifying. Traffic in London is confusing and there are so many buses! But the weather was nice and I got more confident after the first few minutes.

It took me about 15 minutes to get to Liverpool Street. Returning the bike was extremely easy. All in all it was good fun, but I did start coughing from all the car fumes I inhaled on the way. Now I know why so many cyclists wear a mask.

I filmed a video on my phone, but since I have no fancy filming gear and simply put it in my pocket all you can see is my hand and the front of the bike. Anyway, here’s a bit of it, just so it’s not a waste. The tune is a royalty-free piece of music I found somewhere online. Finally, a use for my Vimeo account other than following amazing artists (which I quite enjoy, to be honest)

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Did you enjoy the gorgeous weather yesterday? It felt like summer! The temperature has gone back to normal, but I hope the sun will keep on shining for a while longer. After work I had a lovely time in Green Park with my conversation exchange partner (I’m trying to learn Japanese) and then was stuck in traffic (I always catch the bus) so I took some pictures.

IMAG1105

What about you? How did you spend yesterday’s out-of-place summer’s day?

Until next time,

Inês

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